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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Blog entries on '11 November 2005'

Friday 11 November 2005

Sinéad Morrissey

Carcanet poet Sinéad Morrissey has been short listed for the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry for her third collection, The State of the Prisons. Now in its thirteenth year, the TS Eliot Prize has been called "poetry's most coveted award". The prize is designed to recognise the best new collection of poetry published in 2005 and revious winners include George Szirtes, Don Paterson and Alice Oswald. I've only read about half of Sinéad's collection, but what I have read has impressed me. I'll review it soon. Promise.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Friday 11 November 2005

Words Without Borders

The November issue of Words Without Borders is available, featuring writing from South Korea: "Economic powerhouse, wounded nation, Buddhist wilderness sanctuary, and this year's guest of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair, South Korea is as various, as traditional and as modern in its literature as in its landscape." (Via Translation Exchange.)

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Friday 11 November 2005

Ian Cutler

Ian Cutler's Cynicism from Diogenes to Dilbert is certainly worthy of your attention. Cynics get a very bad press and Ian is the man to put the record straight. Yiannis Gabriel, in his introduction to the book (which I'm reproducing, with kind permission of the publisher, as a book review here in RSB), says:


The repertoire of practices, aims and ideas initiated by the ancient cynics recur in the pages of this book, as Cutler imaginatively traces them in different cultural and political set-ups, in different discourses and different epochs. It is a measure of their power that they continue to resonate across all these boundaries. And it is a measure of Cutler's success that he has managed to display both the continuity and the richness of cynicism in its different incarnations. As a piece of intellectual archaeology, Cutler combines the obsessive attention to detail characteristic of the detective and the ability to make old themes and old ideas come alive in front of our eyes. The enduring quality of this book is its ability to vindicate cynicism as a defiant and imaginative stance that proudly declines to lapse into narcissism, self-pity or martyrdom, a stance from which we can learn much today.

(Click here for the whole of Yiannis Gabriel's introduction to Ian Cutler's Cynicism from Diogenes to Dilbert.)

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Friday 11 November 2005

Damon and Naomi

Back in the day, my favourite band were Breathless who were, it was said, a bit like a British Galaxie 500. Damon and Naomi, the good folk behind Galaxie 500, have a wonderful newish album out The Earth Is Blue (okay, it was out in March, but I've only just got hold of a copy!) on their new label 20/20/20.


Damon and Naomi are also behind the excellent small press Exact Change (about whom more information can be gleaned from the Modern Word site).


Exact Change's most recent title is Fernando Pessoa's The Education of the Stoic: The Only Manuscript of the Baron of Teive:


Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) was a multitude of writers: his works were composed by "heteronyms," alter egos with distinct biographies, ideologies, influences, even horoscopes. The Education of the Stoic is the only work left by the Baron of Teive, who, having destroyed all his previous attempts at literary creation, and about to destroy himself, explains "the impossibility of producing superior art."

The baron's manuscript is found in a hotel-room drawer - not unlike editor and translator Richard Zenith's own discovery, while conducting research in the Pessoa archives, of a small black notebook whose contents had never been transcribed. In it he found the missing pieces of this short but trenchant complement to Pessoa's major prose work, The Book of Disquiet. Pessoa himself noted that despite their dialectical differences, the middle-class author of The Book of Disquiet (assistant bookkeeper Bernardo Soares) and the aristocrat Teive, "are two instances of the very same phenomenon -- an inability to adapt to real life."

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Friday 11 November 2005

Moby does live!

MobyLives (the weblog that The Complete Review said, "towers above all other literary weblogs") has been rather quiet of late. I was a bit worried that Dennis Loy Johnson's blog (associated with his Melville House Publishing) had stopped altogether but, happily, the news is good: MobyLives is back ... but back as a podcast! How cool is that? MobyLives radio started last Monday and is a fine addition to all things blogospherical. Go and listen.


Very usefully, Ed gives us a rundown of all the literary podcasts that he is aware of. And it is a fair few.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Serendipoetry

Augustus

As you sow, so shall you reap. The bags packed,
Umbers and gold swollen between the purse-strings,
Getaway cars nose on a hot scent.
Under striped canvas the patrons gather,
Staring at blue, incorrigible seas.
The stubble burns a hole in summer's pocket;
Upon the baked crust of their world, the mice
Scatter their ashes to the harvest moon.

-- Peter Scupham
(Carcanet Press)

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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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