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of Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art




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“[T.S. Eliot] sees the world, not a waste place, but a place in which it is difficult to live and to have hope. As this was true of the Greeks, it is true of us. But that is not what struck me then. What struck me then was the way he wrote. You read it, you clap your hands. His poetry thinks as it feels…”

—Christopher Logue in conversation with The Paris Review, Summer 1993

“And so for me the act of writing is an exploration, a reaching out, an act of trusting search for the correct incantation that will return me to certain feelings whenever I want them. And of course I have never completely succeeded in finding the correct incantations.”

—from “Writing a Poem” by Thom Gunn
Judith and Holofernes (2012) by Kehinde WileyJudith and Holofernes (2012) by Kehinde Wiley

Judith and Holofernes (2012) by Kehinde Wiley

“…To paint’s to breathe,
And all the darknesses are dared. You chose
What each must reckon with.”

—from “Rembrandt’s Late Self-Portraits" by Elizabeth Jennings
2003.3.1 (2003) by Fang Lijun, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art2003.3.1 (2003) by Fang Lijun, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

2003.3.1 (2003) by Fang Lijun, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Anne Carson & Robert Currie & Dante Micheaux, et al. perform ANTIGONICK at the 2012 John D. Criticos Prize award ceremony. 11/29/13, London

"A Wall + A Thought = An Art Piece" in Shoreditch, London"A Wall + A Thought = An Art Piece" in Shoreditch, London

"A Wall + A Thought = An Art Piece" in Shoreditch, London

Side-by-side portraits of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning at the National Portrait Gallery, LondonSide-by-side portraits of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning at the National Portrait Gallery, London

Side-by-side portraits of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning at the National Portrait Gallery, London

A portrait of Seamus Heaney by Tai-Shan Shierenberg at the National Portrait Gallery, LondonA portrait of Seamus Heaney by Tai-Shan Shierenberg at the National Portrait Gallery, London

A portrait of Seamus Heaney by Tai-Shan Shierenberg at the National Portrait Gallery, London

“For beauty is nothing
but the onset of terror we’re still just able to bear,
and we admire it so because it calmly disdains
to destroy us. Every angel is terrifying.”

—from Duino Elegies (1923) by Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Galway Kinnell

“My delight is in precision—I feel myself putting on chains to free myself—taking my own form.”

—Paul Valéry
from Yevgeny Yevtushenko's A Precocious Autobiography; photos “taken on Yevtushenko’s tour of France and Germany in the the spring of 1963”from Yevgeny Yevtushenko's A Precocious Autobiography; photos “taken on Yevtushenko’s tour of France and Germany in the the spring of 1963”

from Yevgeny Yevtushenko's A Precocious Autobiography; photos “taken on Yevtushenko’s tour of France and Germany in the the spring of 1963”

“Writing poetry isn’t problem solving. Our primary job is…to remark the places in this new work that are most intriguing, baffling, that seem most in dialogue with aspects of the tradition and most in revolt against it. What may seem like a mistake may in fact be the most important part in the poem, where the poet is trying to discover new territory, new methods and materials. ‘A man [and woman] of genius makes no errors. His [her] errors are…portals of discovery’ (James Joyce).”

Remembering Seamus Heaney: Ishion Hutchinson

After His Voice

Last autumn when Seamus Heaney read at Cornell University, he ended by reciting (from his enviable translation) the closing passage of Beowulf. He did so in tribute to the Irish American namesake of the reading series, Eamon McEneaney, killed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Mr. McEneaney was quietly one of the world’s unacknowledged legislators, a poet Mr. Heaney’s homage acknowledged as a hero, like Beowulf, but in the “soft-gradient, vowel-meadow” of Mr. Heaney’s accent, Mr. McEneaney was consecrated as a friend and brother.

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from Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, an exhibition at Poets House: Sarah Bodman, printer; Nadia Chalabi, calligrapher & translatorfrom Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, an exhibition at Poets House: Sarah Bodman, printer; Nadia Chalabi, calligrapher & translator

from Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, an exhibition at Poets House: Sarah Bodman, printer; Nadia Chalabi, calligrapher & translator