Manual The Chair (American Poets Continuum Series)

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You had to tell them to look at things? That was actually written after some students wrote me a survey about being a writer, and that was the first question on their survey. This is good. Tippett: And so I think you unfold that on different levels. Shihab Nye: Thank you for noticing that. But I think of something in an essay from William Merwin. He lived in France, England, Mexico, Pennsylvania as a child.

What do we need to do? How can we improve this soil? Tippett: You can listen again and share this conversation with Naomi Shihab Nye through our website, onbeing.

About Keats and Negative Capability

Shihab Nye: Well, I really feel, amongst all my poems, that this was a poem that was given to me. I was simply the secretary for the poem. And my husband and I were on our honeymoon. We had just gotten married one week before, here in Texas.

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And we had this plan to travel in South America for three months. And at the end of our first week, we were robbed of everything. And someone else who was on the bus with us was killed. And it was quite a shake-up of an experience. And what do you do now? What should we do first? Where do we go? Who do we talk to? And he listened to us, and he looked so sad. And then we went to this little plaza, and I sat down, and all I had was the notebook in my back pocket, and pencil.

Shihab Nye: And so this was also a little worrisome to us, because, suddenly, we were gonna split up. I was going to stay here, and he was gonna go there. And as I sat there alone, in a bit of a panic, night coming on, trying to figure out what I was going to do next, this voice came across the plaza and spoke this poem to me — spoke it. And I wrote it down. So I can stand back. I can look at it. And very rarely do you hear anyone say they write things down and feel worse.

To Keep Love Blurry American Poets Continuum

And that poem is so important to so many people. Right; it is. Tippett: And — but she always carries a notebook. You have to write things down as they come to you. Shihab Nye: Last week, I was in a classroom in Austin, Texas, where a girl who was apparently going through a really rough spell at home wrote a poem that was definitely tragic and comic, both, about — everybody was yelling at her in the poem, from all directions.

She was just kind of suffering in her home place and trying to find peace, trying to find a place to do her homework.

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But she wrote this in such a compelling way that when she read it — and read it with gusto and joy; there was such joyousness in her voice, even though she was describing something that sounded awful — when she finished, the girls in her classroom just broke into wild applause. And I saw her face. She lit up. That feeling of being connected to someone else, when you allow yourself to be very particular, is another mystery of writing. Tippett: I was looking at A Maze Me , this book that you did — Poems for Girls — which actually echoes what you just said.

Uncanny connections will be made visible to you. You can sit down and write three sentences — how long does that take?

Keats and Negative Capability

Three minutes, five minutes — and be giving yourself a very rare gift of listening to yourself, just finding out, when you go back and look at what you wrote. When and how did that even occur to me? I sort of like it, this week. And it could help me. And now I want to connect it to something else. I can read for myself. And so I paused for a while. And then, this farmer showed up in Oklahoma at a workshop and told us all that he had come just to listen.

He just wanted to hear everyone read their work. Look at this. The wandering audience. He just wants to listen. And my brain clicked. So it was a pleasure, to me, to hear poems in the air first thing in the morning, be saying them to our beloved son. Tippett: Wow. I like that too, because — as much as — my kids are also great big now. And you feel better — you, the reader, feel better.

And there are also so many other places where this could be appropriate. Where is the intercom in your school? And so we carry poems with us every day. We have them in our heads. Well, why not? He liked that, but I think he just needed the encouragement. Tippett: Before we draw to a close and, also, hear some more of your poems, I want to touch a little bit on your father again, just on this matter of refugees, which is so resonant now in the world….

Tippett: … in a new, desperate way. Shihab Nye: Yes. They have to operate in another language. How easy would that be? If I had to go to China today and start living in China and doing everything in Chinese, it would be very, very hard. It just seems outrageous. Why is that happening so much? Shihab Nye: So wide open, so much we could do, always; so many surprising moves a person, a country could make that might be imaginative, that might encourage positive behavior instead of negative.

Human beings do that every once in a while, too. Shihab Nye: I hope so. Shihab Nye: Yeah, the boring dink and Jane — I was trying to get away from them all the time. Where is it? Where is it tucked away? And are you your best self? Is my teacher her best self? And I think one nice thing about writing is that you get to encounter, you get to meet these other selves, which continue on in you — your child self, your older self, your confused self, your self-that-makes-a-lot-of-mistakes — and find some gracious way to have a community in there, inside, that would help you survive.

Writing is a way of having a conversation between those different selves inside you. I think so. Shihab Nye: Well, my father felt like a wanderer, like he was always wandering around. But I think you can feel all kinds of gravity, wherever you are, every day in different ways. And often, through human contact, you find your best gravity.

A real conversation with someone, just a simple, simple exchange of words, can give you a sense of gravity. You feel as if you recognize it, you see it; maybe it sees you back. And so feeling that sense of gravity and belonging everywhere is very important to me. Shihab Nye: Claiming it — yeah, a kind of global passport, I guess it might be. And this young woman in Kuwait, this morning, on the Skype class I did — she was saying that she was Palestinian; had never been to Palestine.

Born in Jordan; had never seen Jordan. Was taken to Kuwait as a baby and raised in Kuwait, and now she was a college senior. And I think there is a way to do that. Maybe one day; some time. But so we abide with one another; we find, through images, ways to be together. So my hope for that girl was not that she would feel alienated forever from all her places, but that she could find a way to be so much herself and let those parts of herself continue the dialogue, through writing or through whatever she chooses to do. But I do think writing would really help, in her case, would help her to feel an identity.

The world frustrated him endlessly, but he loved it, and he hoped for it. Everything depended on mutual respect. The sadness of my father was a land mass under water. Shihab Nye: Oh, thank you for asking that. All these flowers open their faces to the sky. And then we have the amazing fields and fields and miles and miles of wildflowers in Texas and just that sense of return, restoration, energy coming back out of the soil. And so, I think, the gift of daily life, which is our treasure as long as we live — hopefully there are days with all their simple tasks and errands to be fulfilled, but also, moments of apprehension that are greater than those tasks and errands, or moments of apprehension that come through those tasks.

I have common things in my life. What else do I have?

It just did it. Her newest book is Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners. Tippett: At onbeing. I loved his voice. We had a record of him singing. So I thought this was so funny when he did this. And I now own a CD of this concert. Pretty amazing. And the last voice that you hear, singing our final credits in each show, is hip-hop artist Lizzo. The Fetzer Institute, helping to build a spiritual foundation for a loving world.

Find them at fetzer. Kalliopeia Foundation, working to create a future where universal spiritual values form the foundation of how we care for our common home. Humanity United, advancing human dignity at home and around the world. Find out more at humanityunited.

novel | Definition, Elements, Types, & Facts |

New Here? New to On Being? Start Here. Welcome to our new digital home. Part of the Civil Conversations Project. Transcript Naomi Shihab Nye: Very rarely do you hear anyone say they write things down and feel worse. And I was a religion major in college, simply because of my… Ms. The stories are little new things, novelties, freshly minted diversions, toys; they are not reworkings of known fables or myths , and they are lacking in weight and moral earnestness. It is to be noted that, despite the high example of novelists of the most profound seriousness, such as Tolstoy , Henry James , and Virginia Woolf , the term novel still, in some quarters, carries overtones of lightness and frivolity.

And it is possible to descry a tendency to triviality in the form itself. The ode or symphony seems to possess an inner mechanism that protects it from aesthetic or moral corruption, but the novel can descend to shameful commercial depths of sentimentality or pornography. It is the purpose of this section to consider the novel not solely in terms of great art but also as an all-purpose medium catering for all the strata of literacy. In the fictional works, the medium is prose, the events described are unheroic , the settings are streets and taverns, not battlefields and palaces.

There is more low fornication than princely combat; the gods do not move the action; the dialogue is homely rather than aristocratic. It was, in fact, out of the need to find—in the period of Roman decline—a literary form that was anti-epic in both substance and language that the first prose fiction of Europe seems to have been conceived.

The most memorable character in Petronius is a nouveau riche vulgarian; the hero of Lucius Apuleius is turned into a donkey; nothing less epic can well be imagined. The medieval chivalric romance from a popular Latin word, probably Romanice , meaning written in the vernacular , not in traditional Latin restored a kind of epic view of man—though now as heroic Christian, not heroic pagan. At the same time, it bequeathed its name to the later genre of continental literature , the novel, which is known in French as roman , in Italian as romanzo , etc.

The English term romance, however, carries a pejorative connotation. But that later genre achieved its first great flowering in Spain at the beginning of the 17th century in an antichivalric comic masterpiece—the Don Quixote of Cervantes, which, on a larger scale than the Satyricon or The Golden Ass , contains many of the elements that have been expected from prose fiction ever since.

Novels have heroes, but not in any classical or medieval sense.

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As for the novelist, he must, in the words of the contemporary British-American W. Auden ,. The novel attempts to assume those burdens of life that have no place in the epic poem and to see man as unheroic, unredeemed, imperfect, even absurd. This is why there is room among its practitioners for writers of hardboiled detective thrillers such as the contemporary American Mickey Spillane or of sentimental melodramas such as the prolific 19th-century English novelist Mrs.

Henry Wood , but not for one of the unremitting elevation of outlook of a John Milton. The novel is propelled through its hundred or thousand pages by a device known as the story or plot. The dramatist may take his plot ready-made from fiction or biography—a form of theft sanctioned by Shakespeare—but the novelist has to produce what look like novelties. At the lowest level of fiction, plot need be no more than a string of stock devices for arousing stock responses of concern and excitement in the reader.

In the least sophisticated fiction, the knots to be untied are stringently physical, and the denouement often comes in a sort of triumphant violence. Serious fiction prefers its plots to be based on psychological situations, and its climaxes come in new states of awareness—chiefly self-knowledge—on the parts of the major characters.