William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Library of America’

A Small Boy and Others

The language of Henry James in A Small Boy and Others is a softly spoken dream that gently begs the use of the reader’s own tongue. The dream is in color; it has no corners or edges or sides; it is more like the distance one travels between a robin’s breast and a fully ripe strawberry — the kind of journey a child makes many times each day — even […]

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My First Summer in the Sierra

The myriad components of this universe may be seen as varying expressions of one grand intelligence, an intelligence itself perhaps still evolving and ripening. No part is greater or lesser than another, or better or worse. Each is indispensable as long as it is needed, and plays its part in the great drama, whether star, waterfall, or blade of grass, elephant, bird, man, or mold. This includes the universe itself, […]

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The Poet Tree

To my mind, John Muir is a poet of the wilderness in the most divine literary sense — his praise and gratitude for the natural world is a song as sublime, inspirational, and wise as any sung by Homer or Whitman; in his hands, a journal entry seems the work of angels, here to recall man from the nightmare of his blind, narrow self. Muir is explorer, artist, scientist, dreamer, […]

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May Day

I’m still reading Vincent’s letters, and will be for quite some time. I continue with Thoreau’s journal, a fourteen-volume project. I’m about fifty pages into William Wetmore Story and His Friends, from Letters, Diaries, and Recollections, by Henry James, published in two volumes in 1904. I’ve begun the Library of America edition of John Muir’s nature writings. And I’ve just finished at Home with Disquiet, a wonderful new collection of […]

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Troonk and Hamph

Among other things, in his journal entry for May 25, 1852, Thoreau mentions hearing the first troonk of a bullfrog — a lovely word, although I have for years spelled the sound hamph — this based on my recurring basso profondo imitation of bullfrogs heard while drifting with my father in his twelve-foot aluminum boat down California’s Kings River, in that lazy stretch below the town of Reedley where it […]

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Crow’s Nest

From a multiplicity of views, comes a unified result — we children broke God’s window, and let his demons out.   About four-thirty this morning, I finished a reading project of many months’ duration: the three-volume Library of America edition of the works of Henry Adams — a beautifully written, thought-provoking collection of history, fiction, and autobiography by a nineteenth century master with a twentieth century vision and beyond. November […]

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Unnumbered Poem

After I finish reading the Library of America edition of Walt Whitman’s complete poems and prose, and when the wind dies down, I think I will turn to Emily Dickinson — 1960, Boston: Little, Brown. October 30, 2019   Unnumbered Poem If each act isn’t sacred, and each moment divine, tell me, then — who are you, and what do you do with your time? [ 558 ]

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Pleasure and Pain

If the mind’s a muscle that remembers its pain, Then work it, work it, and work it again. And if pleasure be its prowess and rightful domain, Raise the chalice, and treasure the palace it’s in. October 24, 2019. Late Afternoon. Upon finishing Herman Melville: Complete Poems. Library of America, 2019. [ 551 ]

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Happiness

All of Herman Melville’s poetry, complete in a beautiful, one thousand-page book — the new Library of America edition, out just days ago, is already in this reader’s hands. This is another of those projects I enjoy so well, like the slow and careful reading aloud of Thoreau’s fourteen-volume journal, which I have currently under way, Joyce’s Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, and the complete works of other writers I have […]

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