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Tag Archives: criticism

A Marbled, Iridescent Text

In Severo Sarduy’s Cobra, the alternation is that of two pleasures in a state of competition; the other edge is the other delight: more, more, still more! one more word, one more celebration. Language reconstructs itself elsewhere under the teeming flux of every kind of linguistic pleasure. Where is this elsewhere? In the paradise of […]

Beautiful Upside Down Turnips

Septimus is the American self-made man. God had no hand in his make-up. He made himself. He has been to Europe, no doubt seen everything, including the Venus de Milo. ‘What, is that the Venus de Milo?’ And he turns his back on the lady. He’s seen her. He’s got her. She’s a fish he […]

Only Herald to the Gaudy Spring

The poet, however, uses these two crude, primitive, archaic forms of thought [simile and metaphor] in the most uninhibited way, because his job is not to describe nature, but to show you a world completely absorbed and possessed by the human mind. So he produces what Baudelaire called a ‘suggestive magic including at the same […]

In Which We Goad Ourselves Onward

When you undertake to make a work of art—a novel or a clay pot—you’re not competing against anybody, except yourself and God. Can I do it better this time? — Ursula K Le Guin, from her essay The Stone Ax and the Muskoxen, collected in The Language of the Night.

The Jewel-Hinged Jaw

Based on the recommendation of Neil Gaiman, via his blog, I read The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, a collection of criticism and other essays by Samuel R. Delany on sf and the craft and mechanics of writing. It boggled me. His fresh, lighting thought, his ability to strike to the heart of whatever he was reading or […]