An icon of the American theatre, Edward Albee, died this week. Scholars & Rogues honors him and notes the small ways that the influence of great artists can affect our lives for years to come.
The Zoo Story by Edward Albee, New Theatre Company, The Factory Theatre, Boston, 2/23/12-3/4/12
We read The Zoo Story in one of my classes at Wake Forest – maybe freshman or sophomore year. I absolutely loved it. I think Jerry spoke to my teenage sense of who I was and what I didn’t want to be, and this dynamic was reinforced by the culture of the university. Wake was conservative and elite. I was conservative, but working class. Many of my fellow students were preparing themselves for sensible, practical, conventional lives. I wanted to be a poet. So while I don’t believe I necessarily understood that tension then the way I do now, I felt an immediacy in Peter and Jerry’s confrontation that, truth be told, still resonates for me today. Read more
I recently took the camera up to Denver’s River North Arts District (RiNo) to shoot some of the street art in the neighborhood’s alleys. There is a lot of talent in the 5280, and I thought I’d share some of it for #HopeTuesday. (Captions are my titles.)
Artists don’t decide what their calling is. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Northbound: Lake County, Colorado
When I set out to become a photographer way back in 2012 I had an idea what I was going to be. I live in Colorado, you see, so I was going to shoot majestic western landscapes. You know, like every other photographer in the state. I even bought a wide-angle lens for the purpose, not really understanding that wasn’t what wide-angles were for. They can be used for certain types of outdoor expansive shots, but they’re really great for making the indoors look huge.
But then something happened. Read more
Old men are signal. Young men are noise.
Fractal Butterfly 004, by agsandrew at DeviantArt
When I was a young writer I swung for the fence with every syllable. I felt like any word that didn’t crush you with profound implications for eternity was a wasted opportunity. I resented articles. I didn’t understand white space, breathing room, the need for silence between beats, and I had little time for the banal, pedestrian-mongering wanks who did.
I learned more about these things as I grew, and I think becoming a photographer has honed those lessons even more. Noise drowns signal.
Even though I’m no longer a poet, I sometimes read things I wrote in that past life. Read more
An unremarkable corner in downtown Denver. No signage announces the nature of the business within. But this is My Brother’s Bar, one of the 5280’s most historic spots, and if you know a bit about the Beats, you know that this is the place from Kerouac’s On the Road. Everything has changed around it, but the place itself? More or less the same.
My Brother’s Bar, Denver – looking up Platte
Audre Lorde taught us that power begins with knowing and accepting ourselves.
In our world, divide and conquer must become define and empower.
We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.
It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.
The reading list for the contemporary poetry seminar during my first semester in the MA program at Iowa State was an interesting one. Elizabeth Bird, Louise Erdrich, Richard Wright, Charles Wright, Gary Snider, Carolyn Forché, plus a couple others I can’t recall right now. Also, the point of today’s story, Audre Lorde, a writer I had never heard of.
It was Fall of 1987 and it was a fascinating, albeit frustrating class. Read more
The other day I posted this shot, from Sarawub Intarot at National Geographic, on Facebook.
One of the symptoms of depression is an addiction to rumination. The vicious cycle of negative thinking that strips us of energy and desire. It is precisely our obsession with working out what makes us unhappy that makes us unhappy. – Chris Corner
You don’t walk away from something that was central to your very being for 35 years without … thinking about it.
Three or four years ago I wrapped my fourth book of poetry and hung up my quill, as it were. Read more
My friend Anders Thyr is an extremely talented illustrator and designer, and I’m quite a fan of his work. His ongoing Weltschmerz Bears series, for instance, manages to be both whimsical and deeply thought-provoking, and it has gotten me pondering the ways humor can open a subversive back door into my intellect.
All across the country people will be celebrating First Friday tonight. Read more
Every picture tells two or three stories. At least.
If you aren’t a photographer, you may not think about processing. But I have learned, over the past two and a half years, just how important those decisions can be. Everything from the basic choice of how to crop all the way to what kinds of heinous digital fuckery to employ – trust me when I say that it isn’t the picture that tells the story, it’s the decisions that get made once the picture has been taken.
Let me illustrate. I took a pleasant little shot of an orchid not long ago. Here’s the raw photo, edited a tad for balance. It’s underexposed because that’s what I needed in the raw for what I had in mind.
Hey Denver folks – tomorrow is First Friday. Time for some shameless self-promotion (although others are being promoted, too).
Denver FFs are typically about the Santa Fe district, and perhaps the growing RiNo district. Read more
About a year and a half ago the S&R literary journal published a couple of very good poems from Brooklyn-based poet Colin Dodds. Now Colin has published a new book, and we wanted to encourage our readers to give it a look.
It’s called Wisdom’s Real Opposite and it’s available in several formats at Smashwords.
Happy reading, and congrats to Colin.
Former US Poet Laureate Mark Strand is dead at 80.
In a 1998 interview with the Paris Review, poet Strand said something I find fascinating:
Well, I think what happens at certain points in my poems is that language takes over, and I follow it. It just sounds right. And I trust the implication of what I’m saying, even though I’m not absolutely sure what it is that I’m saying. I’m just willing to let it be. Because if I were absolutely sure of whatever it was that I said in my poems, if I were sure, and could verify it and check it out and feel, yes, I’ve said what I intended, I don’t think the poem would be smarter than I am. I think the poem would be, finally, a reducible item. It’s this “beyondness,” that depth that you reach in a poem, that keeps you returning to it. And you wonder, The poem seemed so natural at the beginning, how did you get where you ended up? What happened? I mean, I like that, I like it in other people’s poems when it happens. I like to be mystified. Because it’s really that place which is unreachable, or mysterious, at which the poem becomes ours, finally, becomes the possession of the reader. I mean, in the act of figuring it out, of pursuing meaning, the reader is absorbing the poem, even though there’s an absence in the poem. But he just has to live with that. And eventually, it becomes essential that it exists in the poem, so that something beyond his understanding, or beyond his experience, or something that doesn’t quite match up with his experience, becomes more and more his. He comes into possession of a mystery, you know—which is something that we don’t allow ourselves in our lives.