Monday, August 25, 2008

Come and Cycle With Me

let us turn spheres with our feet,
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Thanks to Dave I'm now officially a kick ass blogger

Though I don't see myself in the same league as the entertaining and thoroughly informing blogs of Dave and Jim, thankyou. I don't know what a kick ass blogger is Dave, but as you said it's who it comes from that makes it meaningful and I'm pleased that you thought of me!

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm reading a lot of prose at the moment, it's nice to put poetry on the back burner for a bit.
I had picked up both volumes of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables a good number of years ago. I probably got them for a pound each as they are Wordsworth Classics and the print is unbelievably small.
At the time I couldn't get into them despite adoring the musical (I saw it on my 21st birthday) and I had loved the music long before I'd seen the musical. I've also been to Hugo's well preserved house when I was in Paris seven years back. His endless strange and nightmarish paintings always stuck in my mind. A couple of years ago I read his Hunchback of Notre Dame, what a great story. Now I'm halfway through the first volume of Les Miserables and loving it. Every character is suberbly crafted and reading the book is like having a vision of old France. There is a detailed description of the Battle of Waterloo and I can't wait to get to scenes of the Paris revolution.
Apparently Les Miserables part inspired Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, my favorite book of all time. It really is a gripping story balancing personal tragedy and love with wider world-significant events; covering major themes of justice, punishment, love, rebellion, God, poverty, childhood - the list goes on. It really is a fantastic story and here and now is the right time for me to be reading it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Failed Poems

Sometimes a newly written poem can feel just right but when returned to a few hours later the problems and holes in it stare you in the face yet they can usually be fixed through redrafting.

It's not often (I don't think!) I write a completely failed poem where it's just not working on any level and no amount of redrafting will salvage it. Today was one of those days. I tried something different, posted the result briefly and now it's gone.

To spend hours working on a poem that turns out to be terminally problematic or frankly a pile of mince is annoying to say the least, yet I think it's important to try out different styles / themes, to challenge my writing comfort zone so I don't end up in a poetic rut.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So I've finished reading The Dante Club which was very enjoyable, a bit long-winded at times but it made me dig out some Longfellow poetry to read and Dante's The Divine Comedy is on my definite must read list. Plus it's whetted my appetite for visiting Boston and the New England states in general.

Now I'm onto Robin Jenkins' The Cone-Gatherers, it's a quick read - I'm flying through it. Quite psychological in its exploration of the main characters, pretty depressing in a dark human nature kind of way, but I'm really enjoying it. The funny thing is I noted in the intro that the author was a school teacher in my very own home town. On googling him I discovered that he spend the last 32 years of his life living within five miles from where I was growing up and ten miles from where I live presently, he died in 2005.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Gantocks

I was born of the river, a quine of the shore.
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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Thanks to Peter Steinberg via the Sylvia Plath Info blog I've come across an excellent site which has 13 documentaries available to watch on major American poets including Plath, Bishop, Crane, Eliot, Pound, Stevens, Whitman. You have to register to watch them but it's free and well worth it.
Now I just need 13 free hours to watch them all, who needs sleep anyway!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Went to a country fair today and picked up some good books for a pittance at the bric-a-brac stall, all in great condition:

The Savage Garden by Mark Mills
The Cone-Gatherers by Robin jenkins
Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
and a lovely fabric hardback copy of The Book of Kells

You may have noticed from the side-bar that I've been trying to get into Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose for a while but finding it a bit dry. Has anyone else read it, is it worth persevering?