It was Sunday, 40 degrees with a snowstorm on the way. What do people do in the suburbs? I put on some Elliott Smith and went down to the riverfront.

“Creepily misty morning, dank, dark, disheveled and rather ominous, like a destroyer just gone into dry dock. But how beautiful it was at the first light to hear the repetitious song of a cardinal—my pleasure in it is more than just that I can recognize it: it is not unlike that which someone who doesn’t ‘know’ music takes in the songs he does know. Simple and right from the heart to the heart—or perhaps from the throat to the ear is enough, but in that way in which hearing is itself suddenly a kind of singing.” — James Schuyler
“Art forces a sense to touch itself.” — Jean-Luc Nancy
“For our time (age) it seems preferable to dress the dryad in a camoflage smock.” — Ian Hamilton Finlay
“Wallace Stevens is as susceptible to sound as objects were to Midas’s golden touch. But he does not sophisticate his music. He listens to that of the bumblebee and the sea. Reverie is not a diplomatic occasion in Liberia.”—Marianne Moore
“He that is Weak-legg’d must not be in Love with Rome, nor an infirm Head with Venice or Paris” — Sir Thomas Browne
“The most important act of a poem is to reach further than the page so that we are aware of another aspect of the art.” — Barbara Guest
“ … an almost pathetic homestead upon the marches of relentless power.” — Robert Duncan

Originally Published: December 30th, 2007

Ange Mlinko was born in Philadelphia and earned her BA from St. John's College and MFA from Brown University. She is the author of five books of poetry: Distant Mandate (2017); Marvelous Things Overheard (2013), which was selected by both the New Yorker and the Boston Globe as a best book of...

  1. December 31, 2007
     John A. Blackard

    I enjoyed your story about Christmas in the suburbs. The photos and quotes added loads of "value"-- a term Ted Kooser inexplicably used in one of his recent poetry posts. I also have a Christmas poem/vizzie on my website if anyone is interested. From my website www.johnablackard.com, you should click on the My Freedom Lawn blog (poems and vizzies). Happy New Year! Johnny

  2. January 2, 2008

    More of these, please! I can't do this sort of word-and-image work myself (or haven't yet).
    For brighter colors but less intertextuality, here's a tour of the Far East from my favorite blogger"-photographer-music writer, the indefatigably personal, and pointedly non-"professional," Glenn MacDonald.