Tuesday, June 27, 2017

All about tea …

… Informal Inquiries: Liquid Jade: a book review.

Hmm …

… American Freedom: Sinclair Lewis and the Open Road | The Public Domain Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Lewis follows Plato in pointing to democracy itself as the cause for the slide to tyranny. 
This used to be considered one of Plato's less attractive views, but it is apparently now useful for those resentful  of election results.

Free Air is not kind to the petty and conniving rural dwellers, but Lewis’ most devastating take on small-town life appears in Main Street. Lewis, a product of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, rails against the idea that these remote burgs are the source of all that is good. Rather, they infect their residents with “the village virus”, symptomized by a firm ignorance, self-satisfaction, and general intolerance of anyone who doesn’t look or think like they do.
Hey, those people really are deplorable. O tempora, O mores.

Anniversary …

… Weltschmertz Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar - Poem Hunter.

Paul Lawrence Dunbar was born on this date in 1872.

Something to think on …

But every great scripture, whether Hebrew, Indian, Persian, or Chinese, apart from its religious value will be found to have some rare and special beauty of its own; and in this respect the original Bible stands very high as a monument of sublime poetry and of artistic prose.
— Lafcadio Hearn, born on this date in 1850

The Atheist Muslim...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Personal narrative …

… Making Room for Both the Reflective and the Narrative Essay | BREVITY's Nonfiction .

Literary encounter …

… Informal Inquiries: "Plenitude" and autobiographical criticism.



I love the poem. Some years ago, my 20-year-old cat Pandora had a stroke. She couldn't walk. So I made her as comfortable as I could. The next day, when I returned from work, and went to check on her, she lifted her head, looked at me, and died a natural death. She is buried in our garden, where perhaps I shall one day join her.

When not being entirely monstrous …

… 9 Murderous Tyrants Who Were Also Failed Writers (and One OK Poet) | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

With a capital P …

… How Philip Guston Found Salvation in Poetry. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Conversation and more …

… Concrete & River: A Convergence of Gazes: Gjertrud Schnackenberg on "Afghan Girl". (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Obviously, beauty — like poetry — can't be defined, and obviously, whatever it is, its manifestations are numberless across human histories and cultures, but it seems to me that theorists who oppose the principle of beauty in art must erroneously have found the cosmos to be exhaustible, and must believe themselves to have, and must wish to persuade others that they have, exhausted it. I can’t argue about this, but I would ask if any of these judgments about beauty -- as privileged or elitist or superficial or morally deficient -- pertain to the beauty of the "Afghan Girl" photograph. 

Music by Anthony Burgess …

At home among murder novels …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Crime Columnist Revered And Feared in the Book Review.

Good news …

… Forgotten Burgess remembered by MUP —  ReadySteadyBlog — ReadySteadyBook — a literary site. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



That Spotify playlist is especially interesting.

Something to think on …

It was a morning in early summer. A silver haze shimmered and trembled over the lime trees. The air was laden with their fragrance. The temperature was like a caress. I remember - I need not recall - that I climbed up a tree stump and felt suddenly immersed in Itness. I did not call it by that name. I had no need for words. It and I were one.
— Bernard Berenson, born on this date in 1865

Going strong...

Sunday, June 25, 2017

People at their best …

… Video shows a teen falling off a Six Flags ride — and a crowd gathering to catch her - The Washington Post.

Devilish tale …

 Jimmy Webb’s Rise and Fall - WSJ.

Reprise …

… The Writer’s Almanac for June 21, 2017 | The Arrival of the Past | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Better late …

… Yoko Ono could get songwriting credit for Imagine – 46 years late | Music | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

New England koan …

 Informal Inquiries: "I felt a Funeral, in my Brain".



Alan Watts once described the Zen koan as "a pebble dropped into the well of the mind." That is how Emily Dickinson's poems have always struck me They are not to be explicated, just pondered.

Hmm …

… Why Has No One Ever Heard of the World’s First Poet? | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

It is incredibly inspiring that the first author that we know of in all of human history was a woman living within a kick-your-teeth-down-your-throat, highly repressive patriarchal society. I imagine it took a lot of courage for her to step out of the convention of anonymous writing and boldly attach her name to her works. People probably regarded her as conceited and arrogant, a prima donna and an iconoclast. But she was also the king’s daughter, which gave her an immense amount of privilege. She used this privilege to carry her father’s water as he brutally expanded his colonial empire.
The "first author that we know of" is not the same as the first author ever.  And as Mel Brooks has pointed out, "It's good to be the king." Not bad to be the king's daughter, either, and a high priestess as well. What you imagine and what you think probable is purely speculative. The main question is whether her work is still worth reading.

Anniversary …

… Informal Inquiries: George Orwell, deceit, truth, and political writing as art.

Compellingly horrific …

 Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips review – terror at the zoo | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Fierce Kingdom is the Alabama writer Gin Phillips’s fifth novel, her imagining of how a mother would react in this blackest of nightmares. It is panic-inducingly gripping as Joan dashes in her flip-flops for a hiding place while negotiating the questions and concerns of a four-year-old. “She can imagine clamping a hand over his mouth, holding him tight, ordering him to be perfectly still and perfectly quiet. She desperately wants that, but she cannot imagine a scenario where it is possible. If she scared him badly enough for him to stop talking, he would probably start sobbing.”

Neglected masterwork …

Who knew?

 Informal Inquiries: George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger.

Inquirer reviews

… Nathaniel Frank's 'Awakening': How the marriage-equality battle was won - for now.



 Eisner's 'MacArthur's Spies': The Mata Hari of Manila.



… Allegra Goodman's 'Chalk Artist": Getting lost in the virtual world.



… Tannen's 'Only One I Can Tell': Women building better friendships with right words.

Something to thing on …

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.
— George Orwell, born on this date in 1903

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Good to hear …

… Junot Díaz's Favorite Short Stories: the Future of American Literature Shines Bright | PopMatters. (Hat tip, G.E. Reuter.)

If the novel is our culture’s favorite literary form, upon which we heap all our desiccated literary laurels, if the novel is, say, our Jaime Lannister, then the short story is our very own Tyrion: the disdained little brother, the perennial underdog. But what an underdog. … And in the right hands there’s more oomph in a gram of short story than in almost any literary form.

Who knew...

FYI …

… The Perfect Writing Conference Scholarship Essay | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Hmm …

 Let’s Be Bored! | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.



I don't tend to get bored, but I do know what it's like to be too busy.

Street smarts …

… Zealotry of Guerin: A Street in Venice (John Singer Sargent), Sonnet #356.

Trio …

Informal Inquiries: Ciardi, Dante, and Destinations.

Grounded in reality …

 Augustine, the Guilty Optimist – Arc Digital. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Pelagius represents the moral theology, per Greenblatt, of original innocence: We’re all rational and morally competent creatures, and each of us can forge his or her own moral perfection through personal effort.
This, it seems to me, flies in the face of experience, not only of the world, but of oneself. Original Sin is a theory I have yet see adequately falsified.

Augustine insisted that none of us are capable of achieving our own salvation; we need God’s grace to do that. God’s grace not only heals the wounds of sin—soothes us in our guilt and shame, and comforts us in our pain—but strengthens us against future temptations. We usually fail again, and are offered the same round of treatment and inoculation again. Thus the world around you is not filled with people who, if they cared to, could perfect themselves —a vision of profound pessimism— but with people who are doing, well, the best they can, and maybe it isn’t much, but it isn’t all there is, either. God loves us enough to help us along.




Something to think on …

However softly we speak, God is so close to us that he can hear us; nor do we need wings to go in search of him, but merely to seek solitude and contemplate him within ourselves, without being surprised to find such a good Guest there.
— St. John of the Cross, born on this date in 1542

Friday, June 23, 2017

Government "cowboys" …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Washington Times Review Of Stephen Hunter's 'G-Man'.

Textual matters …

 When is a typo not a typo? In the wor(l)d of Ulysses | Sentence first. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I noted something about this when I wrote of Ulysses some years ago:

Few of the incidents in Ulysses are really incidental. Take the letter Mr. Bloom receives from Martha Clifford, with whom he has been having an epistolary flirtation. Martha gets a word wrong in it: “I called you naughty boy because I do not like that other world.” She means word, of course, not world. But her sentence is echoed hundreds of pages later, when the ghost of Stephen’s mother tells him, “I pray for you in my other world.”

Neglected masterwork …

I hadn't heard this Ormandy recording. It is very good. But I am an Ormandy fan.

Poetry and survival …

… My father the bigamous sociopath — by Molly Brodak. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

A helpful primer …

… Shakespeare’s Politics - The American Interest. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Much has changed, but not everything. Order is still better than chaos … The destruction of a regime—the modern equivalent of regicide—is still likely to bring chaos or civil war … The biggest change, perhaps, is that ambition, once a sin against order, is now a prerequisite for office. Shakespeare would be astonished to find we have invented a system of choosing leaders that is so arduous and unpleasant that only those with overwhelming personal ambition will think of submitting themselves to it.

Anniversary …

… Paul Davis On Crime: On This Day In History Michael Shaara, Author Of 'The Killer Angels,' Was Born.

See also: Shaara, birthday, and questions.

Something to think on …

Beauty is one of the rare things which does not lead to doubt of God.
— Jean Anouilh, born o this date in 1910

Have a look …

 Sitting Bull – A Photo Gallery - Indian Country Media Network. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Unresolved discords …

 Orchestras and Nazis | commentary. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Mark thy calendar …

The Pen & Pencil Club is pleased to announce June’s Poetry@P&P which features Leonard Gontarek and Charles Carr followed by an open mic hosted by Bob Zell.

The reading will take place on Sunday, June 25th from 8-10 PM  at the Pen and Pencil Club located at 1522 Latimer St. in Center City Philadelphia.


Leonard Gontarek is the author of six books of poems, including, Take Your Hand Out of My Pocket, Shiva (2016), nominated for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the William Carlos William Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poet Lore, Verse Daily, and The Best American Poetry, among others. He coordinates Peace/Works, Philly Poetry Day, The Philadelphia Poetry Festival, and hosts The Green Line Reading & Interview Series. He has received Poetry fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Philadelphia Writers Conference Community Service Award, and was a Literary Death Match Champion. His poem, 37 Photos From The Bridge, was a Poetry winner for the Big Bridges Motion Poems project in 2015, and was the basis for the award-winning film by Lori Ersolmaz.


Charles Carr from Philadelphia was educated at LaSalle and Bryn Mawr College, where he earned a Masters in American History.   Charles has worked in social and community development services for 44 years.  Charles has also been active in raising funds for various missions and organizations serving the poorest of the poor In Haiti.  In 2007 Charles was The Mad Poets Review First Prize Winner for his poem “Waiting To Come North”.  In 2009 Cradle Press of St. Louis published Charles's first book of poetry: paradise, pennsylvania . In January 2014 Haitian Mud Pies And Other Poems was published by The Moonstone Arts Center.  Charles’ work has been published locally by the Painted Bride Review, Apiary, Fox has Review, The Schuylkill Valley Journal, Mad Poets, Philadelphia Stories, Moonstone Poetry Anthology, Poetry Ink as well as The BlueCollar Review and Generations of Poetry.  Charles hosts the Moonstone Poetry series at Fergie’s once per month  He has been a guest host for the Philadelphia Poetry Festival and a guest co-host for the Green Line Poetry Series in Philadelphia.  In 2014 Charles read poems in The Garden of Remembrance in Dublin Ireland in honor of Poets for Peace. Charles hosts Philly Loves Poetry a monthly broadcast by Philly Cam.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Haiku …


The birds and the grass
Mean more than the ideas
About birds and grass.

But often usefully evasive …

… When “Interesting” Isn’t Interesting | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In case you wondered …

… Poetry? What for? | The American Conservative. (Hat tip, G.E. Reutter.)

The use of poetry in a classroom should be neither overly practical nor overly sentimental. As poetry is a form of expression that is inquisitive and formative, it ought to be used for that very purpose: to form the minds of people who will likely ponder about the same things that people before them did. … If we continue to teach poetry from a utilitarian angle geared towards persuasion and analysis of our own subjectivity rather than as an inquisition for truth, it will lose its true effect as a medium that inspires us to look beyond ourselves—what poet Dana Gioia accurately called “poetry as enchantment.”

Creative differences …

… Informal Inquiries: Review: Jefferson and Hamilton.

Hmm …

 John F. Kennedy became a hero to American art lovers — but he wasn’t one himself.
… when Kennedy went beyond the rhetoric of American excellence and struggled with what artists actually do, he understood art in a way often lost on Johnson-minded arts leaders. He understood it as a solitary and contrary engagement with the world. Artists added to civilization by opposing the familiar, the common, the trivial and the complacent. … This allowed him to conclude something that arts professionals who champion the Artist as Citizen are reluctant to emphasize: “The great artist is thus a solitary figure. He has, as Frost said, a lover’s quarrel with the world.”

So to speak …

… American-English has conquered the world | The Spectator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Few of us now think of ‘belittle’ or ‘reliable’ as Americanisms. But when Jefferson used the former in 1785, the European Magazine was derisive: ‘Belittle! What an expression! For shame, Mr Jefferson!’ And in 1864 the Dean of Canterbury snorted that ‘Reliable is hardly legitimate … Trustworthy does all the work required’. But that was always a losing battle — more so than ever with 20th-century popular culture, above all the movies once they became talkies.

Something to think on …

Thinking can only serve to measure out the helplessness of thought.
— H. Rider Haggard, born on this date in 1856

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our town …

… Finding the hidden city | George Hunka. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Better late …

 Times of Malta ‒ Pornography lecture which pitted Anthony Burgess against conservative Malta to be published, 45 years on. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Unhappy young man …

 Informal Inquiries: Hamlet: a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.

Truly amazing …

… The New Yorker Fails to Recognize Famous Verse From Sermon on the Mount. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



Hard to imagine how that one escaped him.

The state of Broadway …

(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Blogging post …

I brought my wife home from the hospital yesterday, but she is not well and needs my attention more than this blog does. Will post when the opportunity presents itself.

Hmm …

Forget Caesar. Shakespeare Has Another Role for Trump. - Bloomberg. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Which Shakespearean characters does Trump most closely resemble? Without impeachment (or worse) in place, Julius Caesar doesn’t seem to fit, and furthermore the Roman emperor had a pomp and gravitas that Trump as president lacks. 
Julius Caesar was never emperor of Rome. The first Roman emperor was Augustus. I would advise against facile political comparisons.

Mostly for scholars …

Except for the Canzoniere, Petrarch avoided risk and wallowed in prolific mediocrity. He went to his grave believing that his turgid Latin epic Africa would form the foundation of his legacy, but neither that poem nor his other Latin poetry approached the genius of his Italian love poems. In a time of excitement about classical learning, Petrarch seemed more trapped than liberated by the rediscovery of classical literature; he struggled to learn ancient Greek, and never did. His voluminous writings are long on pompous insistence and short on insight.



Quite possibly …

 Have we been taught poetry all wrong? | PBS NewsHour. (Hat tip, G.E. Reutter.)

What draws me into a poem is its sound. That has always been the case, from "Hey, Diddle, Diddle" on.

Hmm …

 Informal Inquiries: Snowden's birthday is not worth celebrating.

Outlaw appropriation artist …

 Ennyman's Territory: Scott Warmuth Weighs In On Dylan's Latest Appropriations. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Indeed …

… “We already have a perfectly inadequate language for talking about ourselves.” | The Era of Casual Fridays. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.
— Reinhold Niebuhr, born on this date in 1892

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

And the winner is …

Seeing in color …

… Tom Wolfe on the Great American Artist Marie Cosindas. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

RIP …

… The Elegant and Devoted Mary Sennholz: In Memoriam - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Honored …

 Tony Bennett Selected as Next Recipient of Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song | LJ INFOdocket.



Here's Tony doing an Anthony Newley song:



Anniversary …

 Informal Inquiries: Lillian Hellman's birthday celebration.

Something to think on …

If the the theory of relativity had been necessary for salvation, it would have been revealed to Saint Paul or to Moses.
— Georges Lemaître, who died on this date in 1966

Listen in …

 Episode 223 – Joe Ciardiello | Virtual Memories.

“There’s an improvisational nature, and a rhythmic nature to my drawing, building up certain areas, leaving other areas freer. I like the idea that less is more, both in music and in art.” 

Cees Nooteboom


After Infinite Jest, I had my eyes set on a shorter novel. A friend recommended the work of Cees Nooteboom, whose fiction has enjoyed something of a resurgence in the English-speaking world. 

On that friend's suggestion, I took up Rituals, an odd little book written in Dutch, and awarded the Pegasus Prize in 1982. The novella is divided in three: that much I know. But beyond that, I must confess, I found myself perplexed.  

There's certainly a preoccupation here with the human capacity for belief. Nooteboom seems mystified that we'd have progressed this far, only to replace that old medieval cloak with other forms of irrationality (be they political, religious, or spiritual). 

Nooteboom reaffirms this point throughout: his characters are isolated, trapped by the beliefs they've willingly adopted. They claim transcendence, but Nooteboom questions this. What they're feeling, he seems to argue, is loneliness. 

In contrast to this aestheticism, this highly regimented sense of 'ritual,' Nooteboom introduces Inni Winthrop, a character defined less by his happiness than by his freedom. Winthrop has the capacity to float, and Nooteboom's prose mirror this: he hops from one encounter to the next, unencumbered by belief, free of anguish. 

I suppose if Nooteboom relates to any of the characters in the book, it's Winthrop -- but only because he seems horrified (genuinely horrified) by the human capacity for self-flagellation, for restricting our movement or emotional outlook because of its potential to contradict a system of thought. 

It's in that sense that Nooteboom seems to argue for a sort of moderation, and for systems of belief that celebrate the human capacity for social interaction. The body, especially, is not a source of sin: it is, in this novella at least, the basis for good. 

Paging copywriters...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Play of the hour …

… Informal Inquiries: Julius Caesar -- past, present, and future.

Inquirer reviews (sort of) …

… Arundhati Roy's long-awaited new novel: Overstuffed, disappointing.

Thomas Ricks' Churchill and Orwell": Very different fighters for freedom.

 'Essex Serpent': Mythical monster, remarkable heroine.

'Grief Cottage': A haunting tale from Gail Godwin.

Probability and more …

 Informal Inquiries: Skepticism and eternal life: Pascal's famous wager.

Worrisome …

… A Dangerous Book - Washington Free Beacon. (Hat tip[, Dave Lull.)



… the Founders were determined that the absolute power held by the Star Chamber never be allowed again. The executive branch of government must be constrained, in their view, and they wrote the Constitution with the dangers of executive power clearly in mind.
This element of the Constitution is what the modern administrative state ignores. We have now a "revival of absolute power," in exactly a way that the Founders would have understood: a use of power that stands outside the constraints of the separation of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches laid out in the Constitution. As Hamburger writes, "Eighteenth-century Americans assumed that a rule could have the obligation of law only if it came from the constitutionally established legislature elected by the people." Twenty-first-century Americans are governed instead by unelected officials who do their own rule-making, their own enforcing, and their own judging.

All too human …

 Nigeness: Browning's Bishop. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

There is a God-shaped vacuum in every heart.
— Blaise Pascal, born on this date in 1623

Listen in…

… The Image Podcast - Richard Rodrigiuez —Image Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Belated …

 Informal Inquiries: Thanksgiving on Father's Day.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sorry folks …

… I have been dealing with real life. Back soon.

Something to think on …

Public toilets have a duty to be accessible, poetry does not.
— Geoffrey Hill, born on this date in 1932

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Anniversary …

 Paul Davis On Crime: Back Story: Celebrating The 50th Anniversary Of The James Bond Film 'You Only Live Twice'.

Blogging note …

My wife is in the hospital. She had surgery last night remove her appendix. She's OK, but I must head to the hospital. Obviously, blogging will happen later,

Something to think on …

To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone - just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over ....
— John Hersey, born on this date in 1914

Friday, June 16, 2017

And the winners were …

… Winning Poems for 2017 April : IBPC.



The Judge's Page.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Hmm …

 Brilliance Into Darkness. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

As Irwin puts it, “Kees’s subject is the meaninglessness of repetition in a world devoid of transcendence….”
Well, if you don't happen to think the world is devoid of transcendence, this subject will not appeal.  So yes:

This credible claim puts the burden on Kees’s admirers to distinguish between his masterful, innovative technique, rivaled only by Auden in the twentieth century, and his relentlessly destructive messaging.
Great learning and masterful technique do not alone great literature make. A noble theme is needed as well.

New Poetry at North of Oxford …

… Phoenix by Jane Rosenberg LaForge.

… Fauna by Stephen Page.

… La Coiffure 1896 Degas (Brushing Her Hair) by Maria Keane.

 Finding Center by Abbe Mogell.

Submissions of book reviews, essays, commentary and poems are open at North of Oxford https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/about/.

So are we all …

… Informal Inquiries: "Waiting" -- a poem and a personal postscript.

Best to start each day with that line of the Psalmist: "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

Affirming science …

… Mass Death Dies Hard | Standpoint. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A bad era for science has been a worse one for the mass media, the field in which, despite the usual blunders and misjudgements, I was once proud to earn my living. But I have spent too much time, in these last few years, being ashamed of my profession: hence the note of anger which, I can now see, has crept into this essay even though I was determined to keep it out. As my retirement changed to illness and then to dotage, I would have preferred to sit back and write poems than to be known for taking a position in what is, despite the colossal scale of its foolish waste, a very petty quarrel. But when some of the climate priesthood, and even the Attorney General of the United States, started talking about how dissent might be suppressed with the force of law - well, that was a tipping point. I am a dissenter, and not because I deny science, but because I affirm it. So it was time to stand up and fight, if only because so many of the advocates, though they must know by now that they are professing a belief they no longer hold, will continue to profess it anyway.
This piece covers all the bases. Will it persuade the true believers. Probably not. But science is about evidence and demonstration, not belief.

Something to think on …

People might love themselves with the most entire and unbounded affection, and yet be extremely miserable.
— Bishop Joseph Butler, who died on this date in 1752

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Outstanding commentary …

… Sacraments in Brideshead Revisited – Homiletic & Pastoral Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Just read the whole thing.

A Nilsson encore …

Good luck

… Informal Inquiries: No more partisan politics: seeking Utopia.

Q & A …

… Mad Russia Hurt Me into Poetry: An Interview with Maria Stepanova - Los Angeles Review of Books,

I feel that the poetry is a powerful tool of inner resistance, because what’s important, what really counts, is how much you let the outer forces deform you. Poetry keeps you in shape. More important than outward protests is inner freedom, the ability to stay yourself. That is usually the first thing you lose. You can imitate the motions and doings of free people but be utterly unfree inside. You become an expert in deforming your inner reality, to bring it into accord with what the state wants from you — and this could be done in a number of subtle, unnoticed ways. This kind of damage weighs on us the most.

FYI …

… NEA Announces Grants to Support the Arts in Every U.S. State and Jurisdiction | NEA.

So there!

… After Years Of Restraint, A Linguist Says 'Yes!' To The Exclamation Point : NPR. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Science and religion …

… Way beyond the New Atheist Nonsense | George Weigel | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… facts are stubborn things. And the fact is that two Catholic priests, Gregor Mendel, O.S.A., and Georges Lemaitre, were pivotal figures in creating two of the most important scientific enterprises of the twenty-first century: modern genetics, which is giving humanity previously unimaginable powers over the human future; and modern cosmology, which is giving us glimpses of the universe in the first moments of its existence.