June 9, 2012
Herman Melville is a god. … I cherish what he did. He was a genius. Wrote Moby-Dick. Wrote Pierre. Wrote The Confidence-Man, wrote Billy Budd. … Oh, yes — look at him. … Scares the bejesus out of people and makes them hate him. Because he’s so good. Claggart has him killed in that book. Claggart has his eye on that boy. He will not tolerate such goodness, such blondeness, such blue eye. Goodness is scary. It’s like you want to knock it. You want to hit it.
Maurice Sendak from his 2004 interview with Bill Moyers.
Sendak also references Melville’s idea that artists must “take a dive” into the deep in this beautiful short film:
February 14, 2012
A strange and sensual riff from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself –
Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore,
Twenty-eight young men and all so friendly;
Twenty-eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome.
She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank,
She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the window.
Which of the young men does she like the best?
Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her.
Where are you off to, lady? for I see you,
You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room.
Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth
The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved them.
The beards of the young men glisten’d with wet, it ran from their
Little streams pass’d all over their bodies.
An unseen hand also pass’d over their bodies,
It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs.
The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the
sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,
They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bending
They do not think whom they souse with spray.