Gerald Stern: An Excerpt from Stealing History


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Self - Portrait as a Soldier, 1915

“There is also the moment that another kind of disconnection occurs.  The moment of anxiety, of terror, a consciousness of being so much “out of” life, its hum, that Being itself is unbearable.  The hum is no hum.  This state can be “realized” naturally (it’s called mental illness) or through drugs.  I have - personally - had the joy of achieving it both ways.  I used to be an expert.  I suppose the two kind of disconnections - should we call them the happy and the sad? - are cousins, maybe close ones.  The hum is there at all times.  But hearing it can be a great pleasure or a great torture.”

~ Gerald Stern, from the essay 'Dragonfly, Famous Deaths’ in his book Stealing History

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