Start Date: January 10, 2019 End Date: May 30, 2019
We will be reading one of the 20th Century’s seminal works, the collection of essays by Gregory Bateson assembled in the book called Steps to an Ecology of Mind, and, as a counterpoint, essays and poems by his daughter Nora Bateson under the title Small Arcs of Larger Circles.
When I remember Sue Castigliano, I think of almost naked dancers vaulting above the gold-tipped horns of Cretan bulls, to the sound of waves breaking in the distance. Wandering with the ghosts of an exploded island empire, I enter the doors of a library that I first thought was an octopus. When I think of her, I see wheat bound in sheaves…
blackbirds rise like a word from a hot hovel / satis house and her letter / and her first wedding gown / fires blank and face clocks / my hands / their spell / swelling the mouth of a match / the stone thrown into the sea and circulatio /
“It is said that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. Luckily, the teacher may also choose to appear when the student is not at all ready. She drags him, if need be kicking and screaming, into a new, more direct, but also more paradoxical relationship with the self…”
Are we meant to have certain experiences, or to connect with certain people rather than with others? The more romantic among us are used to thinking that there may be one true soul-mate for each person. It is less common to imagine that friends or teachers may also play their parts in this apparent drama of predestination.
I’m lost in space. Lost. As it turns out the poets were right, you can’t go back home again. The Venezuela that raised me doesn’t exist anymore, that much everybody knows, but the situation got so unendurable that I’m finally aware of my limits. As it turns out I’m not an indestructible machine but a leaf floating in the wind, directionless and at the mercy of the gods.
Hands of the dead here in my living hands / as I split stony squash with a crack of the blade, / scoop seeds, oil flesh for the fire—hands / of women and men in my hands, generations / repeating these gestures, the old pleasure…