Saturday, December 08, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

long review of Robert Alter's Psalms--

"Yet if Alter's Psalms are not as beautiful as the King James Version, they do not have to be. His goal is not really to replace the texts we know but to estrange them--to remind us that the English Psalter conceals the Hebrew one as well as reveals it. For this purpose, Alter's extensive notes--which take up half or more of every page--are as important as his translation. Rather than gloss over the cruxes and the ambiguities in the Hebrew text, Alter exposes them, at times even allowing his own English to mirror the incoherence of the original. We never forget, with Alter's Psalms, that the text we are reading is the work of human hands--not Holy Writ, but something at once less and more than that, great poetry..."

If Led Zeppelin reunites, will they play "Stairway to Heaven"? - By Andrew Goodwin

"If, for instance, the lady at the beginning of the song is a fool (she believes, after all, that she can buy a stairway to heaven), then why at the end of this long and winding lyrical road is she shining white light and showing us how everything still turns to gold? Some critics have turned themselves inside out trying to prove that this must be a different lady. Cultural-studies theorists will see this is an "open" text. Industry bean counters will notice that its ambiguity is the key to its popularity..."

farewell novelist Jane Rule, who with her partner Helen was the fond neighbour of my wife's parents Kathleen & Charlie when they lived on Galiano Island--

"One of the experiences of our time is we don't stay in the community we were born in. We don't experience extended family like we used to. What we do is invent it. I am fascinated by the different ways we invent community to support each other. That is what I have been writing about."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

In the Library

"Newly printed books certainly smell very different from older ones. The ink is so crisp. I’ve also noticed that books from different periods & different countries also have very different smells. And then there are the scents of different bindings: leather is marvelous of course but I find a peculiar pleasure in musty worn clothbound books as well. Perhaps just a hint of mildew…"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sam Cummings of Tswawassen & his interpretation of Van Gogh's "Wheat Field With Cypresses"

via Ron this essay on Conrad--

"Critics have connected delayed decoding to impressionism and phenomenology, and Conrad himself described his literary task as "to make you hear, to make you feel ... before all, to make you see". And what he wants to make us see is: the lot. Not one side or another, not my point of view or yours, but the whole shooting match. As he put it in a letter to his friend Richard Curle: "my 'art' ... is fluid, depending on grouping (sequence) which shifts, and on changing lights giving varied effects of perspective..."

Local trees