restricted access “Striving All My Life”
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“Striving All My Life”1

Maxwell said: There is no more powerful way to introduce knowledge to the mind than . . . as many different ways as we can, wrenching the mind

away from the symbols to the objects and from the objects back to the symbols.

Maxwell said: I have been striving all my life to be free of the yoke of Cartesian co-ordinates. I found such an instrument in

quaternions. Do I need quaternions to talk about light? Alas,

the square of quaternions is negative. But Gibbs’s vectors, uncouth seemingly, work [End Page 353]

well, in any dimension, with a very great capability for interpreting space relations.

Rukeyser said: Critical minds that approach the world with love have but one possible

defense—to build a system. Rayleigh said, I protest the compression.

Gibbs: I myself concluded that the paper was too long.

Stephanie Strickland

Stephanie Strickland has published seven books of print poetry, most recently Dragon Logic (2013), and collaborated on seven electronic poems, most recently “Sea and Spar Between,” a poetry generator written with Nick Montfort. Her prize-winning volume from Penguin, V: WaveSon.nets / Losing L’una, will appear in a new edition with accompanying app for mobile devices from SpringGun in 2014. Two of her digital pieces appear online in The Electronic Literature Collection Volume 2. (See


1. © Stephanie Strickland, from her collection True North, University of Notre Dame Press, 1997. “Striving All My Life” was first published in The Kenyon Review in 1995, then later in True North (1997), and is available for purchase through the University of Notre Dame Press. [End Page 354]