Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Late bloomer …

 Carobeth Laird, First Published at Age 80 - The Neglected Books Page.

A slippery character …

A Poet Unlike Any Other. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
She is often described as dotty, batty, silly, odd, childish, droll, or “fausse-naïve” (Philip Larkin’s term).2 Her English quirkiness and eccentricity are played up, as in Stevie, the play of 1977 by Hugh Whitemore (made into a film by Robert Enders in 1978), with Glenda Jackson as Stevie. Some readers throw up their hands in bafflement, as she told them they would, at the start of her 1936 Novel on Yellow Paper: “This is a foot-off-the-ground novel…and if you are a foot-on-the-ground person, this book will be for you a desert of weariness and exasperation.”3

Blogging note …

I must be out an about. So blogging will resume later on.

The new snobbery …

… James Bowman on the uncouth. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Offensive, you may wonder, to whom? Not necessarily to the members of those minorities towards whose feelings the dictionaries have become ostensibly solicitous. You may be sure that The Washington Post’s recent discovery that the term “redskin” is not considered offensive by 90 percent of the American Indians it surveyed will not be taken into account the next time the dictionaries are revised. That is because the feelings that matter are not those of the minorities alleged to be offended but those of the elite who have moralized our linguistic manners so as to be able to exclude the unwanted and the uncouth—that is, those who do not signal their fitness for inclusion in it by adopting the elite’s vocabulary. Lacking the means of excluding such people merely on social or aesthetic grounds, the elite must turn the social and aesthetic into the just and ethical so as to be able to exclude them on moral grounds.

Resurrection …

… The Lost Gardens of Emily Dickinson - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Last summer, as the purple-tipped spears of irises unsheathed themselves and nasturtiums flaunted trumpets of fire, a team of archaeologists excavated another one of Dickinson’s gardens near the southeastern corner of the house. They used neon pink string to mark out squares and rectangles the size of coffee tables. Then, shovels and trowels in hand, they began to remove layers of grass and dirt within the outlined spaces.

Resurrection …

… The Lost Gardens of Emily Dickinson - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Last summer, as the purple-tipped spears of irises unsheathed themselves and nasturtiums flaunted trumpets of fire, a team of archaeologists excavated another one of Dickinson’s gardens near the southeastern corner of the house. They used neon pink string to mark out squares and rectangles the size of coffee tables. Then, shovels and trowels in hand, they began to remove layers of grass and dirt within the outlined spaces.

Prose poem …

… The Sun Magazine | The Dog Misses You. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Hot time in the city …

… The poetry of simmering Chicago summers | PBS NewsHour. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Ad From Ben Franklin!


… 20 Word Usage Mistakes Even Smart People Make | Mental Floss. (Hat tip, David Tothero.)

Something to think on …

Power is of its nature evil, whoever wields it.
— Jacob Burckhardt, born on this date in 1818

Tomorrow evening …

A Celebration of A.V. Christie 1963-2016
+ the launch of her posthumous chapbook

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 7 PM
Brandywine Workshop
728 South Broad Street, Philadelphia PA

The evening honors A.V. Christie, her life and her poetry, and her just published chapbook, AND I BEGAN TO ENTERTAIN DOUBTS, from Folded Word Press, a poem whose “urgency and beauty” inspired the Press to create a new Master Series.  This occasion is open to all those who loved and admired A.V. and her poetry; all are invited to bring a poem of hers to read, or read from her new chapbook, or come to listen, mourn and celebrate A.V.

A.V. Christie was the author of Nine Skies (University of Illinois Press, 1997), which won the National Poetry Series; The Housing (Ashland Poetry Press, 2004), winner of the McGovern Prize; and a chapbook, The Wonders, Editor’s Series (Seven Kitchens Press, 2014).


I was conceived in the cruelest month
in whatever spring California could muster.
A little rain—with some more likely.
And the buckeyes were they yet on the ground?
Damn my father’s smooth stone eyes,
other prevailing enticements and what Eliot called
the female stench. Damn the oaks,
their histrionics, struggling in the fog.
Spiderwebs lay in the grass, misted
and looking like misspent galaxies.
I cry into and out of this moment.
Pound told Eliot: strike this and this.
What was weak got dropped, and the poem
stood stronger without it.

A.V. Christie

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Faithful Dylan …

… Ennyman's Territory: Duluth Dylan Fest: Religious Themes Pervaded His Life's Work. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It's a strong one …

 The Case for Dana Gioia. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Even before “Can Poetry Matter?” ideologues such as Diane Wakoski and Ira Sadoff shrilly attacked Gioia, portraying New Formalism as an ignorant attack on modernism and a zombie-like extension of Reaganism. Given that the New Formalists reflected a wider range of backgrounds and ideologies than their critics, this counterattack failed miserably. It also made for particular awkwardness when used against Gioia, who grew up in a working-class family with Latino, Native American, and Italian roots—and unlike more traditional New Formalists such as Timothy Steele, Gioia embraced modernism and superbly translated modernist poets.

Which continues to fall …

… T.S. Eliot, Poet for a Fallen Culture - Washington Free Beacon. (Hat tip,  G. E. Reutter.)

Only modernism could convey sufficiently the negative part: The breakdown of traditional civilization had to be echoed in the objective correlative of the breakdown of traditional verse. This wasn’t free verse as a declaration of new freedom. This was free verse as a howl that culture itself had failed.

Favorites …

 Paul Davis On Crime: As 'The Holy Grail' Turns 41, The New York Daily News Offers Their Favorite Monty Python Sketches.

In case you wondered …

… Anthrocene Fictions: OPED: ''Does Science-Fiction Need a New Subgenre? The next movement of sci-fi will look at our status as a 'pale blue dot'. -- A ''Food for Thought'' Oped by American sci-fi book reviewer Andrew Liptak.

A very good idea would be to make sure the science is as sound as the fiction.

Listen in …

 Episode 169 – David Mikics | Virtual Memories.
“These days, we tend to think of identity as something chosen; we put on certain masks or we identify as this or that, culturally, ethnically or politically. Bellow is interested in something much more basic: who we really are.” 

In honor of Mr. Dylan's birthday …

… a personal favorite (come October, I will catch up to him in age).


… Hitler's Pope and 9 Other Anti-Catholic Myths Disproven By History | PJ Media.

Something to think on …

Every individual ought to know at least one poet from cover to cover: if not as a guide through the world, then as a yardstick for the language. 
— Joseph Brodsky, born on this date in 1940

Six degrees of difference....

How highly religious Americans’ lives are different from others...Pew Research Center set out to explore this topic from a number of different angles in a new report that is part of our U.S. Religious Landscape Study. Here are three areas where the highly religious – defined in this study as the 30% of U.S. adults who say they pray daily and attend religious services at least once a week – are different from the remaining 70% of the population, and three areas where they are not: 
The same poll suggested that weekly worshippers (regardless of race or gender) were pretty sceptical about both candidates: 59% had an unfavourable view of Mrs Clinton, and 67% felt the same way about her rival. At the same time, the feelings of those who “seldom or never” went to church were rather similar; 59% had a unfavourable opinion of Mrs Clinton and 72% of Mr Trump. So by recent standards, levels of piety were making remarkably little difference.

Happy Birthday!

There’s no better way to celebrate the greatest American songwriter’s 75th birthday than to stoke reader outrage by attempting to rank his work, album by album.
And I agree with Number 1 although Biograph isn't listed, nor is Greatest Hits, which I guess raises the question can they be viewed as an "album?"  Yes they should be of course; an album can defined as of a moment or a time, with some sort of integrated vision.  "Best of" compilations are simply over longer, an artist's creative life, and with the vision of the artist themselves and their work. 

The Age of Entanglement...

Monday, May 23, 2016

How do I get to Carnegie Hall?

Gladwell popularized Ericsson’s violin research with his catchy formulation, “the 10,000-hour rule,” which Ericsson paraphrases as the rule that “it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become a master in most fields.” This notion was “irresistibly appealing,” Ericsson notes, because it’s easy to remember and satisfies a human desire for simple cause-and-effect relationships...
Certainly, “the number varies from field to field,” Ericsson observes. 


Wynton Marsalis and Louis Armstrong's trumpet:

Playing an historic instrument from the museum's collection was a first, says Reece.But musical instruments are different than other historic items in the collection, she says. “Instruments are interesting things in that their sole purpose in life was to be played and to live in that kind of way. The National Museum American History brings out a couple of instruments that get played every once in a while. But it’s a kind of tug of war, between the conservation needs of the object and whether it can be played without any damage.”

Times two …

 Second Acts: A Second Look at Second Books of Poetry by James Tate and Sam Taylor - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, G. E. Reuter.)

And the winners are …

Book Trade Announcements - Announcing The Winner Of The 2016 Petrona Award For The Best Scandinavian Crime Novel Of The Year. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The philosopher as artist …

George Santayana and the consolations of philosophy. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
George Santayana was unassimilable by nature, a stranger by preference, a man without a country quite as much by choice as by circumstance. When in his sixties he finally settled in Rome, he did so not because he felt he had found an ideal society, but rather because he found suitable lodgings in an ideal situation of solitude and independence, “after the fashion of ancient philosophers,” as he put it, “often in exile, but always in sight of the market-place and the theatre.” Of course, to be in exile one must first have a home country from which one has been ejected or has chosen to flee. As John McCormick writes in his excellent new biography of Santayana,[2]“Wherever he was, he was at ease, playing his part on the stage, but he was not at home.” Yet it would be a mistake, I believe, to imagine George Santayana as lonely, alienated, an isolato—a mistake, in general, to imagine that Santayana did not enjoy life, for he did, immensely.
I am an admirer of Santayana, and I can see why Wallace Stevens was: For Santayana, philosophy was an attempt to arrive at a supreme fiction of one's own. Unfortunately, he seems to have kept pretty much to the surface of things. His reluctance to pursue faith beyond its aesthetic dimension suggests to me a fear of going deeper.

Two stops …

… The Ernest Hemingway Blog: Carmel (California) and Provincetown (Massachusetts) in Ernest Hemingway's first novel, The Sun Also Rises.

And the winner is …

… Anthrocene Fictions: Watch video pf "Mr Osamah Sami winner of literary prize this week in Australia give an hilarious yet powerful reminder acceptance speech at Australia's Premier's Literary Award event.

War novels …

… Novelists at Arms | Standpoint. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Tuning in …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Night Music: The Beach Boy's Darlin'.

Something to think on …

One for whom the pebble has value must be surrounded by treasures wherever he goes.
— Pär Lagerkvist, born on this date in 1891

Getting your facts straight …

… and how politicians and others bend them: STAIRWAY TO NINETY-SEVEN | Daily Telegraph Tim Blair Blog.
Someone alert Bill Nye the Mechanical Engineering Guy.