Anselm Kiefer, Aschenblume
Italo Calvino was offered the 1985–1986 term of the prestigious Charles Eliot Norton Professorship of Poetry at Harvard. He died weeks before he was scheduled to deliver his lectures, but working on them, his wife recalls, was the obsession of his final months.
Calvino’s manuscripts for the lectures, in which he looks back on “the millennium of the book” and peers forward into what the future might hold for “the expressive, cognitive, and imaginative possibilities” of language and literature, were his last legacy.
Here is Calvino’s enduring wisdom from the first lecture, a magnificent meditation on lightness.
You taste like a river in June.
Beyond your eyes, farther on, the evenings were blazing.
Dry autumn leaves revolved in your soul.
ringed with the ingenue faces
of pink and white impatiens
and placed my grief
in the mouth of language,
the only thing that would grieve with me.
Alexander Wolff - Untitled, 2011 - Fabric dye on canvas -147,5 x 109 cm
Of course, the result isn’t the point… The point is the longing.
Desire can’t be sated, because if it is, the longing disappears and then we’ve failed, because desire is the state we seek…
The worst thing of all would be if we actually arrived at perfect, because if we did, we would extinguish the very thing that drives us.
We want the wanting.
Or, as Andy Warhol wrote in his meditations on sex and love, “The most exciting thing is not-doing-it. If you fall in love with someone and never do it, it’s much more exciting.”(via explore-blog)