The concept of beauty is defined and supplemented by the concept of catharsis as the apogee of the struggle with, and mastery of, human passions and sufferings. Thus, a beautiful form, like an exquisite amphora, is filled with content, the flaming wine of feeling.
As a poet, I’ve always loved to read, write and translate the love poem, especially the love poem of mixed tone: the one both certain of the attraction and uncertain of the commitment, or uncertain of mutual commitment; the one both fierce and forgiving, or, if not exactly forgiving, wonderfully dismissive when the brave move of separation becomes inevitable.
Perhaps it is best to approach beauty with humility. (I say this even while having to admit that beauty often catches us unawares, as when I first heard Mahler’s Eighth Symphony or, as one who had never been an admirer of tapestries, came upon some by William Morris on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum one afternoon and was reduced to tears.) Great works of art can surprise us in this way.
Muslim by birth, Waberi’s themes include living a simple life based on meditation and spirituality, the nomadic life, Arabic language and culture, religious tolerance as opposed to extremism, and Djibouti’s harsh climate and civil wars. In recognition for his commitment to the values of multiculturalism and linguistic, ethnic, and religious diversity, he was awarded the 2016 Words to Change Prize.
Andrey Guschin identifies himself as a “neo-archeist” poet, and the primary attraction to me as a translator of his lively and inventive formal verses was that what I view as a resurgence of the use of archaism and archaic words in contemporary American poetry, may yield for the work a readership in English.
Propertius loathed makeup and silky stuff; beauty for him was strictly in the buff — the world’s body, stripped of appearance, nude. He thought that good, maybe the only good. Yet a desire for makeup might obsess us if the face underneath it is Duessa’s.
I am most interested in revealing what is hidden. I think that when we perceive the inner aspects of something, we are able to glimpse, if only partially, its original, primordial form. It’s not the sound of the ocean we hear in the seashell: it’s a reflection of the object’s internal music.
Beauty is mystical in the strict sense — that is, it is knowable by direct experience that inspires awe and fascination, without necessarily being susceptible to definition — and also involves the notion of limit. Only that which comes to an end is beautiful.
Three handsome, rich young princes, one named Felibien, another, Roland, and the third, Aymeril, were travelling on horseback through all the countries of the world, followed by a multitude of servants and wagons loaded with their baggage. A chance meeting at an inn had made them friends, and they set off together. Why were they travelling?
For some, the city’s beauty lies in its geography, in its rivers and hills; for others, it is the monasteries, palaces, and bell towers. For me, it lies in the shades of people, real and imagined, who stroll around Patriarch’s Pond in June, when the nights are clear and cool, and puffs of pukh (cottonwood seed) float out across the water.
I’m reassured that beauty can be found in almost everything, depending on our focus, even if what we are looking at is the Buddhist affirmation of a lotus flower blooming out of stinky mud.