Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Getting to know him …

… RT’s Biographies & Marginalia : Flaubert: A Biography by Frederick Brown.

Listen in …

 Episode 317 – Frederic Tuten – The Virtual Memories Show.

“I told Jerome Charyn, ‘You escaped the Bronx by writing about it. I escaped by never going back.'”

Mark thy calendar …

… Author Events - Free Library.

Living faith …

… The Catholic Woman - Your Weirdness is Welcome Here. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

St. Gregory of Nazianzus describes his friendship with St. Basil the Great as being like “one soul in two bodies.” Their friendship, in which they rejoiced in one another’s progress in the spiritual life, drew each of them closer to Christ as well as to one another. St. Frances of Rome had an even more obviously life-shaping partnership with her sister-in-law Vannozza, who went to Mass with her, prayed with her in a secret chapel, and served the poor and imprisoned alongside her. Contemporary Christians—including many gay and lesbian believers—are reviving old Christian practices like covenants or blessings for friendship, finding ways to let their love of someone of the same sex be a pathway to Christ and not a barrier to following Him.

Blogging note …

I am doing what I often do these days, accompanying my wife a medical appointment, in this case PT for Parkinson’s disease. I had expected to be in a waiting room, but I am actually in the place where the PT takes place. I will blog as best I cam.

Hmm …

… How Sexism and Machismo Shaped the Iowa Writers’ Workshop | The New Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Aggression’s first chapter focuses on a woman: Flannery O’Connor, the Workshop’s most famous graduate. A college graduate from Milledgeville, Georgia, and a devout Catholic, O’Connor, who enrolled in the Workshop in 1945, was “the brilliant misfit” in a class full of ex-GIs, men whom a classmate remembered as “a pretty riotous bunch, very hard-living people.” She dreaded reading her work in class and often asked a male classmate to read for her. When she did read aloud from what would become her first novel, Wise Blood, Engle was shocked at her description of a sexual seduction. Aiming to correct what he saw as inaccuracies—stemming from what he supposed was “a lovely lack of knowledge”—he called her into his office, then suggested they adjourn to his car, where she might feel more comfortable speaking about her own sexual history. O’Connor went with him, but said nothing about her own sex life, nor did she revise her fiction. She went on to win the O. Henry Award three times and the National Book Award for fiction in 1972.
A lot of the “boys” described herein sound like tough-guy-wannabes. Genuine tough guys — I’ve known a few — don’t advertise. They just get going when the going gets tough.

Focusing the mind …

Sportswriting on Deadline: The Underappreciated Art - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And they were on deadline! We’re all on deadline, of course, at all times and in all places. The last judgment, as Kafka pointed out, “is a summary court in perpetual session.” But a print deadline—the galloping clock, the smell of the editor—is a particular concentration of mortal tension. The brain on deadline does whatever it can: It improvises, it compresses, it contrives, it uses the language and the ideas that are at hand. Inspiration comes or it doesn’t. Here the writer is an athlete—performing under pressure and, if he or she is good, delivering on demand.

Debut …

… Sylvia Plath Poems: 'Circus in Three Rings' - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Something to think on …

As this world becomes increasingly ugly, callous and materialistic it needs to be reminded that the old fairy stories are rooted in truth, that imagination is of value, that happy endings do, in fact, occur, and that the blue spring mist that make an ugly street look beautiful is just as real a thing as the street itself.
— Elizabeth Goudge, born on this date in 1900

The new Puritanism …

… Barcelona school removes 200 sexist children's books | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)




Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A classic …

Roy Orbison was born on this date in 1936

How sad …

… Charity Tillemann-Dick, R.I.P. | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Eternal rest grant unto her, O lord.

A way with words …

 RT’s Marginalia : Literature — a definition within a sonnet.



Actually, today is the date of the Bard's death.

In case you wondered …

 What are English Language Haiku? — PoemShape. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Whatever works, I say.

A love of writing …

 On Editing Oliver Sacks After He Was Gone | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In our initial cut, our first question was not what one might expect. We didn’t ask ourselves, What would Oliver want? After all, how could we really know (even though we three knew him and his work best)? But also, there was this: Oliver had a deep respect for editors, whose role is to make judgments, to offer critical comments, to say if something doesn’t work—whether a point, a passage, or an entire piece—or if it unequivocally does.

Hatchet job …

… Roger Scruton Smear: Trumped Up Racism Claims Dishonest | National Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The 75-year-old Roger Scruton gave his candor and trust to George Eaton because he is deputy editor of the New Statesman. Eaton used those civilized and liberal instincts against Scruton, dishonestly edited his remarks in order to smear Scruton as fearful and bigoted toward Chinese people in order to drum up a mini-Twitter outrage, and got him fired from an honorary position, in which he was advising the government on how to build more beautiful housing.

Something to think on …

Like all great rationalists you believed in things that were twice as incredible as theology.
— Hálldor Laxness, born on this date in 1902

Henrik Ibsen, Part 2 - Commentary

… Henrik Ibsen, Part 2 - Commentary.

Ibsen is still the best known of all 19th-century playwrights, and he continues to be regarded as a literary giant. In America, though, he is a shrinking giant, one whose plays are being staged less and less often than used to be the case. A Doll’s House was last mounted on Broadway 21 years ago, and for all its historic significance, I have never seen it professionally produced anywhere in America. It is more than likely that most of the many people who have seen Hnath’s sequel were either largely or completely unfamiliar with the original play on which it is based.
It is the later plays, starting with Rosmersolm that deserve attention now, especially The Master Builder and When We Dead Awaken. Ibsen continued to grow as an artist.

Listen in …

… The Biblio File hosted by Nigel Beale: James Pollock on Honest Reviewing, Anthologies and the Power of Poetry.

James Pollock is the author of Sailing to Babylon, which was a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award in Poetry, and You Are Here: Essays on the Art of Poetry in Canada, a finalist for the ForeWord Review's Book of the Year Award for a collection of essays. He is also the editor of The Essential Daryl Hine, which made The Partisan's list of the best books of 2015. His poems have been published in The Paris ReviewAGNI, Poetry Daily, the National Post, and other journals in the U.S. and Canada. 

FYI …

… How Victor Hugo saved Notre Dame: “a thought written in stone … it is the freedom of architecture.” Plus a few words from a wise medievalist. | The Book Haven

Monday, April 22, 2019

Worth noting …

… Nigeness: Les Abeilles de Notre Dame.

Mark thy calendar …

A reading and publication party for SCHNAUZER a play in one act by DAVID YEZZI.

Hard questions …

… RT’s Marginalia : Literature: what is it? why read it?

I’ll have to think about this. My own reading has been pretty unsystematic.

Time for dome laughs …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: Some Of Groucho Marx's Best One-Liners.

Something to watch …

… Just because: George Balanchine’s Tarantella | About Last Night.

Blogging note …

I have to be out and about again today. Will try to fit some bloging from time to time, but that may also have to wait untilI return.

A good way to start Easter week …

… Three ways to contemplate life and death – Mark Vernon.

Mingus does Ellington …

Charles Mingus was born on this date in 1922.

What the rest may be …

… Silence | Brandywine Books.

Sounds about right …

… Robert Caro: ‘The more facts you collect, the closer you come to the truth’ | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip. Dave Lull.)

He doesn’t worry about the future of biography, though it seems clear that he is the last of the last in terms of producing multiple volume lives. His main concern is that people do not forget that the quality of the prose in the writing of history and biography is as important as it is in fiction. “I have no trouble in understanding why [Edward] Gibbon endures,” he says. “Look at the writing! He is great.”
Caro’s own prose makes me think of waves: in the paragraphs roll, grandiose as anything, crashing against the shore as he winds them up with a last, very short sentence. “Well, that’s from Paradise, um…” He shakes his head. “I don’t compare myself with Milton, but great works can be models. He [Milton] has these long lines about Satan falling and falling and then, suddenly, the rhythm changes. I try to do things with rhythm. In the second volume, Johnson is campaigning in Texas in a helicopter, and he’s so desperate. I wrote on an index card: is there desperation on this page? I meant in the rhythm. I want to reinforce the reader’s understanding with that rhythm.” What about facts? Does he fear for those in the age of Trump? The truth no longer seems to matter to some. “Of course it’s dangerous. People who believe there aren’t facts… it’s irrational. There are facts, and the more of them you collect, the closer you come to whatever the truth is.”

Literary pilgrimage …

… To Montreux — and Forever More: On Visiting the Nabokovs’ Last Home - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It had been 10 years since my last visit to Montreux. Back then, in late November 2002, my wife and I arrived in a blizzard on the evening express from Milan. This time, the weather was exceptional: transparent, sunny, windless. On such days Vladimir Nabokov, who had returned to Europe on the wings of Lolita’s stardom and lived in Montreux from 1961 until his death in 1977, liked to stroll on the promenade with a notepad in hand and a bundle of newspapers folded under his arm like a thermometer of history.

Something to think on …

Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.
— Vladimir Nabokov, born on this date in 1899

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Both intriguing …

… Two Poems | Jenny George | Granta. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Looking back …

… A poet remembers her impulsive trip into a civil war. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Until the publication of this memoir, Forché’s experiences in El Salvador — seven “extended stays” between 1978 and 1980 — have mostly stayed distilled in her poetry. The Colonel, collected in The Country Between Us (1981), begins with an elegant dinner at a colonel’s home (rack of lamb, green mangoes) and ends with him emptying a grocery sack full of human ears onto the table — ghastly trophies from a dirty war.

Envoi …

… The Dying Light by Chris Moss | Poetry Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

With his last book, The Flame, Cohen blows out the candle on a career that has been long, wavering, intermittently brilliant. Despite publishing around a dozen poetry collections and two novels, he was never able to commit to words without music. In the foreword, his son, Adam, writes, “My father, before he was anything else, was a poet. He regarded this vocation, as he records in his notebooks, as some ‘mission from G-d.’” (The dash echoes the Jewish use of the vowelless YHWH.) Adam quotes Cohen’s confession that “nothing gets me high and offers relief from the suffering like blackening pages, writing,” and believes his father regretted sacrificing so much of his time to folk song and the fame it brought him.

Favorites …

Pulitzer Prize Winner Forrest Gander’s Reading List. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

In case you wondered …

… Book Review: The Never-Ending Question - Jewish Exponent. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

To take the Jewish literary tradition as seriously as one takes that belonging to others is to take Judaism as seriously as others take their own lives. There are lots of people and ideas that don’t want Jews to acknowledge, live or practice Judaism, he wrote. “We don’t escape that danger,” he said, “by clamoring to eliminate ourselves.”

Odd anniversary …

… RT’s Marginalia : Easter Sunday, 1913.

FYI …

… NEWS ALERT: Officials Scramble To Deal With Reports Of Empty Tomb – HillFaith: Good News For Congressional Staff.

Inquirer review …

New romances: Young love rekindled, a Wallflower’s daughter, shifter hijinks.

Of a sort …

… RT’s Marginalia : Revelation.

But, as Meister Eckhart said, “God is at home, it's we who have gone out for a walk.”

Amen, amen …

… Easter & Good Friday Meditation | National Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Simon of Cyrene, recruited by grace and some Roman to lug Jesus’ cross, is my paradigm in this. He had, it would seem, no previous experience for the work. No moral credentials that we hear about. Just a man “who passed by, coming out of the country.” To trade, to sightsee, to window-shop: another tourist in the Big Fig. And, all at once, he is absorbed by that rubbernecking mob. Elbow to the front — what have we here? And it’s you, yes you. Bozo, pack that wood. We know nothing about Simon, except that his children, Rufus and Alexander, became Christians. On Good Friday, Simon was what we all are, a passerby. And shanghaied by the Holy Spirit. I take comfort in this thought, whose life otherwise does not much recommend itself to God. That I may be granted, through His fierce randomness and my mere availability, a walk-on moment of redemption.

Something to think on …

God often works more by the life of the illiterate seeking the things that are God's, than by the ability of the learned seeking the things that are their own.
— Anselm of Canterbury, who died on this date in 1109

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Contemporary journalism …

 Instapundit — IT’S COME TO THIS: Actual AP headline: “Tourist mecca Notre Dame also revered as place of worship…


Huh …

… Student newspaper editorial board endorses nonwhite segregated housing | The College Fix.



So much for de-segregation.

Extraordinary gentleman …

… Was there no end to John Buchan’s talents? | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Buchan thought better of his historical novels (just as Conan Doyle preferred Sir Nigel and The White Company to Sherlock Holmes). I think highly of them, too, especially of Witch Wood; but even it is not quite as good as the best of his beloved Scott or Stevenson. His biographies of Scott, Montrose and Augustus are admirable, but biographies are usually superseded. His history of the Great War, published in monthly installments by Nelson’s, was a remarkable achievement, but inevitably long outdated. Yet almost everything he wrote remains readable, partly because he has an unmistakable personal voice. This makes him easy to parody, but few books survive without such individuality.

I couldn't agree more …

 Replay: Humphrey Bogart on baseball | About Last Night.

The miracle of Spring …

… First Known When Lost: Petals.

We live in a World in which, each spring, the gutters of the streets are filled with the fallen petals of cherry blossoms.

Mr. Eliot …

… Robert Crawford reviews ‘The Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume VIII’ edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden — LRB 18 April 2019.

Very few people will read through all these thousands of pages, and their publication risks making Eliot seem more daunting than ever. While this vast hoard offers scholars all sorts of opportunities, the problem for most common readers is to work out what that word ‘Eliot’ now means. Is ‘Eliot’ still the slim volume of poetry that can be slipped inside a coat pocket? Or does the name now unavoidably bring with it this vast body of letters, plays, poems and prose that can be transported only by fork-lift truck and accessed in full only via a computer in addition to a printed library?

And the winners are …

… Winning Poems for 2019 February : IBPC.



The Judge's Page.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden,)

Starts today …

PHILLY POETRY DAY – April 20 – May 31, 2019 – Celebrating Walt Whitman

What Is Philly Poetry Day?

People say you can attend a poetry reading
on every single day in the Philadelphia area.
This is likely true and awesome. Philly Poetry
Day is a manifestation and further demonstration
of the abundance and enthusiasm for poetry in
Philadelphia. It is also an attempt to bring poetry
to a larger and not typical audience. On past Philly
Poetry Days poetry has been read in pizza shops,
cemeteries, supermarkets, farmers markets, subways,
midnight readings, and written in chalk on sidewalks.
The idea is that poetry will be everywhere. In 2019,
to honor Walt Whitman, Philly Poetry Day will begin
on Saturday, April 20 and end on May 31 – Walt
Whitman’s 200th Birthday. So you will have a lot
of time to participate.


How can you participate?

1. Read a poem, a Whitman poem or any poem
to a child – or to anyone. This initiative is
presented in association with 
100,000 Poets For Peace And Social Change.
2. Write a line of a Walt Whitman poem, or any poem,
on your sidewalk in chalk. Recommended from Whitman’s
Song Of Myself:

Missing me one place, search another;

I stop somewhere, waiting for you.


Philly Poetry Day 2019 is presented by:

P O E T R Y  IN  C O M M O N    &

WHITMAN AT 200: Art and Democracy

Élan vital …

… Survivors - Amy Barone - Poetry - Sensitive Skin Magazine.

Yes, it has some …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Limits of Reason (Paul Klee), Sonnet #453.

Something to think on …

Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous. When you have God, you don’t have to know everything about it; you just do it.
— Mother Angelica, born on this date in 1923

Friday, April 19, 2019

Receiving a miracle...

The shot heard round the world …

… RT’s Marginalia : 1775 — 19 April — The revolution begins at Lexington.

Hmm …

… The Wild Visionary at the Heart of Early Christianity | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… there was no theology until Paul came along. (Most scholars agree that only six or seven of the thirteen letters attributed to Paul were actually his; the others were “school of Paul,” and they often work against the radical Paul, subverting his ideas to make the apostle seem more patriarchal and restrictive.)  In essence, Paul formulated the key ideas about Christianity that we now take for granted, and he did so on the fly, so to speak—in impromptu sermons and letters.

Hear, hear …

… Opinion | Oliver Sacks: The Healing Power of Gardens - The New York Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I cannot say exactly how nature exerts its calming and organizing effects on our brains, but I have seen in my patients the restorative and healing powers of nature and gardens, even for those who are deeply disabled neurologically. In many cases, gardens and nature are more powerful than any medication.
My city garden is very small, but even a small garden takes a lot of work to maintain. It is work that I love and I have been doing a lot of it lately. By next week I hope to have all the spring cleaning done and all the plants in.

FYI …

… 2019 Best Communities For Music Education Districts | NAMM Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



Rus informs me that 92 Pennsylvania districts are on the list. Nice to know. Philadelphia does not appear to among them.

Watch and listen …

And this as well …

… in spite of that, we call this Friday Good (T.S. Eliot) | dave kludt.

For Good Friday …

 RT’s Marginalia : The Cross by John Donne.

About time …

… A College President Stands Up for Academic Freedom - Quillette.



A must-read: Message from the President.

Brief encounter …

… Departure – TheTLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Any idea can be brought into the classroom if the point is to inquire into its structure, history, influence and so forth. But no idea belongs in the classroom if the point of introducing it is to recruit your students for the political agenda it may be thought to imply.
— Stanley Fish, born on this date in 1938

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Be careful what you wish for …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: The Sportman's Double.

In memoriam …

… How the love of a child led to a Bible collection for the ages | PhillyVoice.

Susan "Kimmy" Dunleavy was killed in an auto accident in 1977. A year later, The Susan Dunleavy Collection of Biblical Literature at LaSalle University was established by her parents, Francis J. Dunleavy, President of ITT, and his wife, Albina, to honor her.

Wonderful …

 Bruce Jay Friedman's 'Holiday Fable,' for Tablet Original Fiction – Tablet Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A fine rendition …

… of a fine poem: Zadie Smith Reads Frank O’Hara’s Love Poem to Time via an Old-Fashioned Telephone Line – Brain Pickings. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Life imitates art …

… Unseen Kafka works may soon be revealed after Kafkaesque trial | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

“The absurdity of the [legal process] is that it was over an estate that nobody knew what it contained. This will hopefully finally resolve these questions,” said Benjamin Balint, a research fellow at Jerusalem’s Van Leer Institute and the author of Kafka’s Last Trial, which chronicles the affair.

Placed in perspective …

… The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Art (1460–1921) – The Public Domain Review. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Holy Week continues …

… RT’s Marginalia : Holy Thursday.

Something to think on …

Critics say that America is a lie because its reality falls so far short of its ideals. They are wrong. America is not a lie; it is a disappointment. But it can be a disappointment only because it is also a hope.
— Samuel P. Huntington, born on this date in 1927

Here’s a thought …

Titania weighs in. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Missing the point …

Ice cold by Anthony Daniels | The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
The phenomenon of schadenfreude is a fascinating and important one, of course, well worth examination. But since it is usually subtle, undeclared, and often unacknowledged, even by he who experiences it, it requires some finesse to dissect it, which unfortunately the author, Tiffany Watt Smith, does not possess. Even the subtitle of her book is misleading: schadenfreude in its English meaning is surely not the joy, but rather the secret or surreptitious pleasure or satisfaction in another’s misfortune. But the error is a warning that proper distinctions, so necessary to this field, are about not to be made.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The voice of hope …

… Nigeness: Notre Dame.

RIP …

… Jesuit Fr. James V. Schall dies--Aleteia. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.

Good question …

Why Were Authorities so Quick to Rule out Arson in the Notre Dame Conflagration? | Roger’s Rules.


The way it is …

… Uncensored John Simon: Old. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

As Bette Davis noted, old age ain’t for sissies. 

Voice of dissent …

… The moral folly of slavery reparations | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

No one has gained more from my ancestors’ enslavement than I. The displacement and bondage my ancestors endured led directly to my birth. Afro-descendants have thus accrued the most substantial benefits from slavery. They should regard the negative consequences of slavery, and any benefits accruing to Europeans and their descendants as comparatively insignificant.

Clearing the record …

… The Great Myths 5: The Destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria - History for Atheists. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The story of the destruction of the Great Library is a positivist fairy tale, cobbled together from disparate elements and bearing almost no relationship to accurate history. The library was not a secular establishment, it was not as large as is claimed, it was not a particular centre of science and it was not a wellspring of wondrous technology. Most importantly, it was not destroyed by a crazed Christian mob intent on the destruction of rationally-based knowledge.
Read the whole thing. It is quite fascinating.

Anniversary …

 RT’s Marginalia : The first American dies on April 17, 1790.

Yes …

… Snapshot: Blossom Dearie sings Blossom Dearie | About Last Night.



Debbie and I saw Blossom Dearie perform in New York once. Even got to chat with her. Cool lady.

Getting to know him …

… Getting Acquainted with Wallace Stevens - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Richardson concludes: “By reading through Stevens’s body of work, we learn to become pragmatists,” which is to say, we learn to meditate on the workings of the mind. This claim underlines the power but also the potential impediments to Richardson’s pedagogical project. Recalling that the pragmatist method was originally designed to show “how to make our ideas clear,” she argues that true clarity is achieved by attending “to the many possible shades of meaning in the words we use.” To be “clear,” according to this counterintuitive definition, is to hold open a variety of interpretive possibilities; it is to suspend rather than to establish certainty. Any perplexity generated by the multiplication of meanings is precisely the point: from the pragmatist’s perspective, the experience of disorientation is far more valuable than easy glosses or directives. In short, thinking pragmatically sounds a lot like thinking poetically, with pragmatic criticism venturing to loosen and multiply rather than fix and authorize the many personalized paths this thinking might travel.
The book sounds interesting, though I'm not sure the thesis is altogether sound. I read Stevens's Collected Poems pretty regularly and the impression I have arrived at over the years is that they represent a steady search for faith. I have read that, whenever he visited New York City, Stevens always made a point of spending some time just sitting in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Something to think on …

Faith is a never-ending pool of clarity, reaching far beyond the margins of consciousness. We all know more than we know we know.
— Thornton Wilder, born on this date in 1897

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Bearing witness …

… No Words: In Paris, as Notre Dame burned | City Journal,

Medieval cathedrals are designed for the illiterate; everything in them, however seemingly trivial, is meant to aid the memory. The cruciform shape, the statues, the altars and reliquaries, the chapels and windows, the asps and the gargoyles, the Stations of the Cross—cathedrals are memory-palaces, every detail meant to allow everyone who sees them, everyone, to understand and remember the story they tell. The medievals’ assumptions about the human mind and memory are the opposite of the principles that rule the Internet. Yet they work extremely well. I can’t stop remembering everything in the cathedral.

The charmlessness of ideologues …

… Hard Left Celebrates Notre Dame’s Destruction: ‘I’m Dying At All The White People Triggered’ | Daily Wire.

Time for a laugh …

Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: True Friendship.

Strange …

… Aphantasia: Ex-Pixar chief Ed Catmull says 'my mind's eye is blind' - BBC News. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Most people can close their eyes and conjure up images inside their head such as counting sheep or imagining the face of a loved one.
But Ed Catmull, 74, has the condition aphantasia, in which people cannot visualise mental images at all. 

Good Lord …

… Man with Down's Syndrome's 'cruel and horrific' death after 19 days without food - Mirror Online.



Not the best advertisement for socialized medicine.

And the winners are …

… 2019 French Voices Grand Prizes Unveiled | French Culture.
This year, 13 titles were selected by the committee.  For the first time ever, French Voices will give out Grand Prizes to two of these 15 titles, one in fiction, and one in non-fiction.  The Grand Prizes will receive $10,000 while other titles will receive $6,000 each. The award will be distributed among the publisher and translator.

Just deserts …

… What the College-Admissions Scandal Reveals - The Atlantic.

I just about got an ulcer sitting in that office listening to rich people complaining bitterly about an “unfair” or a “rigged” system. Sometimes they would say things so outlandish that I would just stare at them, trying to beam into their mind the question, Can you hear yourself? That so many of them were (literal) limousine liberals lent the meetings an element of radical chic. They were down for the revolution, but there was no way their kid was going to settle for Lehigh.

Bravo UArts admninstraion …

… jeers to certain dim-bulbed students: UArts students protest professor Camille Paglia for comments on transgender people, sexual assault survivors.



How dare anyone openly express views these know-it-all studes don't share? If you don't want to learn anything, kids, get the hell out of school. You're taking up space others could use.

Worth remembering …

… Jim Remsen’s History Nuggets – Embattled Freedom.

Bright light …

 RT’s Marginalia : Emily Dickinson’s letter to the world.

Prophetic …

… The Stone and the Star: Osip Mandelstam's 'Notre Dame': "To Make Grim Bulk a Thing of Beauty". (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Politics is a thing that only the unsophisticated can really go for.
— Kingsley Amis, born on this date in 1922

Marauders …

… Things Strange and Admirable | The Russell Kirk Center. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The name Viking (from Old Norse víkingr, marauder or pirate), according to Shippey, was not an ethnicity—Vikings strictly speaking were Scandinavian—but as he says, “a job description.” Raiding, looting, raping, and killing summed up the requirements. Especially killing. In dealing out death the Vikings were superlative. If Danes or Norwegians were farmers or fisherman rather than warriors and pillagers, then they were not Vikings. This distinction is quite useful particularly at the various intersections of literature and history in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and England during the Viking Age (roughly 793 to 1066 A.D.).

Cold case …

… BOOK REVIEW: 'The Last Stone' by Mark Bowden - Washington Times.

He told detectives that he saw two girls who fit the description talking to an older man in the mall. He was given a lie detector test and failed. He then admitted that he lied to the police. The cops probably sized him up as a knucklehead who was high, and they kicked him loose after lecturing him about lying to the police.
“After that, the department didn’t give Lloyd Welch a second thought,” Mr. Bowden writes. “Not for thirty-eight years.”

Grounds for reflection …

… Notre Dame Fire: A Sign For Our Time | The American Conservative.

Like James Poulos above, I cannot see this as anything other than a sign. The only church in all of Western civilization more important than Notre Dame de Paris is St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The consuming fire is likely to have been started from a construction accident. I hope that is the case; if this was terrorism, then France is in for unimaginable spasms of violence. Nevertheless, if this was an accident, it still symbolizes what we in the West have allowed to happen to our religious and cultural patrimony. What happened in Paris today has been happening across our civilization.
It is surely worth noting that it happened at the start of Holy Week.

Listen in =

… Episode 316 – Michael Carroll – The Virtual Memories Show.

I think I became a writer because my father never wanted to get out of the car.”

Monday, April 15, 2019

And the winner is …

… Richard Powers Wins the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction - The Millions. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

RIP …

… Author and Grand Master Gene Wolfe, 1931-2019 | Tor.com. (Hat tip, Edward Champion.)

A poignant reminder …

… Marly Youmans / The Palace at 2:00 a.m. / poems, stories, novels: A Causley poem for Holy Week. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Anniversary …

… RT’s Marginalia : I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud — remembering the moment among the daffodils at the margin of the bay.

Blogging note …

I have to head out to a doctor's appointment and have much else to do besides. Will try to fit blogging in whenever.

April Poetry at North of Oxford …

… Erik Moore Variations by Michael Paul Hogan.

… Strings by Caleb Coy Guard.

… 2 Poems by Elizabeth Jane Timms.

… leather jacket in the sun by Tohm Bakelas.

… A Man Like Her Father By David Boski.

Something to think on …

Set me a task in which I can put something of my very self, and it is a task no longer; it is joy; it is art.
— Bliss Carman, born on this date in 1861

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Daunting labors …

… Robert Caro Talks Writing and Research: ‘Turn Every Page’. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“Oh, I never record. I take notes. Then I type them,” Caro said. “You want to get the person you’re talking to to be friendly. I noticed that when I tried to record, their eyes are always aware, it was a barrier to getting people to talk.” I shamefully glanced down at my iPhone, with its voice memos app spinning away. “In all the years I’ve been doing these books, only one person has ever said I misquoted them.”

Too true, I fear …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: The New Manager.

Oh, my …

… (18) Christina Sommers on Twitter: "Foolishness alert! There is a petition denouncing the brilliant scholar Camille Paglia! “Here is what we demand of UArts: 1) Camille Paglia should be removed from UArts faculty and replaced by a queer person of color.” https://t.co/AJvU7MaMp8" / Twitter.

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Where did all these dumb students come from? And why do they want to be in school anyway. They don’t seem to want to learn anything that they don’t believe already.

A master at work …

… Rhina Espaillat and the Lyre of Orpheus . (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

To call And After All yet another outstanding book of poetry from one of America’s best poets, working in traditional form, would be misleading—because something new is going on in these poems. They adhere to the rules of traditionalist prosody, as do the great majority of Espaillat’s poems, but these are experimenting poems, they are seeking poems, and putting hypothesis to the test. These are poems written from necessity; they are meant to address a problem, to find the answer to a pressing question. The poet hasn’t the time or patience to entertain untested answers meant to placate, or to divert attention. She needs to arrive at a proven answer to her question: How to stem the tide of loss, a tide that threatens to pull her under?

Ouch …

 ‘Norma Jeane Baker of Troy’ Review: Beauties Made Boring - WSJ.
 “Norma Jeane Baker of Troy” is an embarrassment, a show that I would never have considered reviewing had its premiere been given under any other circumstances.

Cautionary note …

… Almanac: Joseph Conrad on the idealistic revolutionary | About Last Night.

Inquirer reviews …

… ‘The Other Americans’ by Laila Lalami: Mystery and immigrant story, told by an other.

… ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ by Trent Dalton: High-stakes coming-of-age tale.

… ‘Women Talking’ by Miriam Toews: A brilliant, excruciating true-crime story in which the victims are the heroes.

Also for the day …

… Maverick Philosopher: Saturday Night at the Oldies: Render unto Caesar . . .

For Palm Sunday …

 RT’s Marginalia : ”The Donkey” by. G. K. Chesterton (via Cupertino Poet Laureate).

Something to think on …

Religion holds the solution to all problems of human relationship, whether they are between parents and children or nation and nation. Sooner or later, man has always had to decide whether he worships his own power or the power of God.
— Arnold J. Toynbee, born on this date in 1889

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Smart kid …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: A Letter To God.

The good earth …

… RT’s Marginalia : Digging for potatoes, peat, and poems.

I am sitting in my patio garden, where I have spent a good part of this week cutting ivy, digging in the beds, potting, and the like. Beside me are three large bags of trimmings. And there is still much to do. Even a small garden demands a lot of attention. But nothing is so meaningful.

Anthem for these days …

Christopher Guest, of course, is Christopher Haden-Guest, which is to say 5th baron Haden-Guest. So he knows whereof he sings.

Sound diagnosis …

… Restoration by Michel Houellebecq and Geoffroy Lejeune | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



In order to save what can be saved, it would be necessary to break with the relativism that has been in vogue since the 1960s. Perhaps the Church would recover a bit of its splendor if it stopped wanting to be cool and taught once again the fear of God, without which there is no love. The same goes for the education of children: Parental authority has been undermined, with the same consequences.
Really: Read the whole thing.

By the way …

… The thesaurus is good, valuable, commendable, superb, actually | The Outline. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

As originally conceived, Roget’s Thesaurus was a slightly different sort of book than the kind of online thesaurus one might consult today. It was instead a fairly rigorous if idiosyncratic taxonomy of language. And it was not a book of synonyms, such books already existed. Synonyms, in terms of words that can be completely substituted for each other, are fairly rare. “Inferiority,” “minority,” and “subordinacy” might all be related words, but they carry slightly different meanings. “Sunset,” “dusk,” and “twilight” all encompass roughly the same time of day, but each has a different tone. So Roget called his book a “thesaurus,” or treasury. He was showcasing and organizing language, not simply providing lists of matching words.

Blogging note …

I have been busy this week getting my garden in order. But rains last night make it unlikely I will do much there today. So I hope to catch up on blogging. In the meantime, here is something St. Augustine had to say that echoes my feeling these past few days:
REALLY, is there any more marvelous sight, any occasion when human reason is nearer to some sort of converse with the nature of things, than the sowing of seeds, the planting of cuttings, the transplanting of shrubs, and the grafting of slips?

Something to think on …

Insight doesn't happen often on the click of the moment, like a lucky snapshot, but comes in its own time and more slowly and from nowhere but within.
— Eudora Welty, born on this date in 1909

Laughter in the dark …

… The satirist who illuminated the strange world of the 1970s | Catholic Herald. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Wise ass …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: A Seaman Recruit's Second Day At Boot Camp.

On sale now …

… Stale Bread and Coffee: Poems by g emil reutter: g emil reutter: 9781093326017: Amazon.com: Books.

Today's world …

… “Some died of fear, some of cold”: refugee massacres on the high seas | The Book Haven.

“With electorates divided on both sides of the Atlantic, Europe and the US are likely to continue to follow an incoherent and uncoordinated series of policies, aiming to salvage their self-definition as caring and open societies, while doing everything possible to keep the world’s unfortunates at bay.
This is true, but it is true because we have the worst political class in our history and the worst media to go along with it. I have yet to see an article in the The Inquirer letting people know the views of legal immigrants. I meet a lot of them, because I take a lot of cabs, and a lot of them are cab drivers. Their perspective differs from what one usually hears. 

No-places …

… The Metaphysical Nature of Our City Temples and Tombs | The American Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Traveling around England in order to examine the new buildings that are being squeezed into our towns or dropped in our fields, asking myself why they are often so ugly and what might be done to change this, I have been struck by the physical difference between the old and the new. And I have been even more struck by a deeper metaphysical difference. The old buildings belong in the places that they create; the new buildings typically belong nowhere, and create a nowhere wherever they are constructed. Physically the old city center is a space; metaphysically, however, it is a place, a somewhere to which buildings, people and the institutions that unite them can belong. But the new developments are spaces that refuse to be places, spaces where nothing belongs.
I do not myself believe that my church houses the non-existent.

Hmm …

… Andrew Ferguson: The Joys of Reading a Print Newspaper - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The newspaper involved in my little experiment in home delivery was The Wall Street Journal, but any of the daily newspapers on offer in my city would have made for a similar success. There are things specific to the Journal that I love, but the same holds true for The New York Times, and The Washington Post too, and even the Financial Times, which is a magnificent work of journalism, despite being printed on orange stock. 
The journal is the best paper in the country, and I read it online. As for the rest, I beg to differ. The Times Book Review, for which I once wrote, is a shadow of its former self. I continue to subscribe to The Inquirer, but out of loyalty, not enthusiasm. Also, I guess I feel comfortable in front of a computer, having been stationed in front of one since 1980.

FYI …

 Recently Received Books | North of Oxford.

The only prayer necessary

 On Poetry: Encompassing through poetry what can't be said | Northern Living | record-eagle.com. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden)



Note: Meister Eckhart said that if the only prayer one ever utters is thank you, it will be enough.

Tomorrow night …

… Minas Presents La Giara, The Water Jug, by Patricia King Haddad – Tickets – World Cafe Live Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA – April 13th, 2019 – World Cafe Live.

Something to think on …

I don't necessarily start with the beginning of the book. I just start with the part of the story that's most vivid in my imagination and work forward and backward from there.
— Beverly Cleary, born in this date in 1916

Well, one can certainly be too rational …

… RT’s Marginalia : Much Madness is divinest Sense.

Lovely …

… Epithalamium by James Matthew Wilson | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

On the move …

… Keeping Things Whole by Mark Strand | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



Mark Strand was born on this date in 1934.

What a harrowing ordeal …

 Instead of shaking all over, I read the newspapers. I listened to the radio. I had my lunch. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
A week later the phone rang and I was told that I had a cancer of the testicles that had spread to a lymph node and to one lung. Instead of seeing the urologist, I would now need to see an oncologist. For a few days I comforted myself by pretending that, because of my abiding interest in the mysteries and niceties of Being, I had to see an ontologist. Nobody except one of my fellow Irish novelists thought this was funny. The oncologist showed me the scan of my insides on his computer. At first I could not work out from what angle these images had been taken. Then I understood that the scan was a sort of carpaccio of the middle and lower parts of my torso, a slice of the inside of the self. While I saw some well-known organs clearly, the cancer as it appeared on the screen seemed nothing more than a smudge, a few faint grains. If the doctor had not pointed them out to me, I would have given myself a clean bill of health and gone to play tennis.

Fascinating birds …

… The ‘wondrous sight’ and ‘flying ambushes’ of owls | Frieda Hughes. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Owls are not particularly clever – it’s a myth. …  I have read that Transylvanian farmers used to scare away owls by walking around their fields naked. 
Sounds pretty smart to me.
By the way, the Sylvia Plath poem quoted here is wonderful. 

Time for a chuckle …

 Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: Join the Navy And See The World.

Anniversary …

 RT’s Marginalia : Mark Strand — The End.



Great poem.

No the one you nay have thought you knew …

… A Possible Keats | by Fleur Jaeggy | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Fighting was to John Keats like eating or drinking. He sought out aggressive boys, cruel boys, but their company, as he was already inclined to poetry, must have provided some comic and burlesque treats. For mere brutality—without humor, make-believe, or whimsy—didn’t interest him. Which might lead a person to extrapolate that boys aren’t truly brutal. Yes, they are, but they have rules and an aesthetic. Keats was a child of action. He’d punched a yard monitor more than twice his size, and he was considered a strong boy, lively and argumentative. When he was brawling, his friend Clarke reports, Keats resembled Edmund Kean at theatrical heights of exasperation. His friends predicted a brilliant future for him in the military. Yet when his temper defused, he’d grow extremely calm, and his sweetness shone—with the same intensity as his rage had. The scent of angels. His earliest brushes with melancholy were suddenly disrupted by outbursts of nervous laughter. Moods, vague and tentative, didn’t settle over him so much as hurry past like old breezes.