Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

March 27 forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

We begin this week with Bei Ling rightfully charging that the London Book Fair has failed to invite Chinese writers in exile. Yet the focus of the event is on Chinese writers. Susan Nicklin of the British Council countered Bei Ling saying that the programme "was intended for people living and writing in China." (Well, Susan, they would be if they weren't in exile, and if China did not arrest and threaten its most open-minded writers, an imperative for any writer worth his or her salt.) So really, this year's program is on Chinese writers who kowtow to Chinese authorities, is run by a British organization which does the same, and will be attended by those who do the same as well.

We have many more stories from around the world on poets and poetry, and lots of fine poems. As always we have three sections of articles, News at Eleven, Great Regulars, and Poetic Obituaries. Lots of good reading, lots of important news.

Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: [Bei Ling] said the "missing voices"

included the 2000 Nobel laureate, Gao Xingjian, who lives in exile in Paris, as well as his friend Liu Xiaobo, winner of the 2010 Nobel peace prize, a leading literary critic who is imprisoned in China. Liao Yiwu, an exiled writer living in Berlin, and popular London-based storyteller Ma Jian were also omitted, he noted.

The arrival of a "state-sponsored delegation" from China has caused the English branch of the writers' association Pen to reduce its participation in this year's fair.

from The Guardian: London Book Fair criticised for inviting only state-approved Chinese writers


News at Eleven: [Sheila] Black elaborated:

"For me the question of disability was really a problem of normal. The problem was all the normal people out there."

Black grew into an award-winning poet whose creative interests include what a collaborator has described as "anomalous embodiment," or what one might more simply describe as physical disability. In one poem she channels that moment of teenage post-surgical self-betrayal, and imagines herself as two people--the person she was before the surgery, and the person she became afterward, as if existing side by side:

from WBEZ91.5: Poet Sheila Black considers pain, disability, selfhood and 'the problem of normal'


News at Eleven: Poetry can give what Robert Frost

calls "a fresh look and a fresh listen", but a poem's clarity does not always transmit equally to everyone, and I wanted to make the political point clear--that human migration is part of animal migration, and migration has been part of life on this earth from the start. Life began with migration, and millions of human beings are doing it today as humans always have done. But it's not always voluntary.

from The Guardian: Ruth Padel: 'Poetry has a responsibility to look at the world'


News at Eleven: Homero Aridjis: On December 1, 2011

more than 150 intellectuals and artists from 32 countries signed the Group of 100's appeal asking President Felipe Calderón to cancel mining concessions granted by the Mexican government to Canadian companies to mine silver and gold in the sacred territory of the Wixárika (Huichol) people. The concessions are in the San Luis Potosi desert, where Wirikuta, the 140,000-hectare sacred reserve of the Wixárika, lies.

The Wixárika people have survived over the centuries throughout Mexico's history.

from Foreign Policy in Focus: Interview with Homero Aridjis


News at Eleven: In contrast to the common belief

in the Arab world, poetry has lost its position in Iraqi cultural discourse and stories have become one of the main features there. However, poetry still has its uses: Political powers need a "poet" in certain ceremonies to generate enthusiasm and gain more supporters. The necessity for a "poet" also still exists within tribal entities and political parties in political gatherings and religious ceremonies that have multiplied in the post-2003 years. Meanwhile, genuine poetical production stayed in the same old position--an elitist field that never has been part of the main social segment's concerns.

However, storytelling is on the rise.

from MidEastPosts.Com: 'There's No Room For Poets, Unless They're Dead'


News at Eleven: "I've got an aunty that won't

come and see me sing Burns because she thinks he was a fornicator and a philanderer, but he wasn't," says [Eddi Reader] the welder's daughter from Glasgow, with defensiveness bordering on indignation.

"He was a 25-year-old boy who was very handsome, spoke French, made you laugh, danced until three in the morning and everyone fell in love with him.

from The Age: Scotland the proud: the Burns legacy


News at Eleven: University of California, Riverside

poetry professor Juan Felipe Herrera--known for chronicling the bittersweet lives, travails and contributions of Mexican Americans--was named California Poet Laureate by Gov. Jerry Brown today. The two-year appointment must be confirmed by the state Senate.

Herrera, 63, the son of migrant farm workers, holds the Tomás Rivera Chair in Creative Writing at UC Riverside.

from UCR Today: Juan Felipe Herrera Named California Poet Laureate


News at Eleven: [Paul] Durcan makes particularly engaging

poems out of passing conversations (reminding one of what virtuosos the Irish are at small talk). "Michael Dan Gallagher Down at the Sound, 10.30am" has a title longer than either of its lines. But after reading, one continues to hear this exchange: "You're looking great--are you going to a wedding?"/"Oh God no--I'm coming back from a wake."

Woman, Outside

from The Guardian: Praise in Which I Live and Move and Have My Being by Paul Durcan--review


News at Eleven: Regarding the March 17 Metro article

"Claims against Fairfax teacher probed":

If Fairfax teacher Marilyn Bart did, as alleged, ask student Jordan Shumate to read a Langston Hughes poem in a "blacker" voice, not only would she have acted in a racially insensitive way, but she also would have shown an unfamiliarity with Hughes.

from The Washington Post: Letter to the Editor: How Langston Hughes sounded
then Poetry & Poets in Rags: News at Eleven: Ninth-grader Jordan Shumate said that


News at Eleven: In these pages [Herbert] Leibowitz

chronicles the complex relationship [Ezra] Pound and [William Carlos] Williams shared----the former was deeply critical of his friend's work. He often lashed out with an acerbic tongue that suggests there may have been an underlying jealous lurking deep within the mad genius. Williams found Eliot almost intolerable and did not he shrink from saying so.

from PopMatters: A Complex Relationship Between Two Great Poets: 'Something Urgent I Have to Say to You'


News at Eleven (Back Page): [James] McIntyre's most famous

work has a dairy theme. "Ode on the Mammoth Cheese," inspired by an Ingersoll cheese weighing over 7,000 pounds, can still be recited by heart by Canadians of a certain age. We can offer only a few verses:

We have seen thee, queen of cheese,

from The Tyee: Canada's Five Worst Poets: Are You Number Six?


Great Regulars: Then he [Timothy Mo] tells me a story

that seems to have been the last straw. He was in the office of some big man in publishing, ­discussing business, when a man came in carrying a manuscript. The big man told him just to put it "over there", then waved him out. Mo asked who it was, and it turned out to be a distinguished novelist delivering his latest book. "I thought, 'Holy shit, I've read this person's books.' This guy was what they call a mid-list author. He doesn't sell many copies, so they don't take much trouble. 'Christ,' I thought, 'nobody is ever going to treat me like that.'"

from Bryan Appleyard: from The Sunday Times: The Once and Future Tee-Mo


The texts have remained unpublished and no western scholar has since been allowed to examine them.

"If, as both Puin and his colleague have argued, these earliest fragments are to be dated to the beginning of the 8th century, it would suggest that their ultimate origins must lie well before that time," writes Holland.

Holland also does not think Mecca, revered as the birthplace of Muhammad, can have been where the story of the prophet was based.

from Bryan Appleyard: from The Sunday Times: The Truth of Islam


Great Regulars: Publishers are calling on the government

to "urgently" reduce the 20% value added tax rate currently applied to ebooks in the UK, as the digital books market experiences "exponential" growth.

Ahead of this afternoon's budget statement, the Publishers Association has made representations to Chancellor George Osborne arguing that the rate of VAT on ebooks, which stands at 20%, should be reduced to the zero-rating of print books.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Ebooks VAT should be slashed to zero in 2012 budget, say publishers


The poem was written at a time of national debate around fair wages for labour as bread prices spiralled; Keats's mentor, Leigh Hunt, had railed against the practice of financial and leasehold consolidation. With this background in mind, the suggestion that Keats was looking at actual fields, rather than writing about an imagined idyll of autumnal perfection, also sheds new light on the labourer in the poem, "sitting careless on a granary floor", or "on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep".

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: John Keats--autumnal idealist or trenchant social commentator?


Voices, said the author "are being silenced. Publishers are more frightened to publish. Galleries are more afraid to display certain kind of art; certain kind of films would not be made that might have been made 15-20 years ago. The chilling effect of violence is very real and it is growing in this country."

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Salman Rushdie defends free speech in rousing address in Delhi


Drawing their material from Google's huge book-digitisation project, the international team of academics tracked the usage of every word recorded in English, Spanish and Hebrew over the 209-year period between 1800 and 2008. The scientists, who include Boston University's Joel Tenenbaum and IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies' Alexander Petersen, said their study shows that "words are competing actors in a system of finite resources", and just as financial firms battle for market share, so words compete to be used by writers or speakers, and to then grab the attention of readers or listeners.

from Alison Flood: The Guardian: Study reveals words' Darwinian struggle for survival


Great Regulars: In Walt Whitman's "Look Down, Fair Moon,"

the speaker shows great emotion; he is almost keening while begging the moon to bless these poor "ghastly, swollen, purple" faces, these poor creatures, who are "on their backs, with their arms toss'd wide"--thus resembling the shape of a cross.

This speaker is beseeching the moon, to which he assigns a kind of divinity by calling it "sacred," to put a halo, "nimbus," around these poor dead soldiers.

from Linda Sue Grimes: Suite101.com: When Soldiers Die--Two Views


Great Regulars: 14

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Don't let that horse

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: 14 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti


At Home
by Linda Gregg

Far is where I am near.

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: At Home by Linda Gregg


by Michael Ryan

Fragile, provisional, it comes unbidden

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Contentment by Michael Ryan


Garbage Truck
by Michael Ryan

Once I had two strong young men hanging off my butt

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: Garbage Truck by Michael Ryan


In the heat of late afternoon . . .
by Gary Young

In the heat of late afternoon, lightning streaks from a nearly

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: In the heat of late afternoon . . . by Gary Young


A Prayer in Spring
by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost


To Happiness
by Carl Dennis

If you're not approaching, I hope at least

from Garrison Keillor: The Writer's Almanac: To Happiness by Carl Dennis


Great Regulars: I don't think we've ever published

a poem about a drinker. Though there are lots of poems on this topic, many of them are too judgmental for my liking. But here's one I like, by Jeanne Wagner, of Kensington, California, especially for its original central comparison.

My mother was like the bees

from Ted Kooser: American Life in Poetry: Column 366


Great Regulars: The Geographic Information Systems defines

"data fusion" as "organizing, merging and linking disparate information elements" to represent reality. Albert Goldbarth, Jordan Stempleman, Heid Erdrich, and Kevin Young create 21st-century literature by using multiple streams of information. In their works, science overlaps imagination, and perhaps this is the newest trend. Regardless, they each write books that enlarge the reach of American poetics.

from Denise Low: The Star: On Poetry: Four poets stretch genre by infusing works with science


Great Regulars: Tom Sexton divides his time

between Alaska and Maine, spending half of every year in Eastport. His poem describes the movement of a porcupine through the twists, turns and surprises of a single sentence. Sexton writes, "I hope my short lines move as slowly as the porcupine does."


from Wesley McNair: The Portland Press Herald: Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry


Great Regulars: We patronise children far less,

and that's all to the good. If there's a flipside, perhaps it's that reassurance is lacking. A lullaby should lull, and the sense of a safe, solid adult world around the child is not to be despised. If such a poem can simultaneously stimulate the imagination, and establish a mental pattern of delicious sound and rhythm, it has proved its worth and deserves to be considered a children's classic.

[by Eugene Field]

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod (Dutch Lullaby)

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: Wynken, Blynken, and Nod by Eugene Field


Great Regulars: This week's Poetry Pairing matches

Li-Young Lee's "Secret Life" with a March 20 City Room blog post, "Spring Comes to a City Woodland."

from Katherine Schulten: The New York Times: Poetry Pairing: 'Secret Life'


Great Regulars: They were among a crowd in front

of the Sudanese Embassy, protesting the government and alleged war crimes of President Omar al-Bashir. They were arrested and escorted to jail.

[Rabbi Steve] Gutow and [John] Prendergast had company behind bars.

George Clooney, for one.

And George Clooney's father.

And Martin Luther King III.

And Benjamin Jealous, head of the NAACP.

A whole cell-full of prominent people, actually. And from the sound of it, they had a merry old time.

from John Timpane: The Philadelphia Inquirer: Behind bars with stars: Protest leader arrested with Clooney has Philadelphia roots


Great Regulars: "All men's miseries,"

Pascal says, "derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone."

Now as it happens, I have spent quite a lot of time alone during my life, usually by choice. I like being alone, always have.

from Frank Wilson: When Falls the Coliseum: That's What He Said: Being alone can never be enough


Great Regulars: [by B.R. Strahan]


Stone flower of church spires

from The Christian Science Monitor: Ghent


Great Regulars: [by Homero Aridjis]

Through the night, coated in frost,

from Foreign Policy in Focus: About angels IX


Great Regulars: 1989

By Neil Powell

from The Guardian: The Saturday poem: 1989


Great Regulars: by Luke Wright

It's Winter and I leave my home in darkness

from Morning Star: Well Versed: A Hornchurch Commuter


Great Regulars: [by Sharon Cumberland]

Ignore, O Mystery, this thing You made.

from The Oregonian: Poetry: 'Prayer,' by Sharon Cumberland


Great Regulars: By Sean Thomas Dougherty

Pavoratti is dead and the streets are full of arias,

from PBS: Newshour: Weekly Poem: 'Arias'


Great Regulars: [by Isabel Grasso]

In Love with Words

from Portsmouth Herald News: Poem: In Love with Words


Great Regulars: [by Janice Rebecca Campbell]


from San Antonio Express-News: Poem: 'walks to the lake'


Great Regulars: "Inquest"

By Paul Breslin

from Slate: "Inquest"


Great Regulars: This tension between stringent attentiveness

to a world that is often ugly and squalid and the poetic lyricism with which poetry tries to redeem it becomes the subject of "Exterior: Day" where the old blind woman's accidental presence on the film set not only challenges the fictional strategies of the film's director but also calls the poet's own framing perspectives into question. [C.K.] Williams is scrupulously honest, and the contest between "illusion and truth" is left undecided.

Exterior: Day

from The Times Literary Supplement: Poem of the Week: Exterior: Day


Poetic Obituaries: [Iqbal] Bahu had mastered the

Sufi tradition of well-known Sufi saint Sultan Bahu and had great command over folk songs as well mystical and devotional poetry.

But the kalam of Sufi poet Baba Bulley Shah was his claim to fame and his name was changed from Muhammad Iqbal to Iqbal Bahu. His most popular kalams are 'Alaf Allah Chumby Dee Booti' and 'Maain Ne Main Kino Aakhan'.

from The Express Tribune: End of an era: Renowned Sufi singer Iqbal Bahu passes away


Poetic Obituaries: "When people came out of Cuba

they would stay with us until they got their feet on the ground," [Elena "Mimi" Casals' son Desmond] Child said. "There were always descargas at our house, my mother singing her own songs, people reciting poetry."

Born Jan. 28, 1927, and raised in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Casals taught herself piano as a child and had her first poem published by a local newspaper when she was 6 years old.

from The Miami Herald: Cuban poet, songwriter Elena Casals dies at 85


Poetic Obituaries: [Manik Godghate a.k.a.] Grace was critically

acclaimed for the ambiguity in his poetry. 'Sandhyakalchya Kavita', 'Chandramadhavichya Pradeshat' and Sandhyaparvatil Vaishnavi' were his three popular books of poetry.

'Church bell' and 'Mitva' were his two acclaimed prose writings.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said poetry lovers had lost a "real ruby"--the late poet's name Manik means ruby.

from MidDay: Poet Grace passes away after two-yr fight with cancer


Poetic Obituaries: [Tonino] Guerra's own "amarcord"

("I remember" in dialect) is scattered over many books of poetry and short stories. He first started writing poetry in dialect when interned in a prison camp in Germany, after being rounded up at the age of 22 with other antifascists from Santarcangelo. To pass the time he told his companions stories: when he came home in 1945 he found a publisher for a book of them, I Scarabocc (Cockroaches, but also "scribblings").

from The Guardian: Tonino Guerra obituary


Poetic Obituaries: [Philip D. Ingraham] was the first

radio operator to be licensed in Painted Post by the Federal Radio Commission (now the Federal Communication Commission). This took place in 1934. Phil enjoyed life, he loved people, ham radio, traveling, photography, children, animals, and birds. He enjoyed writing poetry over the years and had several poems published.

from Corning Leader: Philip D. Ingraham


Poetic Obituaries: One of Canada's finest--

and arguably most underappreciated--poets has died. Jay Macpherson, a professor at the University of Toronto who won the Governor General's Literary Award for her 1957 collection, The Boatman, died suddenly last Wednesday.

from Quill & Quire: Jay Macpherson: 1931-2012


Poetic Obituaries: The author of works such as

"La Ragazza Carla" and La Ballata di Rudi, [Elio] Pagliarani was a poet and literary critic best known for his affiliation with the avant-garde Gruppo '63 movement. His critical approach to both the subject matter and language of his poetry is credited with helping to alter the course of the genre in Italy in the Twentieth Century.

from ArtsEditor: Italian Poet Elio Pagliarani (1927-2012)


Poetic Obituaries: Ron [Spath] was a gifted artist,

poet and singer. He was born and raised in Chicago and moved to Fairfield in 1976 but never gave up rooting for the Cubs.

from The Fairfield Ledger: Ronald Spath


Poetic Obituaries: A well known Western singer and

cowboy poet honored in 2002 as Georgia's Official Cowboy Balladeer and in 2004 as the first cowboy singer inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame, [Doc] Stovall led discussions, gave presentations and performed at the museum, according to the Booth's website.

from Douglasville Patch: Doc Stovall Dies in Crash


Poetic Obituaries: [Wislawa Szymborska] died in her sleep--

an end that she had anticipated in a poem published 54 years earlier: "Death? It comes in your sleep,/exactly as it should.//When it comes, you'll be dreaming/that you don't need to breathe . . . you'd feel more terror at the sound/of petals falling to the ground."

from The Telegraph: Wislawa Szymborska


Poetic Obituaries: As a professor and lecturer of Portuguese

language and literature at various international universities, [Antonio] Tabucchi had been recognized as a leading Italian scholar in this field and was considered an expert translator of the work of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.

from Monsters and Critics.com: Italian author Antonio Tabucchi dies at 68


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20th Poetic Ticker Clicking

News Article Tape:
Blog Entry Tape:

March 20th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

The first article we link to begins with this sentence: "Using her career as a molecular biologist as a starting point, Katherine Larson shapes her poems with descriptions of squid, suction cups and branchial hearts." That link is to an interview that PBS Newhour's Gwen Ifill did with Larson. Embedded in the article's page is Larson reading her remarkable poetry.

That's the first of dozens of interesting articles on poets and poetry this week. The second link, for instance, is to an interview of Alice Walker. Later in News at Eleven, a teacher tells an African-American student, the only one in the class, to read a Langston Hughes poem "blacker".

As always, the next section, Great Regulars, is filled with articles and poetry from our Great Regulars. And our final section, Poetic Obituaries has some important names in poetry this week. I'll let you get to your reading.

Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



News at Eleven: It's a very strange event

to be sitting there with a flask of living cells of somebody who actually has passed away. Part of the poem comes from that place of a kind of intimate experience, but a kind of intense experience as well.

"Love at 32 Degrees."

from PBS NewsHour: Dissecting Prose and Squid With Biologist, Poet Katherine Larson


News at Eleven: I started out as a poet.

I've always been a poet since I was 7 or 8. And so I feel myself to be fundamentally a poet who got into writing novels. If you look at my list of books, there are seven collections of poetry. The other thought is that this is the time for poetry: All the changes in life draw poetry from us, those of us who are in touch with it. It's direct even sometimes when you have to turn it upside down to understand it. There's still something embedded in it that directness [that leads] to the heart. Especially in times of revolution and times of great upheaval and change.

from The Atlantic: 'This Is the Time for Poetry': A Conversation With Alice Walker


News at Eleven: The slim anthology, inspired by [Vikram] Seth's

tryst with 17th century celebrated poet George Herbert, was unveiled at Penguin India's 'Spring Fever' Festival in the capital, marks a new chapter in the writer's life--an empathy with the spiritual and Herbert's works.

Seth, who bought Herbert's country home, 'The Old Rectory', in Salisbury in Wiltshire, England, says the fact that he "got to live there has created an aspect of sharing with Herbert's poetry".

from IBN Live: Music, calligraphy, poetry in Vikram Seth's new work


News at Eleven: Pamphlets can take the form of

shop windows, calling cards or playgrounds; they can be produced quickly and cheaply, or be labours of love boasting lavish bespoke design. In quality and production value, they vary enormously. Here are six of the best.

Emily Hasler makes a stylish, self-assured debut with Natural Histories (Salt, £6.50), a pamphlet much concerned with naming and origins. "Rhododendron" begins as a family vignette, but Hasler's varied tonal palette ensures the poem soon opens out.

from The Guardian: Six poetry pamphlets reviewed


News at Eleven: More collage than formal argument,

the book juxtaposes literary and music criticism, autobiographical snippets, colloquial asides and name-checks of artists from the obscure to the famous. It also offers extended reconsiderations of Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar, a poet born in Dayton in 1872 who reached national prominence, frequently tapping "black dialect."

Throughout, [Kevin] Young seeks to prove what has long been proven yet somehow always needs proving: the self-evident fact that African-American culture is American culture.

He dwells on a concept he calls "storying."

from The Plain Dealer: Poet Kevin Young's 'The Grey Album' meditates on race


News at Eleven: Ninth-grader Jordan Shumate said that

during class this month, he was reading aloud a poem by acclaimed African American writer Langston Hughes when his teacher interrupted and directed him to read in a "blacker" style.

"She told me, 'Blacker, Jordan--c'mon, blacker. I thought you were black,' " said Shumate, who is African American.

from The Washington Post: Fairfax investigates allegation of racially insensitive behavior by high school teacher


News at Eleven: Students and staff at Cambridge University

are to demonstrate against the suspension of a student for his part in a protest last November.

Owen Holland was suspended from the university for two-and-a-half years for reading out a poem during a speech by Universities Minister David Willetts.

from BBC News: Cambridge protest planned for suspended student


News at Eleven: The aim of the trip to the Vatican

is to get the pope to understand the suffering of the Mexican people, which is comparable to "the suffering and murdered body of Christ," [Javier] Sicilia, leader of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, said in a press conference Saturday.

from Latin American Herald Tribune: Mexican Peace Activist to Address Violence at Vatican


News at Eleven: [Percy Bysshe] Shelley achieved little

of political consequence in Ireland and departed at the end of April. His impatience and inexperience worked against him. With people such as Catherine Nugent, Daniel Healy and John Lawless, given time and hard work, a small but significant movement could have been built. But the few months he spent in Ireland provided him with the most "intensive period of practical political education that he had experienced in his life", and this was to have a lasting effect on his life, poetry, and prose.

from The Irish Times: Shelley's adventure in Irish politics


News at Eleven: Yes, sometimes there was sexual imagery

or maddening metaphor that might have caused Shelley to blush, or Wordsworth to disclaim, or the prophets to ask, where was God in all this?

Yet Irving [Layton]--teaching us in the mid-'50s, writing in the shadow of the Holocaust and the rebirth of the state of Israel--was alive always to the vulnerability of the powerless and the powerlessness of the vulnerable. He became the voice of the voiceless; and it was a voice profoundly Jewish--though not religious, and unwaveringly universalistic in its message.

from The Gazette: Irving Layton: teacher and friend


News at Eleven (Back Page): Around the time the Australian

soldier [Laurens Wildeboer] arrived in Vietnam, one of the enemy he had been sent to fight, Phan Van Ban,] paused after marching through the night. He sat, took out a pen and student's notebook and wrote a poem. He called it Letter in Spring and it was addressed to "my love who is at home".

His loved one never saw the poem and the delicate drawing that illustrated it. But the Australian did, and even though he couldn't read it, he knew a powerful part of its meaning.

from The Age: Poem to go home in spirit of peace


Great Regulars: Joseph Town, a 19th-century classical sculptor,

also produced astonishing wax skeletons.

Or, almost in our time, there are the exquisite drawings of Aud­rey Arnott. She was the ­medical ­illustrator for the neurosurgeon Hugh Cairns. Her drawings are striking for their anatomical perfection, but also, strangely, for their poignancy. She draws the patients as fully realised characters, a disturbing effect when the brain is almost fully exposed.

from Bryan Appleyard: from The Sunday Times: Soul Searching


In the case of language, one big argument for this is the speed with which children learn to speak, picking up vocabulary and complex syntax in a few months. Chomsky said this was because we are born with a capacity for a universal grammar, and that, ultimately, all languages could be traced back to this biologically determined form.

Reasonable as this may sound, there is very little--Everett would say there is no--evidence for an inborn universal grammar. There is no "language instinct", as Pinker calls it, because a language is learnt and an instinct, by definition, is not.

from Bryan Appleyard: from The Sunday Times: Overthrowing Chomsky