"At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since."
-Salvador Dali

hi i'm dione and i'm an art student

"Intense rubbing can cause a blister, as can any friction on the skin if continued long enough.

Sometimes, the skin will blister when it comes into contact with a cosmetic, detergent, solvent or other chemical."


Heinrich-Siegfried Bormann - Visual Analysis of a Piece of Music from a Color Theory Class with Wassily Kandinsky (1930)

(Source: kemonozume)


Paolo Rizzo - Casa Genovese, Terzo di Aquileia 2001. Photos (C) Marco Introini, who has captured many other great examples of the current wave of contemporary Italian rationalism.



July 17

Let’s go sit under the tree and enjoy this fine cool
summer morning!
There is shade—gorgeous, complicated shade—
and a lawn mower is cruising freakishly fast
across the lawn. It knows that we can’t understand
what comes between machine and nature.
This small orange book in many languages
proclaims that time marches ever forward.
Whatever happens I want you to keep hoverboarding next to me.
I know that inside you is a heart, impossibly hard to find,
wanting to open, like it did once in 2003.
I’ve been waiting a long time. We’ve both been waiting.
I’ll just keep injecting fun into your face
and hope for results. Other sexier methods abound
but I want to love you and make you laugh. That kind of thing
still gets folks to react, makes them wake up in the night
in a cold sweat. Rest assured: every kind of pleasure
awaits us. It’s like a damn breaking, or a massive drop
at the dubstep show.

art by Eugenia Loli


Nguan - Selections from the series How Loneliness Goes

oh singapore i love you




An Interview with Ben Marcus About His Syllabus

This is the first in a series of conversations with writers who teach, where we discuss how they develop an idea for a course, generate a syllabus, and conduct a class.

Ben Marcus is the author of Notable American Women, The Age of Wire and String, and The Flame Alphabet. His most recent book, Leaving the Sea, was released in January. He has been published in Harper’s, The New Yorker, and The New York Times, among other publications, and he is the recipient of several awards, including the Whiting Writers’ Award, three Pushcart Prizes, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Most importantly for the purposes of this interview, he taught at Brown University before joining the faculty at Columbia University, where he is currently a professor.

—Stephanie Palumbo

See the syllabus for Marcus’s fiction seminar, Technologies of Heartbreak.


STEPHANIE PALUMBO: How did you begin to design this course?

BEN MARCUS: I created this class when I first arrived at Columbia, which I think was in 2000. There are workshops, which are the standard creative writing classes, and there are seminars, and back then, there was a more open question about what you did with writers outside of a workshop. What were lit classes really for? A lot of times they would mimic an English department class, where you’d read some good books and talk about them interpretively. It seemed like there was this opening to not be tied to that format. So I thought, what did I struggle with as a writer when I was a certain age? What did I not know how to do, what was confusing, what did I not even know was a problem? 

I kept returning to something that I value as a writer—creating feeling out of nothing. We open a book and within half a page, our heart is racing, there’s all kinds of biological stuff happening, there’s actual physical emotion. How is that done? In some sense, it seemed obvious that the goal of so many writers, regardless of aesthetic, is to create feeling. It is a kind of technology.

SP: Did you ever take a class like that in college?

BM: I went to an MFA program and I was perfectly happy, but I never got this kind of instruction. I had a really good course called Ancient Fictions with Robert Coover, who was a favorite teacher. We read some of the oldest fictions, including the Old Testament, Gilgamesh, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and looked at how recurrent and timeless some of their tropes are. But it wasn’t really about parsing technique.

SP: In your syllabus, you asked, “Is it impossible to isolate our reaction to a book in terms of its language?” Were you able to answer that question through this class?

BM: I think the answer is yes and no. Fiction is too complicated and too elusive to break down into a set of tricks. But making students ultra-aware that they’re in the business of creating feeling out of sentences can help. This class tries to reach into a writer’s process and push on it a little, form it, test it, and get students to ask hard questions and practice different approaches. I wanted my students to read some books that are teeming with feeling and take them apart, sentence by sentence, to try to figure out exactly how that feeling is created.

Read More

useful jargon/ commentary style for literature students


Drawing by Josephine Demme

Fiction Seminar

Ben Marcus

Technologies of Heartbreak 

This seminar will examine how emotion is attempted and transmitted in fiction, the various ways readers are captured and made to care about a story.  Emotional effects—rapture, sympathy, desire, empathy, fascination, grief, repulsion—will be considered as techniques of language, enabled or muted by narrative context, acoustics, phrasing, and our own predispositions.  How can a sentence, a phrase, a paragraph cause us to feel things, and is a high degree of feeling akin to “liking” a book?  What is it to care about a character or the progress of a story, and how was that care installed in us?  What are the various kinds and sequences of sentences that, when placed in a narrative, can produce emotional engagement in a reader, affection or distraction, or is it impossible to isolate our reaction to a book in terms of its language?  The focus will be on some rhetorical strategies novelists and story writers have used to impart feeling, among them: concealment, indirection, revelation, confession, flat affect, irony, hyperbole, repetition, sentimentality, elusiveness, and sincerity.  A tentative book list follows. 

2/4 - Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates

2/11 - Mrs. Bridge - Evan S. Connell

2/18 - Everything That Rises Must Converge - Flannery O’Connor

2/25 - A Personal Matter - Kenzabarō Ōe

3/1 - Jernigan - David Gates

3/4  - Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson

3/11 - The Emigrants - W. G. Sebald

3/25 -  Winesburg, Ohio - Sherwood Anderson 

4/1 - Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy

4/8 - The Fifth Child - Doris Lessing

4/22 - Two Serious Ladies - Jane Bowles

4/29 - The Sheltering Sky - Paul Bowles

5/6 - Correction - Thomas Bernhard

See an interview with Ben Marcus about the syllabus.





You, naked,
an orchid
in the land
of technology,
the secret
to the perfect
I didn’t
want it
that way,
of particles
& waves
leading us
up the street
a drab
the blood
of birds

art by floralanatomy

More Information