Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone

December 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

James_Baldwin_1167309552122863In honor of the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of James Baldwin’s death, Hunger Mountain has posted a number of thoughtful and valuable essays celebrating his life and writings.  Included are Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone: A Letter to James Baldwin on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of His Passing by Kim Dana Kupperman, Baldwin in Omaha by Robert Vivian, Another Country: James Baldwin at ‘Home’ (and) Abroad by Sion Dayson, James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor, and the Ethics of Anguish by Carole K. Harris, and a four-part “Conversational Review” with Marita Golden, Baron Wormser, Liz Blood, and John Proctor


Robert Vivian’s Thoughts On The Meditative Essay

January 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

An excellent essay on the essay published at Numéro Cinq:

The meditative essay hinges on stillness, on a moment delicately teased out of the cogs of time to live in the timeless present: it is not interested much in opinions or even ideas, preferring instead to live in the realm of pondering and contemplation (though the aforementioned may be used as initiating sparks). Its primary focus is not the self, though it uses the self and all that it has to give as a kind of booster rocket that, once the prose reaches certain insights, is jettisoned or spent, much like shuttles that are launched into outer space as we see those burning hoops fall back into the pearly clouds after they have done their proper work of achieving escape velocity. The meditative essay is comfortable and downright friendly with paradox and has no real axe to grind: it’s too intent on paying attention to what bids it keenest focus and delight, be it a button, a homeless woman, the changing of the seasons, or the prevalence of roadkill in a certain area. It is not concerned with hierarchy or competition or anything that goes by the name of ambition or force and draws attention to itself only for the music of its cadences and what these cadences reveal, which are very often surprising to its practitioners, so much so that this same quality of surprise is the meditative essay’s own intrinsic and unshatterable reward.

Read the Rest of Robert Vivian’s thoughts on the meditative essay here.

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