5CT for December 2019

Apologies for a very long absence. This is your invitation to take a break from the madness. In this midwinter issue: Magnum photographers, Samuel Beckett, a poem by Charles Simic, an absolutely killer novel, a brilliant young musician and his mom. Plus, a Gif!

“Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.” ~ Samuel Beckett

Magnum Photography Agency

I do love poking around the Magnum website. The joys to be found are many and sumptuous. For example, Beckett by Cartier Bresson. Or, Beckett by Bruce Davidson. And so much more.

{USA. NYC. 1964.
Samuel BECKETT. Rehearsal of “Waiting for Godot”. © Bruce Davidson-Magnum-Photos}

{Irish playwright Samuel BECKETT. 1964. ©-Henri Cartier Bresson Magnum-Photos}


… Socks. Nightgown. Window. Lamp. Backs away to edge of light and stands facing blank wall. Covered with pictures once. Pictures of…he all but said loved ones. Unframed. Unglazed. Pinned to wall with drawing pins. All shapes and sizes. Down one after another. Gone. Torn to shreds and scattered. Strewn all over the floor.

… Could once name them all. There was father. That grey void. There mother. That other. There together. Smiling. Wedding day. There all three. That grey blot. There alone. He alone. So on. Not now. Forgotten. All gone so long. Ripped off and torn to shreds. Scattered all over the floor. Swept out of the way and under the bed and left. Thousand shreds under the bed with the dust and spiders. All the…he all but said the loved ones.

~ Samuel Beckett, A Piece of Monologue


The Magnum site holds many more delights, such as this amazing page on protest photography.

{USA. Washington DC. 1967. An American young girl, Jan Rose KASMIR, confronts the American National Guard outside the Pentagon during the 1967 anti-Vietnam march. This march helped to turn public opinion against the US war in Vietnam.}

See more here > 

Charles Simic

All These Mirrors
by Charles Simic

And the one that’s got it in for you,
Mister, that keeps taunting you
In an old man’s morning wheeze
Every time you so much as glance at it,
Or blurt something in your defense,
Loudly, sonorously raising your chin high
While it spits and chokes in reply.

The razor is at your throat.
The lines are inscribing themselves
On your forehead as you listen closely
With a poultice of tissue paper
Already reddening under your left eye.


A bit more on Charles…

Katya Apekima

The 5CT staff cannot stop talking about this astounding book. The Deeper the Water, the Uglier the Fish, by Katya Apekima, is one of the most deeply imagined and beautifully crafted novels this reader has ever encountered. This is the story of a family, told mainly through two young sisters, sixteen and fourteen years old. The less said about it the better. Just go read it. Podcast with the great Michael Silverblatt, here >


Before that spring, I’d never read any of Dad’s books. It had never even occurred to me to track them down at a library or bookstore because until we came to live with him, he hadn’t existed for me. But in New York, I started reading his books ravenously. I devoured Cassandra’s Calling. I read his novels before bed. I wanted to have the rhythms of the sentences inside of me, so that I could dream about them. In my sleep though, all the characters were Mom. Sometimes Mom would turn into a strong wind and pull me somewhere, or sometimes she would jump on my back and try to wrestle me down to the ground. I barely ever saw her face. Sometimes — and these dreams were always the scariest — I myself would turn into Mom, and then I would be on someone else’s back, or turning into a wind.

Jacob Collier, Susan Collier

Nancy Liang’s Gifs


See more of Nancy’s work here >

5CT for June 2018

Delighted to be back after a long absence. Dog lover and New Yorker, Maira Kalman clearly has it all going on. Totally. Unfair. Alexander Chee is a beautiful writer from Maine and San Francisco, and is someone worth reading and thinking about. The great Emmet Gowin, who studied with the great Harry Callahan at RISD in Providence, RI, began by photographing his family in Danville, Virginia, and now he’s onto…. moths. A Bukowski poem inspires a brilliant young English animator. Carolyn Drake’s collaborative photographs in China are cryptic and amazing.

Maira Kalman|Word & Image

Maira Kalman, My Favorite Things

How do I combine this writing and this art to say as much as I can with as few words as I can.” Maira Kalman

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5CT for June

In between Beethoven and Kafka, there is a Merton-like silence. And two versions of solitude. Plus Dylan! It’s the 5CT Sublime Summer Music Festival Edition, bringing you Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, a refreshing slice of Thomas Merton, Bob live in Newport, Red Garland with John Coltrane, Duke and Louis Armstrong and two brothers in jazz. Oh, and a mini book review in the sidebar. “You are free, and that is why you are lost,” Franz Kafka is reported to have said, to which we can find no rejoinder whatsoever, except maybe Happy Summer!

Sir Colin & Mitsuko

They are a bit like chalk and cheese, but Sir Colin Davis (September 25, 1927 – April 14, 2013) then conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, and Mitsuko Uchida’s love for Beethoven’s music is a note to behold. Watch how each of them (he, restrained, she, highly expressive) speak about the majesty of this music and about performing with the other. Fascinating obituary of Sir Colin here —>

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5CT August 2016

To the lazy days of summer’s end, I welcome you. First, over to England for some great black and white photographs. A hot tip on a great little notebook. LARB—dish from Laos or book review website? Baa Baa Black Sheep by Wynton Marsalis is the perfect accompaniment to tour the work of a Portuguese goddess of abstract painting. “At night I would go to sleep dreaming of sea adventures.” – John Claridge


{The canal, 1966, John Claridge}

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The fear, the light, the code, the rain


Photo by terry reed

Agreat writer pens an essay on fear in America. Meet a Seattle artist obsessed with light, magic and the everyday. The working mom who invented software. So many podcasts and one great app. Wherever you are, the rain makes its own sound. How could you not love this. “Come into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher.”

– William Wordsworth


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