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”
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.
“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”
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. In case you didn’t know, April was National Poetry Month in the States. This year, same as last, I decided to celebrate by posting a different poem every day on Twitter. My post collecting all of last year’s poems got a great response, so here I am again withContinue reading “National Poetry Month 2018”
Regardless of how you feel about the holiday in general, I hope that you won’t mind looking over some rather incredible poems on the subject of love.
“Dostoevsky’s gateless fortress also reminds us that, as a trained draughtsman, he thought in images no less than in words”: on the drawings and calligraphic scribbles that cover Fyodor Dostoevsky’s manuscripts.
This month, classics professor Emily Wilson became the first woman to translate Homer’s Odyssey into English. This New York Times piece on the new perspective she brings to the text is fascinating. And speaking of women translators, here, ten of them discuss the women translators whose work they most admire. In this essay from Lit Hub,Continue reading “Bookish Links — November 2017”
While you might already be celebrating Nonfiction November, as a few bloggers are, author and editor Molly Spencer has declared November Translated Poetry Month. As she explained on Twitter, the idea is simply to “Read & share the work of poets who’ve been translated into the language(s) you read. The goal is for all ofContinue reading “Poets in Translation”
The winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature is going to be announced tomorrow. I know not everyone is interested in or cares about literary prizes, but I for one find it interesting to see the implications they have both on the literary world and the world at large. For one thing, a well-knownContinue reading “Thoughts on the Nobel Prize”
There’s a long-standing stereotype in the poetry world that says that poets always give terrible readings of their own work. And while this generalization does bear out for some poets (looking at you, Eliot), this is by no means the rule for all. On the contrary, I’ve found quite a few poets who not onlyContinue reading “Six Poets Who Actually Give Good Readings”
In this letter to his then-fiancée Frances Blogg, a twenty-five-year-old G. K. Chesterton describes an ordinary day for him. His descriptions are characteristically wonderful: 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,Continue reading “Bookish Links — August 2017”
Today, on the fourth anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s death, I thought I’d share this recording of a reading he gave in New York in 1971, and in particular his reading of one of my favorite poems of his, “Personal Helicon.” “Personal Helicon” by Seamus Heaney for Michael Longley As a child, they could not keepContinue reading ““Personal Helicon” by Seamus Heaney”