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OF POETRY AND POWER: REFLECTIONS ON THE INAUGURATION January 21, 2009: A little over a year ago, at a house party in Harlem, through some fluke I ended up standing within 5 feet of Barack Hussein Obama as he delivered his stump speech. Close enough to note hangnails, blackheads. Close enough to watch single pores bead up with sweat in the hot room. Close enough that I could smell on his breath that he had been [...] by

Journal, Day Five August 11, 2006: “The invisible has a mocking tendency to present itself as the visible, as if it might be distinguished from everything else, but only under certain circumstances, such as the clearing away of mist.” – Roberto Calasso, K. (P.S. Those who haven’t read Calasso’s The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony should do so now. Can we get him to blog [...] by

Journal, Day Four August 10, 2006: Current favorite pop-culture expression: a tie between “Rokkin’ like Dokken” and “It’s pronounced . . . ‘biotech.’” (Use the comment space on this blog to cast your vote.) * * * So I desperately need a new notebook. I loved my old one. It was by Carta, thick and chewy at about 200 creamy unruled pages, with a yellow [...] by

Monica Youn: Journal, Day Three August 9, 2006: On the train heading upstate now, the Amtrak Albany line—certainly one of the most gorgeous train trips anywhere: gold west-slanting sun ricocheting off the Hudson, sailboats, a backdrop of the Catskills. Bear Mountain looms out of the water, and in the back of my mind, a soundtrack of Elgar’s Enigma Variations (Nimrod) starts up . . . . . [...] by

Journal, Day Two August 8, 2006: So two days ago, my old PC laptop, which is about 4 years old (that’s 88 in computer years), and whose hard drive has been making piteous asthmatic noises for months, had some sort of final aphasic attack. First the L went, then the apostrophe and shift keys and the number 6, and finally A, S, and E. I was writing this blog, and was trying to [...] by

Journal, Day One August 7, 2006: Skkkkrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! is the sound my bare feet make as they skid to a halt on the very cliff’s edge of last week’s theory / syntax debate on this site. Thwiptfwiptfwiptfwiptfwipt! is the sound of the unfastened leash of my vestigial theoryhead guilt whirling like a bolo into the precipice. I listen to it fall and can count to [...] by