I can only speak for myself, but there’s something about writing at night that feels…sneaky. There’s an outlaw quality to it, combined, oddly enough, with a sense of being safe. It has an anaerobic, subterranean feel; it’s as if I’m working beneath the soil, toiling in secret, trying to cultivate something hidden and occult.
I stressed the love situation and I still think I was right. Because its very disturbing to speak about love. People think that either you are a little bit ethereal or that you are not aware that there are struggles and hate and violence in the world and so on. Or that you are a little bit religious or something like that. Love has become the modern obscenity, it’s more obscene than sex, you can talk about sex and violence and that’s OK; everybody knows that exists, but love is too strange.
My husband, photographer Michael Nye, once photographed in a West Bank Palestinian refugee camp for days, and was followed around by a little girl who wanted to photograph her. FInally, he did — and she held up a stone with a poem etched into it. (This picture appears on the cover of my collection of poems, 19 Varieties of Gazelle — Poems of the Middle East). Through a translator, Michael understood that the poem was “her poem” — that’s what she called it. We urged my dad to translate the verse, which sounded vaguely familiar, but without checking roundly enough, we quoted the translation on the book flap and said she had written the verse. Quickly, angry scholars wrote to me pointing out that the verse was from a famous Darwish poem. I felt terrible.
I was meeting him for the first and last time the next week. Handing over the copy of the book sheepishly, I said: “Please forgive our mistake. If this book ever gets reprinted, I promise we will give the proper credit for the verse.” He stared closely at the picture. Tears ran down his cheeks. “Don’t correct it,” he said. “It is the goal of my life to write poems that are claimed by children.”
Naomi Shihab Nye, from her essay “Remembering Mahmoud Darwish”(via commovente)
DAILY PIC: Abelardo Morell took this photo of Central Park in 2008 by turning a room in a fancy New York apartment into a camera obscura, projecting the view from its windows onto its back wall. Morell’s huge print of that projection is on display in the Edwynn Houk booth at the Armory fair, and seems to be one of the few works at the fair that acknowledges the social realities of our one-per-center’s art world. This photo, after all, imagined on the wall of a collector’s deluxe apartment, is very much of a piece with the views that the wealthy acquire with their real estate. Morell’s single image does a beautiful job of sandwiching together the physical interior of a posh flat, with its classic Asian carpets and parquet, and the immaterial open space outside it. The image makes clear the extent to which, more and more, the rich have taken possession of a city that the rest of us live in on sufferance. Even Central Park, one of our great public amenities, has been more or less privatized, depending for its survival on the well-heeled members of the Conservancy who – for now at least – have chosen to keep their “backyard” in good trim. (©Abelardo Morell, Boston / Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York & Zürich)