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



so someone says:   that painter doesn’t achieve perspective by the usual means, no lines of perspective to be seen; that painter achieves perspective by juxtaposition

you take this and you think that’s not so difficult to move into another setting, to imagine, to believe, a sentence might be thought of as a line of perspective


a sequence of words might be achieving depth by means of being next to one another

by being together so closely so that no light can get through between them


Thus begins the era of verbal narrative. 


As in to imagine is to pretend to believe.

(to imagine to imagine to believe)


what it must take to say one has faith in X, in ________, in anything


What’s thoroughly enticing about saying one’s stealing.  Writers are always saying they’re stealing.  Fine.  Steal all you want.  No one really cares if you steal or not, not ultimately.

Not eternally.  Meanwhile

you are involved in moving things around. 

I Covet. I Envy. I love Forbidden things. 

Why has it always been that what one’s stolen seems somehow more wonderful than something one’s not stolen.  

I wonder if the motivation to steal is at least as important as what’s stolen.  

What’s stolen as in a stolen kiss, what’s so sweet about that, it is, stolen kiss is possibly revered beyond given or earned kisses, and two who kiss forbiddenly steal the kiss (the literal kiss that could have been, they together steal it from someone else), they have a conspiracy of kiss stealing in action, it is very ordinarily very exciting, it is often fairly dangerous

what can be stolen as in intrigue, a heist, a caper, a hidden love, the dark end of the street, forbidden love, etc.


a category:  books one feels as if one’s read but most likely haven’t

      I feel as if I’ve read GULLIVER’S TRAVELS.  


Referenced in a footnote in MANY SUBTLE CHANNELS (Dana Levin Becker, HUP, 2012), (See Part III, Chapter 5 in a certain edition of GULLIVER’S)

Becker mentions “die-sized blocks of wood that contain all the words of their language, in their several moods, tenses, and declensions, but without any order”.

This, I would say, definitely produces good feeling.  Satisfactory feeling. Acceptable. To imagine all the words on blocks of wood, thrown about, waiting to be used for building.

However, it could be otherwise; anyone might feel anxiety over not knowing what one’s read or not. 

And not in any way enjoy the instability of this quasi-knowledge.  

Or reading that might have been done.  

Or possible books

which have possibly been read

by people who are possibly alive 

or possibly sometime to be born

(one reason it is admirable when one keeps track, typically in a notebook’s listing, of every book one has read) (truly or by means of wishful thinking) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sometimes the house of the future is better built, lighter and larger than all the houses of the past, so that the image of the dream house is opposed to that of the childhood home…. Maybe it is a good thing for us to keep a few dreams of a house that we shall live in later, always later, so much later, in fact, that we shall not have time to achieve it. For a house that was final, one that stood in symmetrical relation to the house we were born in, would lead to thoughts—serious, sad thoughts—and not to dreams. It is better to live in a state of impermanence than in one of finality.

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

THE POETICS OF SPACE, in which Gaston Bachelard goes deeply into what space can do for intimacy.  He is always wanting to know (and us to know) what sort of immensity will become of intimacy.  As a paradoxical combination (immensity/intimacy) potentially will do,

Bachelard’s investigations serve their purposes)

The drawer next to a bed.  Someone’s lingerie drawer. A sock drawer.

Someone’s empty suitcase (or is it empty, is it).  Someone’s briefcase.  Someone’s satchel. Someone’s catch-all kitchen drawer.  The space (or drawer) that lures you over and over again to examine its contents.  To get on intimate terms with it.  To discover what intimacy feels like by means of it.  (he also likes attics, hallways, corners, he also gravitates toward other small spaces, you can imagine)

Intimacy, which Bachelard continues to explore in his POETICS OF REVERIE 



when you see or sense a sonnet’s end coming your brain shifts gears and just as leaving anywhere anytime requires an endless variety of shiftings, when you know the end is coming or you’re walking out a door or the proceedings are obviously concluding……some of us are very good at saying good bye, others of us complete failures, certain circumstances produce easy clear simple conclusions others complexities unending 


related to paralyzing self-consciousness:

Auden:  The girl whose boy-friend starts writing her love poems should be on her guard,” (1948) perhaps he really does love her, but one thing is certain:  while he was writing his poems he was not thinking of her but of his own feelings about her.


while self-consciousness is well tended in William James’s VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE


and similarly:

Auden quoting St. Augustine: I would rather be deprived of my friend than of my grief.





We are reminded that early modern printing houses and bookshops coexisted within the master’s household.  The necessary everyday work encompassed both housewifery (food, lodging and laundry for family and apprentices) and business (minding the shop, keeping accounts, taking in and distributing copy, dealing with customers).


Le Lionais:  (translated by George Agoston and Pauline Bentley-Koffler, found in MANY SUBTLE CHANNELS)

I have never turned on a light switch in a darkened room without the sudden flood of light releasing in me an undeniable emotion, the impression almost of having witnessed a miracle.


Here are Harry Mathews and John Ashbery talking (The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Vol. 7.3, 1987; reprinted by Dalkey Archive, for CONTEXT, Dalkey Archive website)

HM: I think that’s what’s hard to . . . Readers get worried about reading something right or wrong, they don’t trust themselves in the act of reading, and so they don’t let that process work for them. They try to piece together a sense by taking out the elements that are used in . . .

JA: That’s certainly particularly true of poetry, where people will go to any lengths rather than actually read the poem, such as read a thick book about it. What’s the position of Oulipo in France? How’s it regarded by writers in general?


Here comes Allen Ginsberg talking about writing:

The problem is then to reach the different parts of the mind, which are existing simultaneously, the different associations which are going on simultaneously, choosing elements from both, like: jazz, jukebox, and all that, and we get the jukebox from that; politics, hydrogen bomb, and we have the hydrogen of that, you see “hydrogen jukebox.”  And that actually compresses in one instant like a whole series of things.  Or the end of “Sun-flower” with “cunts of wheelbarrows,” whatever that all meant, or “rubber dollar bills” —”skin of machinery”; see, and actually in the moment of composition I don’t necessarily know what it means, but it comes to mean something later, after a year or two, I realize that it meant something, clear, unconsciously…. Because we’re not really conscious of the entire depths of our minds—in other words, we just know a lot more than we’re able to be aware of, normally—though at moments we’re completely aware, I guess.

and earlier he’d said:  Usually during the composition, step by step, word by word and adjective by adjective, if it’s all spontaneous, I don’t know whether it even makes sense sometimes.  Sometimes I do know it makes complete sense, and I start crying…..

Because I realize I am hitting some area which is absolutely true.  And in that sense applicable universally, or understandable universally.  In that sense able to survive through time–in that sense to be read by somebody and wept to,

maybe, centuries later.  In that sense prophecy……

(excerpts from 1967 interview reprinted in WRITERS AT WORK, PARIS REVIEW series)


Dara Wier is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of HannahReverse Rapture, and You Good Thing. She teaches in the University of Massachusetts MFA Program for Poets and Writers. Her awards include the Poetry Center and Archives Book of the Year Award, a Pushcart Prize, the American Poetry Review’s Jerome Shestack Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She edits Factory Hollow Press. Her forthcoming collection You Good Thing will be published by Wave Books this spring. Visit her author page at Wave Books or read an interview.