Favorite Books of 2019

Hello. It’s been … a while. For several reasons, I stepped away from this blog a little over a year ago, and I don’t expect to return to regular posting any time soon since I’m currently making arrangements to go to school in 2020. But I don’t want to let this space go entirely silentContinue reading “Favorite Books of 2019”

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Favorite Books of 2018

Hello there! Long time, no see. I apologize for the silence on this site for the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to explore other avenues for my writing, so I haven’t had as much time to write here. But since we are in the last few weeks of 2018, I thought I’d go downContinue reading “Favorite Books of 2018”

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Holy Sonnet XIV: “Batter my heart, three-person’d God” by John Donne

It seems remiss on my part that I’ve written nine poem essays for this site so far and not one of them has been about John Donne. After all, Donne is one of my favorite poets, and one of the writers who got me interested in poetry in the first place. It’s almost as ifContinue reading “Holy Sonnet XIV: “Batter my heart, three-person’d God” by John Donne”

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Book Review: The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares

Translator: Ruth L. C. Simms Original Language: Spanish Year of First Publication: 1940 Year of Publication for This Edition: 2003 Number of Pages: 103 Publisher: The New York Review of Books Genre: Fiction Sub-genre: Fantasy Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. While reading things by and about Jorge Luis Borges, the name Adolfo Bioy CasaresContinue reading “Book Review: The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares”

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Book Review: Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges

Translators: James E. Irby, Donald A. Yates, John Fine, Harriet de Onís, Julian Palley, Dudley Fitts, L. A. Murillo, and Anthony Kerrigan Original Language: Spanish Year of First Publication: 1962 Year of Publication for This Edition: 2007 Number of Pages: 256 Publisher: New Directions Genre: Fiction and nonfiction Sub-genre: Fantasy, short stories, essays Disclosure: thisContinue reading “Book Review: Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges”

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“L’invitation au voyage” by Charles Baudelaire, translated by Richard Wilbur

Translation can be a controversial topic, and poetry translation is even more so. In any act of translation, the obstacles posed by the two languages’ differing histories, cultural contexts, and nuances of meaning can be almost insurmountable. Add to that the fact that the very existence of a poem depends on its being intimately involved with the features of its own language. Sound, rhythm, denotation, connotation, and even the histories of individual words or phrases can all carry meaning. To move a poem from one language to another and keep the poetic aspects of it is nearly impossible. Some believe that it is impossible. I personally prefer to take a more optimistic view: will Baudelaire in English ever be the same as Baudelaire in French? Of course not. Can we hope that some intrepid Anglophone might create for us, if not the same thing, at least something similar to the experience of Baudelaire in French? I think so.

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Bookish Links — July 2018

I was recently reminded of Youtuber Jen Campbell’s excellent series on the history of fairy tales. Here’s her latest one, on the history of “Snow White.” Another neat Youtube project I found recently is Blank Verse Films, a video series for readings by contemporary poets. You can check that out here. Nick Ripatrazone had aContinue reading “Bookish Links — July 2018”

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Book Review: The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

I glanced round the bus. Though the windows were closed, and soon muffed, the bus was full of light. It was a cruel light. I shrank from the faces and forms by which I was surrounded. They were all fixed faces, full not of possibilities but of impossibilities, some gaunt, some bloated, some glaring with idiotic ferocity, some drowned beyond recovery in dreams; but all, in one way or another, distorted and faded. One had a feeling that they might fall to pieces at any moment if the light grew much stronger. Then—there was a mirror on the end wall of the bus—I caught sight of my own.

And still the light grew.

And still the light grew.

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Bookish Links — June 2018

Joy Clarkson, of the podcast Speaking with Joy, is running an online book club for C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce! We’re five chapters in already, but the chapters are short so there’s time to catch up. More info here. Just in time for Bloomsday, The New York Times dropped this longform article about anContinue reading “Bookish Links — June 2018”

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“The Bowl-Maker” by C. P. Cavafy

On this wine-bowl—beaten from the purest silver, made for Herakleides’ white-walled home where everything declares his perfect taste— I’ve placed a flowering olive and a river, and at its heart, a beautiful young man who will let the water cool his naked foot forever. O memory: I prayed to you that I might make hisContinue reading ““The Bowl-Maker” by C. P. Cavafy”

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Six Poems about Fathers That Aren’t Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays”

Before I say anything else, let me make it clear that this post’s headline does NOT mean that I think there is anything wrong with “Those Winter Sundays.” On the contrary, Hayden was a genius and that poem is one of the greats. And because it’s so great, it’s starting to become over-familiar. For this list, I wanted to branch out into a few less famous poems, and highlight some modern work that I think is interesting along the way. Sounds OK? Good, let’s begin.

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Bookish Links — May 2018

“In Brodsky’s view, politics was one level of human existence, but it was a low rung. The business of poetry, he thought, is to ‘indicate something more … the size of the whole ladder.’ He held that ‘art is not a better, but an alternative existence … not an attempt to escape reality but theContinue reading “Bookish Links — May 2018”

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