the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Spring 2011



BRIGHT CONTAINERS: Escaping Classification, Chapter 4
by Quitman Marshall

                    "But when I breathe with the birds,
                    The spirit of wrath becomes the spirit
                     of blessing/And the dead begin from
                         their dark to sing in my sleep."
                              —Theodore Roethke
Swamptrees 17 by Peggy Peattie
"Swamptrees 17"
Photo by Peggy Peattie

Though I knew well the strong excitement of seeing certain kinds of animals in the wild and recognizing them, care was not something I gave to birdwatching. I'd learned to spot game birds in flight from a great distance, but it was recognition defined where it began, in hunting, by which vivid life was seen, killed, and eaten. When I was younger, birdwatching seemed cold, abstract, without necessity. It was burdened by field guides. The bloodless term "identification" defined what you did. It never occurred to me back then that hunting, as I truly loved it, had become an anachronism.  Read Essay


Seeking a Transrational Contemporary Postmoderism
by Jared Smith

Overpass Photo by George Kunze
Photo by George Kunze

Our culture is in a state of simultaneously undergoing radical expansion and reduction in human knowledge. The sum total of our knowledge is increasing, while the field of knowledge possessed by any one individual is decreasing due to specialization. This is reflected not only in institutional settings, where teams of workplace professionals combine their islands of specialized knowledge through networked electronic systems, but in literature and poetry as well. Yet poets must strive to transcend these individualized islands of information in order to achieve meaningful artistic wholeness.  Read Essay