Lucretius has always intrigued me being a current Blood-brother of Long Ago in the way of seeing the World as totally lacking in gods, priests, religi Lucretius has always intrigued me being a current Blood-brother of Long Ago in the way of seeing the World as totally lacking in gods, priests, religion, theology-that ism spun out of the imagination creating that sandbank on which all religion is built,and "santa claus" type beliefs...the Stephen Dawkins of the Ancient World who illustrates the Solid Continuity of Our Species...ie "It's ALL been THUNK before !!!"
However the main reason that bought me here to Lucretius is his TRANSLATOR, A.E.Stallings, the American wife of the current editor of the Athens News,a small but essential daily newspaper in that city, and also a journalist with Aljazeera, John Psaraopoulos. Also parents of two young boys. ...more
THEN realised it was MUCH more suited to.....ME !!!!!
After ALL... I love poetry - Cavafy's too;
I write I bought this for a friend a couple of weeks ago.
THEN realised it was MUCH more suited to.....ME !!!!!
After ALL... I love poetry - Cavafy's too;
I write poetry - Cavafy helped me find my 'voice'(simple and straightforward)...as did John Donne(conversational).
I love Greece - worked there, loved there, grew there
I love philosophy - the first philosophers I studied were the Ancient Greeks; and when I wrote poetry they soon made an appearance ...Heraclitus especially; and Zeno. Both fond of paradox. ...with them, one can always expect the UNexpected!
I love men.
Julian is one, Julian the Apostate...which is how the Christians handed him down to History, with a discredited title.(Christ was no Christian!!...this is ambiguous and I mean it to be taken positively.) Julian,reared as a Christian,knew the religion well, having the insider's vantage to observe hypocrisies at play, most notably the vicious infighting he saw around him. In 337,when Julian was aged 6,his father and seven immediate family members were executed by Constantine's three sons, his cousins.In 354, his half-brother Gallus, with whom Julian had spent his teenage years, was executed by the last of these three cousins,who,dying unexpectedly in 361, left Julian sole heir to the throne. He was to be among the very last Pagan Emperors, ruling humanely and allowing the more civilised wisdom and philosophies of the Pagan World to be revived.
Julian now began to restore the Pagan Gods. He summoned the bishops and ordered them "to allow every man to practise his belief boldly without hindrance." The Christians abhorred Religious Toleration, as Fundamentalist Muslims do today, a toleration always a mark of the Roman Empire. After undergoing victimisation as atheists by the Roman World, they welcomed their freedom by persecuting and eradicating their various Christian Sects, now labelled "Heresies", so as to solidify all power in Rome, where it still resides. Julian, to add to the fury of the Christians, also withdrew their lucrative tax exemptions.
Julian only ruled for 18 months. He was slain in battle.Christianity was soon able to persecute pagans out of existence as well as our birthrights...with the closing of the School of Athens and burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, Philosophy and Learning were to be replaced by warring theologies for the next thousand years or more ...the Dark Ages.
I am just beginning a biography of Julian ..."JULIAN" by Gore Vidal.
What has this to do with Cavafy ??? Several poems in this collection concern Julian. As far as I have read he wears the soiled title of an Apostate. No fault of Cavafy, but of a Church prepared to rule by Power and Force, propaganda and brainwashing and persecution within... ..no sign of any Democracy in the Catholic Church, even now; and lately bolstered since 1854 (?) by the concept of Papal Infallibility, which they allow the Christian Masses to misread to increase their Iron Hold. *(there have only ever been TWO infallible statements : that Mary was taken body and soul into heaven on her death, the so-called Assumption,and how ironic; and that Mary was conceived without Original Sin. Neither will be found in Holy Scripture. Neither will add a crumb to anyone's Ethical Life.
Chere Norma, This reminded me of "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee", one of those books you never recover from having read, where your boyish fantasies of tChere Norma, This reminded me of "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee", one of those books you never recover from having read, where your boyish fantasies of the "Red Indians" has it's nose rubbed into the shit of genocide and greed of White Supremacy...and Any Supremacy.
This is a very sad and sorrowful and necessary Memorial Book of Poetry of Power winning out over Right, the Rich over the Poor and Average. How Times ddddDON'T change...those "d"s were fortuitous but so rightly a stutter regretfully having to accept a bitter reality: Times DON'T change. All we ever learn from Auschwitz is how to do it and that very probably you can get away with it while the World looks on. It is a very clever and moving production, but painful to read !!!! yet readable !!! Thankyou and No thankyou. Dilys Leman is no fool when it comes to writing with a sock to the jaw. Good on you , Dilys. Good on you Norma for your usual and continuing education of a Distant Aussie who always lives with an awareness that his little bit of land comes at an Indigenous Loss.
I hope Stephen Edgar arrives/d safe too. And I'm sure in my eagerness to get SE off to you I sent it without card or inscription. I treasure your inscriptions so am going to send a card AND an inscription you can PASTE in !!!! Your Marcel Duchamp "pseudo Xmas Tree" takes the cake when it comes to some of the ingenious renditions I came across during Xmas 2014. With love...Wayne/w.b. xxxx ...more
I've always been a poetry fan. Nursery Rhymes and song lyrics come unbidden when we are babes. We are soon reciting or singing along. My old Pre-Review:
I've always been a poetry fan. Nursery Rhymes and song lyrics come unbidden when we are babes. We are soon reciting or singing along. My older sister reading poetry to her grandson found a distinct alteration in his behaviour when she went from prose to poetry. It's rhythm really caught his attention in eyes, expression and gesture.
When we were teenagers she had received a Complete Works of Tennyson for Xmas and we took it with us to the beach that Summer to read, loving the stories,the topics, the rhythm,the beauty of his words. "The Lady of Shalott" was to be an enduring favourite. Later we were to discover the Victorian artists who had done justice to these poems. We'd lie on the beach taking turns reading to each other. Our dear Mum sat by, astounded. But poetry had come into our ownership and by itself, with no poor teacher or school getting in the way.
So often I see the products of Poor Teaching, where children come out hating authors along with their novels and/or poetry. "I hate Jane Austen!!" one student teacher blurted out passionately when she saw me reading one of JA's witty social satires. Sometimes reflection sends them back to a book as adults and they become passionate about the book they once fiercely rejected. I expected to see this phenomenon on Goodreads when I went to review "The Scarlett Letter". Yes, there were the hating present day students and there were the adults discovering a wonderful book years later, but under their own steam, not under a teacher's orders, a teacher who couldn't teach appreciation because they too hated the novel.
At school I really enjoyed teaching and analysing poetry. Often I would write a poem for the class based on our current topic. The kids LOVED it and brought favourite poems to share or ones they had written. We ransacked the school library. Getting them to dip into a poetry anthology to find a poem to share with the class was a Great Way of exposing them to a wide range of poetry and getting them to express why they liked a poem or preferred one to another. Often they would pick out a poem they could not really understand, ones that I myself had also enjoyed in Primary school or my older sister brought home but hadn't really the faintest idea what was going on sometimes. William Blake's "Tiger,tiger, burning bright,in the forests of the night" and the Witches' chanting their spell from Shakespeare's "Macbeth" was another. We talked about really liking something we didn't really understand. I didn't bother if they plagerised words, phrases or lines when composing. Fancy plagerising Shakespeare when you were only eight years old!!!! Often I would get them to respond to a book,a poem,a maths problem, an historical incident etc. with a Cinquain, Rhyming Couplet, Limerick, Haiku etc these being poetic forms I'd allow them to discover and attempt to compose with themselves.
I found inadvertently at one stage in my life that poetry helped me deal with personal problems. But then it always had...through the philosphies expressed. But soon I realised that I couldn't find anyone who perfectly addressed my problems. No alternative but to write them myself. This wasn't a daunting decision. They were for my eyes only. I'd dabbled with writing poetry before but never with such purpose; and I found I really enjoyed the whole process. As with John Donne who liked to share his poetry with friends, I sent copies to friends too. No need to publish it formally. Fame had absolutely nothing to do with it. It has never interested me. Privacy is a treasure.
So today when visiting the local bookshop to wish staff a Happy New Year, and there on the Bargain Tables outside lay a thick, broad paperback (you don't get to SEE a book when its an E-Book, do YOU !!?) titled :Bill Moyers- this at the very top, below which a carved apple with assorted plants growing in a window in its front; and below bold scribed: THE LANGUAGE OF LIFE...a language book,I said, having bought two thick beauties here recently. But in smaller italic letters below lay the key: A Festival of Poets. Without more ado I grabbed it up and swept into the store. Chris praised Bill Moyers as an excellent journalist...so it was bought.
Since I got home I've browsed the Feast in store. Oh, this is gonna be GOOD, Man !!!!!! This is gunna be damned GOOD!!! ...more
"A DELIGHTFUL SERIOUS POET"...now THAT grabs me!!! It insinuates that Both Sides of the Coin are being acknowledged.
Also brings to mind a birthday card "A DELIGHTFUL SERIOUS POET"...now THAT grabs me!!! It insinuates that Both Sides of the Coin are being acknowledged.
Also brings to mind a birthday card my Mum's older sister,Rosie, once sent me which carried the line: "He Who Laughs, Lasts."
In the introduction penned by the Earl of Birkenhead, he writes of "the abysmal depression sometimes apparent in" ...his verse "and his avowed terror of death." The use of humour might signify an avoidance of a reality, or a refusal to avoid reality. Dorothy Parker's crisp last lines come to mind. Sentimental War Poems of horrendous deaths and slaughters make me suspicious of the poet.Or people who think the Holocaust need only concern the Jews(the Victims); or only says something negative about the German perpetrators. To ask whether it might be saying something about the nature of every Human Being, that we all might be capable given certain conditions, extends rather than closes the evidence.
My only worry is that 292 pages of such poetry might wear thin. I will have to get an Anthology of varied topics and poets to ward off an over-exposure of what could very well be an excessive talent !!? to be continued... ...more
ALAS!!!...I DIDN'T BEWARE... rather I gorged on the food, music,scenic photos,Zorba,both film and novel!!!
...thus BEWARE OF GREEKS BEARING GIFTS !!!!!!
ALAS!!!...I DIDN'T BEWARE... rather I gorged on the food, music,scenic photos,Zorba,both film and novel!!!
...thus one day found myself cast upon barren shores and a polluted city. I scanned that rocky, barren, treeless landscape from ship and bus and car and tried to penetrate... what??...the Greek mind ?,the Ancient Greek mind?,the origins of their Gods? their myths? I had no idea where to start!! Athens was a loss. What was I doing here??...teaching English was only an excuse!! Where was the Inspiration of the Ancient Greek World,its myths, the music, whatever, that had silently seduced me?
I can't recall if I THEN recalled the Two Volumes of Barbara Leonie Picard's that a classmate had shown me at 15 years of age in our classroom... The Iliad and The Odyssey. I can recall THAT!!! THAT's where it started! That first meeting...with the Greeks!! I fell in love with the books' illustrations IMMEDIATELY...modelled on those found on ancient Greek pottery. And then I read them, those books!!! One day I would see the film "Helen of Troy" and be stunned again. Then the film "Zorba The Greek" added another layer..and who WASN'T seduced by THAT???? Finally,one day I would be living in a run-down pensione in Athens, at the end of Eolou Street where it melted into the Ancient World...and next door was a shop selling re-creations of urns, vases, plates,cups of that Ancient World, where I would go and glory in and drown myself in that strange and amazing World. Did I ever recall Barbara's books? I can't recall.I think not. But I can recall that we could see the Magnificent Fading Glory of the Parthenon seated like a crouching weathered Old Lion on the Acropolis...from our toilet window in our pensione home. Was that the Greeks' final joke ..or lesson? BOTH joke AND lesson...the Greeks did nothing by halves!!!
Happily Barbara's books contain nothing of the Homeric detail of the vivid and ghastly ferocity of a Greek v Trojan battles. (I read a Homeric one recently and felt sick.) Yes, it was a gentle seduction, followed up by High School Latin classes of Virgil's Aeneid and the cruel slaughter and destruction of Troy. It then became truly Classical. And it was here I first encountered, was tantalised by and forced myself, wonder of wonders, to learn off by heart these words:
"Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes." Virgil,"Aeneid" Bk.II Verse 48.
Whatsoever it is, I fear the Greeks and(especially) bearing gifts.
The Point of this review being:
Barbara's books are a good place to start to be seduced perhaps, but don't say I didn't warn you !!!! ...more
A wonderful look at the cultural trappings that every society brings to the most natural and urgent of natural instincts - consequently and ironicallyA wonderful look at the cultural trappings that every society brings to the most natural and urgent of natural instincts - consequently and ironically well and truly "fucking" it up for just about everybody.
I enjoyed "Gigi" and "Cheri" once I'd got my head around the sexual culture of certain segments of French Society of the Fin de Siecle. The Loneliness and yet High Social Profile of the Courtesan is well and truly captured by Colette. Its ironies, possibilities of great wealth,its pitfalls,its children and the consequences of ageing are all touched on. And its obsession with "a good marriage" must be one of its biggest ironies. And "true love"? Where exactly could that fit in in this cultural entanglement of status, wealth and survival?
"Cheri" gives us a look at a love recognised in this milieu, but too late. And of how the two lovers find their own solutions and survivals in a world rigid, unforgiving, unsympathetic and ruthless. A tale of sadness and resolution, resignation and acceptance, as only Colette can serve it up. Oh, Colette, you are a gem!!!
Now "Gigi". I missed Colette. But her wit and wisdom were there behind the scenes. A little gem that you may read so quickly you don't even notice its punch, its turning topsy-turvey sexual traditions of Belle-Epoque Paris.A charmer!...more
What a companion is Colette!!Especially Colette!! Especially when she puts herself into one of her stories, as she does with "Chance Acquaintances".
I'vWhat a companion is Colette!!Especially Colette!! Especially when she puts herself into one of her stories, as she does with "Chance Acquaintances".
I've just read it for the fifth time in about 30 years and all I have ever been able to recall of each prior reading is "the pleasure of her company." The plot, the characters, the setting...all gone from my memory, as I just realised Colette suggests with "obliterated" in the last sentence in this slice of "hotel holiday life".
Of course the plot and the characters are wonderful!!!!But its the little asides and the descriptions I relish. eg.describing her friend's huge square-cut diamonds and lozenge-shaped brilliants:"regular paving stones of jewellery". Cursing her lack of backbone:"I was honest enough not to confuse it with a spirit of adventure. Who on earth put it into my head that I possess adventurous instincts? The very most of which I was capable was a hasty 'Yes' in the hopes of getting a bit of peace." And:"to exaggerate the sorrows of love is tantamount to an indiscretion: that it reveals the lack of that precious faculty, a sense of the ridiculous." "Adventures happen to people who......deserve them." "Idleness cures all ills." What a treasure trove of wisdoms!!
Now "Gigi". I missed Colette. But her wit and wisdom were there behind the scenes. A little gem that you may read so quickly you don't even notice its punch, its turning topsy-turvey sexual traditions of Belle-Epoque Paris.A charmer!
And "Julie de Carneilhan".Mmmmm! Has never grabbbed me. But this time, if I have matured with the passing years,the scales may drop from my eyes.Have read past Chapter One and no increase in maturity in sight ...yet! RETURN FOR THE EXCITING CONCLUSION....WAYNE!!
WELL...HERE IT IS!!!!...Months later!! I have taken up Chapter One of "Julie de Carneilhan" a few times and thought about taking it up MANY times in the several months since I wrote the above. NOW!!! I have only TWO chapters to go and am champing at the bit, frothing at the mouth in my eagerness to relish this little classic. AND this ALL happened in the last week!!!
What a bittersweet but totally UN-selfindulgent story this is. Someone who can be so realistic about Love as Colette, yet can still suffer at its hands, flaunt the scars and declare her Emancipation is indeed an Ideal to follow. Julie de C is in the throes of Emancipating herself from a charming Rat of a divorced second husband ,Comte Herbert d'Espivant.She is living an impecunious life in a studio and putting on a brave face. We meet her friends and her brother Leon and his horses.That's it!!!whoops...AND finally the new wife of Herbert. In between: one liners about Parisian weather. And Colette's (or Julie's) observations: eg,She followed him out with her eye."There's white pack thread showing in his moustache and his nose is getting bigger.That's how the end starts , even with Carneilhans."(Having a meal in her studio with her brother, Leon.) eg.The deep mauvish night closing over Paris warned her of Summer's end...(during the same meal) eg.love seldom finds expression in gaiety. eg. She called to mind those little festivities of the flesh, swiftly conducted and swiftly forgotten... eg.Three, four years of improvised meals on a card-table(reflecting on her poverty without self-pity.) eg.The storm, lightened by the shower, had drifted by without a downpour and now it was sailing up and away, opening its lips of fire across a pale yellow sunset. Her encounters with her second ex, Herbert the Comte, are delicious, especially the last where the male vanity and hypocrisy are also ...delicious. And her 28 year old admirer Coco Vatard is a sideline tale in itself. Yes, I am a humble convert, admitting the errors of my ways, that I ever could have doubted "my Colette", again offering incense and being rewarded with that longing to return to Paris where I always end up at the wonderful Palais-Royal,several times, where Colette lived out her final years. Amen!!! ...more
Began this this morning...21st NOV.2013. Meant to read it much earlier. Am seeing it tomorrow evening at the Sydney Opera House in one of the smaller do Began this this morning...21st NOV.2013. Meant to read it much earlier. Am seeing it tomorrow evening at the Sydney Opera House in one of the smaller downstairs theatres.
I'm reading it from my hardcover set of 15 Volumes published in 1885. It is HEAVY. AND so is the Language !!! ANY BONUS ? YES!!! It is illustrated. (LOVE illustrations!!) AND has some helpful footnotes!!!
THE SITUATION TO BE EXPLOITED:
Twin boys, whose father, at their births, discovered in the vicinity a poor woman who had also just given birth to twin boys, knew an opportunity when he saw it and so immediately purchased the second set to act as servants to the First-in-Every-Way Set!!!
Unfortunately ALL the twins were soon separated in a shipwreck. But not singly. In pairs. The WRONG pairs!!!!
Luckily each Wealthy Twin had his Twin of Servitude so could count on being waited on Hand and Foot. So, actually, they were quite lucky....well, Half-of-Them anyway!!!
However when they all end up in the same city twenty or so years later, THE SITUATION is well and truly about to EXPLODE!!!!! One pair are city residents with the Top Twin married; the other, single,and just visiting with his In-Servitude twin. MAYHEM very quickly ensues. BOOM!!!!!
Of course, these days, directors have no scruple in tampering with the text (but possibly NOT the language; that still seems to be a Sacred Cow???) plot, concepts and everything else...the least being costume, time and place. A recent "Richard III was set in Nazi Germany; a "Julius Caesar" was set in Jonestown with the poisonings being the equivalent of the Roman "falling on one's sword." This "Comedy of Errors" is set in...SYDNEY, with lots of 'local colour', satirical references to local celebs and politics and...actually sounds exactly like a Gilbert and Sullivan.
Emily Ballou, the author ,writes in "Some Notes On The Text":
If one were to use only the material that Charles Darwin himself recorded about his life, Emily Ballou, the author ,writes in "Some Notes On The Text":
If one were to use only the material that Charles Darwin himself recorded about his life, it would be possible to write a dozen collections of poems.
A few days later, I discovered that one of Darwin's numerous great-great-grandchildren, the poet, Ruth Padel, has also celebrated his anniversary in 2009, by doing just THAT. I immediately wanted to see how somebody else interpreted, used,the same sources. It's a little/ a lot like my reading simultaneously two translations of Pushkin's "Eugene Onegin", a novel in poetry. I have since found some of Padel's poems and find I prefer Ballou's, but both have something unique to offer. I've only read a sample, after all.
One LOVES to LOVE one's favourite authors. Isn't that so !!!???
Charles Darwin reminds me of the Cole Porter song "You'd Be So Easy To Love". He would sit down in the kitchen and help the staff by shelling the peas. He and Emma "were lenient, unorthodox parents.They preferred to purchase less expensive furniture and let their children have the run of the sofas, staircase (down which the children slid on a wooden board),than buy expensive things and bar the children from the parlour or the other rooms of the house, including, when deemed necessary, Charles' study." I was so glad Emily Ballou had chosen to write that !!! I realised quick smart that we were both smitten.
"There was something wonderfully exhilarating in his company", said one daughter, Henrietta."He was so vivid, had such joyousness of nature, and his laugh was delightful to hear. His courtesy, tact and ready sympathy made him a perfect listener."
There are 6 sections in this book and I have been reading one section per day every morning as soon as I wake up. A wonderful way to start the day. Along with the poems I read Emily's notes.Hand in glove, so one's understanding is increased. I also started dipping into a short biography.But I really need one which is more exhaustive. Hopefully that will come. ...more