[Literature] Stuck With Pound

From the Kirk Center:

Cathay: A Critical Edition
by Ezra Pound,
Edited by Timothy Billings.
Fordham University Press, 2019.
Hardcover, 364 pages, $35.

The Bughouse: The Poetry, Politics, and Madness of Ezra Pound
by Daniel Swift.
Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2017,
Hardcover, 320 pages, $27.

A lot of my colleagues and friends enjoy Ezra Pound, as of course do I. Some have a far deeper grasp of his work than I do, mainly because I come through it from a historical angle rather than from a purely literary one.

J. L. Wall writes on Pound, the new edition of Cathay, and the giant mark he left on 20th Century literature.

You can read the article HERE.

HT: Arts & Letters Daily

[Literature] The Complete Short Stories of J.G. Ballard (First Riff: Introductions + Stories 1956-1959) — Biblioklept

IN THIS RIFF: Introductions Stories published between 1956 and 1959: “Prima Belladonna” “Escapement” “The Concentration City” “Venus Smiles” “Manhole 69” “Track 12” “The Waiting Grounds” “Now: Zero” Introduction I first read J.G. Ballard in high school. I found his work, somehow, after reading Burgess, Burroughs, and Vonnegut. I devoured many of his novels over the […]

via The Complete Short Stories of J.G. Ballard (First Riff: Introductions + Stories 1956-1959) — Biblioklept

[History] Beware the Ides of March…But Why??

A fun post for those interested in Julius Caesar, Shakespeare’s words and history in general.

Read Martin Stezano’s article here, courtesy of The Old Town Cryer Blog.

Old Town Crier

Beware the Ides of March…But Why??

By Martin Stezano

It’s unlikely even Shakespeare could have predicted how his famous phrase would have evolved.

Not only did William Shakespeare’s words stick, they branded the phrase with a dark and gloomy connotation that will forever make people uncomfortable. It’s probable that many people who use the phrase today don’t know its true origin. In fact, just about every pop culture reference to the Ides—save for those appearing in actual history-based books, movies or television specials—makes it seem like the day itself is cursed.

But the Ides of March actually has a non-threatening origin story. Kalends, Nones and Ides were ancient markers used to reference dates in relation to lunar phases. Ides simply referred to the first full moon of a given month, which usually fell between the 13th and 15th. In fact, the Ides of March once signified the new year…

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[Film/Literature] Tim Burton’s ‘Vincent’ featuring Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’ (720p HD)

Thanks to my friend John who posted this gem celebrating the birthday of America’s most macabre poet, given the cinematic treatment by Tim Burton, equally freaky.

And here is The Raven, in full:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

“ ’Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door —

Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;

And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.

Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrow

From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore —

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore —

Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain

Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;

So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating

“ ’Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door —

Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door; —

This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,

“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;

But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,

And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,

That I scarce was sure I heard you” — here I opened wide the door; ——

Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;

But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,

And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”

This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!” —

Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,

Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.

“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;

Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore —

Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—

‘Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,

In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;

Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;

But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door —

Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door —

Perched, and sat, and nothing more. [column 5:]

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,

“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,

Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore —

Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,

Though its answer little meaning — little relevancy bore;

For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being

Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door —

Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,

With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only

That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.

Nothing farther then he uttered — not a feather then he fluttered —

Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before —

On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”

Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,

“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store

Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster

Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore —

Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore

Of ‘Never — nevermore’.”

But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;

Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking

Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore —

What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore

Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing

To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;

This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining

On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,

But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,

She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer

Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.

“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee — by these angels he hath sent thee

Respite — respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore;

Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil! —

Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,

Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted —

On this home by Horror haunted — tell me truly, I implore —

Is there — is there balm in Gilead? — tell me — tell me, I implore!”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil!

By that Heaven that bends above us — by that God we both adore —

Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,

It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore —

Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting —

“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!

Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!

Leave my loneliness unbroken! — quit the bust above my door!

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,

And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted — nevermore!

Credit: Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore

 

[Literature] Christopher Tolkien, Keeper of His Father’s Legacy, Dies at 95

Christopher Tolkein has passed away.  From the New York Times:

For nearly 50 years after his father died in 1973, Mr. Tolkien worked to keep alive the world he had created in “The Hobbit” (1937) and “The Lord of the Rings” (1949) — the spiders of Mirkwood, the Eye of Mordor, the elves of Rivendell and thousands of pages’ worth of other characters, places and plot twists. In all, he edited or oversaw the publication of two dozen editions of his father’s works, many of which became international best sellers.

Mr. Tolkien was his father’s literary executor but played a far more expansive role than that title usually implies. While the elder Tolkien was writing “The Lord of the Rings,” he was also creating a vast world of legends and mythologies that he hoped would accompany the book. But he was a notorious perfectionist and was never able to put this work in publishable form before he died.

His son spent four years organizing and compiling those myths and legends, publishing them in 1977 as “The Silmarillion.”

Read more here at the New York Times.

[Literature] Analysis on “The Gospel According to Mark” — Coffee with Andrea

Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentinean writer, poet and essayist, who belonged to the Ultraist, and who used a dream-like world, a paradox of reality, to criticize and comment on then socio political situation of Argentina during the beginning of the XX century (Rodriguez Monegal). Borges is known for creating a complex intellectual landscape that, […]

via Analysis on “The Gospel According to Mark” — Coffee with Andrea

[Literature] Bolaño’s Borges — Biblioklept

Jorge Luis Borges is first mentioned in the sixth paragraph of Roberto Bolaño’s masterful short story “The Insufferable Gaucho.” In this paragraph, the narrator tells us that the story’s hero, an ex-judge named Pereda, believed “the best Argentine writers were Borges and his son; any further commentary on that subject was superfluous.” Several paragraphs later, Bolaño’s […]

via Bolaño’s Borges — Biblioklept

[Literature] The Beat Generation – Jack Kerouac — ART & Thoughts

Now it’s jazz, the place is roaring, all beautiful girls in there, one mad brunette at the bar drunk with her boys. One strange chick I remember from somewhere, wearing a simple skirt with pockets, her hands in there, short haircut, slouched, talking to everybody. Up and down the stairs they come. The bartenders are […]

via The Beat Generation – Jack Kerouac — ART & Thoughts

[Literature] “Covered Mirrors,” a very short story by Jorge Luis Borges — Biblioklept

“Covered Mirrors” by Jorge Luis Borges Translated by Andrew Hurley Islam tells us that on the unappealable Day of Judgment, all who have perpetrated images of living things will reawaken with their works, and will be ordered to blow life into them, and they will fail, and they and their works will be cast into […]

via “Covered Mirrors,” a very short story by Jorge Luis Borges — Biblioklept