R.I.P. Adrienne Rich (1929-2012).. This is from a letter of hers written in July 1997:
… [T]he meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration. … There is no simple formula for the relationship of art to justice. But I do know that art—in my own case the art of poetry—means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of power which holds it hostage.
— Adrienne Rich, Letter to Jane Alexander Refusing the National Medal for the Arts (July 3, 1997). In Voices of a People’s History of the United States (eds. Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove), p. 580.
And this is from one of her poems, On Edges (1968).
… Crossing the bridge I need all my nerve
to trust to the man-made cables.
The blades on that machine could cut you to ribbons
but its function is humane.
Is this all I can say of these delicate books, scythe-curved intentions
you and I handle? I’d rather
taste blood, yours or mine, flowing
from a sudden slash, than cut all day
with blunt scissors on dotted lines
like the teacher told.
— Adrienne Rich (1968), On Edges
earl scruggs was among the handful of great instrumental innovators in twentieth-century american popular music. comparable figures are people like louis armstrong, little walter, jimi hendrix. the banjo in his hands yields an amazing combination of rhythm and melody: it’s the most percussive of the string instruments, and scruggs created the role of the banjo virtuoso in bluegrass: during his solo, he drives the band faster and faster, like an accelerating train….