Monday, May 21, 2018

Pope Francis is Managing Like President Trump

News Item:  Chilean bishops mislead Pope about sexual abuse in Church; Pope gets pissed, summons all to Rome; all 33 Chilean bishops tender resignations this past Friday following meeting with Pope...
Three Papal Characteristics 
The conclusion of the Chilean summit clarified three characteristics of the Holy Father’s pastoral style. 
First, Pope Francis is quite ready to fire people at the most senior levels. He has fired three curial prefects, something which simply wasn’t done previously. Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Gerhard Müller were all dismissed when judged to be obstacles to the Holy Father’s agenda. The Vatican’s auditor general, a key figure in the financial reform program appointed by Pope Francis himself, was fired last summer. A few months before that, the Holy Father even fired someone who was thought to be beyond the Pope’s power to dismiss, the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta. 
Pope Francis has shifted away from the more traditional ecclesiastical style to a more business style of management. The traditional ecclesial style, especially in Rome, was to wait for people to retire or to move them to a face-saving post. 

A most unusual anniversary

… Informal Inquiries: Out of the Blue Closets — Historical Tidbit #4.

Inquirer reviews …

Who knew?

… Want to better understand Donald Trump’s presidency? Read Tom Wolfe | South China Morning Post. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Of course, you have to want to understand, and not just take a stand.

Something to think on …

Act well your part, there all the honour lies.
— Alexander Pope, born on this date in 1688

No fan of old age …

… The University Bookman: The Best Classical Latin Poet You’ve Never Heard Of. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Maximianus has no truck with the sunny view of old age that you find in Cicero or AARP, The Magazine; that is for children. He is with Ecclesiastes: old age is nothing but the evil days when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them. But it’s worse, because unlike the biblical sage, Maximianus has no god to believe in. It is simply horror upon horror until you die. Looks fail, the muscles fail, erections fail, the body fails; money loses its point. You become unrecognizable.

In case you wondered …

… Why Photography’s B&W vs Color Debate Is No Debate At All. (Hat tip,  Rus Bowden.)

Plain speaking …

… Deep Water: 'The Maine Woods' by Dawn Potter - Portland Press Herald. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)


… Bobbie Louise Hawkins was a beat poet and author. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Indeed …

 Edward Feser: The Church permits criticism of popes under certain circumstances. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

For so many prominent faithful Catholics publicly to criticize a pope seems unprecedented, though perhaps the criticism Pope John XXII faced from the theologians of his day was somewhat similar. However, for a pope to make so many problematic statements while persistently ignoring repeated respectful requests for clarification iscertainly unprecedented.  Hence the criticism is not surprising.  More to the present point, it is manifest from Donum Veritatis, canon law, and the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas and other approved theologians that the criticism is clearly within the bounds of what the Church permits.  Those who accuse these critics of being “dissenters” or disloyal to the Holy Father are either being intellectually dishonest or simply don’t know what they are talking about.

Friendship and its trials …

… “The Dramatis Personae of Our Lives”: On “A Bountiful Harvest: The Correspondence of Anthony Hecht and William L. MacDonald” - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hecht went on to become one of the leading postwar American poets, and MacDonald would occupy a comparable place in the field of architectural history. A Bountiful Harvest, edited by the British publisher Philip Hoy, documents their 36-year correspondence. That may sound dry and academic, especially as both men were, in fact, academics. But it isn’t. Seldom has a collection of letters read so consistently laugh-out-loud funny, before turning unexpectedly sad. Hecht and MacDonald were men with well-exercised comic senses, not afraid to be ridiculous, whimsical, scatological, or scathingly critical of acquaintances and public figures. Their letters are filled with puns, put-ons, mock pedantry, and even a protracted exchange of Polish jokes. Both possessed a gift for inspired Monty Python–esque silline­ss.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Paradoxical world …

 Informal Inquiries: Review — The Resurrectionist (2008).

Post-War Painting...

...The London scene

Getting his own back …

… The Ashtray Has Landed: The Case of Morris v. Kuhn - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The realism Kuhn denies is much stronger than any dreamed of in Morris’s excursions into philosophy. It consists of the claim that reality comes pre-packaged, divided up in advance of our cognition of it. The position Kuhn envisages — derived from James, and elaborated in Kuhnian directions by Dewey — may turn out in the end to be incoherent or unsustainable. But it is far more complex and interesting than Morris allows. It poses interesting challenges to the hyper-realism of the ready-made world, and should not be brushed aside by dismissive gestures, citations of authority, or Johnsonian exercises.

Hmm …

… Munk Debates - Poltical Correctness.


Two men, both of whom were public intellectuals - but good ones.

Richard Pipes, and his Property and Freedom is a wonderful book. 

Bernard Lewis, and his What Went Wrong? is also wonderful.

Both men are also accused of colonization and white men, Western World superiority.

Consider the artist not the art?

Poetry professor still teaches her class despite knowing some of her artists are actually bad people.  From the comments:
There is a palpable presumption of her own moral rectitude on the part of the author, as is most commonly the case with those who wish to be moral gatekeepers and tastemakers. Frankly, I think her life needs to be investigated and judged more thoroughly before she has credibility as an author.  It is an inevitability that there are many sinners in the crowd that seeks to crucify others for their sins. Doubtless this author would consent to a critical analysis of her life, from often inherently hostile perspectives, in the judgement of her work.  Right?

IAnniversary …

… Informal Inquiries: Shakespeare’s sonnets published — Historical Tidbit #3.

Something to think on …

The morality code that remains after the religion that produced it is rejected is like the perfume that lingers in an empty bottle.
— Sigrid Undset, born on this date in 1882

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Something to think on …

I believe that one of the most sound ideas in dramatic writing is that in order to create the universal, you must pay very great attention to the specific. Universality, I think, emerges from truthful identity of what is.
— Lorraine Hansberry, born on this date in 1930

Historical thriller …

 Informal Inquiries: Review — Ratlines by Stuart Neville (2013).

Freedom …

… Informal Inquiries: Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment ends.

Interesting …

… Seriously? with Elias Mokole | KUMD. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

True …

… "It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not." | Dr. Helen.

So in order to be liked or valued by others, you have to be a celebrity and have a cool job? Why? And why do you have to prove your worth to anyone? What happened to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Isn't that the real American dream? Now the dream is to become a shallow celebrity and look good to please others and try to prove your worth to them? No thanks.

Before he turned to crime …

… Elmore Leonard's Gritty Westerns | CrimeReads. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Leonard was originally no more a man of the West than was the Ohio-born dentist Zane Grey. While a kid in Detroit, Westerns enthralled him as they did most people in the 1930s and 40s. When he grew interested in writing during college Western fiction seemed a promising genre he could work in part-time. Unlike many writers then selling Western tales to pulps, though, Leonard insisted on accuracy, and kept a ledger of his research over the years, later crediting his longtime subscription to Arizona Highways magazine for many of his authentic descriptions. All had to be genuine: the guns, Apache terms and clothing; the frontier knives, card games, liquor, and especially the horses.

Falling short …

 62 Novels Judged Not Funny Enough for Wodehouse Prize | Brandywine Books.

The Roya; Wedding …

 Nigeness: First Thoughts.

Back in fashion …

… Reading “Paradise Lost” in the fall of 1968: a poem on liberty and loss, and the sexual revolution, too | The Book Haven.

The way we were …

 Return of the singing cowboy | About Last Night.

A Tommy Tune-directed glitzmobile with a score by Cy Coleman, Betty Comden and Adolph Green and a book by Peter Stone (“1776”), it ran for 981 performances and won six Tonys, including the best-musical and best-original-score prizes. But “The Will Rogers Follies” has yet to return to Broadway, and even though it continues to be staged on occasion by amateurs and students, professional productions of the show have long since become rare enough that I made a point of going to Goodspeed Musicals’ revival to find out what I’d been missing—and was very happily surprised by how entertaining it proved to be.

Out of ourselves …

… Zealotry of Guerin: The Daydream (Dante Gabriel Rossetti), Sonnet #405.

Quotidian apparel …

… a brown dress, a blue dress, | Bobbie Louise Hawkins. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

 Bobbie Louise Hawkins died on May 4, age 87.

From the Poet Laureate …

… Carol Ann Duffy's royal wedding poem: Long Walk | UK news | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

At North of Oxford …

… Summer Reading Recommendations 2018 | North of Oxford.

… Past Interviews at North of Oxford.

Being black vs...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Elegance, class, and mice …

 Nigeness: Fred and Cyd.

Q&A …

… Poetic Justice - The Sun Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

We’re talking in my backyard — which I adore — but when I moved in, this yard was a suburban landscape of green grass and clean rock borders. I understand the ways in which our interactions with place teach us about who we are, and so I can see my way of dealing with my yard as an extension of the ways I deal with myself, my daughter, my family, and this world. We could have a homogeneous landscape, but I choose not to. That’s why I tore out the rock and grass and replaced it with soil and wildflowers. I crave another kind of ecosystem — one with a variety of life-forms. Not just flowers but native grasses and sometimes dandelions and bugs and rabbits and birds. This is more representative of who I am than a plain green lawn with pristine borders. My yard is diverse, full of surprise and wonder. That’s the America I want to be a part of.

Jordan Peterson ...

Violent attacks are what happens when men do not have partners, Mr. Peterson says, and society needs to work to make sure those men are married.
“He was angry at God because women were rejecting him,” Mr. Peterson says of the Toronto killer. “The cure for that is enforced monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.”
Mr. Peterson does not pause when he says this. Enforced monogamy is, to him, simply a rational solution. Otherwise women will all only go for the most high-status men, he explains, and that couldn’t make either gender happy in the end.
“Half the men fail,” he says, meaning that they don’t procreate. “And no one cares about the men who fail.”
I laugh, because it is absurd.
“You’re laughing about them,” he says, giving me a disappointed look. “That’s because you’re female.

Good …

 Liu Xia: Paul Auster and JM Coetzee lead renewed calls for Chinese poet's release | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

And the winner is …

… Pascale Petit, a UK based poet, wins the Ondaatje Prize 2018 - Times of India.  (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

The law as a ass …

… Informal Inquiries: William Penn’s Trial — Historical Tidbit #1.

FYI: "If the law supposes that," said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, "the law is a ass — a idiot. If that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience."

Notable debut …

 City of Glass | City Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

What of “the finest building in America” itself? Burrows details the construction problems, the cost overruns (some things never change), the design compromises, and the delays. In the end, the Crystal Palace stood proudly beside the mammoth Croton Distributing Reservoir that half a century later yielded its site to the New York Public Library (itself one of the finest buildings in America). Reservoir Square, site of the Crystal Palace, became Bryant Park. New York had nothing else like the Crystal Palace, a gem of engineering and ornamentation that, if not quite Paxton’s London masterpiece, nonetheless ranked as one of the major American buildings of the era. It’s easy to forget that at this time, New York had no Central Park, no St. Patrick’s Cathedral, no Brooklyn Bridge, and no skyscrapers.

The value of relics …

… Worship and Its Neglect – Idlings. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

As a worshiper, I stand with the majority in the “democracy of the dead.” Worship is something I have in common with my ancestors, and with yours. True, the objects of worship have changed. I say that my pre-Christian ancestors bowed their heads to Woden, Lugh or Jupiter in error. But at least they knew that worship was the proper response to finding oneself a human creature of transcendent yearnings and mortal constraints.

Something to think on …

Let us remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm, and look forward to the future with confidence.
— Pope John Paul II, born on this date in 1920

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tom Wolfe …

… Passing the acid test.

Mark thy calendar (again) …

P O E T R Y   I N   C O M M O N


FOR BEST POEM – (& $50. in Poetry Books)

                                & EILEEN D’ANGELO

TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2018 7 PM

(Each poet receives 4 minutes to read)
Sign up in advance:


Philadelphia PA

(Please note the address, there are
  other Green Line Café locations.)

     This Event Is Free

Eileen M. D’Angelo, Editor of  Mad Poets Review, has poetry and book reviews published or forthcoming in Rattle, Manhattan Poetry Review, Drexel Online Journal, Paterson Literary Review, Wild River Review, Philadelphia Stories, One Trick Pony, Midwest Poetry Review, The Independent Review, Aurealean, HiNgE, Philadelphia Poets, SVJ and others. She judged the Philadelphia area open auditions for the pilot program of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Additionally, she led workshops or performed original songs and poetry all over the Greater Philly area, New York and New Jersey, on radio and public television stations, and at such venues as WXPN - World Café Live, St. Joseph’s University, Rutgers, Rosemont College, Kelly Writers House, Manayunk Art Center, Hedgerow Theatre, Delco Community College, Montco Writers Conference, National Federation of State Poetry Societies, and Delco Womem’s Conference. As Director of Mad Poets since 1987, she coordinated over 1500 special events in the tri-state area. 

Ditta Baron Hoeber is an artist and a poet.  Her recent poetry publications have been in the American Journal of Poetry, New American Writing, The American Poetry Review, Per Contra along with a suite of her photographs, Calypso Friends and Nthposition.  She has work forthcoming this spring in Construction Magazine and has been nominated this year for a Pushcart Prize.

Her photographs, drawings and book works have been exhibited nationally and have been acquired by several artist book and photography collections including those at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the University of Pennsylvania, the Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection at MOMA, Oberlin College and Chelsea College of Art & Design in London.  You can see Ditta and some of her books at the Philadelphia Art Book Fair on June 2 and 3 at the Armory.

Coming Up, June 19:

Poetry & Music –

Sekai ‘afua Zankel
& Bobby Zankel

In case you wondered …

… How Do You Solve a Problem Like Oscar Hammerstein? | commentary. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The hallmark of Carousel and Oklahoma! is their untragic idealism, which is central to their mass appeal. They embody a quintessentially American vision of life, one in which the inescapable pain and suffering of human existence—not excluding violent death—can be ameliorated by the power of love. Nor was this vision insincere, at least in Hammerstein’s case (Rodgers’s personality was more opaque). He described himself as “one-third realist and two-thirds mystic,” and every word he wrote came straight from the heart. When he urged Sondheim not to imitate him, he said, “Don’t write what I feel. I really believe all this stuff. You don’t.” Had he not believed it, he could never have written “If I Loved You,” which Rodgers set to a melody (it is no mere tune) of Tschaikovskian amplitude that is worthy of his partner’s wholly felt words.

Mark thy calendar …

… All But True - New Door Books:
How Do We Deal with Tragedy? Two Novels About the Aftermath of Mass Shootings

Nathaniel Popkin: Everything is Borrowed.

Miriam Seidel on The Speed of Clouds.

Something to think on …

Every thought vibrates through the universe.
— Dorothy Richardson, born on this date in 1873

Nonfiction …

 Current Issue | Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction.

Martyrs …

… Latimer and Ridley Are Forgotten by Peter Hitchens | Articles | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Nobody cares about the great issues of the Reformation because nobody cares about God. Indifference, not the reconversion of England, has done for Elizabeth’s church and the pope’s too. And Henry’s great political declaration of independence from supranational continental power has been reversed by the European Union (from which escape is proving harder than he found it five hundred years ago).

Erasing history …

… Portrait of the Artist as an Unperson - WSJ.

Classical crime-fighting …

Bach at the Burger King - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Today, deterrence through classical music is de rigueur for American transit systems. Transportation hubs from coast to coast play classical music for protective purposes. Brahms bounces through bus stops and baggage claims. Travelers buy Amtrak tickets to Baroque Muzak at Penn Station; Schubert scherzos grace the Greyhound waiting area in New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal; Handel’s Water Music willows over the platforms of Atlanta’s MARTA subway system. Beyond big cities, the tactic extends to small towns and suburbs across the continent. In Duncan, British Columbia, Pavarotti’s tenor tones patrol the public park dispersing late-night hooligans, while the Lynchburg Library in Virginia clears its parking lot with a playlist highlighted by such scintillating soundtracks as Mozart for Monday Mornings and A Baroque Diet. In the most dramatic account of concerto crime-fighting, the Columbus, Ohio, YMCA reportedly dissolved a sidewalk brawl between two drug dealers simply by flipping on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Crime and a small town …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: 'Skinny's Street Fight'.

A different Tolkien …

… Informal Inquiries: Review — The King of Diamonds (2011).

Remembering …

… Tom Wolfe: How I Write - The Writer.

… Tom Wolfe on the Writer’s Hippocratic Oath: “First, Entertain.”

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Listen in …

… Episode 269 – Michael Kupperman – The Virtual Memories Show.

“My old work was about the absence of meaning; it’s just trying to be funny.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

#NotTheOnion ...

Pet dog raised by Chinese family for two years turns out to be a black bearOwners grew suspicious when animal showed talent for walking on two legs

Lawyers are at #2, sigh

The 10 jobs that attract the most psychopaths


… Tom Wolfe, Pyrotechnic ‘New Journalist’ and Novelist, Dies at 88.

… Tom Wolfe, R.I.P.

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

An exercise in phenomenology …

… Why Trump Is a President Like No Other - American Greatness. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Black is neither a hagiographer nor an ankle-biter. He seeks to understand Trump within the three prominent landscapes in which Americans had come to know their new president: politics, the celebrity world, and the cannibalistic arena of high-stakes Manhattan real estate and finance. Of the three, Black is most jaded about the anti-Trump hysteria within the first two, not because the real estate business is inherently a nobler profession, but because it more often lacks the moral preening and hypocrisies of both the beltway and tabloids. The result is an argument that the first president to have neither prior political nor military service nevertheless has his own demonstrable skill sets that are making his presidency far more dynamic than either his critics or supporters quite imagined. Black’s unspoken assumption is that it is more difficult to build a skyscraper in Manhattan than to be a career politician or an evening news reader.

That winged chariot …

… First Known When Lost: Time.

Four decades, forty years:  six of one, half a dozen of the other.  Time is what it is.  But the mere fact of that much distance is enough to give one pause.  Yet there are no grounds for regret or lamentation. After all, I am here to see that distance:  something that ought not to be taken for granted.  Gratitude is the appropriate response.

Plot as feeling …

One Last Book From a Virtuoso of the Short Story. (Hat tip, Dave lull.)
… his stories open with comments so blandly informational, so plain and unnoticeable, that they arouse no expectation and appear to promise little. What might come of “On a stretch of pavement between Truman’s Corner and Boswell’s Hotel a man asked a child if she knew where St. Ardo’s was”? What magnetic draw may lurk in “‘Yes?’ Olivia says on the answering system when the doorbell rings in the middle of ‘The Return of the Thin Man’”? Yet such flat and unhurried beginnings are subversions concealing a powerful slyness. Trevor’s stories traffic in plots, fated or willed, and hurtful. They may be coiled in pity, but they are never benign; their pity is unregenerative. Nor do they carry broad social vistas or axes to grind or hidden symbols ….

May Poetry at North of Oxford …

… 2 Poems by Carl Kaucher.

… 2 poems by Tim Suermondt.

…  One Cat’s Dream by Joy Ueno.

… Closure by Mac Gay.

Something to think on …

Perhaps the habit which distinguishes civilized people from others is that of discussion, exchange of opinion and ideas, the ability to differ without quarrelling, to say what you have to say civilly and then to listen civilly to another speaker.
— Katherine Anne Porter, born on this date in 1890


Rus Bowden writes in the comments in a post below about how racism is not over, 
from personal experience, 
and I wanted to repeat some of his comments here:
Since being with Mary, it's like entering the twilight zone of racism. She gets treated unfairly negatively more than any white friend I have had. When at a store and it happens, you wonder, is that person mean to everyone, or just black people. When it happens at a hospital, you have to ask yourself, does that doctor disrespect all his patients, or just black ones.
Mary & I came back from California to be picked up at Logan Airport. Her African/Indian/Japanese/Irish-American son who looks Negroid black came with his lighter, maybe even passable 7-year-old son to pick us up. (White people need to be more careful with racist talk, never know when there’s a mixed family member around, or even a passable black. Is that down or up?) Anyway, a state trooper who was having trouble with traffic, mostly from a carload of white young ladies in confusion mode, laid into him as soon as he pulled up, yelling at this respectable dark-skinned high school teacher with his son in the car, to not go toward his Negro black mother to pick her up. His hand was on his holster and he yelled more when Mary's son went to put his seat belt back on, as if he did not immediately obey his command. This was getting dangerous. I stepped in and started yelling at the cop, in a way a black man cannot. I was outraged and hurt – harsh, dangerous racism leveled at one I love right in front of me – but created such a diversion that, with seat belt fastened, he went down the pick up area, away from the racist cop. 
Whether up or down, we need to have zero racist cops. How do we get them out. What is in our system that does not weed them out before they kill somebody or act racistly in how they investigate and interact with the public? 
Now that I am on the circling house of mirrors of racism, I can only be shocked at arguments that tend toward everything being racially copacetic. It's not. The way to “step off” as if it is a treadmill, is to move to a white zone somewhere. You can see how the idea of “stepping off” is in itself racist.

The need to get off...

Monday, May 14, 2018

God bless her …

 Attempted robbery on families at Sao Paulo school foiled by mother | Daily Mail Online. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

A complex tale …

… Maximianus, Gallus and the Great Medieval Literary Fraud. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A turning point?

… Rehabilitating Stockhausen with a KLANG: Does less mystique enhance his stature?

The music itself is some of the more cohesive Stockhausen I’ve heard.  Though these chamber works often seem longer than their actual content would warrant, there was always something in there that reflected a great musical mind at work – and, often, a stroke of theatricality at the end. 

An inadvertent spotlight …

… Forgotten Poems #42: "The Problem".

Anniversary …

… Informal Inquiries: Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas.

Hmm …

… The Erotic Professor - The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

No writer was more attuned to the conflation of energy and election in the classroom than Muriel Spark. Her fictional creation Miss Jean Brodie, a teacher of intensity if ever there was one, is filled with contempt for what she calls "this educational factory" that is the Marcia Blaine School for Girls. She sees herself as "a leaven in the lump." A poster on the walls depicts a gray Stanley Baldwin, Britain’s longstanding Conservative leader, with the caption "Safety First." But "safety does not come first," Brodie tells her girls. "Goodness, Truth and Beauty come first." Art and philosophy are the most sacred subjects, the highest calling; science is the lowest, the stuff of jobs and Bunsen burners.

And the winner is …

… Kayo Chingonyi wins Dylan Thomas prize with poems of 'vexed celebration' | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

For your listening pleasure …

Lou Harrison was botn on this date in 1917.

Who knew?

… How Crime Writing Is Like Music | CrimeReads. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… I had to practise scales for 20,000 hours. I exaggerate of course – I also practised pieces. All those hours of playing taught me a lot about semiquavers and key signatures, but they also taught me a lot about writing.
So let me save you those 20,000 hours by revealing how music helps me write.

Something to think on …

All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. And then there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don't matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.
— Jean Rhys, who died on this date in 1979

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Inquirer reviews …

… including this one by me:  David Yezzi's 'Black Sea': Poems to read, poems for right now.

…  Wendell Berry's 'Port William Novels & Stories' celebrates a great American voice.

 'Giant': A giant book about a giant film.

Post bumped for additional review.

C.G. Jung in Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Overvalued reason has this in common with political absolutism: under its dominion the individual is pauperized.

Exploring late Mahler …

… Simon Rattle’s high-def 3-D Mahler festival with the London Symphony was a landmark in the New York season.

But there is much else to consider in the completed 10th. Is this Mahler’s most autobiographical symphony? All of his works have confessional qualities, though not rendered as graphically as the 10th symphony’s evocation of a New York City funeral procession with its stark, somber drum-pounding. The hammer blows in the Symphony No. 6 are clearly an antecedent, but those are abstracted to suggest a speculative look at the ruthlessness of fate. In the 10th, the funeral train for a fallen policeman that inspired Mahler was literally right outside his New York window, and it actually sounds that way in the symphony – a case of his outer life giving greater form and substance to his inner life. Elsewhere in the first and fifth movements are the famous piled-high dissonances – the orchestral scream, in other words – that also speak to the disintegration of Mahler’s outer world: His professional life in New York had grown extremely bumpy, his wife Alma was discovered to be having an affair with a younger man, and the heart condition that was to kill him (with the irregular heartbeats written into the 9th symphony) was growing worse.

Realize People are Sheep

and other advice on How to be the next Trump

The unavoidable …

 Maverick Philosopher: No Day Without Cultural Appropriation.

Hear, hear …

… Praise for “Evolution of Desire”: “this is an ambitious and thought-provoking life portrait.” | The Book Haven.

The riches in old journals …

 Anecdotal Evidence: `Good Night Marcus Put Out the Light'.

In the Spring 1963 issue of The Hudson Review you’ll find Theodore Roethke (who died later that year) and Robert Bly, John Simon (still with us), the late lamented Hilton Kramer almost two decades before he founded The New Criterion, and a review of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Sidney Monas. Most interesting are what must be among the earliesttranslations into English of Zbigniew Herbert’s poems, by Peter Dale Scott. 
Read the whole thing.

A perfect antidote …

 Nigeness: Pym Again.

Shirley Hazzard judges No Fond Return of Love 'one of her very best', and I'm inclined to agree. It gets off to a richly promising start – indeed the very first sentence is arresting:
'There are various ways of mending a broken heart, but perhaps going to a learned conference is one of the more unusual.'
The mention of Marie Corelli reminds that Henry Miller, of all people, was a fan of hers.

Absorbed …

… Where Does the Time Go? I Think I Know | Bill Peschel.

Look at the times – there’s that word again – when you were watching the clock: at work, in traffic, between interesting things. That’s when we’re killing time. We’re in-between places.

Rounding the point …

 Informal Inquiries: Cardinal Richelieu invents the table knife.

Appreciation …

 Corky - Harlan Coben. (Hat tip, Lee Lowe.)

Something to think on …

Hatred is the anger of the weak. 
— Alphonse Daudet, born on this date in 1840

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Well, yes …

… Richard Russo on Loving Flawed Family Members | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It's not that hard once you realize how flawed you are yourself.

The spirit of place …

… On Poetry: 'Let us all be from somewhere' | Northern Living | (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Not so misunderstood these days …

… Flannery O’Connor Biography Reveals the Famously Misunderstood Catholic | Lifestyle. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Paul Engle was the director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop when the young O’Connor walked into his office asking to be admitted to the program. Engle writes:
O’Connor, after all, grew up on a farm, and once taught a chicken how to walk backwards.
She came out of the red dirt country of Georgia. She walked into my office one day and spoke to me. I understood nothing, not one syllable. As far as I knew, she was saying, "Aaaaraaaraaarah." My God, I thought to myself, this is a retarded young girl. Then I looked at her eyes. They were crossed! Finally, I said, excuse me, my name is Paul Engle. I gave her a pad -- believe me, this is true -- and said would you please write down what you’re telling me. And she wrote, "My name is Flannery O’Connor. I’m from Milledgeville, Georgia. I’m a writer."
O’Connor, after all, grew up on a farm, and once taught a chicken how to walk backwards.

Sage and serpent …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Buddha Riding a Dragon (Utagawa Kunisada), Sonnet #404.

Honoring a forebear …

… Santa Clara Magazine The Ballad of Jesús Ortiz - Features.

This is a wonderful poem. The ballad form fits the subject to perfection. It has proved quite popular. The BBC's In The Studio did a program about it. Here is a clip from that. Interestingly, the poem has already been translated into … Vietnamese.

Grim anniversary …

… Informal Inquiries: Charles Lindbergh’s murdered baby found 12 May 1932.