llio sophia

some books i luv

open source info
please take your time and really listen

poetry and prose

And if one day I’ll be dust, ash , and nothingness,

then may my nighttime be a dawn,

may I learn to be lost… so that I can find myself…

—Florbela Espacna, To Love!, Lisbon Poets, (133)


Melizarani T. Selva


Or will I be forever condemned to

being the minority of the minority


So teach me and I will say more than the introduction


So, look at what you have

in the palm of your hands and look no further

Adventures in Immediate Irreality

Max Blecher

  • the deeper the wave of obscurity, the higher its crest. Never, under no other circumstances, have I felt so clearly as in moments like these when every object must occupy the place it occupies and I must be the person I am. (page ??)

On poetry

  In Search of Duende

Federico García Lorca

  • The critic Brook Zern has written, of a performance of someone with Duende, “It dilates the mind’s eye, so that the intensity becomes almost unendurable … . There is a quality of first-timeness, of reality so heightened and exaggerated that it becomes unreal, and this is characterized by a remarkable time-distortion effect which is frequent in nightmares. (Christopher Maurer, Preface of In Search of Duende, Federico García Lorca, page x)

  • Before reading poems aloud…the first thing one must do is invoke the duende. That is the only way that everybody will immediately succeed at the hard task of understanding metaphor (without depending on critical apparatus or intelligence) and be able to catch, at the speed of the voice, the rhythmic design of the poem. (page ???)

Letters to a Young Poet

Rainer Maria Rilke

  • I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. (page ???)

  • Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words.  (page ???)

Frida Kahlo: The Brush of Anguish

Martha Zamor

  • Memory composes its own truth. (7)

  • She recounted stories with so many changes drawn from her imagination. (8)

Lorna Simpson

Kellie Jones, Thelma Golden, Chrissie Iles

  • What the artist’s oeuvre, in fact, increasingly pointed out was the ‘language’s slipperiness’ and its ability to slide ‘across the range of meanings suggested by an image or word.’ (39)

Louise Bourgeois

Frances Morris

  • It’s that anxiety is then transformed into something specific, as specific as drawing. Then you have access to it, you can deal with it, because it has gone from unconscious to the conscious, which is fear. So my work is really based on the elimination of fears. (42)

  • The purpose of art is to conquer fear, nothing more, nothing less. (page 161)

autobiography, diary, and memior
The Diary of Anaïs Nin: Volume One 1931-1934

Anaïs Nin

  • The contents of her flowering imagination are a reality to her. (page 27)

On bipolar and hysteria

An Unquiet Mind

Kay Redfield Jamison

  • I have no idea what long-term effects of discussing such issues so openly will have on my personal or professional life, but, whatever the consequences, they are bound to be better than continuing to be silent. (page 7)

  • I was confused and frightened and terribly shattered in all my notions of myself; my self-confidence, which had permeated every aspect of my life for as long as I could remember, had taken a very long and disquieting holiday. (page 85)

  • Poetry, thank God, remained within my grasp, and, having always loved it, I now fell upon it with a passion that is hard to describe. (page 95)

  • Patient feels very embarrassed about feelings she has and takes attitude that regardless of the course of her depression she ‘won’t put up with it. (page 112)

  • Depression, somehow, is much more in line with society’s notion of what women are all about: passive, sensitive, hopeless, helpless, stricken, dependent, confused, rather tiresome, and with limited aspirations. Manic states, on the other hand, seem to be more the provenance of men: restless, fiery, aggressive, volatile, energetic, risk taking, grandiose and visionary, and impatient with the status quo. (page 123)

Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament

Kay Redfield Jamison

  • The main purpose of this book is to make a literary, biographical, and scientific argument for a compelling association, not to say actual overlap, between two temperaments—the artistic and the manic-depressive—and their relationships to the rhythms and cycles, or temperament, of the natural world. The emphasis will be on understanding the relationship between moods and imagination, the nature of moods—their variety, their contrary and oppositional qualities, their flux, their extremes (causin, in some individuals, occasional episodes of “madness”)—and the importance of moods igniting thought, changing perceptions, creating chaos, forcing order upon that chaos, and enabling transformation. (page 5)

  • It is the interaction, tension, and transition between changing mood states, as well as the sustenance and discipline drawn from periods of health, that is critically important; and it is these same tensions and transitions that ultimately give such power to the art that is born in this way. (page 6)

  • In its extreme forms mania is characterized by violent agitation, bizarre behavior, delusional thinking, and visual and auditory hallucinations. In its milder variants the increased energy, expansiveness, risk taking, and fluency of thought associated with hypomania can result in highly productive periods. The range in severity of symptoms is reflected in the current psychiatric diagnostic system. Bipolar I disorder, what one thinks of as “classic” manic-depressive illness, refers to the most severe form of affective illness; individuals diagnosed as bipolar I must have the full diagnostic criteria for both mania and major depressive illness. (The standard diagnostic criteria for mania, hypomania, major depression, and cyclothymia, as well as more clinically descriptive criteria for cyclothymia, are given in Appendix A.) Bipolar II disorder on the other hand, is defined by the presence or history of at least one major depressive episode, as well as the existence or history of less severe manic episodes (that is, hypomanias, which do not cause pronounced impairment in personal or professional functioning, are not psychotic in nature, and do not require hospitalization).  (page 14)

  • Such milder mood and energy swings often precede overt clinical illness by years (about one-third of patients with definite manic-depressive illness, for example, report bipolar mood swings of hypomania predating the actual onset of their illness). These typically begin in adolescence or early adulthood and occur most often in the spring or autumn, on an annual or biennial basis. (page 15)

Hysteria: The Disturbing History

Andrew Scull

  • Certainly, by the twentieth century, most doctors had convinced themselves that hysteria was a psychological disorder, ”an affliction of the mind that was expressed through a disturbance of the body.” (page 8)

Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris

Asti Hustvedt


  • If they showed up at a hospital today, suffering from the same symptoms, they would probably be diagnosed with schizophrenia or conversion disorder or bipolar disorder. (page 5)

  • It was more of a warehouse for female outcasts: women who were mad, violent, crippled, chronically ill. . . unmarried and pregnant, or simply old and poor. In the 1680s, Louis XIV built a prison on the grounds called La Force that added prostitutes and female convicts awaiting execution or transportation to the colonies to this mix of unwanted women. (page 11)

  • When Charcot arrived at the Salpêtrière, hysteria was still a medical “trash can”—that is, the label where all medically inexplicable symptoms were dumped. It was considered exclusively a disease of women and was diagnosed when no other cause could be found for disturbing symptoms. (page 19)

  • Charcot did provide case studies of male hysterics, but he argued that in men the disease was more often the result of physical trauma or accident, and, using the metaphor of a seed in a hostile soil, claimed that it did not have a very good chance of surviving. Women’s bodies, on the other hand, provided fertile ground. (page 27)


  • Once inside the walls of the hospital, Marie would be diagnosed with hysteria, and this confused and timid teenager would eventually become “Blanche,” one of Charcot’s star patients, a medical diva whoee fame spread throughout Europe, where she became known as “the Queen of Hysterics.” (page 35)

  • At the very least, the science of hysteria articulated a desire to possess and immobilize women. (57)

  • The diagnosis of hysteria identified it as a “theatrical” illness, an illness of surface and illusion, as a form of fiction. (page 90)

  • Romantic and sexual relationships between hysterics and doctors or medical students were so common that they are casually noted in case histories of hysterics, suggesting that not only was there nothing unusual about the arrangement but no breech of medical ethics had occurred. (42)

Madness: A Bipolar Life

Marya Hornbacher

  • I realize I am screaming and stop immediately, feeling embarrassed by my behavior. I have to be careful. They will think I am crazy. (Page 4)
On community

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America (Revised Edition) 

Kiese Laymon

  • I wanted the book to be a site of the catastrophic and pleasurable, the intellectual and the everyday, the public and the private, the awkwardly destructive and the wholly sublime. Instead of imagining standard “literary” audiences, I knew that I wanted to question traditional literary forms and trajectories by writing to friends, and sensibilities, who didn’t like to read, and friends, and sensibilities, who were paid to read for a living. I knew I wanted to create work that explored, with colorful profundity and comedy, the reckless order of American human being, especially since so much of the nation was in a dizzying rush to crown itself multicultural, post-racial, and mostly innocent…

  • … I wanted readers to generate art in response to this text while working with the essays at being better lovers of those we profess to love. The hardest part, of course, is that I wanted to become a person, not just an author, worthy of forgiveness and risk from literary and literal friends. (page xiii-xiv)

Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

Chögyam Trungpa

  • A great deal of chaos in the world occurs because people don't appreciate themselves. Having never developed sympathy or gentleness towards themselves, they cannot experience harmony or peace within themselves, and therefore, what they project to others is also inharmonious and confused. (page?)

Social Poetics

Mark Nowak

  • Yet scholars such as Angela Davis and Lise Vogel, and, more recently, Susan Ferguson, Tithi Bhattacharya, Nancy Fraser, and others have been expanding our understanding of social reproduction theory, according to Ferguson, “insists that our understanding of capitalism is incomplete if we treat it as simply an economic system involving workers and owners, and fail to examine the ways in which wider social production of the system—that is daily and generational reproductive labor that occurs in households, schools, hospitals, prisons, and son on—sustains the drive for accumulation.”  (page 8)

  • Because of the sheer magnitude of these stories, there will always be many more people’s histories of struggle and resistance than can ever be written. (page 12)

The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin

  • To be loved, baby, hard, at once, and forever, to strengthen you against the loveless world. Remember that: I know how black it looks today, for you. It looked bad that day, too, yes, we were trembling. We have not stopped trembling yet, but if we had not loved each other none of us would have survived. And now you must survive because we love you, and for the sake of your children and your children’s children. (page 7)

  • To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread. (page 43)

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

adrienne maree brown
  • Here you are, in the cycle between the past and the future, choosing to spend your miraculous time in the exploration of how humans, especially those seeking to grow liberation and justice, can learn from the world around us how to best collaborate, how to shape change. (1)

  • Emergent strategy is how we intentionally change in ways that grow our capacity to embody the just and liberated worlds we long for. (3)

  • This book is for people who want to radically change the world. (4)

  • To a certain degree, our entire future may depend on learning to listen, listen without assumptions or defenses. (5)

  • Underline everything that moves you and then give it to someone younger than you. (8)

  • There are new strategies emerging, or being remembered—many would describe this as a shift from masculine to feminine (or patriarchal to feminist) leadership. I see that, and I think it is also about something beyond all of our binaries—evolving in relationship with our hierarchical tendencies.

  • If love were the central practice of a new generation of organizers and spiritual leaders, it would have a massive impact on what was considered organizing. (9-10)

  • We would see that there’s no such thing as a blank canvas, an empty land or a new idea—but everywhere there is complex, ancient, fertile ground full of potential. (10)

. . .
  • We would organize with the perspective that there is wisdom and experience and amazing story in the communities we love, and instead of starting new ideas/organizations all the time, we would want  to listen,  support, collaborate, merge, grow through fusion, not competition. (10)

. . .
  • We would understand that the strength of our movement is in the strength of our relationships, which could only be measured by their depth. Scaling up would mean going deeper, being more vulnerable and more empathetic. (10)

  • I notice that the more I pay attention, the more I see order, clear messages, patterns, and invitations in the small or seemingly random things that happen in my life. (11)

  • Birds don’t make a plan to migrate, raising resources to fund their way, packing for scarce times, mapping out pit stops. They feel the call in their bodies that they must go, and they follow it, responding to each other, each bringing their adaptations. (13)

  • A group of caterpillars or nymphs might not see flight in their future, but it’s inevitable.

  • Imagination is shaped by our entire life experience, or socialization, the concepts we are exposed to, where we fall in the global hierarchies of society. (17)
    • Re: Sartre on imagination as the whole of consciousness as it accesses freedom
    • Re: bell hooks / Teaching to Transgress

  • We must imagine new worlds that transition ideologies and norms, so that no one sees Black people as murderers, or Brown people as terrorists and aliens, but all of us as potential cultural and economic innovators. This is a time-travel exercise for the heart. This collaborative ideation—what are the ideas that will liberate all of us?

The more people that will collaborate on that ideation, the more that people will be served by the resulting world(s). (19)

  • Ursula Le Guin recently said, “It’s up to authors to spark the imagination of their readers and to help them envision alternatives to how we live.” (19) [footnote—from the nov. 2014 acceptance speech for the National Book Foundation’s medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters]

  • Humans? Some of us are surviving, following, flocking—but some of us are trying to imagine where we are going as we fly. That is radical imagination. (21)
    • Re: Violetta Went to Heaven

  • Relationships are everything. (28)

  • In my experience, healing happens when a place of trauma or pain is given full attention, really listened to. (34)

  • I want to move forward from where others ended, or at least from the point of impact between their work and my own. (38)

  • I have learned that feeling matters, that feeling is an important and legitimate way of knowing. (38)

  • Grace often said that every crisis is an opportunity, which is amazing theoretically, and requires great fortitude in practice, as well as the maturity to understand that negative realization to that theory is “disaster capitalism.” (page 44)

  • Matter doesn’t disappear, it transforms. Energy is the same way. The Earth is layer upon layer of all that has existed, remembered by the dirt. It is time to turn the soil, turn the horizon together. (49)

  • A fractal is a never-ending pattern. (51)

  • It was and is devastatingly clear to me that until we have some sense of how to live our solutions locally, we won’t be successful at implementing a just governance system regionally, nationally, or globally. (52)

  • My life is a miracle and cannot be recreated. (54)

  • Adapting to the changes of life, yes, but with a clear and transparent intention to keep deepening with my loved ones and transforming together. (54)

  • I want an interdependence of lots of kinds of people with lots of belief systems, and continued evolution. (57)

  • How do we prepare the children in our lives to be visionary, and to love nature even when the changes are frightening and incomprehensible. (59)

  • How do we cultivate the muscle of radical imagination needed to dream together beyond fear? (59)

Killing Poetry: Blackness and the Making of Slam and Spoken Word Communities

Javon Johnson

  • I had made a political commitment to write in ways that would allow my parents, who never went to college, to engage with my work. (ix)

  • Like many of the poets I interviewed for this book, these communities, though sometimes problematic, saved my life. In exploring this tension between the problematic and the possible, I hope to add to a conversation that will help such communities become more dynamic, more radical, and more beyond. (xi)

  • But, honestly, I’ve never wanted to be an academic writer. I want to be a creative, generous, caring writer who tells stories about love. (xi)

  • Originally, we didn’t know what we were doing. We just knew we had to do something . . . (5)

  • The advent of poetry slams in the 1980s marked an important moment in the revival of spoken word poetry. (7)

  • I lost count of the number of poets who explained to me, “This is how I breathe.” (7)

  • I remember feeling as if I had found a community of people to whom I did not have to explain and justify my complexities. (9)

  • We laughed, shouted, and recited lines that had taken our breath away and, more importantly, those that had given us new breath. (10)

  • In short, I am not a researcher who does art but an artist who has decided to research these critically creative communities. (12)

  • It is this mode of thinking—in which death is the beginning of another possibility, something beyond rather than an end . . . (14)

  • By something beyond, I mean spaces, moments, and possibilities defined by radical difference from the here and now. (14)

  • To rethink the boundaries is to leave the problematic system intact, but imagining beyond is an attempt to leave the problematic system altogether. (14)

The Prophet

Khalil Gibran

  • Life is indeed darkness save when there is urge, and all urge is blind save when there is knowledge, and all knowledge is vain save when there is work, and all work is empty save when there is love. (page 36)

On feminism

feminism is for everybody

bell hooks

  • More than ever, I work to share the liberating joy feminist struggle brings to our lives as females and males who continue to work for change, who contine to hope for and end to sexism, to sexist explotation and oppression. (vii)

  • When work is dissident and progressive it is unlikely to receive very many mainstream reviews. (vii)

We Should All Be Feminists

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • I was about fourteen. We were in his house, arguing, both of us bristling with half-baked knowledge from the books we had read. (page 8)

  • He told me that people were saying my novel was feminisit, and his advice to me—he was shaking his head sadly as he spoke—was that I should never call myself a feminist, since feminists are women who are unhappy because they cannot find husbands. (page 9)

  • If we do something over and over again, it becomes normal. If we see the same thing over and over again, it becomes normal. If only boys are made class monitor, then at some point we will all think, even if unconsciously, that the class monitor has to be a boy. If we keep seeing only men as heads of corporations, it starts to seem ‘natural’ that only men should be heads of corporations. (page 13)

  • We teach boys to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves, because they have to be, in Nigerian-speak, a hard man. (26)

Witches Sluts Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive

Kristen J. Sollée

  • Like many millennial women, I see the reclamation of female power in the witch, slut, and feminsit identities. Each of these contested words conjure and counter a tortuous history of misogyny, and each in its own way can be emblematic of women overcoming oppression. (page 7)

  • Although many men and those on the masculine spectrum identify as witches and have historically been accused of witchcraft, this book specifically looks at the indivisible links between the witch, femininity, and womanhood—which includes trans women and anyone on the feminine spectrum—and the persecution women have faced as a result of their perceived connection with witchcraft. Wiches, Sluts, Feminists thus explores the witch as an identity forced upon women, as an identity taken up freely by feminine individuals, and as an embodiment of those who practice witchcraft—an umbrella term for a variety of occult practices. (page 9)

On gender

Gender Outlaw : On Men, Women and the Rest of Us

Kate Bornstein

  • I see fashion as a proclamation or manifestation of identity, so, as long as identities are important, fashion will continue to be important. The link between fashion and identity begins to get real interesting, however, in the case of people who don’t fall clearly into a culturally-recognized identity—people like me. (3)

  • But the need for a recognizable identity, and the need to belong to a group of people with a similar identity—these are driving forces in our culture, and nowhere is this more evident that in the areas of gender and sexuality. (3)

  • . . . there are as many truthful experiences about gender as there are people who think they have a gender. (8)

  • Nowadays, I try to make it easier for people to ask questions. I tell people that I’ve never been hurt by a question, and that’s true: it’s a cruel opinion that hurts, not a question. (9)
On magical realism

Ordinary Enchantments: Magical Realism and the Remystification of Narrative

Wendy B. Faris

  • Magical realism has become so important as a mode of expression worldwide, especially in postcolonial cultures, because it has provided the literary ground for significant cultural works; within its texts, marginal voices, submerged traditions, and emergent literature have developed and created masterpieces. (page 1)

  • Magical realism radically modifies and replenishes the dominant mode of realism in the West, challenging its basis of representation from within. That destabilization of a dominant form means that it has served as a particularly effective decolonizing agent. Very briefly defined, magical realism combines realism and the fantastic so that the marvelous seems to grow organically within the ordinary, blurring the distinction between them. (page 1)

  • The processes that contribute to the decolonizing force of magical realism can also be seen to operate in relation to gender. In that context, magical realism continues the process of patriarchal culture’s disenfranchisement with itself and its dominant forms of realistic representation begun by surrealism. It has therefore adopted what can be regarded in this context as various traditionally female ways of being and knowing. For example, feminist theoreticians, including Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, and Elaine Showalter, among others, have proposed that to speak with a voice that “is not one” within patriarchal culture is a female strategy, so that the multivocal and defocalized narrative of magical realism, which bridges the diverse worlds of realism and fantasy, is double-voiced in the way that female voices have been, integrating both a dominant and muted mode in a given text. (page 4)

The House of the Spirits

Isabel Allende

  • At times I feel as if I had lived all this before and that I have already written these very words, but I know it was not I: it was another woman, who kept her notebooks so that one day I could use them. I write, she wrote, that memory is fragile and the space of a single life is brief, passing so quickly that we never get a chance to see the relationship between events; we cannot gauge the consequences of our acts, and we believe in the fiction of past, present, and future, but it may also be true that everything happens simultaneously. … That’s why my Grandmother Clara wrote in her notebooks, in order to see things in their true dimension and to defy her own poor memory. (page ???)

  • Just as when we come into the world, when we die we are afraid of the unknown. But the fear is something from within us that has nothing to do with reality. Dying is like being born: just a change.  (page ???)

Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran

Shahrnush Parsipur 

Foreword by Shirin Neshat

  • Gabriel García Márquez once defined magic realism as the way in which his grandmother told stories to him; even when nothing made sense, he believed her every word, first because she was his grandmother, second because she told her story with such conviction that he didn’t dare question her. (vii)

On pedagogy

Teaching to Trangress: Education as the Practice of Freedom

bell hooks

  • If we examine critically the traditional role of the university in the pursuit of truth and the sharing of knowledge and information, it is painfully clear that biases that uphold and maintain white supremacy, imperialism, sexism, and racism have distorted education so that it is no longer about the practice of freedom. (page 29)

  • Once again, we are referring to a discussion of whether or not we subvert the classroom’s politics of domination simply by using different material, or by having a different, more radical standpoint. Again and again, you and I are saying that different, more radical subject matter does not create a liberatory pedagogy, that a simple practice like including personal experience may be more constructively challenging than simply changing the curriculum. That is why there has been such critique of the place of experience—of confessional narrative—in the classroom. (page 148)

  • Yet those of us from working class backgrounds cannot allow class antagonism to prevent us from gaining knowledge, degrees, and enjoying the aspects of higher education that are fulfilling. (page 183)

On trauma

A Paradise Built in Hell

Rebecca Solnit

  • Transcendence sneaks in everywhere as a survival response. Contemporary language speaks of the effects of disaster entirely as trauma, or even more frequently a post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. The twin implications are that we are not supposed to suffer and that in our frailty we are not merely damaged, but only damaged by suffering.  … the confrontation with physical and psychological annihilation essentially strips life to its essentials, and for many survivors becomes a turning point from the superficial to the profound. Life takes on new meaning and one’s own life is often reprioritized. (page 118)

  • I think when the earth shook it left it shaking inside you. (page 142)

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Bessel A. van der Kolk

  • As human beings we belong to an extremely resilient species. (Facing Trauma page 1)

  • While we all want to move beyond trauma, the part of our brain that is devoted to ensuring our survival (deep below our rational brain) is not very good at denial. Long after a traumatic experience is over, it may be reactivated at the slightest hint of danger and mobilize disturbed brain circuits and secrete massive amounts of stress hormones. This precipitates unpleasant emotions, intense physical sensations, and impulsive and aggressive actions. Feeling out of control, survivors of trauma often begin to fear that they are damaged to the core and beyond redemption. (Facing Trauma Page 2)

  • How can people gain control over the residues of past trauma and return to being masters of their own ships? Talking, understanding, and human connections can help, and drugs can dampen hyperactive alarm systems. But we will also see that the imprints from the past can be transformed by having physical experiences that directly contradict that helplessness, rage, and collapse that are part of trauma, and thereby regaining self-mastery. I have no preferred treatment modality, as no single approach fits everybody, but I practice all forms of treatment that I discuss in this book. Each one of them can produce profound changes, depending on the nature of the particular problem and the makeup of the individual person. (Facing Trauma Page 4)

Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on the Mind, Body, and Society

Bessel A. van der Kolk, Alexander C McFarlane, Lars Weisaeth

  • This book is dedicated to Nelson Mandela and all those who, after having been hurt, work on transforming the trauma of others, rather than seeking oblivion or revenge.  (Dedication Page)

  • The past has shown how fragile existing knowledge can be, and how psychiatry is prone to become trapped in prevailing paradigms without being able to see their shortcomings. The unknown is the worst enemy of knowledge. This book is a body of work meant to be criticized and reacted against; only a critical reading will help us further define what we do not know, and determine the scope of future explorations. (Preface xviii)