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

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Blog entries on '25 April 2006'

Tuesday 25 April 2006

Pen World Voices Festival of International Literature

Bud Parr has written reminding me about week-long Pen World Voices Festival of International Literature at MetaxuCafe.

In conjunction with the Words Without Borders blog, we will be covering over 30 events this week and posting at MetaxuCafe and other places around the Web.

Highlights include an interview with Dubravka Ugresic (author of The Ministry of Pain) by James Marcus and photographs by Mary Reagan.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 25 April 2006

Beckett on the radio on CD

I failed to mention, back on Beckett's birthday on the 13th, that the British Library have just released Samuel Beckett: Works for Radio. Steve Cleary, British Library Sound Archive Curator of Literature and Drama reckons: “Beckett was emphatic that his works for radio were conceived for aural reception only, and was disinclined to permit their presentation in another medium such as the stage, even as unadorned readings. They are works of art in themselves, presented here in their original incarnations, as their author intended.” This is a 4-CD set of the original BBC broadcasts and it is the first time these recordings have been made commercially available:

These rarely-heard historic recordings were originally broadcast by the BBC and feature the five works created by Beckett expressly for the broadcast medium: All That Fall, Embers, Words and Music, Cascando and Rough for Radio, together with the rarely heard curio, The Old Tune - Beckett's translation of Robert Pinget's La Manivelle - and the monologue From an Abandoned Work. The broadcasts span the period 1957-1976.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Tuesday 25 April 2006

David Newsom's Mother

Via Lance Mazmanian, I hear the good news that Sian Heder and RSB-interviewee David Newsom have been asked to take their short film Mother to the Cannes Film Festival's Cinefondation Competition, May 2006. Theirs is one of just eighteen shorts selected from more than 1500 submissions.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Tuesday 25 April 2006

Barton on five Shakespeare books

Anne Barton reviews five recent William "he died a papist" Shakespeare titles over at the New York Review of Books. She looks at: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 by James Shapiro (a "consistently intelligent and informative study"); Secret Shakespeare: Studies in Theatre, Religion and Resistance by Richard Wilson (which Barton doesn't seem to rate much); Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare by Clare Asquith (which, says Barton, contains "innumerable inaccuracies and misunderstandings of Shakespeare's texts"); Shakespeare: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd (who is, we read, "given to totally unfounded pronouncements about Shakespeare's creative processes") and That Man Shakespeare: Icon of Modern Culture (yup, new to me too that one) by David Ellis ("wonderfully helpful and apposite ... both shrewd and perceptive").

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 25 April 2006

Fruit Loops

Marilynne Robinson, author of the much-vaunted novels Gilead and Housekeeping, recently spoke at the University of Kentucky about contemporary writers’ disdain for their readers. "Much of today’s literature, she said, seems to be written on an intellectual level that assumes the reader did not progress beyond childhood. ‘If a grocery store were stocked on the same principle, it would carry only Fruit Loops,’ Robinson said." (via Maud).

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 25 April 2006

Thomas Meyer's Coromandel

Poet Thomas Meyer's Coromandel is now online. (And a CD is available from Brown Roux, 17 Stuyvesant Street #16, New York, NY 10003, for $15 US dollars (including p&p).)

Start in the middle. Speak to the heart. Touch the quick flesh of words. Explore the bardo of the instant. Bring the present moment suddenly, startlingly, to life. Thomas Meyer does that: he wakes us up to ourselves, and makes us wonder why we had been so long asleep. Coromandel is an urgent message from another world – but which one? The deities within us speak and become words on a page: swooning, we follow.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Tuesday 25 April 2006

Jerusalem in exile

"What is the image of Jerusalem that dwells in your mind?" So asks artist Steve Sabella at

Work started on the preparation of an exceptional book with a new concept jerusalem in exile – tangible memories by artist Steve Sabella. The book seeks to explore the visual imagery held of Jerusalem by Palestinians who live in the Diaspora, as well as by Palestinians who live in Palestine but are incapable of reaching their city. The project will photographically ‘materialize’ the various mental images Palestinians hold of Jerusalem in their memories and imagination. The art experience will be documented in an art book, to be edited by poet Najwan Darwish that will compile various testimonies and texts on Jerusalem and other related subjects by a number of distinguished Palestinians artists, intellectuals and participants.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Tuesday 25 April 2006

Marx and Philosophy Annual Conference

This year's Marx and Philosophy Society Annual Conference kicks off at 10.30 on Saturday 27th May (£10 waged, £5 unwaged, payable at the door; Room 728, Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1). Speakers include Bob Cannon (Capitalism, Fetishism and Modernity), Drew Milne (Michel Henry's Marx) and Mark Neocleous (The Politics and Philosophy of Redemption: Marxism, National Socialism, and the Dead). To reserve a place in advance please email Martin McIvor.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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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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