December 31, 2011

And ...

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

— Robert Burns

December 27, 2011

Brooming branches

The wind arching
and bowing the trees

until it looked as if

they were trying
to sweep the ground.

— Alice Munro, short story "Leaving Maverley"
(New Yorker, 11-28-11)

December 22, 2011


Several hours of phone calls ...
that's all I need
to undo
my life.

— Shira Nayman, short story "The House on Kronenstrasse"
(The Atlantic fiction issue 2005)

December 19, 2011

Our Words

No one likes to be required
to answer a question
yes or no,
because things are never
that simple.
This is not because
individual words
are too weak;
it's because
they are too powerful.
They can mean
too many things.

So we add more words,
and embed our clauses
in more clauses,
in order to mute language,
modify it,
and reduce it
to the modesty
of our intentions.

—Louis Menand, essay/review on Ezra Pound
(in The New Yorker, June 9&16, 2008)

December 17, 2011


Any man that tried
to walk over me
would get his feet
cut to pieces.

— Truman Capote, short story "The Bargain"
(appeared in New York Times Book Review, 9-12-04)

December 16, 2011


And sometimes trains would cry
in the monstrously hot and humid night
with heartrending and ominous plangency,
mingling power and hysteria
in one desperate scream.

— Vladimir Nabokov, "Lolita"

December 15, 2011


Snowflakes had gathered
in her eyelashes

and made it appear
as though she
had been crying.

— Augusten Burroughs, "You Better Not Cry"

December 13, 2011


We have labored long
to build a heaven,
only to find it
populated with horrors.

— Alan Moore, "Watchmen"

December 12, 2011

Cool-looking authors No. 24

Author of "Christmas in Canaan" as well as the photographer of the book "Your Friends and Mine." Oh, and I hear he's a pretty good singer.

(Photo from Kenny Rogers Productions)

December 11, 2011


Certain empty houses
that seemed
to stare

like the faces
of people suffering
from terrible
mental illness.

— Stephen King, "11/22/63"

December 8, 2011

Cool-looking authors No. 22

Tupac Shakur (1971-1996), author of the poetry collection "The Rose That Grew From Concrete"

(Photo by Michael O'Neill)

December 7, 2011

December 6, 2011

December 5, 2011


A man
who owned
his own
private tornado.

— Stephen King, "11/22/63"