Whirl Without End: On M.C. Richards' 'Centering'

Episode 35 · December 5th, 2018 · 1 hr 1 min

About this Episode

The first step in any pottery project is to center the clay on the potter's wheel. In her landmark essay Centering: In Pottery, Poetry and the Person (1964), the American poet M. C. Richards turns this simple action into a metaphor for all creative acts, including the act of living your life. The result is a penetrating and poetic reflection on the artistic process that values change, unknowing, and radical becoming, making Richards' text a guide to creativity that leaves other examples of that evergreen genre in the dust. Phil and JF get their hands dirty trying to understand what centering is, and what it entails for a life of creation and becoming. The discussion brings in a number of other thinkers and artists including Friedrich Nietzsche, Norman O. Brown, Carl Jung, Antonin Artaud, and Flannery O'Connor.

Header image: NASA


M. C. Richards, Centering: In Pottery, Poetry, and the Person
J. S. Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier
American pianist David Tudor
C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections
Weird Studies, Episode 33: "The Fine Art of Changing the Subject"
Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy
Antonin Artaud, The Theater and its Double (translated by M. C. Richards)
Rudolf Steiner, Alchemy: The Evolution of the Mysteries
Norman O. Brown, author of Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytic Meaning of History
G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
Flannery O'Connor, "Novelist and Believer"