Rhys Tranter is a writer based in Cardiff, Wales, UK. He is the author of Beckett's Late Stage (2018), and his work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator, and a number of books and periodicals. He holds a BA, MA, and a PhD in English Literature. His website RhysTranter.com is a personal journal offering commentary and analysis across literature, film, music, and the arts.
“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.”
— Ansel Adams
“Cisneros’s work allowed me to see the power in my culture’s storytelling tradition, and the power within myself.”
Kali Fajardo-Anstine and other Latinx writers
on the influence of Sandra Cisneros’s poetic coming-of-age novel,
The House on Mango Street.
“It’s the start of 2016, and Smith’s friend Pearlman—a producer and rock critic—has been hospitalized after a brain hemorrhage. As he lies in a coma, Smith recounts the tumultuous year that follows—the loss of friends (Sam Shepard is nearly bedridden), the horror of the imminent election and rise of nationalism, and the impending climate crisis. A reflection on mortality, the book retains Smith’s characteristically flat tone as she wanders through stretches of Arizona, California, Virginia, and Kentucky, stopping at diners for black coffee and onion omelets and conversations with strangers. She hitchhikes from San Francisco to San Diego and back, travels as far as Lisbon, and returns home to the quiet of her Rockaway bungalow to stare at the flowers. All the while, she describes the mundane details of life with incredible vividness…”
Camille Jacobson on
Year of the Monkey,
a new memoir from Patti Smith.
“Olga’s work is crystal clear: her characters live on the page and speak for themselves… I’m ecstatic that so many more readers will now discover the entire trove of literature Olga has created over the course of her thirty-year career. Olga is the Nobel laureate. She’s the one the prize was made for.”
Jennifer Croft on Olga Tokarczuk,
who has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
I went walking in the hills where I grew up
and thought about that John Muir phrase:
“Between every two pines there is a door leading to a new way of life.”
“The most important thing in life is not happiness but meaning.”
— John M. Hull, Notes on Blindness
Set in the summer of 1983,
Notes on Blindness
is a beautiful 2016 documentary that explores the life of
writer and theologian John M. Hull.
Based on his memoir, Touching the Rock,
the film offers a deeply personal account
of an academic who permanently loses his vision
while anticipating the birth of his son.
Filmmakers Peter Middleton and James Spinney
draw from audio cassettes recorded by Hull at the time,
which attempt to explain and understand
the experience of blindness
through vivid philosophical reflections
on everyday events and experiences. (more…)
In these dark times
we look for the light.
“I felt very strongly that the communal suffering, and our ability to transcend it, was the thing that held us together. This was not some pessimistic worldview, quite the opposite really. It became clear that as human beings we have enormous capabilities that allow us to rise above our suffering – that we are hardwired for transcendence. […] [W]hether the lyric writing has changed, I would say that it has shifted fundamentally. I have found a way to write beyond the trauma […]. I found with some practise the imagination could propel itself beyond the personal into a state of wonder.”
“Writing is to write for oneself.”
Marguerite Duras, Me & Other Writing:
A new collection of non-fiction essays, translated for the first time into English by Olivia Baes and Emma Ramadan.
Introduction by Dan Gunn.
“When I compose music, I don’t focus on the everyday collisions of life. I want to see it as a bird in flight, from a height, from an angle.”
Sad to learn that the Georgian composer
died today in his home city of Tbilisi.
Released forty years ago this year,
Radio On‘s dark vision of Britain
on the cusp of inevitable change
speaks to our time
in stark and revealing ways.
“I grew up on the margins, I inherited all the value of the margins. I know from all my reading and living that extraordinary things happen on the edges—the changes happen, the rituals happen, the magic, for want of a better word, happens on the edge of things. Everything is possible at the edge. It’s where the opposites meet, the different states and elements come together.”
— Ali Smith, qtd. in The Paris Review
“You must never, never despair, whatever the circumstances. To hope and to act, these are our duties in misfortune. To do nothing and despair is to neglect our duty.”
— Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago