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the archivist February 22, 2024

Desiderata Max Ehrmann Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. […]

the archivist February 6, 2024

Ode on a Grecian Urn John Keats Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,        Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express        A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: What leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape        Of deities or mortals, or of both,                In Tempe or the […]

the archivist January 24, 2024

South Dakota’s may plausibly be considered the most genuinely innovative, most inspirationally forward-looking professional orchestra in the United States. It is also the happiest professional orchestra I know, and the most engaged. Fulfilling Theodore Thomas’s credo, it “shows the culture of the community.” Link: The American Scholar | Shostakovich in South Dakota A manifesto for […]

the archivist November 24, 2023

Wild Geese Mary Oliver You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile […]

the archivist November 3, 2023

Seeing for a Moment Denise Levertov I thought I was growing wings— it was a cocoon. I thought, now is the time to step into the fire— it was deep water. Eschatology is a word I learned as a child: the study of Last Things; facing my mirror—no longer young,        the news—always of death, […]

the archivist November 1, 2023

Let America Be America Again Langston Hughes (1901–1967) Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be. Let it be the pioneer on the plain Seeking a home where he himself is free. (America never was America to me.) Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed— Let it be […]

the archivist October 30, 2023

October Robert Frost O hushed October morning mild, Thy leaves have ripened to the fall; To-morrow’s wind, if it be wild, Should waste them all. The crows above the forest call; To-morrow they may form and go. O hushed October morning mild, Begin the hours of this day slow, Make the day seem to us […]

the archivist October 29, 2023

Over at Jane Austen’s World, Rachel Dodge has been comparing how Austen’s novels use what have now become standard romance tropes. The end of the series is the Sense and Sensibility’s (double) love triangle. Jane Austen’s World | Jane Austen and Rom Coms: Sense and Sensibility (“Love Triangles”) — We often forget that Thomas Alva […]

the archivist October 17, 2023

Little Things Sharon Olds After she’s gone to camp, in the early evening I clear our girl’s breakfast dishes from the rosewood table, and find a dinky crystallized pool of maple syrup, the grains standing there, round, in the night, I rub it with my fingertip as if I could read it, this raised dot […]

the archivist September 10, 2023

Death of the Hat Billy Collins Once every man wore a hat. In the ashen newsreels, the avenues of cities are broad rivers flowing with hats. The ballparks swelled with thousands of straw hats, brims and bands, rows of men smoking and cheering in shirtsleeves. Hats were the law. They went without saying. You noticed […]

the archivist September 8, 2023

About 18 months ago (in the summer of 1996) I went to see Four Weddings and a Funeral at a North London cineplex. Very soon I was filled with a yearning to be doing something else (for example, standing at a bus stop in the rain); and under normal circumstances I would have walked out […]

the archivist May 6, 2023

Yes, volume 8 was posted before volume 7. Want your money back? The girl who grew up in Pasadena, took the bus, loved her mom, and wrote herself into the world. Vulture | The Spectacular Life of Octavia Butler — With its sweet and loving disposition, combined with silky fur and elegantly droopy ears, the Cavalier […]

the archivist February 19, 2023

The Joy of Writing Wisława Szymborska Why does this written doe bound through these written woods? For a drink of written water from a spring whose surface will xerox her soft muzzle? Why does she lift her head; does she hear something? Perched on four slim legs borrowed from the truth, she pricks up her […]

the archivist January 23, 2023

Wisdom Sara Teasdale It was a night of early spring, The winter-sleep was scarcely broken; Around us shadows and the wind Listened for what was never spoken. Though half a score of years are gone, Spring comes as sharply now as then— But if we had it all to do It would be done the […]

the archivist December 6, 2022

Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it? Why do I keep a notebook at all? It is easy to deceive oneself on all those scores. The impulse to write things down […]