"You're A Smart Kid. Figure It Out" : Robert Harmon's The Hitcher
"In short, John Ryder is a cypher, and the film a site and sight of uncertainties into whose vortex the perceiver is invited to fall. How far? As far as an image can be reduced–to silhouette, abstraction, death."
Jumping off the Titanic
"I should take a moment to clarify what I mean by 'serious and devoted students.' I certainly don't mean those heaven-sent prodigies who flash like comets across the pedagogical sky or the more common investors in knowledge for future security and remuneration, but those who are introspectively aware of a lack in themselves and willing to do something about it. In other words, those who know that they do not know and whose affective lives are powered by that explosive amalgam of delight and discontent–delight in learning, discontent with themselves."
"I spent a lot of time tilting the ring back and forth, examining the meteorite, and pondering it. What part of the solar system was it from? How far had it traveled? How had it survived its plunge through the atmosphere? And once it fell to Earth, who had found it? I had visions of a special staff clad in white coats and goggles – the General Mills Meteorite Recovery Team—searching the Nevada desert on hands and knees."
Fiction: "Starry Night"
Close Reading and William Empson
"Sooner or later, because of the strenuousness of his methods, and no matter how much one from time to time admires them, the question of their justifiability will arise. . . . How far ought a professional critic to go in 'close reading' a text? What ought to be the limits of applied imaginative association? Such questions will be all the more urgent, once again, if one has been distressed at the far-fetchedness of many contemporary close readings: what is to prevent someone from saying just anything about a poem?"