Monday, October 31, 2016

Pushback …

… We’re A Culture, Not A Costume.

They have my complete sympathy.

Lies, madness, and bizarre doings …

 The Violent Bear It Away: Reviews and Discussions: Drood by Dan Simmons / Little, Brown & Co., 2009.

A History of Pictures...

...By David Hockney

Neglected masterwork …

Happy Halloween …

 Longfellow: Haunted Houses, Birds of Passage. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I have had experiences that correspond to what is said in this poem.

Anniversary …

… The Violent Bear It Away: Reviews and Discussions: John Keats -- a birthday and an epitaph.

When art turns deadly …

… The University Bookman: A Regionalist Tragedy.

See also: A Son Revisits the Tragedy of "Raintree County" Author.

      On top of an avalanche of hate mail that came when the book appeared--it was called blasphemous and sacrilegious because it contained sex scenes and religious satire--came Hamilton Basso's devastating review in the New Yorker, calling Lockridge "Ross Lockwood Jr." while trashing his novel--clearly without having read it. These sad tidings darkened even deeper familial currents, washing away any self-esteem that he may have had. He killed himself with car exhaust fumes. 
So much for the New Yorker's vaunted fact-checkers.

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Well, this is very interesting …

… Research | lime tree bower dot net. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

See also: Forgotten Poems.

And also: This Lime-tree Bower my Prison.

Something to think on …

My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.
— John Keats, born on this date in 1795


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hear, hear …

… Thank God for parents like Michael Gove. The greatest gift you can give your child is independence.

When I was in grade school, I was already taking the bus and el into Center City from the far northeast of the city and wending my way no small distance to the Academy of Natural Sciences or the art museum, places the nuns encouraged us to visit.

Absences and Families

I've been away taking care of some matters, including helping my dad and mom and family cope with the extended illness of my dad.  Finally, yesterday, Dad passed away at home, in his bed.   My mom and I cared for him in the last few days and hours.  It was my 56th birthday yesterday too.  I loved him so much.
January 1, 1926 - October 29, 2016.

BELOW:  My Dad with our son Zander years ago talking about magic, and again only a couple days ago, when Zand played for him one last time. 
Please take time to hug those you love.

Miss Jane …

… The Violent Bear It Away: Reviews and Discussions: Sense and Sensibility -- past and present.

Correcting errors …

… Received Rot > James Como. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Preceding seven-hundred and twenty-seven notes and ten pages of bibliography are an Introduction, ten chapters and a postscript. The title of the Introduction is “Confronting Distinguished Bigots.” Then come the ten anti-Catholic beliefs, Stark’s targets: 1/ Sins of Anti-Semitism, 2/ The Suppressed Gospels, 3/ Persecuting the Tolerant Pagans, 4/ Imposing the Dark Ages, 5/ Crusading for Land, Loot, an Converts, 6/ Monsters of the Inquisition, 7/ Scientific Heresies, 8/ Blessed be Slavery, 9/ Holy Authoritarianism, and 10/ Protestant Modernity. Each chapter opens with a detailed expression of the belief that the rest of the chapter will refute, and near the middle of each chapter is a box with the names and credentials of eminent scholars on whom Stark has relied for his refutation. (The names and works, but not the abbreviated resumes, also appear in the bibliography.) 

Long journey …

… Paul Beatty: from slam poet to Man Booker Prize. (Hat tip, G. E. Reutter.)

Beatty, 54, grew up in Los Angeles with his mother and two sisters. The figure of the absentee father – Beatty never knew his – is a recurring theme in his work. He moved to the opposite side of the country for his university education, spending seven years in Boston studying psychology, first as an undergrad, and then for a PhD which he eventually abandoned. By that time, he had begun writing, started to lose interest in teaching and had come to hate Boston.

Spectral empire …

Lost Territories.

Happy Birthday…

… Internet Archive, repository of modern culture, turns 20 - San Francisco Chronicle. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Reactions …

… Poets Respond To Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize In Literature | Huffington Post. (Hat tip, G. E. Reutter.)

Poetry and faith …

… California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia on the Poetry of Life | Daily News | (Hat tip, G. E. Reutter.)

“The Catholic artist sees humanity struggling in a fallen world. We long for grace and redemption, but feel a deep sense of our own imperfection. Evil exists, but the world is not evil. We experience reality as sacramental: The world is shimmering with signs of sacred things. All reality is mysteriously charged with the presence of God. We also perceive suffering as redemptive, at least when we bear it in emulation of Christ’s passion and death.”

Everything that Dana says in this piece is worth quoting.

Conflicted …

… ‘America First!’ Is Current Again | The American Conservative. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“Is Trump a fluke?” asks Kauffman, or is he “a bell in the night pealing for an America that minds its own business … that believes there was and is a country somewhere underneath the carapace of Empire?” Actually, the sentence I’m quoting is much longer, but you get the idea. Kauffman’s answer is: “Damned if I know.”
Nice to know there's an anti-war branch of the conservative movement.

Inquirer reviews …

 Ann Patchett reels us in with 'Commonwealth'.

'Unknown Kerouac' unearths the French-Canadian origins of 'On the Road'.

… The real-life horror behind Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'.

 'Book of the Undead': A millennium of creepy tales.

Something to think on …

The number of those who undergo the fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed.
— Richard Brinsley Sheridan, born on this date in 1751

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Hmm …

… Religion may be a miracle drug: Column.

… health and religion are very much connected. Professor VanderWeele’s new research with colleagues at Harvard University — building on more than 20 years of prior work in this area — suggests that attending religious services brings about better physical and mental health. Adults who do so at least once a week versus not at all have been shown to have a significantly lower risk of dying over the next decade and a half. The results have been replicated in enough studies and populations to be considered quite reliable.
Well, the reason people attend services is that they have been blessed with faith. That conection is essential.

Hmm …

… Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent | (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A fresh look at Billy …

… Review: Ron Hansen, 'The Kid'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Creative coping …

… From blogs to book: Local author reflects on cancer experience in new book | Local News | (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

“The wobbly bicycle metaphor — I really fell in love with that label,” Brown said. “. . . being alive is more like riding a bicycle, balancing on two thin tires. Eventually we’ll fall one way or the other, but for the moment, we’re upright.”

What might it be?

 The Violent Bear It Away: Reviews and Discussions: Emily Dickinson's "While we were fearing it, it came -- ".

Time capsule …

… The Writer’s Almanac for October 27, 2016 | In the Distant Past | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

For your listening pleasure …

… A Night of Poetry with Dana Gioia | by Dana Gioia | Media | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Spirits roaming …

… Zealotry of Guerin: The Ghost of a Flea (William Blake), Sonnet #321.

Something to think on …

The miracle is that a work of art should live in the person who reads it.
— Henry Green, born on this date in 1905

Friday, October 28, 2016

Bob responds …

… World exclusive: Bob Dylan - I'll be at the Nobel Prize ceremony... if I can. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

And as he talks, he starts to sound pretty pleased about becoming a Nobel laureate. “It’s hard to believe,” he muses. His name has been mentioned as on the shortlist for a number of years, but the announcement was certainly not expected. When he was first told, it was, Dylan confides, “amazing, incredible. Whoever dreams about something like that?”

Hello, I must be going …

More obligations to meet and I will be without WiFi. So bloging on my part will resume later on.

Hmm …

… What Would a Machine as Smart as God Want? - Scientific American Blog Network. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Dyson’s musings were inspired by the science-fiction writer (and philosopher) Olaf Stapledon, who died in 1950. In his books Last and First Men and Starmaker, Stapledon imagined what mind would become after millions or billions of years. He postulated that a cosmic mind will want to create. It will become an artist, whose works are entire universes.

It's come to this …

… Trading up: Kim Kardashian for Shakespeare’s Cleopatra | The Book Haven.

Sail away …

… Deep Water: 'Ellsworth Car Wash' by Carl Little - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Gallantry …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `My Existence and Cheerful Countenance'. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Anniversary …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Happy Birthday To The Late, Great British Novelist Evelyn Waugh.

Wow, what a story …

… Memories of a Runaway Cuban Slave | Travel | Smithsonian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Something to think on …

The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish.
— Evelyn Waugh, born on this date in 1903

High-flying birds …

 Living life on high: swift birds eat, sleep, and mate without touching Earth - (Hat tip, David Tothero.)

The common swift, Apus apus, spends 10 months of the year aloft, according to research published Thursday in the journal Current Biology. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

In case you wondered …

… Is Modern Feminism Incompatible with Science? | American Council on Science and Health.

Obviously, culture does play a large part in shaping behavioral differences between the genders. But to deny the prominent role of biology in our lives is dangerous nonsense. Ignoring it will not empower women but endanger them. Multiple sclerosislupusmigraine headacheschronic fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalomyelitis), depression and anxiety, and irritable bowel syndrome are more common in women. Will ascribing these pathological differences to patriarchal social constructs help find a cure?
It' also worth noting that gender and sex are not the same thing. Gender has to do with grammar. Man is masculine, woman is feminine, and child is neuter. 

Be very scared …

… Herzog leaves us as anxious and uncertain as we are thrilled: Lo and Behold reviewed. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The mounting tension in the film is expressed by the reactions of the interviewees. Increasingly, they are eased out of their comfort zones, as are we. Finally, we are left with the sense that all this high intelligence and ingenuity is leading to the termination of the human. As ever, Herzog leaves us as anxious and uncertain as we are thrilled

The way it was …

… When the Sun Went Down in Baltimore | The American Spectator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The Sun team set out to recall what it was like to write and report in the golden age of American print, “when journalism sometimes seemed like ‘the life of kings.’” The title comes from Sunpapers sage H.L. Mencken who once wrote that news reporting was more fun than any other enterprise he was involved with. “It is really the life of kings.”

Indeed …

… Dylan’s Nobel: Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright | C2C Journal.

Fitting in — and not …

… The Violent Bear It Away: Reviews and Discussions: "The Geranium" (1946) by Flannery O'Connor.

This is delightful …

… The University Bookman: Airing Rome’s Dirty Laundry. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I love that Juster not only praises the book under review, but takes the time to rebut another review of the book, and in the process manages to demonstrate how provincial the American academy has become. Plenty to quote from in the review, but you should read all of it. Here's just one sample:
The virtues of Catullus’ Bedspread led to glowing reviews in the major papers and journals of the United Kingdom, where HarperCollins first released it. As one might regrettably expect, the book’s reception by academics in the United States has been rockier. The nastiest of the American reviews by far is an exercise in what millennials call “mansplaining” (a man explaining something to a woman in a patronizing fashion). This review, by Bard College classics professor James Romm, appeared electronically in the normally politically correct journal, The New Republic.

Review …

… Hard Times -A Novel of Liberals and Radicals in 1860s Russia.

Something to think on…

The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps ... so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash or thunder in.
— Dylan Thomas, born on this date in 1914

Mark Twain

For whatever reason, he's been on my mind. A review of his autobiography from The Guardian.

Exploring the truth...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Books for "Nasty Women"

...Will this election ever end?

From the Boston Review.

Socialism in the Modern Age

...From the LARB

Mark thy calendar …

… Who Do You Love? Anne Sexton – MOONSTONE ARTS CENTER.

Blogging note …

I must be about what I am coming to think of as pastoral work. My blogging will resume when time permits.

Paying attention …

… First Known When Lost: Fallen.

Caterpillars and human beings: each of us in the midst of our own singular journey, crossing a brief, bright space from one dark wood to another.
Am I oversimplifying? Anthropomorphizing? Sentimentalizing? If you spend time with the haiku of the masters (Bashō, Buson, Issa, and Shiki), you will soon become intimately acquainted with the lives and fates of fireflies, cicadas, spiders, fleas, mosquitoes, flies, caterpillars, and butterflies (to name but a few). You will come to realize that, in this existence of ours, notions of oversimplification, anthropomorphization, and sentimentality are beside the point. You will learn to banish modern irony from your life.

Q&A …

 Poetry, Aging, and Loss: An interview with Donald Hall | TriQuarterly. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Jane first read her long poem at the Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire, one of Frost’s summer houses. After she finished it, there was a great line of people who needed to talk to her—depressives, people from the families of depressives. She wept when she read it.

Best foot forward …

 Laudator Temporis Acti: Thinking on Your Feet. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Remembering …

… More on D. Keith Mano | Brandywine Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Our friend Dave Lull sent me this link to the .pdf of the whole issue. The Brookhiser eulogy is on page 24. I hope this is legal.
Dave sent it to me as well. I just hadn't got around to linking to it. So I'll link to this way . IF NR complains, they can complain about us both.

Something to think on …

I said to the almond tree, 'Friend, speak to me of God,' and the almond tree blossomed.
— Nikos Kazantzakis, who died on this date in 1957

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dream or destination …

… The Violent Bear It Away: Reviews and Discussions: "Heaven" -- is what I cannot reach!

As a Catholic, and knowing myself reasonably well, I'm pinning my hopes on a long stretch in Purgatory.

Blogging note …

Tuesday is the day I spend at The Inquirer helping to keep the book room in order. So blogging must be spotty for the time being.

Getting to know him better …

… 'American Ulysses' tries to set the record straight on the Civil War general - Chicago Tribune(Hat tip, G. E. Reutter.)

… in his lifetime he was classed with Washington and Lincoln in the "Trinity of great American leaders." Mark Twain, a skeptic about fame and power if ever there was one, described Grant as, "America's Great Soldier, Honored Statesman, Unselfish Citizen." At his death, the New York Tribune declared that "the foremost man of the nation has closed a career second to no other in the history of the republic." The Montgomery (Alabama) Advertiser — in the first capital of the Confederacy that he was so instrumental in defeating — wrote that "no man since George Washington has better illustrated the genius of American institutions or the temper of the American people." The Times of London asserted that "His name shall share with Abraham Lincoln the chief glories of American history in the 19th century," and a memorial service at Westminster Abbey could not contain all those who wished to honor the man then seen as a colossus and paragon.

Q&A …

… Latino Literary Lens: Our Talk with Poet, Publisher Carmen Giménez Smith - NBC News. (Gat tip, G. E. Reutter.)

Nobel Bob …

… Undernews: Word. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Collaboration …

 Christopher Marlowe credited as one of Shakespeare's co-writers | Culture | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Using old-fashioned scholarship and 21st-century computerised tools to analyse texts, the edition’s international scholars have contended that Shakespeare’s collaboration with other playwrights was far more extensive than has been realised until now.

The poet's eye …

… Threepenny: Unger, Another Look at Larkin. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If these photographs are invaluable for the way they send us back to the poems with new eyes, now and then you alight on a Larkin image that seems to stand as achieved art in its own right.

Something to think on …

Every time government attempts to handle our affairs, it costs more and the results are worse than if we had handled them ourselves.
— Benjamin Constant, born on this date in 1767

Monday, October 24, 2016

Contemporary Transcendentalist …

… 'Upstream' places poet Mary Oliver in her 'arena of delight' - (Hat tip, G.E. Reutter.)

And the winners are …

… 2016 September : Winning Poems IBPC.

The Judge's Page.

(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Looking for a Catholic education?

… then you can skip this joint: DePaul University prohibits 'Unborn Lives Matter' posters on campus - Washington Times.

Resurrection …

… Authors Alliance and Internet Archive Team Up to Make Books Available | Internet Archive Blogs. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Review …

… The Emily Fables.


 Guide to Colleges |

Anniversary …

… Paul Davis On Crime: On This Day In History Raymond Chandler Starts His Last Novel.

Q&A …

… Paul Davis On Crime: ‘The Father Of The Modern Police Novel’ Joseph Wambaugh On ‘Dragnet,’ Police Shootings And Hollywood’s Action Addiction.

Life as practical joke …

… The Violent Bear It Away: Reviews and Discussions: Understanding Herman Melville's Moby-Dick.

Something to think on …

I believe every space and comma is a living part of the poem and has its function, just as every muscle and pore of the body has its function. And the way the lines are broken is a functioning part essential to the life of the poem.
— Denise Levertov, born on this date in 1923

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Quintessence …

… The Violent Bear It Away: Reviews and Discussions: One sentence says it all: reading Moby-Dick.

Enter now …

… Quarter After Eight’s Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Life in the castle's heart …

… Journey Around My Room: The Autobiography of Louise Bogan - A Mosaic by Ruth Limmer (1980) - The Neglected Books Page. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Some music …

… by Ned Rorem, who turned 93 today.

Mark thy calendar …

A Poetry Reading +
A Short Non-Lecture On Poetry

By Leonard Gontarek


Fergie’s Pub
1214 Sansom Street
Philadelphia PA

Hosted by Charles Carr
& Moonstone Arts Center

As I say in a poem: I want you to choose between beauty & light. This line
speaks on behalf of my poetry. I like that two choices are offered, both good.

                                         – Leonard  Gontarek

Leonard Gontarek is the author of St. Genevieve Watching Over Paris, Van Morrison Can’t Find His Feet, Zen For Beginners, Deja Vu Diner, He Looked Beyond My Faults And Saw My Needs, and most recently, Take Your Hand Out Of My Pocket, Shiva.

Inquirer reviews …

… Three romances worth getting deeply into.

… 'Who Owns the Dead?': The emotions and science of 9/11.

… 'Valiant Ambition': Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the betrayals of war.

History nuggets …

Hello again, history crony. Here are two fresh nuggets for your edification:
"Fraud! Fraud Everywhere." I encountered that scary headline two weeks ago while back in Scranton and Waverly, Pa., chasing a few final loose ends for my forthcoming book about a group of fugitive slaves-turned-soldiers who had lived there. You know how Donald Trump has alleged that systematic vote-rigging will rob him of victory in November? And how he's called on supporters to monitor the polling "in certain places," which in Pennsylvania at least has been understood as code for Philadelphia? Well, Donald was hardly the first one to cry election foul. While poring over old newspapers in the Scranton public library, I came upon an unsigned item that The Scranton Daily Times, a conservative Democratic organ of the day, printed in October 1872. A statewide election was nearing and The Times claimed that the Republican machine was sending out hirelings, especially newly enfranchised black men, hither and yon to cast multiple votes. The writer offered a shocking solution: "when a negro from another State, brought here by the Cameron ring, presents himself to cast a fraudulent vote, shoot him dead. We ask no quarter, and we will give none on this point." (Fortunately there was no actual violence, at least according to the election coverage I could find.)
"The 'Despised race.'" As a counterpart to The Scranton Times' trigger-happy view, consider how The Pittston Gazette, another newspaper in that corner of Pennsylvania, spoke of black people during the postwar era. In an item in late 1865 titled "Fair Play for the Negro," The Gazette, a Republican weekly, noted how "the 'despised race' bravely mingled their blood with that of the Anglo-Saxon defenders of the Constitution on many well fought fields." The black man, it continued, had thus earned "a fair and equal chance with the white man in the great race of life--and if he succeeds against the odds of color and the debasing effects of generations of servitude, he will show superior capacity to those who would make color and not character the criterion of merit." Perhaps that sentiment rings a bell with you. Martin Luther King, in his immortal "I Have a Deam" speech a century later, yearned for a day when his children could live in a nation "where they not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

A book for these times …

… 'Wife to Mr Milton' by Robert Graves. A good book for the dark season - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Good question …

… Books Beat: A.L. Brady asks ''Has anyone else noticed how the majority of recent cli-fi novels/story collections focus as much on themes of isolation as problem solving?'' and says ''Cli-fi should definitely be harrowing, but it's troubling to see so much anxiety channeled into visions of isolation instead of teamwork.'

A better question might be this: "Why do some fiction writers merely want to get across some message instead of just engaging with life in all its inconsistencies and contradictions and see what we can learn from that?"

The voice of faith …

… Prayer - The New York Times. (Ht tip, Rus Bowden.)


 Phil Chess, co-founder of blues label Chess Records, dies. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden,)

Appreciation …

… Toward Eden’s Trees | Intercollegiate Studies Institute: Educating for Liberty. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

For the defense …

… Bob Dylan and the wind of literary idiocy | The Japan Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… to bestow it on one of our last popular poets, the distant relative of Rutebeuf, Villon and all the minstrels and songsters of solitude and dereliction; to consecrate a troubadour, a bard of the brotherhood of lonely and lost souls; to crown the author of ballads that have been, to borrow Andre Suares’ phrase about Rimbaud, “a moment in the life” of so many people in the 20th and 21st centuries makes a lot more sense than pulling out of a hat the obscure Rudolf Christoph Eucken or picking poor old Sully Prudhomme instead of Tolstoy.

Beautiful …

… Haiku pics (Mayumi Kawaharada) . (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A master on books …

… The Magic of the Book: Hermann Hesse on Why We Read and Always Will – Brain Pickings. (Hat tip, David Tothero.)

We need not fear a future elimination of the book. On the contrary, the more that certain needs for entertainment and education are satisfied through other inventions, the more the book will win back in dignity and authority. For even the most childish intoxication with progress will soon be forced to recognize that writing and books have a function that is eternal. It will become evident that formulation in words and the handing on of these formulations through writing are not only important aids but actually the only means by which humanity can have a history and a continuing consciousness of itself.

Remembering those fallen …

… TLS‘Memorial’ – TheTLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

The art of translation lies less in knowing the other language than in knowing your own.
— Ned Rorem, born on this date in 1923

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Doesn't he always?

… With his first new play in nearly a decade, Tom Stoppard aims to 'stretch your mind just a little bit' - LA Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A real pro …

… The Odd Appeal of Shirley Jackson - Washington Free Beacon. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… now, just over 50 years since her death, what are we to say about her? There are limits to the women-had-it-so-bad-in-the-1950s line that Ruth Franklin pushes in Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life. It doesn’t explain—and even seems to preclude—the genuine success that Jackson found. For that matter, the deeper one reaches in the biography, the less one trusts that Jackson was driven by her times. She was an odd girl, by the standards not just of her day but of any day. And she grew into a talented woman whose writings may have originated among her anxieties but are not fully explained by them.

Somerset Maugham gauged his place in literary history as "in the very front row of the second-rate." Of course, as he pointed out the truly first-rate are people like Shakespeare.

Hmm …

… The Prosblogion — Virtual Colloquium: Perry Hendricks, “An Empirical Argument for Substance Dualism”. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

This sounds to me like eavesdropping on a conversation in Laputa.

Help for politicized dimwits …

… Thomism Is Ready for Its Close-Up | RealClearReligion.

… Thomist thinkers in the New World defended the humanity of the native peoples against the deprecations of some European settlers. From these stout defenses of the natives’ dignity emerged theories of human rights and international law that hold sway even today. A statue of Francisco de Vitoria (1492–1546), a leading figure of the Thomist School of Salamanca, stands in the gardens of the United Nations headquarters in New York City. … Thomist intellectuals helped to draft the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the report of Quebec’s Tremblay Commission. 

Trick or treat …

… Zealotry of Guerin: The Poor Devil by the Fire (Hugo Simberg), Sonnet #320.

Hmm …

… Not a Nobel Man - Taki's Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The Nobel Committee says it gave Dylan the award for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." So they were giving it to him as a writer of songs that are sung not simply read. The connection between song and poetry is indubitable. Dalrymple cites lyrics that do stand especially well minus the music that accompanies them. But let's try some Dylan lyrics that, I think, do stand pretty well by themselves:

Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time
Far past the frozen leaves
The haunted frightened trees
Out to the windy bench
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky
With one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea
Circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate
Driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Dylan deserves the prize for the same basic reason that anyone else who is given it does: Those charged with bestowing the prize decided to bestow it on him. 

Something to think n …

The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.
— Doris Lessing, born on this date in 1919

In case you wondered...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Songs bigger than life …

… “Let Us Not Talk Falsely Now, The Hour Is Getting Late”: Literature, the Nobel, and Bob Dylan | Town Topics. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)

Wow …

… Faith Photo by Anna D. — National Geographic Your Shot. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Haiku …

Settled on the bench,
The old man sees where he's been
And wonders what's next.

An atheist Muslim...

Q&A …

 New Book Juster — Mass Poetry. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Indeed …

… We’re Only Human | commentary — Review of 'The Kingdom of Speech,' by Tom Wolfe. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Clearing the popularizers from the field, as many specialists would like to do, would cede all scientific argument to scientists, who in many notable cases have not earned the deference they demand. The danger is doubled when scientists use science to draw metaphysical lessons—when, that is, they assert that human beings and primates are in essence the same kind of creature. A flurry of data and polysyllabic detail shouldn’t obscure the fact that such a thesis defies human experience and devalues the noblest human endeavors (including science, by the way).
One might add that, as often as not, when scientists draw those metaphysical, they mostly reveal their utter ignorance of philosophy in general and metaphysics in particular.

Short answer: Very high …

… What is the true standing of Oxford poet Elizabeth Jennings? | Oxford Today. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

A poet ought not to pick nature's pocket. Let him borrow, and so borrow as to repay by the very act of borrowing. Examine nature accurately, but write from recollection, and trust more to the imagination than the memory.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge, born on this date in 1772

Thursday, October 20, 2016

One can only hope …

… The University Bookman: Is a Christian Society Possible? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Reno speaks a difficult truth when he takes on the point of solidarity. If a society is not unified, it is fragmented, individualized, and atomized—and so is left vulnerable to tyranny. A society that does not stand on solid ground has no foundation into which it might dig its heels. In his words, “Atomized, self-interested people are more easily managed than those united in a common purpose. They are easier to dominate than those willing and able to make sacrifices for the sake of a transcendent loyalty.” Time was that government reacted to the movements of the masses. But as a society becomes more fragmented the government no longer has a popular opinion to which to respond, and so pays attention not to the largest movements, but rather to the most raucous, which are easily confused with popular. Five men yelling can make as much noise as twenty men speaking; as Reno puts it, “We’re facing a crisis of solidarity, not freedom, and this crisis of solidarity foretells a crisis of freedom. Atomized, isolated individuals adrift in a deregulated moral culture are easily dominated, whether by political manipulators or the directionless leadership of mass culture.”

Fabulous …

… Undernews: Great moments in poetry. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hmm …

 Screwtape and Human Wave | Cat Rotator's Quarterly.
There’s a sense in the air in the US right now that, as a fellow study group member put it, “Screwtape has his hand out telling Wormwood ‘Just chill. We’ve got this.’ ” Politics are unspeakable, the economy feels like one of those endless knock-knock jokes (Knock knock. Who’s there? Recovery. Recovery who? Knock knock. Who’s there? Recovery. Recovery who?), truly important news has been overwhelmed by a wave of tit for tat that makes a toddler spat look dignified and mature, and there’s a great urge to stop, dive into a hole and pull the hole in after you. Why bother saving if inflation will eat it. Why bother voting or participating in local politics since [they] are not listening/are not moving fast enough/are corrupt/are tied to business interests.

Hear, hear …

 The Millions : The Library Is Dead. Long Live the Library! - The Millions. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I think what needs to be understood is that information is not knowledge, and that education is more than mere training. Education is information and skill put to the purpose of forming character.

Anchors aweigh …

 The Violent Bear It Away: Reviews and Discussions: Blogging Note.

Always fresh …

 A History of Pictures by David Hockney and Martin Gayford review | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Like the best poetry, Hockney’s best pictures always give you the sense that the whole business is starting again. There are connoisseurs who scorn that view but they are of the kind whose necks get tired too easily in the Sistine chapel. (It’s featured here, with the prophet Jonah leaning back into the curved vault leaning forward, a world-beating trompe l’oeil effect disguised as almost nothing.) (But try and make a mark that doesn’t trick the eye.) (Anyone who meets Hockney will soon find, disconcertingly, that he speaks the way these parentheses add up.)


… Lieutenant-Colonel Norman Murphy, founder of the PG Wodehouse Society – obituary. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Broke is a temporary condition, poor is a state of mind.
— Richard Francis Burton, who died on this date in 1890

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Blogging note …

I have to do a bit of dog-sitting for my neighbors down the street, and then it's of to the dentist. So blogging on my part will resume this afternoon.

Candor …

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

There are two worlds: the world we can measure with line and rule, and the world that we feel with our hearts and imagination.
— Leigh Hunt, born on this date in 1784

Thriving on poison...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


… 10 popular word origins that are absolute codswallop.

A virtual future …

… Is This Economist Too Far Ahead of His Time? - The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

To the extent that I can grasp this, it doesn't sound very appealing. Luckily, I won't be around.

Beauty and truth …

… First Known When Lost: Flowers And Stars.

A good poem (or any good work of art) brings us back to the world. It prompts us to take a fresh look at things. This fresh look encompasses both human and natural particulars. These particulars are not always lovely and cheerful -- poetry is not mere escapism -- but, in the hands of a good poet, they bring us into the presence of Beauty and Truth.
These are things we intuit, in Aristotle's sense. We simply know them. We do not reason toward them. They are their own evidence and proof.

Helpful hints …

 The Long Way through No, To a Big Short Yes | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Aboard with Ahab …

… The Violent Bear It Away: Reviews and Discussions: "Call me Ishmael" -- erratic blogging lies ahead!

Something to think on …

Some other faculty than the intellect is necessary for the apprehension of reality.
— Henri Bergson, born on this date in 1859

Another college to skip …

 Students told term 'be a man' represents toxic masculinity - The College Fix.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Not returning calls …

 Nobel Prize committee gives up trying to contact Bob Dylan. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Generation of ignoramuses

 How Many Millennials Think Bush Killed More Than Stalin.
When millennial respondents were asked about their familiarity with various historical communist figures, 42 percent were unfamiliar with Mao Zedong, 40 percent with Che Guevara, and 33 percent with Vladimir Lenin—three notorious figures in communist regimes. Among millennials familiar with Lenin, 25 percent viewed him favorably.
I wonder how many of those wear Che t-shirts

A reminder …







Philadelphia, PA

More Info:

This Event Is Free

A Terrific Poem by Autumn McClintock:

To Pennsylvania


You meager lost state.
You, dog with a tail between your legs.
You blue state of dirty cities.

You keystone,
lover of the middle.
You ignored child.

Not poor or rich or lively. Your Liberty Bell:
broken, tongue-tied cow. You of
rolling hills, of Amish

and Mennonites in the fields, the rolling fields
gold with corn. You sea-less creature.
You long divided by the Susquehanna.

Your bit of Lake Erie. You holding hands
with Ohio and Trenton, kneeling on Maryland.
You having a quick affair with Delaware, your tiny friend.

You kissing New York and kissing her and kissing her
along her pale spine. All between, among,
surrounded, you, Pennsylvania.

Of routes and skyscrapers, downed planes
in broad expanses, of 6 hours to cross you,
of long restless rides. Of ruffed grouse, white-tailed deer,

(oh dead highway, oh fur and bones across the highway)
of ladybug and firefly, brook trout, mountain laurel,
of eastern hemlock, waving.  Coal state, steel state,

state of our own sorrow. You, Pennsylvania
raising up and holding us, you nurturing and
wasting us. I love you. I love you.

Autumn McClintock grew up in Chester County and has lived in Philadelphia for over a decade. Her first chapbook, After the Creek, was published in late summer 2016, and poems of hers have recently appeared in Drunken Boat, Green Mountains Review, Poetry Daily, RHINO, and others. An essay of hers appears in the 2013 anthology The Poet’s Sourcebook, published by Autumn House Press, and she is a staff reader for Ploughshares.  She works at the Free Library.

Tuesday, November 15, 7 PM
Jan Freeman, author of Blue Structure,
published by Calypso Press
& Lynn Farmer, author of
The Rare, Persistent Light, winner of
the Charles Dickson Chapbook Award

Something to look forward to …

… Four Boys and a Guitar-The Story and Music of the Mills Brothersby douglas e. friedman - Home.

For those unfamiliar with the Mills Brothers, he's a clip:

Listen in …

… Episode 189 – Glen Baxter | Virtual Memories.

“All the cultural vibrancy of great cities has been made less possible by the fact that people can’t afford to live there anymore. The energy is dissipated.”

Literary recluses …

… John Lanchester — Short Cuts — LRB 20 October 2016.

Methinks, if you want to avoid undue attention, it is quite possible if you are properly cool:

Keanu Reeves Being a Classy Guy NYC Subway Version Extended/


… The Violent Bear It Away: Reviews and Discussions: How to read and why -- from Harry Potter to Lemony Snicket to John Steinbeck and beyond.

Listen in …

… Brevity for the Eardrums | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.


… Maverick Philosopher: Sunday Morning Sermon: Awareness of Death as Cure for Existential Drift.

Starting in grade school, I was taught to think of death every day, and I have mostly followed that teaching. But I must say, now that I am 75, the nature of the thinking is different.

Cat among pigeons …

… Bob Dylan: The Music Travels, the Poetry Stays Home | by Tim Parks | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
…  while Dylan’s greatness seems evident in English-speaking countries, even to those scandalized that he has been given the Nobel, this is simply not the case in all those places where Dylan’s music is regularly heard, but his language only partially understood. Which is to say, in most of the world.

Something to think on …

The imagination is not an escape, but a return to the richness of our true selves; a return to reality.
— George Mackay Brown, born on this date in 1921

Sunday, October 16, 2016

In case you wondered …

… The Prosblogion — The New Creation, Part 5, Will God Include Animals in Heaven?, by John Schneider. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

A hybrid of longing and lust …

 It Breaks Before it Bends: On Donika Kelly’s Black Girl Poetry | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Hmm …

 In defence of the comic novel. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
I'm not sure I get this. In fact, it seems to me to rub elbows with thought disorder.

21st-century relationships …

… How to Handle 'Cuffing Season', the Time of Year When Everybody's Looking for a Winter Fuck | VICE | United Kingdom. (Hat tip, Ed Champion.)

I am far too old — and old-fashioned — to quite understand this.

Is he still as familiar?

… The Violent Bear It Away: Reviews and Discussions: Visiting and reading: Mark Twain.

Two reviews …

… Amber Necklace from Gdańsk.

Dog Years.

Strange beauty …

… Photographing The Workshop of the World — Schuylkill Valley Journal Online.

We lived near Kensington when I was a small child, and had friends and relatives who lived there. I know the place pretty well.

Silencing silence …

… A.M. Juster - Rounding Up the Mimes - Peacock Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Ongoing …

… Books Beat: Stacey Balkan reviews Amitav Ghosh's climate essays titled THE GREAT DERANGEMENT with a strong denunication of his uncanny prejudice against Western sci-fi and cli-fi novels since the 1960s.

Nobel Bob (cont'd.) …

… Hey, Mr Nobel prize man | Focus | The Times & The Sunday Times. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)