Sunday, May 30, 2010


"We [humans] were always visual. Writing was always there, the identification. The cat recognizing me coming up the street – that’s writing, that’s reading, that’s identification, the process of learning. The 50,000 neurons in a slug learn the same way that the billions of ours learn.
So there’s a magical connection between lives or processes. Or is the crumbling of a stone not life? Sure it is.”

“There is a way in which art is very conservative. It can’t make anything out of what isn’t there. Art can only deal with what’s there. In order to get to what isn’t there, you have to move from an actual understanding of what is, so that what is not can become possible.

“This is one of Robert Musil’s arguments: there is no art without tradition. Art which says ‘forget tradition’ doesn’t get anywhere, because the only way you can get anywhere is from somewhere.

“But one starts young not wanting one’s head filled with anybody else’s words, because one is trying to be one. But after a while one gets hungry and impatient, because, unless you can invent everything all over by yourself (which is possible, but not likely), you become hungry for what else is known.”

“Not to fall into the trap of thinking that writing is what you do all by yourself, one person with one notebook in one’s own little place with the door locked and the lights off. It’s a collaborative process amongst many people. I collaborate with everyone I know; even with other writers, as writer or editor.”

                                  * * * * *

quotes from Robert Musil:

"What is perceptible to one’s mistrust is the cut-and-dried way that life is divided up and the ready-made form it assumes, the ever-recurring sameness of it, the pre-formations passed down by generation after generation, the ready-made language not only of the tongue but also of the sensations and the feelings. "

"Life forms a surface that acts as if it could not be otherwise, but under its skin things are pounding and pulsing."

Text above: Gerry Gilbert: Poet, an interview with Judith Sandiford published in the magazine Work Seen, Summer, 1992.

Top: photograph of Gerry Gilbert at Dollarton, British Columbia, provided by Lary Bremner.

Other photos by Jamie Reid.

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