05 February 2007

Louise Bogan

[from Louise Bogan's "Self-Portrait, with Politics"]

This is the place, perhaps, to state my belief that the true sincerity and compassion which humane detachment alone can give, are necessary before the writer can pass judgment upon the ills of his time. To sink oneself into a party is fatal, no matter how noble the tenets of that party may be. For all tenets tend to harden into dogma, and all dogma breeds hatred and bigotry, and is therefore stultifying. And the condescension of the political party toward the artist is always clear, however well disguised. The artist will be "given" his freedom: as though it were not the artist who "gives" freedom to the world, and not only "gives" it, but is the only person capable of enduring it, or of understanding what it costs.

[from Louise Bogan's "Self-Questionnaire"]

How did you occupy your energy and your leisure?

     Mostly in suffering. I suffered mindlessly, without reference to events, to reality, to time, then as now.
You did not note architecture, or the weather?
     Yes, I noted these always. I saw the afternoon shadows deeply strike through the baroque windows, as I had seen them fall, in my childhood, deeply slant and fall, drawing the eye inward into unimagined interiors, through the wooden joints and the wooden sashes that interrupted, in crass squares, the lines of clapboards (under which, at that hour, the shadow deepened). I noted the excesses of plaster and the beautiful horizontal reticences of wooden shutters. I saw the shadows lengthen to such a degree that the ground had no more place for them; they reached the walls, and spread upward, flat and definite, like unfruited espaliered trees.
You never sought God?
What was it you sought?
     I sought love.

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