Friday, April 30, 2010

No more blogging today ...

... I am tired. Back tomorrow.

Psst ...

... Confessions of a Poet Laureate. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The Republicans, especially, are always worried that someone in the arts is undermining the religious and family values of our country. They suspect poets of being subversives, free-thinkers, sex-fiends, and drug addicts. Their fears are not entirely without foundation. There have not been many American poets, living or dead, you’d want to bring home to meet your grandmother or have speak to your Bible study group.


Charles is a fine poet and a great guy - I spent some time with him after I introduced once at the Library - but he probably doesn't know (I suppose most people don't) that the only poet actually the beneficiary of genuine patronage in U.S. was Edwin Arlington Robinson. A copy of Robinson's poems was given to Theodore Roosevelt by the President's son. He read it and liked it. When he learned that the poet was in straitened circumstances, he got him sinecure in a customs house. Roosevelt was a Republican, of course.

Reprise ...

... W.H. Auden on How Not To Be a Genius.

An essay in fiction ...

... Flight of Fancy. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Class-free ...

... Boyd Tonkin: How Nottingham rebels broke the kitchen sink.

Write two triolets ...

... and call me in the morning (just joking): Opening the Door to Poetry Therapy. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The poetry of Kosovo ...

... “So many shots fired, so many daggers thrown…”

Never too late ...

... Belated Happy Birthday to Harper Lee (4.28).

It is so ...

... Sparrowhawks: The Truth.

Style notes ...

... Brief Notes on Stephen Crane’s Prose Style #1.

The garden again ...

... Marginalia, no.120.

A poem ...

... My Father's Corpse by Andrew Hudgins. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

In case you wondered ...

... UPDATE BELOW: How Google Is Killing An Arts Site (A Twist On "Too Big To Fail"). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

See also: Sorry about that, folks.

Forty years of it ...

... Letter from the Publisher.

Surprise, surprise ...

... Prominent Female Poet Not Included in Iran's Book Of Poets. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Under the wire ...

... Poetry Month: Joe Blades on Phoebe Tsang. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Going bankrupt ...

... In Retrospect: Adam Kirsch on Robert Lowell's "Day By Day". (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Miss Emily ...

... The Poet as Gardener and Tiger Lily. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Dave also sends along Emily Dickinson in Bloom.

Thought for the day ...

He that can live alone resembles the brute beast in nothing, the sage in much, and God in everything.
- Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Many happy returns ...

... Poetry - Edwin Morgan at 90. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Frost and Pinsky

... Old Made New: Was Robert Frost a Modernist?.

... Speaking Jazz: Poetry gets physical as Pinsky jams with musicians.

(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

A selection ...

... Peter Porter, 1929–2010.

The Figes affair ...

... The TLS, Orlando Figes and the law.

Also this, from Peter Stothard: One lesson of the Figes affair.

The issue is only that scholars, more than all others, should think long and hard before hiring lawyers to stop publication of material about themselves that they dislike - however much they may dislike it.

A backward glance ...

... at Alan Sillitoe: Contributions to the TLS from a "true voice of proletarian feeling".

This week's batch ...

... of TLS Letters: The Theory of Natural Selection, The Two Roberts, The and a, and more!

Check out ...

... The New England Review.

And the winner is ...

... China Miéville wins unprecedented Arthur C Clarke award triple.

Holy ad homini ...

... Quite the brouhaha in the National Interest.

So, many religious and atheistic ideologies of the past were equally dangerous because their trust, loyalty or ultimate concern resided in a concrete, contemporary figure in the government or church instead of in a never wholly manifested ideal (secular reason or an infinite God) that stands forever in judgment of our historical, fallible efforts.

Hear, hear.

RIP ...

... Remembering Pierre Hadot - Part I and Remembering Pierre Hadot - Part II.

FYI ...

... Publishing: Editors Speak Out at the LA Times Festival of Books.

Only a click away ...

... Flashlight Worthy Books.

The sweet science ...

... Roberto Duran: One of Kimball’s Four Kings.

Roaring Bert ...

... "Lawrence thinks critics influential and should realize their responsibility," or, D. H. goes to parties.

Lawrence is at his best in short stories and poems. His plays also seem to be getting more respect lately. J.B. Priestley had this to say of him:

Lawrence was fiercely anti-intellectual; but ... he could not escape from being an intellectual himself, could not use thought and self-consciousness to rid himself of thought and self-consciousness; and this dilemma, together with a disease that found some relief in explosions of rage, goes far to explain the anger and bitter intolerance of a man who was at heart friendly and often an enchanting companion.
His travel writing is wonderful and Studies in Classic American Literature a minor masterpiece.

Classical politics ...

... On crime & thrillers: Conspirata - crime, conspiracy and political intrigue in ancient Rome.

Indeed ...

... Some Interesting Approaches.

FYI ...

... Emily Dickinson: The Poetry of Flowers, presented by Poetry Society of America & The New York Botanical Garden.

Kindred spirits ...

... "The Only Brother I Ever Had": Robert Frost and Edward Thomas.

Hmm ...

... Like a Bad Houseguest.

This is thoughtful post, with which I largely agree. I would suggest, though, that Kay Ryan and John Ashbery have more in common than may be immediately apparent.

Updike's endgame ...

... Review of Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Dave also sends along "Hub Fans" Redux: John Updike, Ted Williams, and the Great American Essay.

Politesse ...

... Borges avoiding Neruda.

I am only now catching up on things, and I just came upon this also at Nigel's blog: Time to reconsider John Masefield.

I had a great time with Nigel during his visit - that is when I bought a copy of Maugham's Cakes and Ale. Also, Debbie finally got a chance to meet Nigel - she had been in Greece when he last visited these parts.

A devouring emptiness ...

... Eagleton and Hitchens against nihilism. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Thought for the day ...

Great music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and leaves the memory with difficulty. Magical music never leaves the memory.
- Thomas Beecham, born on this date in 1879

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rejoinders ...

... Exaggeration Nation: Nincompoops.

Meet everybody's favorite...

... Cyber-PoEtc.

In case you wondered ...

... Hot as Hell.

Take a guess ...

... DJ´s Bait in the Box # 63.

The other Wordsworth ...

... Daffodils so beautiful.

Winning combo ...

... Genius & Diligence.

FYI ...

... The 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Nice ...

... A Poetic Tribute to Haverford’s Trees.

Take a look ...

... FOOX @ ART BASEL SWITZERLAND 2010!

Check this out ...

... CONNECTNY TAPS COUTTS INFORMATION SERVICES FOR PATRON-DRIVEN E-BOOK ACQUISITION MODEL.

Regarding ConnectNY.

He lived to tell of it ...

... the elberrymobile.

A good question ...

... I suppose: Why Is There No Jewish Narnia?

Also from Nige ...

... Serious Money - for Poetry!

Quite a valedictory ...

... Random Ageist Verses. (Via Nige.)

A tremendous adventure ...

... Book Review (Courtesy of BookLoons).

Vestiges ...

... `I Was Listening to My Own Blood Pound'.

The great American Jewish novel ...

... Bread Givers.

Make your day ...

... Clint Eastwood at 80: a profile of a Hollywood legend.

An e-narrative ...

... The Jew's Daughter. (Hat tip, Lee Lowe.)

This is the sort of thing Katie was writing about for The Inquirer before the powers that be there decided that the future of the paper was located somewhere around 1980.

In defense of civility ...

... Science Warriors' Ego Trips.

I'm pretty much with Carlin on this. The dogmatism of many of the commenters seems noteworthy

A proud liberal ...

... and a pretty nice guy to boot. I have been exchanging emails with Joe Pugnetti, who blogs at A Liberal Point of View. Joe and I don't exactly see eye-to-eye politically, but it is pleasure to engage with him because he is smart and unfailingly polite. For which reason I recommend you pay a visit to his blog.

And the winners are ...

... The 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes ceremony honors the best books of 2009.

Thought for the day ...

Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine.
- Kurt Gödel, born on this date in 1906

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Psyche's pulse ...

... Peter Pereira, What's Written on the Body.

Bryan surfaces ...

... actually, he surfaced on Sunday, though I didn't see this - in spite of a search at Times's website: James Cameron: Beyond the third dimension.

I have a hard time taking Cameron seriously, principally because Titanic was the only movie I ever sat through while silently praying, "Please God, may the words 'The End' appear on the screen."

Before the tide ebbed ...

... A Prelude by Richard Wilbur. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sad episode ...

... Lisa reads: Heresy by S. J. Parris.

I know a bit about Giordano Bruno. I wrote a long poem about him many years ago that gained me a little notoriety at the time. The peculiar thing about his case (regrettably, burning people at the stake was not peculiar at the time and was accepted practice on all sides) is that Cardinal Robert Bellarmine has worked out a deal with Bruno that would have saved the friar from Nola's life. At the last moment Bruno repudiated the agreement and in effect signed his own death warrant.

My latest column ...

... The operating mystery is what truth is all about.

An amazing piece ...

... and deeply moving: Why did I let this happen to me?

A day late ...

... but what the hell: Monday Smatterings in Time for Edgar Week.

Bon voyage ...

... Dickens leaves the United States, gratefully (1842).

South Park and the Prophet ...

... 'South Park' and the Informal Fatwa. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

... Everyone Draw Mohammed.

... Draw Muhammad Day 2010!

Quite a gathering ...

... Festival of Faith & Writing 2010. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Comparison and contrast ...

... Two Kinds of Poems.

FYI ...

... The 2010 Moby Awards.

Partnering with Scotland ...

... Town of Dunoon hopes to bring Tribeca Film Festival to Scotland - and a look back at the American nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch.

Thought for the day ...

Hero-worship is strongest where there is least regard for human freedom.
- Herbert Spencer, born on this date in 1820

Monday, April 26, 2010

Poetry train ...

... All aboard! (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Now online ...

... Autumn Sky Poetry Issue 17.

And the winners are ...

... Jones, Le Share PEN/Malamud Award for Short Story. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Philly book scene ...

... Local Area Events.

Indeed ...

... Standing Up For "South Park". (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Continuing decline ...

... US newspaper circulation down 8.7 percent.

Candor ...

... A profane and explosive James Ellroy, in conversation with Joseph Wambaugh.

Hmm ...

... The Book Seer. (Hat tip, Lynne Scanlon.)

No recommendations for Marisa Silver's The God of War, but plenty for Francis Collins's The Language of God.

Birthwrite ...

... Writer James Lee Burke finds La. a rich well to tap. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

This week ...

... at Five Chapters: The Let Down.

Certainly ambiguous ...

... Beastly Burden. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

... Martel allows the second Henry to do what the first Henry could not: to try to convince us that fable and fiction are legitimate ways to remember the Holocaust. Our response to Beatrice and Virgil is inevitably bound up with our response to this allegory—which ends up, deliberately or otherwise, refuting its own premise.

There would appear to be a typo in this article. Flaubert's story is titled "The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller," not "Hospitator."

FYI ...

... about that settled science. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Favorites ...

... Mamet's top ten. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I'd like to see Terry's list.

Back to the future ...

... Aldous Huxley and the Changing Face of Democracy.

Thought for the day ...

For a truly religious man nothing is tragic.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, born on this date in 1889

Sunday, April 25, 2010

RIP ...

... Alan Sillitoe: the loneliness of the long-distance writer. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

See also Alan Sillitoe dies aged 82.

More: Alan Sillitoe: novelist, playwright, poet and children’s author.

Very good question ...

... Michael Kinsley wonders: Who Owns the First Amendment?

For people whose job it is to describe the world, journalists often seem to have remarkable difficulty imagining life in other people’s shoes.

Needlessly obscure ...

... The Dead Writer’s Almanac (April 25, 2010)

Behind and ahead ...

... at the same time: The Radical Center: The History of an Idea. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Letters ...

... Alphabet in crime fiction: re-up.

Up to speed ...

... Slow Reading or the Art of the Snail. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Tom Wolfe on Mark Twain ...

... Faking West, Going East. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Broaden your horizon ...

... Make Friends With Eddie Coyle By Reading George V. Higgins' Crime Classic & By Watching Peter Yates' Fine Film Adaptation.

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

... I review Jacqueline Winspear: Mystery, heartbreak in a quainter time.

... Caterer who civilized the West.

... Checking in with Walt Whitman.

... Differing shades of green.

Thought for the day ...

... art is human willpower deploying every means at its disposal to break through to a truer state than the present one.
- John Ashbery, "Writers and Issues: Frank O'Hara's Question" (from Selected Prose, ed. Eugene Richie)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

God bless him ...

... FREE SPEECH HERO.

Remembering Willa Cather ...

... The Dead Writer’s Almanac (April 24, 2010). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The two women lived together for four decades. Some scholars have speculated that there was more going on than a super-intense friendship. But since the two women are both dead, I don’t believe it’s germane for us to contemplate if they were Sapphic exemplars or friends with really nice benefits. What Cather and Lewis did was their business. And if they wished to take it to the grave, this was their choice.

Report card ...

... A Model School Flops.

RIP ...

... Peter Porter.

Not dead ...

... The Dead Poets Society Lives — And It’s Going Out on Tour. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sixty years of poetry ...

... WHITE APPLES and the TASTE of STONE, Selected Poems 1946-2006 by Donald Hall.

Unerringly conventional ...

... Philosophy for the All-Too-Common Man.


... it is an illuminating volume, since what we have on display in it is the bien-pensant mind at its most unguarded and self-revealing. In his own view, if not that of the reader, Grayling is leading humankind on the path of progress. Aware of the almost-impossible obstacles that had to be overcome in order to produce anyone as rational as himself, he does not suppose that progress is inevitable. Yet it seems a source of some puzzlement to him that others do not follow eagerly in his footsteps, and he is quick to accuse those who decline to join him on his pilgrimage of lacking in optimism. It does not occur to him that they might regard the narrow and frowsty world to which he aspires as scarcely worth living in.

Godthink ...

... A Dangerous Belief. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

An Open Letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Dear Mr. Tierney:


Please, listen.

  1. Cut the Business Section during the week. Run it only on Saturday and Sunday. The age of listing stock-quotes that are a day old has passed. In fact, it passed ten years ago. Offer business analysis, but only on the weekends.
  2. Cut the Local News Section during the week. Run it only once, on Sundays. Those with an interest in Local News are far more likely to read The Daily News than they are The Inquirer.
  3. During the week, run only the Sports Page and the Front Page. Expand the Front Page to include more international news. Keep the Sports Page as it is. This is the one thing that The Inquirer does better than The New York Times. And yes, you’re hearing me right: Monday through Friday, run only two sections.
  4. Add more book reviews, but do so in an expanded Arts Section, which runs on both Saturday and Sunday. During the week, do not run an Arts Section – or a Science Section for that matter.
  5. Cut all music reviews: the paper must be kidding itself in this day and age to think that this section of the paper, in particular, is of any value.
  6. Either commit to a Currents Section, or cut it all together by folding it into Arts. As it currently stands, Currents has no identity, no clear purpose.
  7. Have your editors develop better captions. The writing that appears below Inquirer images is awful.
  8. In this Age of Technology, The Inquirer’s website is remarkably difficult to navigate. It is also unattractive and uninviting. Don’t you see: to modernize the website (with the assistance of a younger generation raised on The Internet) is to save the paper itself.

Mr. Tierney: If my tone is direct, it is because these matters are urgent. You need honest advice – because honesty is the only thing that will save this paper from the mediocrity to which it has recently descended.


Signed,


Jesse Freedman

Cast away ...

... Vote now; vote often. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Natural theology ...

... Listen to the 2010 lectures. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

John Banville wonders ...

... Is the world awash with evil? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sad news ...

... Gene Lees, R.I.P. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Thought for the day ...

And though it is much to be a nobleman, it is more to be a gentleman.
- Anthony Trollope, born on this date in 1815

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rueful ...

... A Thing About Ideas.

Saga and volcano ...

... “Twisting like a flame in a slow dance, baby…”

Noticing ...

... To see the world.

Overview ...

... History of Ideas.

Road to recovery ...

... Mad Yaks & Everyman & Ariel's Gift.

Barbarn notes in this post that she "never knew how much pain two tiny wee holes could cause." Neither did I -- until I had laparoscopic surgery.

Telling ...

... Foucault is #1.

Great Scott ...

... and others: The Master of Historical Fiction.

Silencing Hitler ...

... More on the Insanity of Copyright Laws.

The trouble with experts (cont'd.) ...

... The Hockey Stick Illusion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Dave also sends along this: Climate Science In Denial.

Thoughtful reading ...

... Philosophy bits.

Good advice ...

... "Let's be jocund while we may; / All things have an ending day," or, Blogging while busy!

Affinity ...

... Edmund Blunden and Thomas Hardy.

True crime ...

... New Low for Mob: Former Goodfella Henry Hill Not Suprised By Underage Prostitution Pinch.

Thought for the day ...

When you don't have any money, the problem is food. When you have money, it's sex. When you have both, it's health. If everything is simply jake, then you're frightened of death.
- J.P. Donleavy, born on this date in 1926

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Life after postponement ...

... Visions of Exile - April 29.

Fathers and sons ...

... Father and Son Writing Teams.

Freed to tell tales ...

... A short story 'genius' gets her due. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And the winners are ...

... Announcing Results of the 2010 Living Now Book Awards.

Something to look at ...

Mystery fiction ...

... an interview with Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

... treating religion as a simple propositional affair seems to miss a great deal of what’s going on when people disagree about religion. Grasping what the world is like for those who see and feel it quite differently is surely a requirement for communicating, and here’s where the art of fiction can be helpful. It trains one’s mind that way in general.

Quite right. Because religion isn't even primarily a propositional affair, even if many believers seem to think it is.

The road to Damascus ...

... Brand New Green. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Make a reservation ...

... Poetry Motel: Open for Business.

RIP ...

... George Scithers, 1929-2010.

Neglected ...

... Libertarianism has its Benefits: Download Isabel Paterson’s “Never Ask the End” for Free.

Another Lull ...

... Poets Cornered #117. (Raimundo Lulio translates as Raymond Lull, a.k.a., Blessed Raymond Lull.)

Across the pond ...

... A European view of current crime-fiction favourites.

Questions answered ...

... A Wolverine in Bulgaria.

What would Christopher Hitchens say ...

... Belief In Action. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Rhou swell, thou pretty ...

... thou sweet, thou grand: Talk Like Shakespeare! (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This is very interesting ...

... an interview with Paul Siegell, one of the May 2010 features.

Proof of something I've longed thought was true, that poetry's house has many mansions.

See also: Parking Lot Poetry: A Review of “jambandbootleg” by Paul Siegell.

More ...

.. on Beatrice and Virgil, with a guest appearance by Ed Champion: Nothing can equal Pi.

In all fairness, Martel comes off in this as a pretty level-headed dude.

And, for a bit a perspective on Ed, here's his review of Donald Westlake's Memory: A pulp mystery story - and so much more.

Thought for the day ...

Great joy, especially after a sudden change of circumstances, is apt to be silent, and dwells rather in the heart than on the tongue.
- Henry Fielding, born on this date in 1707

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tackling the tough guys ...

... NNT at Hard Problems Symposium.

See also: Learning From Erwan Le Corre & Robust Exercise.

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Helpful hints ...

... 7 Easy Steps to a More Pretentious Poem. (Hat tip, Hedgie.)

Measured pace ...

... Review of Miedema, J. Slow Reading. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Cardiac rhythm prose ...

... Ron Slate on The Bradshaw Variations, a novel by Rachel Cusk.

Centenary (cont'd.)...

... An Intimate Memoir Revealed On Mark Twain's Centenary.

Stimulants ...

... Under the Influence. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

No comment.

This week's batch ...

... of TLS Letters: The Alien and Sedition Acts, Auden’s pain, Hopkins in Dublin, and more!

Now's a good time ...

... to pay a visit to The Diary Junction Blog. Just keep scrolling.

Glass designer phalli ...

... and soft leather collars. Need I say more? Granta to Glenda.

Scholarly detachment for sure ...

... The TLS, Orlando Figes and the law.

See also In search of Molotov.

And they're off ...

... Oxford poetry professorship re-run begins. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Impregnable ...

... Fortress Beckett. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

To subscribe to a creed of any kind, political or religious, would have been to have faith, of which Beckett never had a shred, at least not in the conventional sense ...
I'm not sure about that. Genuine faith, I think, makes one cautious, at the very least, regarding articles of faith.

... it was in those ordinary decencies–drink, food, conversation–that Beckett believed, and in Art, and in little else.
Again, I think it is genuine faith that is likely to inspire reverence for such "ordinary decencies."

Centenary ...

... Celebrating Mark Twain's Life and Work on the 100th Anniversary of his Death.

Not for the faint of heart ...

... Lisa reads: The Book of Matthew by Thomas White.

Be prepared ...

... Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Hacker.

As Henry Fielding remarked long ago, those who lay the foundation of their own ruin find that others are apt to build upon it. By constructing, and then relying on, vulnerable systems that are now entwined with almost every aspect of American life, we have laid just such a foundation. The time has come to fix it or at least to refine the systems to avoid catastrophic failure.

Take that ...

... The 50 best author vs. author put-downs of all time. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Baudelaire's put-down of Voltaire reminds of something De Maistre said of Voltaire: "Voltaire, who touched upon every subject without ever penetrating the surface of any ..."

Thought for the day ...

I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.
- Hippolyte Taine, born on this date in 1828

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another roundup ...

... The Beat.

Never too late ....

... for this many links: Sunday Smatterings, with Extra Ash.

Volumetrics ...

... BiblioBazaar: How a Company Produces 272,930 Books A Year. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Guess it's who you know ...

... Tinkering with value of novel's import. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Good question ....

... What Comes After Postmodernity?

Enter here ...

... The John Edgar Wideman Microstory Contest.

I second the nomination ...

... or third it. Or whatever: What an Honor! I'm Blushing.

Problems ...

... first this: Ian McEwan: I’m not dead yet, then this: Ashed out in Newfoundland.

Never forget it ...

... `Words Are the Wings That Lift Us Over'.

Good luck, Terry ...

... Third time's a charm.

Pops deserved the Pulitzer.

Notes ...

... from a bookish weekend:

Two Poes for the price of one.

Swierczy and his Wayback Machine.

Pulp of a Dead Tree.

Another library post ...

... Toward a New Alexandria. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This is funny ...

... in response to this post, Dave sends along this link: WILL UNWOUND #87: “This is No Joke!” by Will Manley.

Here’s what really blows my mind. The newspapers are following the lead of the bloggers in presenting this story. In other words professional journalists are getting their news from blogs that may or may not be reliable. Don’t they care that this survey was a tongue in cheek attempt at humor? Does this worry you about the news industry and journalists in general?

Paging Dave Lull ...

... Survey: Librarians get frisky in stacks.

I knew I should have been a librarian!

I almost forgot ...

... my latest column is up: Taking pleasure in others’ failure.

Love and marriage ...

... British Library archive throws light on Hughes-Plath romance. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Shadow boxing ...

... Hitchens versus God.(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Poetry and history ...

... Ko Un completes ‘Maninbo,’ setting a landmark. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Here's a thought ...

... Lionel Shriver: America’s Best Writer? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Anniversary ...

... On April 20, 1841, Edgar Allan Poe Launched the Detective Story Genre With the Publication of The Murders of the Rue Morgue.

Paper wars ...

... more on orlando-birkbeck: Historian's wife and her poison pen expose dark side of literary criticism. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Thought for the day ...

Only the prudent man can be brave.
- Josef Pieper (1904-1997)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Still going strong ...

... Holbrook says anniversary performance will be special. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

In her prime ...

... Muriel Spark: The Biography. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Wonderful ...

... The Enchantment of Edmund Dulac.

Found ....

... George Orwell: lost letter revealed. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Looking for a spark ...

... Tom Stoppard: 'I'm the crank in the bus queue'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

"Yes," Stoppard admits, "there's a lot of editorialising. The pedantry is me. I'm vaguely embarrassed by myself sometimes. I'm offended by things and take pathetic little stands against them. When I was coming to meet you just now, I walked past French Connection, which still has that supposedly brilliant piece of advertising – FCUK – in the window. I used to like French Connection. But, from the moment those adverts began, I never set foot in one of the shops again. I refused to support anyone who thought this was clever rather than childish. I'm a sad case, really."

Happily ...

... I am not one of the stinkers, though I do get a nice mention: Six stinkers of the Year: A Retrospective.

Enactment over comment ...

... Ron Slate on An Algebra, poems by Don Bogen.

Ch-ch-changes ...

... Some Cheer, Jeer AP Change from 'Web site' to 'website'. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Preview ...

... from Herman Wouk: Is God a mathematician? (Via Instapundit.)

What might have been ...

... National Enquirer Wins Pulitzer Prize.

I rather think they ought to have won, given how the mainstream media decided the citizenry didn't need to know that John Edwards is world-class scumbag.

This week ...

.. at Five Chapters: The Invisible Bridge.

Paging Max Bialystock ...

... Springtime for Shakespeare. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The worst thing about the passage that I have quoted is its apparent endorsement, or uncritical acceptance, of Freud’s characterization of the Nazis as “right-wing.” This seems to me simplistic to the point of dishonesty, or at least symptomatic of a desire that complex social and political realities should be located on an analogue scale from right to left or left to right. If such a scale must be used, it seems to me that there is as much, if not more, reason to place Nazism on the left of it rather than on the right.

Rimbaud grown up ...

... French booksellers discover first adult Rimbaud picture. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Some poems ...

... courtesy of Rus Bowden.

Friendly by Carl Dennis.

Against War Movies by Jehanne Dubrow.

Generic by Rachel Hadas.

'Indescretion of the American Wife,' 1954 by Suzanne Frischkorn.

The Wind didn’t come from the Orchard—today by Emily Dickinson.

Two poems by Kim Addonizio.

To see the world by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming.

Leaven of malice ...

... Sunday Salon: About Reviews and Reviewing. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I think the essential note here is that "Historian Orlando-Birkbeck" is definitely an interested party. And there is a place for harsh reviews, but even they must be fair and grounded in evidence. Naturally, I prefer not to write them if I don't have to. Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves, which I reviewed recently, was a real disappointment. I had looked forward to reading it and then found it exasperating. Someone recently sent me an email telling me she wished she had seen my review before she got the book and started reading it. One must be honest, but one needn't be gratuitously nasty (though in the case of established authors like Cormac McCarthy, an occasional take-down probably does them some good).

Philly book scene ...

... Local Area Events.

On the State of Criticism and Reviews

A very interesting Q and A with Leon Wieseltier. See, especially, the bits between 35:00 and 42:00.


Thought for the day ...

Religion, society, nature; these are the three struggles of man. These three conflicts are, at the same time, his three needs; it is necessary for him to believe, hence the temple; it is necessary for him to create, hence the city; it is necessary for him to live, hence the plow and ship,
- Victor Hugo, The Toilers of the Sea

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I agree about Chuck Norris ...

... and maybe about old flames: 10 Things the Internet Has Killed or Ruined (and 5 Things It Hasn't). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Could it be ...

.. that there is something evolution can't explain? Consciousness: What Evolutionary Good Is It? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Dave also sends along this: Does Evolution Explain Our Behaviour?


Spirits recovered ...

... Les Murray: the omnivorous writer. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A little bit of commentary ...

... from yours truly: A little radical thought to get to the root of the issue.

I'm bumping this post because Dave Lull has sent along a piece that bears on it: Healthcare Con.

Also from Dave, this may help those who reflexively equate libertarianism with the right: Alliance of the Libertarian Left.

See also this.

Fascinating ...

... Awesome of the Day: Every Painting in the MoMA in Two Minutes. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Busting out ...

... Volcano in Iceland.

I wonder how this compares with industrial activity.

Art and life ...

... The Secret War Mission That Inspired Goldfinger's Opening Sequence.

It could be verse ...

... The Comment-Box Poets of The New York Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Tapping a rich seam ...

... Evelyn Waugh's Grandson on the Secret Behind 'Brideshead'. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

... Mark Bowden reviews Matterhorn: A gripping saga of men at war.

... Spirited New York in World War II.

... Maureen Corrigan looks at 4 generations of Palestinian refugee family.

... Out friend Susan Balée discovers how Love, mundane life lie under the Wall.

... Obama's journey to personal, political self.

Something I missed ...

... Bryan on Andy Warhol and the Can that Sold the World by Gary Indiana.

Thought for the day ...

Streets paved with opal sadness,
Lead me counterclockwise, to pockets of joy,
And jazz.
- Bob Kaufman, born on this date in 1925
5

Saturday, April 17, 2010

At home with Rachmaninoff ...

... Happy Birthday, YouTube!

Interesting ...

... Gallery of my Favorite Modern Literary Books -Nassim N Taleb. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

We share some favorites -- Alain-Fournier, Gaston Bachelard, Durrell's Justine, Santayana, among others. Don't share the fondness for John Gray and the appeal of A Confederacy of Dunces has always eluded me.

A reminder ...

... April 24th – Small-McKinney and Gontarek in Fox Chase.

No mere fairy tale ...

... Christopher Hitchens re-reads Animal Farm. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Maybe ...

... Mark Twain: 'the true father of all American literature'? (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

He isn't for me, though I enjoy him enough.

Words ...

... Marginalia, no.117. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Timely ...

... Jonathan Yardley reviews 'The Publisher,' by Alan Brinkley. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

My own impression is that newspaper people today, however valiantly they struggle to adapt to the new order, at heart want to keep doing things the same old way. Almost certainly that's not going to work, so an exploration of the life of a man who went off in his own direction is very much in order.


That impression is correct. The people in today's newsrooms may inveigh against "conservatives," but they themselves are almost all conservative in the worst sense of the word, pathetically enamored of their glory days.

Another take ...

... on Beatrice and Virgil: A Donkey, a Monkey And a World of Evil. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Missed opportunties ...

... maybe: 7 unproduced screenplays by famous intellectuals. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Attention-getting ...

... For the Annals of Wayward Press Releases.

Click on over ...

... First Known When Lost.

Very interesting ...

... Wyndham Lewis’s Art Criticism in The Listener, 1946-51. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Thought for the day ...

Who tells a finer tale than any of us? Silence does.
- Isak Dinesen, born on this date in 1885

Friday, April 16, 2010

Granting access ...

... Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Stages ...

... The Symphony of a Lifetime.

Continuing ...

... Some Thoughts About E-Reading. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The best kind ...

... Fruitful Tensions. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

One cannot be a philosopher unless one believes that at least some important truths are attainable or at least approachable by dialectical and argumentative means. Thus there is no place in philosophy for the misologist, the hater of reason, and his close relative the fideist. Reasoning and argument loom large in philosophy . . . .

I am no fideist and I certainly believe some important truths are approachable by dialectical and argumentative means. But I doubt if reason is the decisive factor in arriving at the truth, and I do not "favor reason over experience and tradition, the universal over the particular, the global over the local, the impersonal over the personal."

Thoroughly engaged ...

... Thomas Carlyle at the barricades.

This week's batch ...

... of TLS Letter: Madagascar in history, Situationists?, Copy-editors, and more!

Pride and a fall ...

... On crime & thrillers: Fire lovers and fire monsters.

Books at the top ...

... For Obama and past presidents, the books they read shape politics and perception.

Local, local, local ...

... Novels she wrote, in Philadelphia. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Bryan lives ...

... 'Who knows the fate of his bones?...' (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Walt Whitman's brain came to a sad end when a lab assistant at Penn dropped the bottle contai