From “North Beach,” by Gary Snyder
"In the spiritual and political loneliness of America in the fifties you’d hitch a thousand miles to meet a friend."
from “Real Cool” - by Martin Filler
"…what Lichtenstein and his five-years-younger contemporary Warhol had most in common was being the foremost exemplars of Cool among their generation of visual artists. The first half of the 1960s was the apogee of what might be termed the Age of Cool—as defined by that quality of being simultaneously with it and disengaged, in control but nonchalant, knowing but ironically self-aware, and above all inscrutably undemonstrative."
from “Surprising Young Lucian” — Sanford Schwartz
"[Lucian] Freud was a romantic. He was after an emotional truth, which he saw in unadorned, often blemished, nearest-to-hand facts. If a sitter had blotchy skin, or if what Freud saw outside his studio window was weeds, banal buildings, a dull sky, and piles of garbage, there was a moral urgency in pinning down these details. Part of his achievement was to show how this quest—a quest that, seen against the history of twentieth-century art, initially struck many as superannuated—could result in pertinent, forceful pictures."
from “The Iliad, Poem of Might” —Simone Weil
"The true hero, the real subject, the core of the Iliad, is might. That might which is wielded by men rules over them, and before it man’s flesh cringes. The human soul never ceases to be modified by its encounter with might, swept on, blinded by that which it believes itself able to handle, bowed beneath the power of that which it suffers. Those who dreamt that might, thanks to progress, belonged henceforth to the past, have been able to see its living witness in this poem: those who know how to discern might throughout the ages, there at the heart of every human testament, find here its most beautiful, most pure of mirrors."
from Gilead — Marilynne Robinson
"The sun had come up brilliantly after a heavy rain, and the trees were glistening and very wet. On some impulse, plain exuberance, I suppose, the fellow jumped up and caught hold of a branch, and a storm of luminous water came pouring down on the two of them, and they laughed and took off running, the girl sweeping water off her hair and her dress as if she were a little bit disgusted, but she wasn’t. It was a beautiful thing to see, like something from a myth. I don’t know why I thought of that now, except perhaps because it is easy to believe in such moments that water was made primarily for blessing, and only secondarily for growing vegetables or doing the wash. I wish I had paid more attention to it. My list of regrets may seem unusual, but who can know that they are, really. This is an interesting planet. It deserves all the attention you can give it."
from Pulphead — by John Jeremiah Sullivan
"The sentence was perfect. In it, he described a memory from his childhood, of a group of people riding in an early automobile, and the driver lost control, and they veered through an open barn door, but by glory of chance the barn was completely empty, and the doors on the other side stood wide open, too, so that the car passed straight into the sunlight, by which time the passengers were already laughing and honking and waving their arms at the miracle of their own survival, and Lytle was somehow able, through his prose, to replicate this swift and almost alchemical transformation from horror to joy."