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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 '23 May 2006'

Tuesday 23 May 2006

This Excellent Space

Some great posts of late over at This Space (particularly liked the post on Jean-Luc Godard's plangent masterpiece Eloge de l'Amour). In Upon this blasted heath, Steve refers to the Euston Road Manifesto as "shameful". I used the same word myself to a friend recently ... and added imbecilic and apologist.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 23 May 2006

New offer to RSB readers from Poetry magazine

As you may know, I've been working with a number of literary journals and magazines to bring to RSB readers some unique subscription offers. We have already have reader offers with PN Review, The Reader and the TLS and now, today, I've added a new offer from the excellent US-based Poetry magazine.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 23 May 2006

A web guide to Geoffrey Hill

This is quite useful (looks horrid though - look and feel, people!): a selective bibliography of open access internet articles on Geoffrey Hill.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 23 May 2006

Sorrentino on the Beats

Gilbert Sorrentino, interviewed by Alexander Laurence back in 1994, on the Beat writers:

The beats can only be understood as a single manifestation, in the fifties, of the general dissatisfaction, among young, unknown artists, with the given norms of art then in ascendance. They have been distorted out of all reality by the popular media, probably because they make "good copy," but they were no less distorted at the time they emerged. Some of them did good work, some not, but that is the case with all "movements." That they were especially iconoclastic is an idea that will not wash, when one considers the remarkable innovations, the formal attacks on the norms of literature present at the time, by such writers as Olson, Creeley, O'Hara, Spicer, and so on. Strangely enough, some of the most compelling beat writers are more or less forgotten now -- Ray Bremser for one, and then, of course, there is Irving Rosenthal, whose single book, long out of print and almost impossible to find, Sheeper, is perhaps the most elegant single work to emerge from that era. To talk about the beats without acknowledging these writers is to assume that the propaganda about that era is the truth about that era. This is all further complicated by the historical blurring that occurs when non-beat writers are lumped in with beat writers, when we are told that such writers as Amiri Baraka, William Burroughs, Michael McClure, even Gary Snyder, are beat writers. That's like saying that Raymond Roussel was a surrealist. Again, to understand the beats, you have understand the general cultural ferment that was going on in the arts in the fifties, the restlessness, the boredom, the unintentional comedy of an era that proffered Randall Jarrell as a very important poet and that valorized Robert Frost to the detriment of William Carlos Williams.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Tuesday 23 May 2006

Bishop books

Frustratingly, I can't get hold of a review copy of Alice Quinn's Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box (uncollected poems, drafts and fragments by the American poet Elizabeth Bishop) published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux for love nor money!

You'll recall, that there has been much fuss about the book recently (mostly due to Helen Vendler's comments which our very own Michael Schmidt rejected in his editorial for PN Review no.169) so I am very keen to read and review it.

Never mind: the good folk at Bloodaxe have sent on their Elizabeth Bishop: Poet of the Periphery, which you'll note is one of my Books of the Week (along with Douglas Oliver's Arrondissements), which looks like it will quench my Bishop thirst just for now.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Omens, after Alexander Pushkin

I rode to meet you: dreams
like living beings swarmed around me
and the moon on my right side
followed me, burning.

I rode back: everything changed.
My soul in love was sad
and the moon on my left side
trailed me without hope.

To such endless impressions
we poets give ourselves absolutely,
making, in silence, omen of mere event,
until the world reflects the deepest needs of the soul.

-- Louise Gluck
Averno (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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