Toni Morrison passed away late last night, at the age of 88. May she rest in power, and may we treasure gratefully all she has written. Here are her words from our Archives. Toni Morrison’s speech “Unspeakable Things Unspoken: The Afro-American Presence in American Literature”
How easy it is to tell the story of myself without Lila: time quiets down and the important facts slide along the thread of the years like suitcases on a conveyor belt at an airport: you pick them up, you put them on the page, and it’s done.
Behind me the remains
of the cinderblock tabernacle
and behind me the west-leaning house
with a red dirt floor
Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) wrote a number of zuihitsu (literary essays) about his pets, of which “Buncho” (1909) is the most delicately crafted. It is the story of a caged bird that was brought to the writer as a companion in his lonely study, but which in the end died of neglect, despite the initial attention it received.
to the sea
or some lonely pond
or wherever it is
that swans go
Well since there’s still light walk around
stand on the porch
cup hands around eyes peering in