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Franz Kafka died in Klosterneuburg, Lower Austria, Austria on this day in 1924 (aged 40). His body was brought back to Prague where he was buried on 11 June 1924, in the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague-Žižkov. “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? …we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.” —from a Letter to Oskar Pollak (27 January 1904)

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Franz Kafka died in Klosterneuburg, Lower Austria, Austria on this day in 1924 (aged 40). His body was brought back to Prague where he was buried on 11 June 1924, in the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague-Žižkov.

“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? …we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”
—from a Letter to Oskar Pollak (27 January 1904)

View of Casa Marina, where Wallace Stevens stayed during his annual visits to Key West between 1922 and 1940. You’ll find no plaque commemorating the poetry he wrote there, nor will the staff of the hotel know who you’re talking about if you ask after him, so the only way that the ghost of Wallace Stevens can follow you on the beaches and streets of Key West is if you take him with you.  

A figure half seen, or seen for a moment, a man 
Of the mind, an apparition apparelled in
Apparels of such lightest look that a turn 
Of my shoulder and quickly, too quickly, I am gone?

—from ”Angel Surrounded by Paysans" by Wallace Stevens

View of Casa Marina, where Wallace Stevens stayed during his annual visits to Key West between 1922 and 1940. You’ll find no plaque commemorating the poetry he wrote there, nor will the staff of the hotel know who you’re talking about if you ask after him, so the only way that the ghost of Wallace Stevens can follow you on the beaches and streets of Key West is if you take him with you.  

A figure half seen, or seen for a moment, a man 

Of the mind, an apparition apparelled in

Apparels of such lightest look that a turn 

Of my shoulder and quickly, too quickly, I am gone?

from ”Angel Surrounded by Paysans" by Wallace Stevens

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"Bored" by Margaret Atwood "All those times I was boredout of my mind. Holding the logwhile he sawed it. Holdingthe string while he measured, boards,distances between things, or poundedstakes into the ground for rows and rowsof lettuces and beets, which I then (bored)weeded. Or sat in the backof the car, or sat still in boats,sat, sat, while at the prow, stern, wheelhe drove, steered, paddled. Itwasn’t even boredom, it was looking,looking hard and up close at the smalldetails. Myopia. The worn gunwales,the intricate twill of the seatcover. The acid crumbs of loam, the granularpink rock, its igneous veins, the sea-fansof dry moss, the blackish and then the grayingbristles on the back of his neck.Sometimes he would whistle, sometimesI would. The boring rhythm of doingthings over and over, carryingthe wood, dryingthe dishes. Such minutiae. It’s whatthe animals spend most of their time at,ferrying the sand, grain by grain, from their tunnels,shuffling the leaves in their burrows. He pointedsuch things out, and I would lookat the whorled texture of his square finger, earth underthe nail. Why do I remember it as sunnierall the time then, although it more oftenrained, and more birdsong?I could hardly wait to getthe hell out of there toanywhere else. Perhaps thoughboredom is happier. It is for dogs orgroundhogs. Now I wouldn’t be bored.Now I would know too much.Now I would know.”

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"Bored" by Margaret Atwood

"All those times I was bored
out of my mind. Holding the log
while he sawed it. Holding
the string while he measured, boards,
distances between things, or pounded
stakes into the ground for rows and rows
of lettuces and beets, which I then (bored)
weeded. Or sat in the back
of the car, or sat still in boats,
sat, sat, while at the prow, stern, wheel
he drove, steered, paddled. It
wasn’t even boredom, it was looking,
looking hard and up close at the small
details. Myopia. The worn gunwales,
the intricate twill of the seat
cover. The acid crumbs of loam, the granular
pink rock, its igneous veins, the sea-fans
of dry moss, the blackish and then the graying
bristles on the back of his neck.
Sometimes he would whistle, sometimes
I would. The boring rhythm of doing
things over and over, carrying
the wood, drying
the dishes. Such minutiae. It’s what
the animals spend most of their time at,
ferrying the sand, grain by grain, from their tunnels,
shuffling the leaves in their burrows. He pointed
such things out, and I would look
at the whorled texture of his square finger, earth under
the nail. Why do I remember it as sunnier
all the time then, although it more often
rained, and more birdsong?
I could hardly wait to get
the hell out of there to
anywhere else. Perhaps though
boredom is happier. It is for dogs or
groundhogs. Now I wouldn’t be bored.
Now I would know too much.
Now I would know.”