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a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

after listening to Caryl Pagel read from her new book EXPERIMENTS TRIED AT MY OWN DEATH (Factory Hollow Press), I asked her to kindly send me something written about what she said, here is some of what she said about visions, apparitions, hallucinations & body:

VERIDICAL HALLUCINATION: when one experiences a hallucination–a three-dimensional visual scene that looks like but does not actually exist–which later comes true.

CRISIS APPARITION: a scenario in which one is suddenly struck with the certain knowledge that someone they know or love is in trouble, has been harmed, or has died. For example, you wake up in the middle of the night with an anxious feeling about Uncle Joey, and the next day find out he was hit by a car at that instant.

VISION: a vision is–in my experience–something less tangible, less measurable or defined, but more stunningly physical. It is the absolute (bodily) knowledge of something that you cannot possibly know. It is an unearned–unexperienced, unempirical–understanding of events in the future, or occurrences that exist outside your limits of perception.

BODY: what holds you down.


We had to find some less reasonable ways to tell if a poem is finished.  Stick a broom straw in it, if it comes out clean, run a clean thin knife blade into it, if it comes out clean, gently push down on it with one of your thumbs (the one you trust the most), see how much it gives.  This last one seems to indicate one can like one’s poems, rare, medium or well-done.  This seems possible.


We feel strange when we write like this:

A life that is not metaphorical is not worth living.

Hyperbole is a swinging door.

If you’re carrying a tray, back out of the room.

Leave argumentative positions aside.

Let the little pugilist wither on the vine.


One day as I was spending some time in Emily Dickinson’s house, because I live in North Amherst which is part of Amherst and near enough to Emily’s house, I’m often taking guests to her house, and sometimes going on in and doing the tour of the house with them,  …….

the docent, the tour guide who saw me disinterested in her guidance…….because I’d been there many many times before and I always have a sad habit of thinking when I’m there I wish they would take everything that is a replica out of the house, let the house be empty, for which it would be more haunted, and stop saying this is what it would have looked like, this is a replica of her, here is an imitation of, this is what it would have been in…….

(that is all so distracting)

anyway, what the docent said to me when she left her charges to linger over a glass box of relics, first class, second class, third class, all kinds, she said, as she wandered over to where I was looking out a window,  she said…….I lived in this house longer than Emily Dickinson ever did.


Marcel Duchamp’s “retinal flutter”

The art critic who asked that an artist not “intrigue us with associations with things we can experience more authentically elsewhere”

(to be considered when considering “this reminds me of……..”)


Why would we bother to have memories if we weren’t meant to have them?

The question is what do we do with them?


It’s a fairly tough calculus of calibrations you’ll need to be adjusting in order to tell the difference between memories that are necessary and memories that are expendable.


How a single night in a poem is an eternity.

(or it at least presents us with the thought of how things might be were we to imagine something eternal)


What is it if you really have forgotten something and you don’t know what it is that you’ve forgotten.  It is truly lost on you.


There come times when I know I have wasted my entire life believing it to be most desirable to lose myself in others’ thoughts.  I am always inclined to do this.  Lost in others thoughts seems to be where I am most at home.


I am so glad you are good-natured because otherwise you could bedevil anyone with how you say what you say such that anyone might believe everything you seem to believe.


The lengths we go to identify with one another.

There is an excellent essay about this in the most recent jubilat, Lee Ann Roripaugh’s POEM AS MIRROR BOX:  MIRROR NEURONS, EMOTIONS, PHANTOM LIMBS, AND POEMS OF LOSS AND ELEGY


And all we do to construct individual character, and what we’re born with, and what we do with that……..

the wonderful way someone can be saying:  Who Are You?


How we have to sometimes pretend we know everything when we know nothing.

We have to pretend we know everything when we know nothing.

We do so many things to make ourselves feel as though were are having an illusion and

living through something in the same instance.


A formula:  believing the opposite of what you know is true

What did she say……..she said  that the great thing about lying is that the more you lie, and the farther away from the truth you get,  the more certain you are of what truth is…or something like that.


Technique, ways of doing things, is the subconscious, if one were to do this this way.  It might seem technique (or manners, style, or means) is too dry to be called sub-anything.  It’s not.  It’s what lets all the words in the world settle down briefly, momentarily, what happens might be thought of as something similar to what happens when a bird lights on a branch, or a fencepost, or a fire escape, or a wire, or when a big flock of birds do these things, even more so.


Veering into the flock, The Swarm School.