The Precision of Luck, by Joel Rea, 2015. Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 48 inches. © Joel Rea, courtesy the artist and Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York City.

Luck

Volume IX, Number 3 | summer 2016

Miscellany

“Among the greatest pieces of luck for high achievement is ordeal,” poet John Berryman told an interviewer in 1970, two years before his death. “Certain great artists can make out without it, Titian and others, but mostly you need ordeal. My idea is this: the artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he’s in business.”

There are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate: when he can’t afford it, and when he can.

—Mark Twain, 1897