Renaissance man, active- member, Tom Hendricks. A more formal and qualified Musea Zine (# 72 ) version can be savored at:
Musea Zine art and media zine supports indy artists and indy media opposes corporate art
Title: The Theory and Practice of Oligarchic
What is it? : Book, a collection of short thoughts or
comments on different aspects of life by Graywyvern,
an author mostly known for his poetry.
Technical Quality: Good looking trade paperback with
clear easy-to-read printing.
Innovative Quality: High. Fine black and white cover
art is an abstraction by Hileel Memshac. Content is a
collection of short comments showing some very
sophisticated original thinking expressed in a very
In 1670 Blaise Pascal published his now classic book,
"Pensees", (thoughts). It was a 17th century man's
enlightened reflections of his life and the world
That classic work has, in my opinion, now it's match
in this new contemporary, self published book by
It too is a book of thoughts, 100 pages filled with
short paragraphs. Each one encapsulates a single idea,
maxim, thought, puzzle, vision or reflection.
The best way to review it is to show selections from
it. But before I do some overall reflections of my
Some entries are short and give a quick jolt of
insight. Others are deeper, more complex thoughts
that, for me, required two or more readings. The
author uses simple language much of the time but
delights in the occasional big words, such as:
polyvalent power, quietudinous, eschatology, nexus,
siliqua, and from the title, oligarchic - the
adjective form of the noun, oligarchy, that means a
small group having control of a country or any large
group of people.
His comments often include a poetic example or parable
to illustrate his point. He often talks of the subject
of art with a special emphasis on poems and poets like
Now for some selections. They are not the worst or
best; but, just a sampling of those I particularly
liked. Or I should say the first 13 short and complete
entries and the first 5 excerpts from longer entries
that I liked. There are many many more favorites. The
book is a mix of about half short entries and half
longer entries, the longer ones being about the size
of a paragraph. And please remember, I don't mean to
in any way suggest these samples cover all the areas
of topics and ideas discussed.
First some short and complete entries:
At the end of his rope is where a poet shines.
The illusion that everything is sayable comes from
having dwelt too long among the things that have been
More than i want social justice, i want a land where i
don't have to hate.
The more intuitive you are, the spookier your world
is. Not more frightening - but more mysterious: & more
The child makes the ritual, the child disbelieves the
ritual (unmakes it) - two powers denied to normal
I keep struggling against the false belief that to be
something not yet defined is to be useless.
I image a brawl in which ten million poets fight to
the death for access to the last reader of poetry.
A corporation is not so much a machine for making
money, as a device for diffusing responsibility.
Chalk-drawing on the sidewalk is what we are. One good
rain & we're gone.
Is despair like a faith in the impossibility of all
Ego is a theory of the introvert in isolation, the
extravert in conflict.
An artist without a community is a lightning rod
without the storm.
Prose is poetry all the air has been let out of.
And here are some excerpts from longer entries:
When i walk down stairs it's a controlled fall, that i
continually interrupt and launch again to sustain the
smooth movement of. This, then, might be a provisional
definition of mature art - whose labor has
disappeared, like scaffolding, and yet it holds to a
line of necessity (the unseen stairs of my path) ...
... Our definitions are as much forced upon us as the
deformations of age, illness, and employment: they are
the surfaces where our bodies touch the hook we all
... Mankind's only concept of civilization seems to be
to make the ultimate racket & the inescapable reek.
... I think i value this (keeping a journal) more than
the making of art, even if it is less perfect &
useless to others. That other is what i make of the
flies i catch; this is the very web of my spiderhood.
... Story is older than speech.
And two more favorites (I'd give you more but I would
be reprinting not quoting! It's time for you to follow
up and get your copy of the book for more of these
I read about the lives of artists; i say, "my god, it
wasn't worth it!" Well, the rest had it just as bad,
and what did they leave?
Without the touch of another, you walk on air
Overall this book is an instant classic, and one of
the best books of our era. And saying anything short
of that is false.
Finding something this sophisticated and special is
rare. I'm glad I was lucky enough to be one of the
first to read and experience this exhilarating and
insightful work - a marvelous achievement! And our
world should be grateful for this addition to its body
Note: FDW has received his review copy of this-- and Tom is not exaggerating the value and "standing" of this cat's work!-- from the author as of last week. He will besides write a review of "Theory And Practice..." very soon and publish such here on the Critique, feeling the compulsion to do so and to spread the word, etc.
Also it must be sd. that the title as GRAYWYVERN notes likewise on the last back page of the book is the title of THE book in George Orwell's 1984.