"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
FINISHED!!!...bought and began this a year ago today:
"On this day in 1608 on a Friday afternoon, Thomas Coryate arrived in Venice. He had walked all thFINISHED!!!...bought and began this a year ago today:
"On this day in 1608 on a Friday afternoon, Thomas Coryate arrived in Venice. He had walked all the way from his home in Odcombe in Somerset. He calculated he had travelled 952 miles, and accomplished this distance from Calais in just five weeks."
What then follows are three quotations from "Coryate's Crudities" - the first a description of the city: the second concerning gondalas; and the third re the city's famous courtesans. The latter is followed by this disclaimer from the Almanac's compiler: Coryate insists however that he did not avail himself of the courtesan's charms.
Are we surprised??? Of course NOT!!! Any man who takes only FIVE weeks to walk to Venice is hardly observant and certainly gives no credance to the saying "The journey not the arrival matters." This is a man determined NOT to enjoy.No...suffering from an inability to enjoy. He certainly seems determined not to enjoy his arrival or the journey. We need not be assured that he walked back to enjoy an equally uneventful life in Odcombe in Somerset and did not notice it, which in a way is nice to know as otherwise we would be certain that he suffered mightily.
Alas, this fine book possesses no index although there are picture credits of the many fine and absorbing illustrations, but badly presented. A feeling akin to the loss of a courtesan I would think.
As this is an almanac, I am reading a page per day beginning on June 22nd the day I bought it.Every date gets one page of something/s Shakespearean, usually with a quotation as well. It's a Real Feast of curios in illustration and text, sometimes botanical, criminal, poetical eg. a sonnet upon the Pitiful Burning of the Globe, coming up on June 30th,in 1613, which is when it happened; to something fairly recent eg. Mark Twain's recount of being invited to Stratford in late June 1907 by a bossy 50 year old, romantic novelist, Marie Corelli and titled "The Worst Day in Mark Twain's Life."; and more recently, a 1932 photograph of the then Prince of Wales congratulating the architect of the New Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Elizabeth Scott, the first woman in England to design a prominent public building.The accompanying text concerns the time capsule laid in the foundation stone in 1929 and it's still there!!! Fun and absorbing....more
I bought this just recently - a selection of 576 poems drawn from all her 1,775 poems - poems of such startling originality that they were doomed to o I bought this just recently - a selection of 576 poems drawn from all her 1,775 poems - poems of such startling originality that they were doomed to obscurity in Dickinson's own lifetime ie. 1830 - 1886.
I have the Faber Complete Poems,so WHY buy this???
I quote: "Here is the best of Emily Dickinson's poetry - 576 poems that fully and fairly represent not only the complete range of Dickinson's poetic genius but also the complexity of her personality, the flucuation of her mood, and the development of her style..."
I was just as curious to discover what Thomas H. Johnson (1902 - 1985) had omitted.(He is widely regarded as America's preeminent Dickinson scholar.) And as I am having a lecture on Emily in my American Lit Course I wanted something smaller than my Complete Poems Tome to carry around with me and dip into on train, bus, restaurant and in bed.
Now, for You Booklovers I introduce this poet of brevity,intensity and conciseness with a poem on...BOOKS!!!
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry -
This Traverse may the poorest take Without oppress of Toll - How frugal is the Chariot That bears the Human soul.
And how about this one where she reduces and reduces so finally only an imagination is needed to traverse the World.
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee, And revery. The revery alone will do, If bees are few.
And on Euthanasia, perhaps:
The right to perish might be thought An undisputed right - Attempt it, and the Universe Upon the opposite Will concentrate its officers - You cannot even die But nature and mankind must pause To pay you scrutiny.
Humble,independent,fearless,detached from the things of the World an ideal to strive for?(Last one I promise!!!)
How happy is the little Stone That rambles in the Road alone, And doesn't care about Careers And Exigencies never fears - Whose Coat of elemental Brown A passing Universe put on, And independent as the Sun Associates or glows alone, Fulfilling absolute Decree In casual simplicity -
This cost me a mere 50 cents!!!! And I know it will contain an absolute wealth of plain-speaking insight on the daily grind, done with irony, wit and empThis cost me a mere 50 cents!!!! And I know it will contain an absolute wealth of plain-speaking insight on the daily grind, done with irony, wit and empathy. Larkin' with Larkin!!!!
POST-READ: Like ALL poetry books one knows one has never done with it, as the text and thought is usually so tightly packed with allusions, resonances and plain info as well as skills of style that it is a Continual Feast on so many levels.And so many returns (one just hopes one will have life and time!!) will hopefully be in store. I didn't find these poems as easily decipherable as I had thought I would.So have already read each poem a few times,silently , out loud trying to discover, translate etc.etc. No Regrets though!!!!...more