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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 '15 June 2006'

Thursday 15 June 2006


Its funny how you find things out: all the Herman Broch titles that were printed under Penguin Modern Classics are now out of print. I was shocked to learn this only about an hour ago. And how do I know this? Well, RSB contributor Paul Griffiths has written (back in 2003) a fine book on the serialist composer Jean Barraqué, called The Sea on Fire, which I was talking about with his publisher, Boydell & Brewer, only this morning. I was surfing for more information on Barraqué and remembered that he was a friend and lover of Michel Foucault's who had planned to write a collection of pieces based on Hermann Broch's The Death of Virgil, but who only completed two of the projected parts (Chant aprés chant (1966), and Le temps restitué (1957/68)) before his death.

Anyway, this got me thinking more about Broch and about possibly featuring him and his work here on RSB. Maybe even doing a minisite. But Penguin tell me that he is out of print. So ReadySteadyBroch is going to have to wait until I chase down some second hand copies. (If any of you have any Broch's lying about that you don't want please email me!)

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Thursday 15 June 2006

Robert Kelly on Magic

A fascinating read this (originaly presented at the Princeton Conference on Magic and Cinema back in March): ADAMAGICA: Magic and Iconolatry in Film by the poet Robert Kelly: "Magic is what the mind comes back to time and time again to right itself."

For those interested to know more about Robert ... well, you can wait until our forthcoming interview or -- and I'd advise this for now -- you can read this wee extract from an interview with Robert in the Modern Review (the site says this is just an excerpt from the 44-page interview in the magazine itself, but I've not seen a copy of it yet): "So that’s what poetry could be. All the pleasures I had from reading, fantasizing, learning, music: all in this one strange thing, this alien, incomprehensible, but immensely sensual event."

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Thursday 15 June 2006

Donald Hall

I don't know the work of Donald Hall. Indeed, until yesterday, I'm not sure that I had even heard of him. Certainly, the name hadn't stuck. Anyway, the New England poet succeeds Ted Kooser, a Nebraskan writer, as the new US poet laureate: "Solitude, ritual, and a work ethic that matches the granite of his New Hampshire home. These are the elements that frame the poetics of Donald Hall, who was named the 14th poet laureate of the United States on Wednesday, June 14, 2006." (says Arthur Allen):

The position has existed since 1937, from 1937 to 1985 as “Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress,” and from 1986 on as “Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.”  Poets appointed by the librarian of Congress have included Robert Lowell,Elizabeth Bishop, Conrad Aiken, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Penn Warren, Richard Wilbur, and Joseph Brodsky.

And the recently departed Stanley Kunitz. He was the 10th laureate, I believe. Publisher Norton were kind enough to send on a copy of The Collected Poems which I'll get around to reviewing some time soon I hope.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Memorial Tablet

Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight,
(Under Lord Derby’s Scheme). I died in hell—
(They called it Passchendaele). My wound was slight,
And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.

At sermon-time, while Squire is in his pew,
He gives my gilded name a thoughtful stare:
For, though low down upon the list, I’m there;
‘In proud and glorious memory’... that’s my due.
Two bleeding years I fought in France, for Squire:
I suffered anguish that he’s never guessed.
Once I came home on leave: and then went west...
What greater glory could a man desire?

-- Siegfried Sassoon
Collected Poems (Faber and Faber)

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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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