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Code Unknown: 23 Things About W. H. Auden April 25, 2013: [caption id="attachment_65785" align="alignright" width="500"] W. H. Auden[/caption] One day, while he and Stephen Spender were students at Oxford, Spender told him that he was thinking of stopping writing poetry. Auden stopped in his tracks, took firm hold of Spender’s arm and said, “You must keep writing poetry, Stephen—we need [...] by

Code Unknown: Sensation April 23, 2013: [caption id="attachment_65580" align="alignright" width="500"] Lisa K. Blatt, Untitled (Icebergs), video still, 2008[/caption] Any two meter square sheet of glass to lean against any wall. —Lawrence Weiner Years ago, I got this terrific note from Connie’s then new son-in-law Jim Hufford who had just heard me read my poems for the [...] by

Code Unknown: Sanity Clause April 19, 2013: [caption id="attachment_65331" align="alignright" width="500"] Groucho & Chico Marx in A Night at the Opera, 1935[/caption] Otis B. Driftwood (Groucho): It's all right. That's, that's in every contract. That's, that's what they call a sanity clause. Fiorello (Chico): Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You can't fool me. There ain't no Sanity [...] by

Code Unknown: Social Justice April 17, 2013: [caption id="attachment_65151" align="alignright" width="500"] George Stubbs, Whistlejacket, oil on canvas, circa 1762, 115 x 97 in. The National Gallery, London[/caption] .... no better, but often worse, than what a French wit [La Rochefoucauld] had long ago defined it,—viz. A mysterious carriage of the body to cover the defects of the [...] by

Code Unknown: The Golden Rule April 15, 2013: [caption id="attachment_65074" align="alignright" width="500"] Alex Katz, Edwin and Rudy, cutout, 1968[/caption] All art is collaboration. You collaborate with your culture, your language, your reading …. When Bernadette Mayer says of her writing “It’s as if the language wants to say this,” she acknowledges the proper relation of matter [...] by

CodeUnknown: Reading Writing April 11, 2013: [caption id="attachment_64648" align="alignright" width="500"] Albert York, Flying Figure, oil on canvas, circa 1968, 14 x 13 in. Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, University of Nebraska-Lincoln[/caption] Christopher Ricks’s Keats and Embarrassment and Robert Gittings’s John Keats: The Living Year are like good slide lectures on the poet and [...] by

Code Unknown: Tutelage (Old Standbys) April 10, 2013: [caption id="attachment_64504" align="alignright" width="500"] Edwin Denby in Rudy Burckhardt's Lurk, 1964[/caption] Everyone gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. They listen so much that they forget to be natural. This is a nice story. —Gertrude Stein, “Reflections on the Atom Bomb," 1946 * He got [...] by

Code Unknown: Wiggle Room April 4, 2013: I call people of this sort ironists because of their realization that anything can be made to look good or bad by being redescribed, and their renunciation of the attempt to formulate criteria of choice between final vocabularies, puts them in the position which Sartre called 'meta-stable': never quite able to take themselves seriously because [...] by

Code Unknown: John Ashbery April 3, 2013: In his workshop at the New School for Social Research, when I took it, in 1959, Kenneth Koch read and talked about John Ashbery’s work with his, Kenneth’s, customary sense of modern poetry as made from a play of associations. The surface of a poem was analogous to the expanse of a sensibility’s intensities and diffusions in the course of [...] by

Code Unknown: Plain Pleasures April 1, 2013: [caption id="attachment_63269" align="alignright" width="504"] Douglas Dunn, Cassations (Photo: Jacob Burckhardt)[/caption] Douglas Dunn’s Cassations at Danspace, St. Marks-in-the-Bouwerie Church, February 7, 2013. As I watched the performance I didn’t stop to consider what Douglas Dunn might mean by “cassations.” Cassation, “a [...] by