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from “Male Lust”

from “Male Lust”

Because a priv­i­leged man’s life is “unre­mark­able,” he is less like­ly to know how his social posi­tion affects his life. A “white” man knows he is “white,” but he is like­ly to have lit­tle idea how this iden­ti­ty shapes his social world, much less his sex­u­al­i­ty. He’s rarely forced to stop and think about it. Any inter­per­son­al or emo­tion­al dif­fi­cul­ties he might have are thus made to appear as indi­vid­ual wor­ries. This illu­sion of a ful­ly autonomous self lets priv­i­leged men act with less con­cern about the social impact of their actions—they are more “free” than oth­ers. Yet, this free­dom makes them less able to iden­ti­fy the links between their con­cerns and the larg­er social envi­ron­ment. Because of this hyper­indi­vid­u­al­i­ty, itself social­ly con­struct­ed, priv­i­leged men are vul­ner­a­ble to intense feel­ings of self-blame and iso­la­tion when some­thing goes wrong. It makes them less able to under­stand how their lives relate to the lives of those around them, and less able to respond to the social forces that dai­ly shape their lives.

—Ker­win Kay, “Intro­duc­tion,” Male Lust: Plea­sure, Pow­er, and Trans­for­ma­tion

from “Male Lust”

from “Male Lust”

Think of a judi­cial sys­tem that not only favors het­ero­sex­u­al­i­ty but reserves its favor for spe­cif­ic types of het­ero­sex­u­al­i­ty: not S/M—that could cost you your kids; not polyfidelity—that could cost you your kids too; not for pay—that could cost you your kids and put you in jail. Think of the African-Amer­i­can, Lati­no, and Chi­nese men who have been lynched for the mere sus­pi­cion of look­ing at a white woman. What­ev­er bio­log­i­cal ground our bod­ies pro­vide, “male lust” is clear­ly a high­ly regulated—and there­fore social—affair, shaped through a deployed and near­ly ubiq­ui­tous series of sticks and car­rots. Remov­ing these pres­sures, or adopt­ing a dif­fer­ent set, would rad­i­cal­ly change the way we think about the social/biological cat­e­gories “male” and “sex­u­al­i­ty.”

—Ker­win Kay, “Intro­duc­tion” in Male Lust: Plea­sure, Pow­er, and Trans­for­ma­tion

from A Poet’s Work, by Sam Hamill

from A Poet’s Work, by Sam Hamill

Gram­mar is no more than a log­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion for the pre­sen­ta­tion of thoughts and feel­ings. “Struc­ture,” [Wen­dell] Berry says, “is intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty.” And, “A sen­tence is both the oppor­tu­ni­ty and lim­it of thought—what we have to think with, and what have to think in. It is, more­over, a fee­lable thought, a thought that impress­es its sense not just on our under­stand­ing, but on our hear­ing, our sense of rhythm and pro­por­tion.”


To per­mit our schools to neglect the study of gram­mar is to deny our chil­dren the oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore the lim­its of their own thoughts and feel­ings.


—Sam Hamill, “Ortho­dox, Het­ero­dox, Para­dox”

from <i>Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America</i>

from Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America

In the begin­ning there was trans­la­tion. With­out it there’s no expres­sion, not even gene expres­sion, no life. Even the untrans­lat­able is func­tion­al, vital for the process. To splice one must first excise. Mem­o­ry, with its tri­dent of recall, imag­i­na­tion and trans­for­ma­tion is translation’s muse and tax­on­o­my. Mem­o­ry is some­times uncon­scious cog­ni­tion, oth­er times absence. In an inte­gra­tive age, grid and matrix rename the prongs, erect iso­mers or chasms, employ cat­a­log, entropy or the enzy­mat­ic for reproduction’s sake. Not all cre­ation is equal. We’re not all but­ter­flies. Mean­ing burns us as we burn it. Our predilec­tion is repli­ca­tion and mim­ic­ry.


—Fady Joudah, “In the Name of The Let­ter, The Spir­it & The Dou­ble Helix”

from “Cattle of The Lord,” by Rosa Alice Branco

from “Cattle of The Lord,” by Rosa Alice Branco

I stroll from street to street,
the trees spill them­selves on the asphalt road.
Soon­er or lat­er the leaves
will end up swept away from the side­walk.
Let’s call their dis­ap­pear­ance wind.
Let’s go on giv­ing names to all
we’ve lost in the name of words.


—Rosa Alice Bran­co, from Cat­tle of the Lord (trans­lat­ed by Alex­is Lev­itin)

from <i>God’s Phallus,</i> by Howard Eilberg-Schwartz

from God’s Phallus, by Howard Eilberg-Schwartz

If the deity is the father writ large, then this divine mas­culin­i­ty is by no means sim­ply a con­fir­ma­tion of human mas­culin­i­ty. It is at the same time a fun­da­men­tal threat and chal­lenge to it… Indeed…in at least one respect men’s rela­tion­ship with God is even more prob­lem­at­ic than women’s, for on a het­ero­sex­u­al mod­el of inti­mate rela­tion­ships, women are more appro­pri­ate objects of divine desire than are men. One way of escap­ing this prob­lem is by sym­bol­i­cal­ly dis­plac­ing male ten­sions and con­tra­dic­tions onto women. The oth­er­ness of women is exag­ger­at­ed to min­i­mize the ways men are made into oth­ers in a sys­tem which val­i­dates male author­i­ty.”

Howard Eil­berg-Schwartz, God’s Phal­lus

from <i>A Poet’s Work,</i> by Sam Hamill

from A Poet’s Work, by Sam Hamill

“The true poet gives up the self. The I of my poem is not me. It is the first per­son imper­son­al, it is per­mis­sion for you to enter the expe­ri­ence which we name Poem.”

—Sam Hamill, “The Neces­si­ty to Speak”