Friday, February 23, 2007


A Wall

Viktor Shklovsky: “. . . the circus has no need of beauty.
        . . . As I write, I feel guilty for having used such an incomprehensible word as beauty.
        Thank God the circus has no need of beauty.
. . .
        Without difficulty there is no circus.
. . .
        The circus is all about difficulty.
        Circus difficulty is related to the general laws of breaking in composition.”

Wyndham Lewis: “The best artist is an imperfect artist.
        The PERFECT artist, in the sense of ‘artist’ par excellence, and nothing else, is the dilettante or taster.
        ‘Pure art,’ in the same way, is dilettante art: it cannot be anything else.
        It is, in fact, rather the same thing to admire EVERYTHING in Nature around you—match-boxes, print dresses, ginger-beer bottles, lamp-posts, as to admire every aesthetic manifestation—examples of all schools of art.
        Taste is dead emotion, or mentally-treated and preserved emotion . . .”

Charles Baudelaire: “Le beau est toujours bizarre. Je ne veux pas dire qu’il soit volontairement, roidement bizarre, car dans ce cas il serait monstre sorti des rails de la vie. Je dis qu’il contient toujours un peu de bizarrerie naïve, inconsciente, et que c’est cette bizarrerie qui le fait particulièrement le Beau. Renversez la proposition, et tâchez de concevoir un beau banal!”

Colloquy of stray notes. A cold sun barging in through the bank of windows. Need to make good my intent to read Wyndham Lewis and T. E. Hulme. Omnia opera. “Thomas Aquinas in cod.” (Something I read.) That finicking about that sparks the synaptic gaps, or revs the gentle cranial oscillator “behind it all.” Is Hulme being beastly to say: “Literature a method of sudden arrangement of commonplaces. The suddenness makes us forget the commonplace.” Put the sentimental lollipop next the grunt’d out expletive (recall that the root meaning of explete is to fill out, to add something merely to occupy space) and what’s there? A sentimental fuck off. A space-holder with a doily, heart-shaped. Not something one ought to’ve mistook for “literature.”

The “tall lanky fellow with a rose, in a white moonlit field” (Hulme) what’s he to do? He’s a flaw in the dominion, recalcitrant and boobish, a kick against pricks. He’s the mole in the nethermost shadow of the aphroditickal breast, the one sculpt’d of meerschaum. He’s the foaming inconstant, spume of the sea. (Recall that a good pipe is one “smoked for a year or so.”)

Thus the “state of poetry.” (Sun angling higher, thwarted entry.) “Rofe hit full roidly, rent hit in peses.” (Rough it up rudely, rend it into scraps.)

Wyndham Lewis

Augustus John, “Wyndham Lewis,” c. 1905