She called the white ducks with a soft
Clucking of her tongue and they came to
Her busy hands for the hard corn she shelled.
Taking a fat one up in her arms, soothing the
Down with her cheek, she cooed and sang to it,
While the eager beak bit at her palm cup.
She bowed the graceful head down to sleep
Beneath the perfect white wing and keeping
Her place on the long neck, like a finger in a
Book, she brought up the porcelain bowl to
Hold in her knees, in one motion. I can still
See the shining blade layering through the
Orderly feathers, through the sleeping veins.
Headless, featherless duck swam in clear water,
Dark blood, carrots and apples, black prunes,
Parsley, pepper, thyme until the meat fell
Away from the bone and pieces floated among the
White kluski clouds in dark brown broth. Every
Bit of the down she saved for small pillows.
When she gave them to my children she said,
“They won’t remember me, so tell them these
were from the duck feather woman.” They took them
Eagerly from her knotted fingers.
—Phil Boiarski, “Blood Soup”
Art Credit Kymia Nawabi (via)
10:30 am • 13 May 2013 • 119 notes
“Paradoxically it seems to thrill us to read about the agony of boredom.” Tessa Hadley on how to write tedium, interestingly.
For more of this morning’s roundup, click here.
9:39 am • 13 May 2013 • 70 notes
“Ideas? My head is full of them, one after the other, but they serve no purpose there. They must be put down on paper, one after the other.”
— Camilo José Cela
8:45 am • 13 May 2013 • 243 notes
Only a few hours left to submit to NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction contest for the chance to be published in the Fall issue of The Paris Review!
Find the full contest details here.
9:15 pm • 12 May 2013 • 37 notes
“As a child I thought it was very boring when I had to sit with [my mother] on the city streets, but the time sank deep and surfaced later.” —Reynolds Price
11:26 am • 12 May 2013 • 157 notes
There is finitude in ice and icy finitude
in public realms. The of-a-pieceness of it. It
maddened me, I wanted life to shatter. Glitter
like jewely fragments so I might admire. Rude
governance was not for me. I loved rage.
Its edges caught the light.
—Richard Lamb, from ““Margaret Trudeau’s ‘Pied Beauty’”
Photography Credit Roy DeCarava
4:00 pm • 11 May 2013 • 66 notes
“Obscenity is a cleansing process, whereas pornography only adds to the murk.”
— “Henry Miller
2:00 pm • 11 May 2013 • 349 notes
“So lasting they are, the rivers!” Only think. Sources somewhere in the mountains pulsate and springs seep from a rock, join in a stream, in the current of a river, and the river flows through centuries, millennia. Tribes, nations pass, and the river is still there, and yet it is not, for water does not stay the same, only the place and the name persist, as a metaphor for a permanent form and changing matter. The same rivers flowed in Europe when none of today’s countries existed and no languages known to us were spoken. It is in the names of rivers that traces of lost tribes survive. They lived, though, so long ago that nothing is certain and scholars make guesses which to other scholars seem unfounded. It is not even known how many of these names come from before the Indo-European invasion, which is estimated to have taken place two thousand to three thousand years B. C. Our civilization poisoned river waters, and their contamination acquires a powerful emotional meaning. As the course of a river is a symbol of time, we are inclined to think of a poisoned time. And yet the sources continue to gush and we believe time will be purified one day. I am a worshipper of flowing and would like to entrust my sins to the waters, let them be carried to the sea.
—Czeslaw Milosz, “Rivers” (translated from the Polish by the author and Robert Hass)
Photography Credit Todd Gross
12:00 pm • 11 May 2013 • 160 notes
“Although a novel takes place in the larger world, there’s always some drive in it that is entirely personal—even if you don’t know it while you’re doing it. I realized some years after A Book of Common Prayer was finished that it was about my anticipating Quintana’s growing up. I wrote it around 1975, so she would have been nine, but I was already anticipating separation and actually working through that ahead of time. So novels are also about things you’re afraid you can’t deal with.”
Joan Didion in her bedroom, from issue 176, Spring 2006.
10:05 am • 11 May 2013 • 260 notes