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Shirley Jackson, Francine Prose
No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs
Naomi Klein
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"I want to perform an unnatural act."

- Lenny Bruce

"I get a kick out of being an outsider constantly. It allows me to be creative. I don't like anything in the mainstream and they don't like me."

- Bill Hicks

"I don’t like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people: “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.’” Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. If they say, “We’re the So-and-Sos,” take a walk. And if, somehow, you must join, if it’s unavoidable, such as a union or a trade association, go ahead and join. But don’t participate; it will be your death. And if they tell you you’re not a team player, congratulate them on being observant."

-George Carlin

"The more I see, the less I know for sure."

- John Lennon

"I see you, in darkness, walking."

The Door - 'Margaret Atwood',  'Phoebe Larmore'

It is inevitable that a book of poetry contains hits and misses for every reader. I personally enjoyed the poems in The Door that were more visceral and explicit. A prime example would be her poem "Secrecy":


Secrecy flows through you,
a different kind of blood.
It's as if you've eaten it
like a bad candy,
taken it into your mouth,
let it melt sweetly on your tongue,
then allowed it to slide down your throat
like the reverse of uttering,
a word dissolved
into its glottals and sibilants,
a slow intake of breath --

And now it's in you, secrecy.
Ancient and vicious, luscious
as dark velvet.
It blooms in you,
a poppy made of ink.

You can think of nothing else.
Once you have it, you want more.
What power it gives you!
Power of knowing without being known,
power of the stone door,
power of the iron veil,
power of the crushed fingers,
power of the drowned bones
crying out from the bottom of the well.



Her descriptions and settings are lyrical without being arcane, which can be a rare thing among gifted poets. She describes being captivated by the colors (and the smell) of gasoline in a puddle of water as a child, feeling thunderstruck by a stranger's poetry reading, and mourning a dead cat with empathy.


"Dutiful" struck a chord with me as I used to be "the good child" in the family, always sacrificing myself and my time for others until I learned to stand up for myself. The poem that hit me the hardest, though, would have to be "Another Visit to the Oracle". Atwood sums up my artistic intentions with a few choice verses:


What would you prefer?

You'd like me to amuse you?

Do some jigs, or pranks?


That's not what I do.


What I do: I see

in darkness. I see 

darkness. I see you.


That's what I do:

I tell dark stories

before and after they come true.




Atwood has the ability to connect with all kinds of readers; this is her gift, and we're lucky to have her.