Bookish Links — July 2018

Photo by Sydney Rae.
  • 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.
  • “Growing up in America, I was made to think poetry is useless, that it’s dead or elitist or merely decorative. In Iran, meanwhile, there is no higher art form. Poets aren’t just venerated—they are loved. Everyone seems to have a favorite poet and can recite whole poems by heart. Iranians know that when you memorize a poem it becomes part of you. You carry it with you, even if in fragments, even in another country”: on the work of the controversial Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad.
  • Finally, I’m currently reading (and loving) Jorge Luis Borges’s Labyrinths so my friend Matthew recommended this to me: a slightly strange and fascinating interview that Borges gave to William F. Buckley in 1977.
Advertisements

Bookish Links — June 2018

Man on a Bus by Alex Iby.
  • 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.
  • “In his oeuvre, ecstatic tones mixed with sober reflection; there was no easy way to classify this poetry—it burst taxonomies. It was not ‘nature poetry,’ it was not a ‘poetic meditation on History,’ neither was it ‘autobiographical lyric’—it was all of those. The ambition of this poet knew no limits; he tried to drink in the cosmos”: Adam Zagajewski on discovering Czesław Miłosz’s banned poetry as a young man in Poland, and why he “can’t write a memoir of Czesław Miłosz.”

Bookish Links — May 2018

Image by Kate Ilina.
  • “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 the opposite, an attempt to animate it.'”: from The Point, an essay on the great Russian poet Joseph Brodsky, and his “moral responsibility to be useless.”

 

Bookish Links — March 2018

Image by Annie Spratt.

 

I hope you’re all well and have a happy Easter tomorrow!

Bookish Links — February 2018

Image by Chris Lawton

 

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been updating as frequently. To free up time for other projects, I’ve decided to switch to a biweekly schedule instead of my old weekly one.

See you in March!

Bookish Links — January 2018

Dostoevsky’s notes from The Brothers Karamazov. Source
  • “His willingness to expose his own process of self-discovery in words and phrases was magical to me—and still is. As an artist, he was the most uncompromising individual I ever met in my life”: the great Mikhail Baryshnikov is currently starring in a one-man show inspired by the poetry of his friend Joseph Brodsky, and the Poetry Foundation interviewed him about it.

Bookish Links — December 2017

Image by Aaron Burden.
  • “We believed that poetry, the opposite of propaganda, should encourage people to think and feel for themselves: it should appeal to their ‘generous instinct,’ as MacNeice said in the violent 1930s”: the New Statesman recently published this lecture by Northern Irish poet Michael Longley on the Troubles and the poetry that came out of it.

 

Happy New Year!

Bookish Links — November 2017

Photo by Kelli Tungay
  • “When a poem comes, I feel it physically. I feel a burning in my temples and I feel a tightening in my throat. I know it’s very weird. Something is coming that can be a poem and I have to see if I can get it into words”: The BBC interviews Dana Gioia about his work space and how he goes about composing a poem.

Bookish Links — October 2017

Image by Daniela Cuevas via Unsplash.
  • By now, you’ve probably heard about Jill Bialosky’s memoir Poetry Will Save Your Life, for which she “borrowed” paragraphs from several other sources. By far, the best take on this whole debacle has come from Talya Zax at Forward. (HT: A. M. Juster)

 

Bookish Links — September 2017

Image by Florian Klauer.

Bookish Links — August 2017

Image by Asgeir Pall Juliusson.

Out of the starless night of the Uncreated, that was before the stars, a soul begins to grope back to light. It gropes its way through strange, half-lighted chambers of Dreams, where in a brown and gold twilight, it sees many things that are dimly significant, true stories twisted into new and amazing shapes, human beings whom it knew long ago, sitting at the windows by dark sunsets, or talking in dim meadows. But the awful invading Light grows stronger in the dreams, till the soul in one last struggle, plunges into a body, as into a house and wakes up within it. Then he rises and finds himself in a wonderful vast world of white light and clear, frankly coloured shapes, an inheritor of a million stars. On enquiry he is informed that his name is Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

This amuses him.

  • And finally, readers are rediscovering what our great-great-grandparents knew years ago—memorizing poetry is awesome: “You can’t express your ineffable yearnings for a world that is not quite what you thought it was going to be until you’ve memorized three or four poems that give you the words to begin.”

Bookish Links — July 2017

Image by Sticker Mule.
  • This month, Philip Yancey’s Washington Post op-ed on “the death of reading” caused a lot of buzz. You can read that here.
  • It also inspired some interesting responses, including this one by Cynthia Haven tying Yancey’s ideas into Czesław Miłosz’s idea that we are living in a time of “the complete undoing of essences, of eternal truths.”