Archives for posts with tag: James Joyce

Self-Portrait of the Artist as a Middle-Aged Man
by Massimo Soranzio

The pity is,
the public will demand
and find
a moral—
or worse.

On the honour of a gentleman,
I will not serve that
which I no longer believe:
not one single
serious line.

I have recorded,
what a man says, sees, thinks—
studied through a microscope in the morning,
repeated through a telescope in the evening.

I will express myself
as wholly as I can,
using for my defense
silence, exile
and cunning.

Neither more,
nor less alone,
not only separate from all
others, but to have
not even one friend.

No drama
behind the historical raving:
they are all there,
all the great talkers,
for the first hunt of the season.

and all the things they forgot,
bringing on the rain—
and we
wanting to go for a stroll.

SOURCE: “James Joyce — A Portrait of the Man Who is, at Present, One of the More Significant Figures in Literature” by Djuna Barnes, Vanity Fair (April 1922).

IMAGE: Novelist James Joyce (1882-1941), drawing by Djuna Barnes, Vanity Fair (April 1922).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I found this interview to a celebrity from the past, James Joyce, by mere chance. Though not one of my favourite authors, Joyce has played an important role in my life, accompanying and inspiring me on several occasions. His answers in this interview, published around the publication, on his 40th birthday, of his masterpiece Ulysses, were poetic per se, so I just selected and reordered his words to produce this sketchy self-portrait of the writer.

Massimo Soranzio1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Massimo Soranzio writes on the northern Adriatic coast of Italy, about 20 miles from Trieste. He teaches English as a foreign language and English literature in a high school, and has been a journalist, a translator, and a freelance lecturer on Modernist literature and literary translation. He posts some of his found and constraint-based poetry on his blog,

that into the sky we may sink, and ocean soar
by Philip Gordon

all quiet here alone.

the flowers
in May. under the
sun I am burning
among the
waters pain.

will leave me
as I am or not at all.

in long
golden lagoons of sand,
I shall pass on, chafing against the
low rocks. listen: a
fourworded wavespeech: vehement breath of
flows, flower unfurling.

under the upswelling tide the
whispering water
swaying and upturning silver day: night.
lord, they are weary; whisper
the sigh of leaves and waves
awaiting the fullness of
the moon.

SOURCE: “that into the sky we may sink, and ocean roar” by Philip Gordon is based on a page from Ulysses by James Joyce.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Philip Gordon is a creative writing student from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, recipient of the 2014 Kevin Roberts poetry award, and an editor of the literary magazines Ash Tree Journal and Text (launching in September, 2014). His work has been published in Wax Poetry and Art Magazine, Potluckmag, Chrysanthemum, Portal, Passion Poetry, The YOLO Pages, and a few other places. Philip is a romantic dork, lover of shades, and proponent of the Oxford Comma. He can be stalked at and

NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR: I wasn’t sure initially whether black highlight or white-out effect on omitted text would be better — you’ll see that I’ve opted for the latter, but would be open to toggling to the other. I tried to pluck out the oceanic imagery and metaphysical addresses in Stephen’s stream-of-consciousness, tying the notion of oneness with nature and another person into the concept of the sea, sky, and flowers.

by James Joyce

Winds of May, that dance on the sea,
Dancing a ring-around in glee
From furrow to furrow, while overhead
The foam flies up to be garlanded,
In silvery arches spanning the air,
Saw you my true love anywhere?
Welladay! Welladay!
For the winds of May!
Love is unhappy when love is away!

IMAGE: “The Stormy Sea” by Claude Monet (1840-1926).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Joyce (1882-1941) was an Irish author considered by many critics to have written the greatest novel of all time, Ulysses (1922). Other works include Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), and Finnegans Wake (1939). Joyce is known for his experimental use of language, extensive use of interior monologue, symbolism, and his puns, allusions, and invented words.


The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring.”


Photo of Marilyn Monroe by Eve Arnold


“The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring.”


Photo: Eve Arnold


“Novels–great novels–can be wonderfully instructive. In my twenties and thirties and even into my forties, James Joyce and Thomas Mann were my teachers.” JOSEPH CAMPBELL

Photo: Gordon Lawson (carving above arch of south gate of Guildford Cathedral, UK)