So here’s the thing.

Yes, I got a degree in literature lo these many years ago.

Yes, we were exposed to the Great Books in English. And because I studied in Canada, they were really English, most of them. I have great gaps in my reading of American literature — no Moby Dick (we did Bartleby instead), no Twain or Hawthorne or Wharton or Dickinson or Frost. We read Henry James and called it a day, And believe me, I did read James from cover to cover — particularly The Golden Bowl, don’t ask why (Portrait of a Lady got itself skimmed).

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Literary Explosion

Anybody else notice that the world has exploded with damn good poetry? That everyone’s publishing all of a sudden, and that a lot of the stuff that’s getting published is not half bad?

It’s not really all that surprising. The internet, access to print on demand, and so on, have liberated people’s ability to write, and have allowed people who had never read a poem outside of an academic institution (and come to think of it, I was one of those people — I just happened to spend a lot of my life within an academic institution) to read, write, critique, and discuss poetry in ways that I don’t think have happened since the turn of the last century.

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Discovered a new journal today

I blink emerald.
I blink sea glass green.

Saeed Jones, via THE COLLAGIST.

One of the things I like about blogging here on wordpress.com (don’t worry, there are some things I don’t like too) is that sometimes I come across really cool blogs that I like to follow. Saeed Jones’ is one of them, and today, when checking the blogs I surf, I found this reference. Followed it, and ended up at The Collagist, a journal I’d never heard of before.

Worth reading. And while you’re at it, visit some of my online favourites too: Anti-, qarrtsiluni, and, of course, tongues of the ocean.

**edited to fix the man name.

Go Vote!

Again from Aditi Machado.

So, I’m trying out something new. This is perfectly silly and supposed to be fun. Serious and/or whiny people, please go away (for the time being). I owe Tom and Lorenzo from Project Rungay for the idea. They have this contest/game-type thing called Virgins versus Vixens, in which a classic Hollywood starlet is pitted against another classic Hollywood starlet, except one has a ‘virgin’ image and the other a ‘vixen.’

I want to do a literary version of that  with dead white male canonical writers. (We can try dead white female writers, suicidal poets, dead Beats and Dan Browns later, I promise.)

Why dead white male? Because it’s a list long enough for this to go on for a while. And really, these guys get it so easy, faffing around in syllabi across the world. Let’s make them work a little for their fame.

Dead White Male Canon Wars: Part 1 | Blotting paper

Lord of the Dreams

Two weeks ago, when I was told to stay at home to weather a bout of the dizzy-flu (don’t ask), I decided to watch The Lord of the Rings again. Now I am a mild Tolkien fan, and was one of those people who was of the opinion that his books were unfilmable, and so Peter Jackson’s achievement was something in which I invested.

Since watching the movie in its initial extended version (we didn’t buy the complete, extra-extended version that was released after The Return of the King was released, figuring that we already owned enough of what would be included in the Big Package to make the purchase of another package indulgent), I then moved on to watching the supplementary information for the last film. I went through everything the first film had to offer, and thought I’d viewed the appendices of The Two Towers, but was pretty sure I hadn’t done so for ROTK (I was right). Continue reading

Flood Warnings and Steam Baths – the De-Cabbage Yourself experience flies south for summer

This week, Rob‘s in The Bahamas with me, Scavella, aka Nicolette Bethel. He hasn’t picked the best day for it — the birds are singing, they always do, but it’s overcast and going to pour. Still, the nice thing about rain in the sub-tropics (which isn’t like rain in Scotland, which I experienced one chilly day in Edinburgh on my way back from a conference in St. Andrews round the turn of the century) is that it’s drama at its best. And it’s warm. So hold on for flood warnings and steam baths.

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Books Read (from the BBC)

1) Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read.
2) Add a ‘+’ to the ones you LOVE.
3) Tally your total at the bottom.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen +
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien +
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte +
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee +
6 The Bible – +
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman X
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens X
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare – X (all the sonnets, most of the plays)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot Continue reading