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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Poems for Valentine’s Day

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.

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“Try to Praise the Mutilated World” by Adam Zagajewski

There are some poets who, no matter how many great poems they write, are always associated with one particular work. That work becomes their signature, the poem that even non-poetry readers know them for. For Seamus Heaney, it was “Digging,” for Gwendolyn Brooks, it was “We Real Cool” (which is actually a work of virtuosicContinue reading ““Try to Praise the Mutilated World” by Adam Zagajewski”

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The Best Books I’ve Read in the Last Year

This list started with a question asked on Twitter: Best book you've read in the last 12 months – ready, go. — Barnabas Piper (@BarnabasPiper) July 28, 2017 I chimed in with my response, but today, I thought I’d elaborate on the answers I gave. And because I found it too hard to pick onlyContinue reading “The Best Books I’ve Read in the Last Year”

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Bookish Links — July 2017

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 eternalContinue reading “Bookish Links — July 2017”

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“Mary Magdalen and I” by Czesław Miłosz

As you might have noticed, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately with Czesław Miłosz’s poetry. One poem in particular that I keep returning to is “Mary Magdalen and I,” translated by Miłosz and Robert Hass: The seven unclean spirits of Mary Magdalen Chased from her by the Teacher with his prayer Hover inContinue reading ““Mary Magdalen and I” by Czesław Miłosz”

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Book Review: Miłosz by Andrzej Franaszek

One of the side effects of my reading Dennis O’Driscoll’s Stepping Stones was a desire to read more by and about Czesław Miłosz. Heaney spoke glowingly of Miłosz in those interviews, calling him a genius and saying that, from the very first time he read him, “I was in thrall,” an experience I can certainly relate to. Though I had known about Miłosz and his poetry for I can’t remember how long, I didn’t know very much at all about the man himself or the historical background against which many of his poems are set. So it was a lucky coincidence that, just as I was finishing Stepping Stones, I learned about this book, the first full-length biography of Miłosz in English.

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Current Reads, Part III

It appears reading has taken up most of my blogging time lately. That being the case, I thought this week I’d tell you a bit about those books that are keeping me from writing. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë It’s been a while since I invested some time in a great classic novel. I’m onlyContinue reading “Current Reads, Part III”

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Robert Hass Reads Czesław Miłosz

Currently, I’m reading Andrzej Franaszek’s biography of Czesław Miłosz, which is utterly fascinating and which I will review at a later date. It reminded me of this video, a poetry reading that former Poet Laureate Robert Hass gave in 2011. Besides being one of Miłosz’s primary English translators, Hass was also a colleague of hisContinue reading “Robert Hass Reads Czesław Miłosz”

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Bookish Links — January 2017

Here’s a fascinating article about how William Shakespeare’s quest for his own coat of arms may help prove his identity. An interview with Ron Padgett, who collaborated with director Jim Jarmusch to write the poems at the center of Jarmusch’s new film Paterson. Here’s something I had never heard of before: W. B. Yeats’s experimentsContinue reading “Bookish Links — January 2017”

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Is this just fantasy?

I love the movies, which is why I like to blame them for everything.

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