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Culture and Society

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The Dog-Eared Page

Shakespeare’s Sister

excerpted from
A Room Of One’s Own

Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the crossroads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here tonight, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives; for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh. This opportunity, as I think, it is now coming within your power to give her.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Small Time

From outside, Jumbo’s was nothing more than a black-painted steel door in a brick wall, above which was a sign with a grinning yellow clown. When a customer came or went, the door would open for a moment, and I could glimpse the rich blackness of its interior and smell stale beer and cigarette smoke. Especially in the evenings, the illuminated yellow clown sign called out to me.

The Sun Interview

The Molotov Cocktail Of The Imagination

David Mason On The Power Of Poetry

But getting back to your question about poetry and prose: Poetry, by moving from line to line, can create shades of meaning that prose can’t. So, whatever else it’s worth, poetry is valuable because it gives us a different experience of language. It gives us an experience that we cannot have by other means. And without that, we live a more impoverished life. I’ve been as moved by novels as I have been by poems, but I’ve been moved by poems in a different way. I’ve been brought to laughter and tears by a different route.

Photography

Coney Island

This is a setting where visitors let go of their inhibitions, where performers and exhibitionists have thronged for more than a century. The beach and boardwalk are an impromptu stage for all sorts of daring and joyful endeavors.

The Sun Interview

The Egret Lifting From The River

David Hinton On The Wisdom Of Ancient Chinese Poets

There’s a Wang Wei poem in which an egret standing at the edge of a stream flutters up and then settles back down. That’s it. In the West we think there’s something missing, that there should be more to the poem. But if you remember that heart and mind are the same, then you realize that this perception, this experience of empty mind perceiving with mirror-like clarity, is also an emotional experience. It’s both the observation of the scene and the feeling evoked by the scene at the same time, the two together filling us completely.

Photography

What We Eat

In 2006 my husband, photojournalist Peter Menzel, and I produced a book detailing the food that thirty families in twenty-four different countries consumed in one week’s time. . . . We traveled the world again, this time photographing scores of different people from disparate backgrounds, each with one typical day’s worth of food. The result is What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.

The Sun Interview

Call Of The Wild

Bernie Krause On The Disappearing Music Of The Natural World

Nearly 50 percent of the habitats where I’ve made recordings over the past forty-plus years have been so severely damaged that they’re now either biophonically silent or altered to the point of being unrecognizable.

Photography

The Work Of Clemens Kalischer

Born in Germany in 1921, Clemens Kalischer arrived in the United States at the age of twenty-one, a Jewish immigrant who’d narrowly survived the Holocaust. He had no money and spoke no English. One of his few possessions was a book of photographs by Hungarian Jewish photographer André Kertész. Titled Paris Vu Par, it was filled with iconic images of the city.