Projecting L.A.
Homo Vitruvius by A. Jay Adler
by A. Jay Adler
5d ago
Photo credit: Projecting L.A. photographer Alon Goldsmith *In my Monday Recs & Revs post, I promised an essay today drawn from Cord Jefferson’s film American Fiction, exploring further some ideas around the concept of code switching. That idea was a late one, not long before the promise, and as it turned out, time was too short to do it justice by today. It will follow next Thursday instead. What follows now, then, is the post I originally intended for today, before I made that late-conceived commitment. This one is inspired by last Thursday’s essay on James Agee and Walker Evans, which ..read more
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Lost and Found in Translation
Homo Vitruvius by A. Jay Adler
by A. Jay Adler
1w ago
Photo: Colourbox Since this is an entry in the Recs & Revs series, “Recs” standing for “Recommendations,” I’ll take the opportunity to make an unexpected recommendation: a new, monthly two-part series here on planet Vitruvius. The first part of this new series will be a free post, every four weeks, on Thursdays, titled “A Reader’s Review.” In this monthly review, I will offer summary description, brief comment, and relevant quotation from the best periodical reading I have done over the previous four weeks, including on Substack. I do a lot of it, periodicals of all kinds, literary, phil ..read more
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“Certain Normal Predicaments of Human Divinity”
Homo Vitruvius by A. Jay Adler
by A. Jay Adler
1w ago
Vladimir Nabokov did not like the novel of ideas. He made that known. Artists, great ones too, often have their idiosyncratic dislikes, usually contrary expressions of the unique aesthetic vision that drives their own work. Particularly, Nabokov did not like the work of those monuments of great-idea novels, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Thomas Mann, though there is no reason his distaste should have excluded the novels of Albert Camus, say, or those of Andre Malraux, like Man’s Fate, which is, also, a political novel, something else Nabokov did not write. I have expressed my own wariness of politi ..read more
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A Poet Laureate of Hospice
Homo Vitruvius by A. Jay Adler
by A. Jay Adler
2w ago
My aim with Extraordinary Ordinary People (EOP) isn’t artificially to extend or to violently stretch the meaning of extraordinary so that it loses all sense. It is rather to explore the unexamined regions of the characterization. If the extraordinary is to be found in human lives and acts other than those that are granted fame or celebrity, for the range of reasons our current culture and others, historically, have so deemed a person to be extraordinary, then in what other or more encompassing attributes does that quality lie? How is a person who may still be understood as ordinary nonethel ..read more
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Hot Town (Summer 1967)
Homo Vitruvius by A. Jay Adler
by A. Jay Adler
2w ago
In the rain in Tompkins Square Park. 1967. (James Jowers/George Eastman Museum/Flickr - Library of Congress/Indicommons, “no known restrictions.”) *Forms of memory, or memory forms, emerge from a purposeful blend of memoir, creative nonfiction, and autofiction. The aim is to sculpt, out of the lived material of a life, artful form; to represent the life’s spiritual and bodily truth and at the same time serve the aim of art to seek truth beyond a single, ephemeral appearance in the world. Memory forms may be long or short, even to the brevity of vignette, such as here. Play the YouTube audio ..read more
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The Magellanic Diaries 8
Homo Vitruvius by A. Jay Adler
by A. Jay Adler
3w ago
Giant sea-serpent attacking a ship off the coast of Norway on Olaus Magnus’s Carta marina of 1539, twenty years after Magellan’s expedition (1572 edition of the National Library of Sweden, shelfmark KoB 1 ab) The last couple of months have been kind to me in increased readership and subscriptions (including paid – thank you!). Many readers, then, are unfamiliar with the social organization of planet Vitruvius and the history of its paid series. More detailed information is available from the central landing page, Home of Homo Vitruvius, but I thought today I’d highlight for free this informa ..read more
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"Hemingway" in the Twenty-First Century, II
Homo Vitruvius by A. Jay Adler
by A. Jay Adler
3w ago
A life-sized statue of Hemingway by José Villa Soberón at El Floridita, a bar in Havana. Photo: Frederic Schmalzbauer, own picture. Read part I, “a Reconsideration,” here. Personal regard for the great figure diminished quickly after his death, and while there has been continuing respect for the writer as craftsman, responsiveness to him as an artist seemed to track the personal disregard. Revelations from the posthumously published writing and personal papers, of Hemingway’s sexual role play and masked gender fluidity certainly complicate and enrich the characterology—material for more scho ..read more
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The Spoken Note
Homo Vitruvius by A. Jay Adler
by A. Jay Adler
1M ago
“Bani Adam” (Sons of Adam) from The Gulistan of Saadi. (Unknown calligrapher.) Combinations of spoken word and music resonate with me. Maybe because I so often listen to music to set moods for the imaginative reveries that feed my writing, I’m accustomed to hearing in my mind spoken language over or under music. What I like can take varied forms – and not one of them is William Shatner substitute-singing in speech. Back in 1999, to offer one form, I founded the Say the Word spoken word and poetry festival at Los Angeles Southwest College, still going at 25 years – and to the best of my knowl ..read more
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Extraordinary Ordinary People I
Homo Vitruvius by A. Jay Adler
by A. Jay Adler
1M ago
It is inevitable and even appropriate in a series like this that the choices of people to write about will reflect relatively little in objective presentation of the world and much more my own interests in life and in people. In the end, as with all writing, readers will learn about the writer as much as they do the subjects of his writing. I’m confident that the range of my responsiveness to life is broad enough to discover and present an engaging variety of characters, including by my own frequent interest in exploring lives precisely because they are so different from my own. I couldn’t ..read more
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La Habana Nueva
Homo Vitruvius by A. Jay Adler
by A. Jay Adler
1M ago
“Cubans, 1,” Havana Portraits, by Julia Dean Since I published a short story of Cuba last week, “La Revolución,” I thought this week I’d offer a poem of Cuba. “La Habana Nueva” originally appeared the fall 2002 issue of Poetrybay and was reprinted in my 2021 collection Waiting for Word. Poetrybay, I feel compelled to say, at about 23 years, has to be one of the oldest continuously publishing online literary journals we have, edited still from the birthplace of Walt Whitman, Long Island, New York, by the journal’s founder, poet George Wallace, a dedicated Whitmanian. Julia and I visited Cuba ..read more
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