Pic: S W A N S  Commentary - logo © Gilles d'Aymery 1996. All rights reserved. - size 6k

c o m m e n t a r y

(Since 1996)

January 26, 2015


Trade liberty for safety or money and you'll end up with neither. Liberty, like a grain of salt, easily dissolves.
The power of questioning -- not simply believing -- has no friends. Yet liberty depends on it.


Note from the Editors:   We continue to polish off the rust that has infiltrated Swans publishing intricacies, and we very much appreciate the encouraging words of support as we resume our normal schedule (see the Letter to the Editor from a reader in Dubai). While we're not yet up to our previous quantity of articles, we are pleased to bring you a small but quality selection. New contributor Grace Williams, a high school student whom we are publishing under a pseudonym due to her age, submits a thoughtful essay on racism and stereotypes from the vantage of a minority white girl in an all-girls school. Long-time contributor Peter Byrne displays his cultured creativity and humor in a look at famous last words -- take his challenge and send us your entries. Glenn Reed offers his typically eloquent insights, inspired by an art exhibit and his love of nature. Paul Buhle urges us to reach for a book that offers different perspectives on war, and Guido Monte ruminates on the idea that all is one.

Raju Peddada, our friend and contributor has just released a small book, Surfaces & Souvenirs: Textures of Togetherness -- some experiences between a father and his two sons. The book is available at Apple iBooks / iTunes.


Ecrasez l'infâme


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ISSN: 1554-4915


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"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your common sense."
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Arts and Culture

"White-Girl" Problems
by Grace Williams

I am 5'6" and 150 pounds. I wear boot-cut jeans and unflattering shirts. I own five pairs of shoes, three of which I wear on a day-to-day basis.

I get frequent headaches, and caffeine and sugar make them worse, so I rarely drink soda or any sort of coffee-like beverage.

My father is an alcoholic.   More...

Grace Williams is a pen name for a high school student in Oakland, CA.


Death In Context Or Infamous Last Words
by Peter Byrne

Readers of book chat have sniggered over Alfred Jarry's last words for a century. But few could say what he meant when he asked the priest at his bedside for a toothpick. They knew him for a drunk and so laughed at what they took for his delirium. They were Jarry's lifelong bugbear, the bourgeoisie, who need a display of flamboyant self-destruction to feel cozy and safe themselves.   More...

Peter Byrne is an American-born teacher and writer who lives in Lecce, Italy.


Blind To The Eclipse
by Glenn Reed

A bare tree. Gnarled branches. White light with solid brick patterns. Black background. Yin-yang or photograph reversal.

A name whispered. Sounds like...."George?"

Between old buildings. Industrial. Still another old mill town that died away through the mid 20th century, now reborn in art and coffee shops and used book stores. Irony converging on a new connecting wall beneath ceiling that shelters from winter chill. Illusions of security.

I detect a tiny bit of movement beyond the tree. Something coming this way. Tickling at my subconscious. Something remembered?   More...

Glenn Reed is a long-time activist and author from Fair Haven, Vermont.


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

War From A Different Perspective
by Paul Buhle

This is a nifty little volume, with wonderful, moving poems and comic art. But perhaps "nifty" is not exactly the word for memories of the ghastly slaughter, this time between soldiers in all sides of the war that no one expected. The following wars, up to the present day, have been waged largely against civilians, with the supposed civilized West (including the U.S.) arguably as active in the mass murder of bystanders as anyone else. The difference, since 1945, is that we Westerners don't mostly murder each other.   More...

Paul Buhle is a retired academic and comics' editor who lives in Madison, Wisconsin.


Multilingual Poetry

by Guido Monte

dans mon sommeil...
to be many ones,
to be the touch
of some bodies,
the flow of blood
on the moon cycle,
to be many ones on the sheet
of crosswords,
in homes in hospitals
en hogares en los hospitales
in the river in the galaxy.   More...

Guido Monte teaches Italian and Latin literature in Palermo, Italy.



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