Why this?

The occasional piece of my own and a generous helping of others' creations I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Not by itself enough

Virtuosity with language is not by itself enough for poetry. A poem has to sustain a strong connection to the suffered world, and any intelligence that dares call itself poetic needs to be penetrated and informed by the life of the emotions. The ego must be breached by the fire and flood damage of experience. At the same time, plaintive wailing will not suffice. Successful poems have grace and vivacity--sometimes even power--of language, mobility of mind, and not a straight-faced, deadpan earnestness, but a brave freedom of feeling. --Tony Hoagland

House or Window Flies

These little window dwellers, in cottages and halls, were always entertaining to me; after dancing in the window all day from sunrise to sunset they would sip of the tea, drink of the beer, and eat of the sugar, and be welcome all summer long. They look like things of mind or fairies, and seem pleased or dull as the weather permits. In many clean cottages and genteel houses, they are allowed every liberty to creep, fly, or do as they like; and seldom or ever do wrong. In fact they are the small or dwarfish portion of our own family, and so many fairy familiars that we know and treat as one of ourselves.

--John Clare

Saturday, February 9, 2013


From the air New York’s skyline looks jerry-built, improvised, as much draped raggedly from the atmospheres as it is built up. I always expect to see rope bridges impulsively thrown across the nearly perfectly calipered gaps across streets. Chicago’s looks modeled, fashioned, carved, as if a hand has just finished its work and gone home--it looks like an artisanal studio or shop. San Francisco’s is confectionary, with fanciful and frivolous irregularities, spires, angularities, and pitches lifting and dropping structures as if the ground had been bunched like a rug and left that way: architects love the challenge of matching structure to pitch. All three cities are money stacked different ways.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Farm Scenes

Snow falls in the feeding lot
All afternoon. Everything is white
Except for the dark lumps of hay
The horse has pushed away with his nose.

We talk for hours. Long after midnight
I carry water to the chickens.
The flashlight sways over the snow
Like a single thought alone in the night.

One rooster and five molty hens
Shift uneasily in their stall. The barn
Is shadowy—one or two
Strands of hay hang from the horse's jaw.

--Robert Bly

Friday, February 1, 2013


“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.”
--W. Somerset Maugham