Porcupines at the University

January 27, 2014 | 2

“That to me was the rub. A writer freed from the need to calibrate with reality, or even be internally consistent, could put a washing machine into the sky along with a rainbow. So why not put a rhinoceros up there too?” On negative literary influences.

is a staff writer for The Millions. He lives in New York.


  1. Anna Balakin’s writing on the work of the woefully undervalued Anais Nin had some wonderful insights in the area of reality, the dream etc. There is no reason a washing machine may not appear in the sky with a rainbow. Copied here for informational purposes only:

    “From the dream outward; it is the same image that Breton gives in his Les Vases Communicants: the dream feeds reality and actualizes desire. This is the theme of all Breton’s poems. To be a poet is to create this constant stream between the dream and what we experience when we are awake. Over this stream is the bridge by means of which the subjective world and the objective are in constant conjugation, indivisible. Soon, as Breton said there is no object, only subject. Lillian in the Seduction of the Minotaur [by Nin] associates her feeling with the Talmudic words: We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are. (p.124)

    But the subjective vision no longer produces a hot house plant; it is projected into the outer world, there to combine with other beings, to make the inert objects unique.

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