Mistrust the Straight Path of Virtue

“What is the goal of virtue, after all, except a life that flows smoothly” -Epictetus

From the moment we are born, we are conditioned to be good. We are shown right from wrong and scolded when we transgress the unwritten code of polite society. As we get older, the rules increase exponentially. We are expected to control ourselves and fall in line in order to perpetuate the status quo. But what of those among us who seek a different sort of path? Must we hold to the watertight dictates of society at large or can we step outside the bounds as long as no one is getting hurt? What price eccentricity? At what cost do we allow ourselves the freedom to live experimentally rather than seeking a straight and narrow path to the end?

Edward Hirsch has spoken to us in the past about his wonderful poetry including his book length elegy Gabriel which received the National Jewish Book Award for poetry. In this interview, he discusses his 1999 publication How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry a book he says grew out of his teaching. Hirsch discusses the intangible something that causes us to fall in love with people and applies this to the love of poems and poetry. “When you begin to encounter poetry…things start to happen to you. Poems begin to explain and talk to your own experience,” he says. He goes on to use Emily Dickinson’s description of the way poetry can affect us saying, “when you read a poem, you feel as though the top of your head were taken off.” A blossoming love of poetry encourages readers to want to deepen their experience and learn more and it is this self-perpetuating cycle that draws people in. Hirsch is also the author of A Poet’s Glossary which was published in 2014.

Chavisa Woods’ most recent book, due out in May, is titled Things to do When You’re Goth in the Country. The work dives into, among other things, the feeling of being out of place even in the very place you come from. Woods deftly explores questions around potential through the eyes of some characters. A young student who dreams of becoming a film director but is reminded by an Army recruiter at his school that this is a distant possibility for a young man from such a poor farming community. She toys with the notion of the Army tag line, “be all you can be” saying “this is all you can do is often what they are telling kids in these areas.” Woods isn’t afraid to create “very strange, very alienating” characters and to look honestly at relationships that are often quite dark. Woods received the 2013 Cobalt Prize for fiction.

Additional interviews include: Eva Grubinger and Tomislav Pavelic

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a sharable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Chavisa Woods draws inspiration from Difficult Women by Roxane Gay and user Annie found wonder in Just Kids by Patti Smith.

Opportunities / Open Calls

Commercio Metalli Latina, an Italy-based aluminum trading company, are currently inviting artists to take part in their 2017 contemporary art competition. The title of this year’s competition is The Sinuosity of Aluminum. Artists are asked to work with the medium of aluminum in order to create a piece that “arouses the emotion of music.” This is a juried show. The winner receives 3,500 euros. Deadline for submissions is June 15.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket

Go forward as you are. Do no harm but do not let yourself be swept up by the tide of virtue that seeks to extinguish even the smallest spark of chaos.

Deadlines

Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.

More Resources – For Artists Only – (weekly articles)

The Art World is a Mafia, You Can’t Break in unless… – Read More here

Real Artists Case History: Stacey Kirby – Read More here

Popular Writings –

Non-profit spaces to know –

London, UK Non-Profit Spaces – read about some of the best.

Los Angeles, CA Non-Profit Spaces- read about some of the best.

New York City Non-Profit Spaces – read about some of the best.

Self Illumination –

Conquering Fear – read about methods and Pema Chodron.

The Trap of Self-Esteem and How to Break Free- read more here.

F*ck the Art World, F*ck Consumerism! – read more here.

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