Tag Archives: reading

‘A Fond Infected Look’

A novelist’s prose can crowd poetry turf with an ineffability that thwarts paraphrase. Of his mother a protagonist says: “Ten minutes she will spend in the kitchen working with her swift cat-efficiency, then out and away with the children, surging … Continue reading

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‘Whenever I Feel Bad…’

Whenever I feel bad, I go to the library and read controversial periodicals. Though I do not know whether I am a liberal or a conservative, I am nevertheless enlivened by the hatred that one bears for the other. In … Continue reading

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‘I Hate Men’ Two

There’s more to Pauline Harmange, French author of I Hate Men, than met the eye of Ralph Zurmély, the gender equality ministry adviser who sought to prosecute her for incitement of gender-based violence. His ministry said “it appeared [he] had … Continue reading

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Pen Pricks

In certain Victorian novels, female authors paint a bleak picture of limited options available to women lacking means or family status; of a lonely and loveless existence, yet one lacking privacy and subject to uninvited comment; of a life peopled … Continue reading

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Friday Morning

I’m struggling. My remote interlocutor in life of the mind is keeping me afloat insofar as having a rational dialog with someone. But that dialog is private. Of the muchness on my mind, I’m conflicted as to which of it … Continue reading

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The Gargoyles’ Grin

In 1915, Wallace Stevens offered Harriet Monroe, founder of Poetry (the magazine), several poems that included Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock. “She returned them… finding them ‘recondite, erudite, provocatively obscure… all with ‘a kind of modern-gargoyle grin to them,’” writes Stevens … Continue reading

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Prosodic Moments in Poeisis

In English, the difficulty of perceiving even brief isosyllabic lines as rhythmically equivalent is aggravated by the inordinate power of stressed syllables… The mashup of mystification about versifying that’s available online furnishes what I call Prosodic Moments — when phraseology … Continue reading

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About the Stag

The poem is “Entire Known World So Far” by Carl Phillips (Poetry, July/August 2020). I share thoughts about my readings with a correspondent who returned the following in email: The part of the poem you copied out – where it … Continue reading

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What Makes a Poem ‘Hard’?

“Syntax” is the answer to the fudgy question. It’s hard to reach image and reference through muddy syntax. In narrative and exposition, context comes to the rescue; in poetry often not, because a poet revels in flare-gunning lap dance moon … Continue reading

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The Power of Reading Aloud

One of the virtues of reading a narrative aloud, to children or indeed to anyone, is the way that vocalizing a story clarifies its power, especially in the quavering passion that you try to keep from your voice (because you … Continue reading

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