Monday, July 8, 2013

Contrapposto and Cultural Touchstones

In honor of my travels in the faraway and decidedly unmythical land of Canada, and also of that country's independence day a week ago today, I am posting yet another episode of Prometheus Unbound, classicist 
C. B. Brady's podcast, which I have mentioned here before.
Jean-Léon Gérôme - A Roman Slave Market - Walters 37885
A Roman Slave Market by Jean-Léon Gérôme.

This particular episode discusses mediation of cultural identity,
Contrapposto in classical statuary,  House Hippos, vintage clothing,  Lucan, the Falling Man, Bill Shakespeare, ice skating,  and what not to put in your mouth, featuring Brady,  myself, and friends A. Milhailiuk and Evan.

For more on Contrapposto (which we discuss briefly, though not by name, and which Gérôme's painting exemplifies), check out this gorgeous blog.  And if you like the podcast, why not subscribe in iTunes?

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Just a quick post on Gaiman because it seems irresponsible not to.

The press is currently beating two dead horses: i.e. we're all dying of pleasure that The Ocean at the End of the Lane came out last week, delicious in all its deckle-edge glory; moreover, that news has moved from trickle to stream regarding Overture, the pre- Preludes and Nocturnes portion of what is often called the Sandman epic narrative. ETA is All Hallows' Eve's Eve, 2013; publication will be bi-monthly and will supposedly consist of six issues. McKean, of course, will be doing covers, and J.H. Williams III will be be doing the rest of the art.

Speaking of which:
This is Williams's cover image for Overture 1 from his blog.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Full of Knives

1. His back is full of knives. Notes are brittle around the blades.

2. He sleeps face down every night in a chalk outline of himself.

3. He has difficulties with metal detectors.

4. At birthday parties, someone might politely ask, may I borrow one of those knives to slice this chocolate cake?

5. He likes to stand with his back to walls. At restaurants, he likes the corner tables.

6. There is a detective that calls him to ask about the brittle notes. Also: a biographer, a woman who'd like to film a documentary, a curator of a museum, his mother. I can't read them, he says. They're on my back.

7. It would be a mistake for anyone to assume he wants the knives removed.

8. Most of the brittle notes are illegible. One of them, even, is written in French.

9. Every Halloween, he goes as a victim of a brutal stabbing. Once, he tried going as a whale, but it was a hassle explaining away the knives.

10. He always wears the same bloody suit.

11. When he walks, he sounds like a tree still full of dead leaves holding on.

12. It is ok for children to count on his knives, but not to climb on them.

13. He saw his own shadow in a park. He moved his body to make the knives reach other people's shadows. He did it all evening. In the shadows, his knives looked like soft outstretched arms.

14. His back is running out of space.

15. On a trip to Paris, he fell in love and ended up staying for a few years. He got a job performing on the street with the country's best mimes.

16. The knives are what hold him together. It is the notes that are slowly killing him.

17. He is difficult to hold when he cries.

18. He will be very old when he dies and the Doctor will say, he was obviously stabbed, brutally and repeatedly. I'm sorry, the Doctor will say to a person in the room, but he's not going to make it.

by Zachary Schomburg. Feel free to go out and buy The Man Suit immediately.

Friday, July 5, 2013

An Anne Carson Tool

I've here compiled all the work of Anne Carson I could find online. This list is alphabetical. I've tried not to include excerpts from long poems, just full texts. The compilation is ongoing, and as yet not comprehensive. I've tried to choose formatting true to the original publication whenever possible and sites whose templates I find inoffensive.

Apostle Town 
Beckett's Theory of Tragedy
Beckett's Theory of Comedy
Bride Town
By Chance the Cycladic People
By God
Deflect (Flexion of God)
Detail from the Tomb of the Diver
Epithalamium NYC
Father's Old Blue Cardigan
Flexion of God (Deflect)
Fragment 1, Sappho "Hymn to Aphrodite"
Fragment 31 (Sappho)
Fragment 31 (Sappho) (page facing bi-lingual with Greek)
Fragment 44Aa (Sappho)
A Fragment of Ibykos Translated Six Ways
Fragment by Sophokles
The Gender of Sound
The Glass Essay
God's Christ Theory
The God Coup
The God Fit
God's Handiwork
God's Justice
God's List of Liquids
God's Name
God's Work
Guillermo’s Sigh Symphony
Gnosticism I
Gnosticism II
Gnosticism III
Gnosticism IV
Gnosticism V
Gnosticism VI
Her Beckett
Love Town
Me Thinks that Poor Town Has Been Troubled for too Long
My Religion
New Rule
No Port Now
Nothing For It
Ode to Sleep
Our Fourtune
Poem of Jealousy (Sappho) (with 29 other translations)
Short Talks (Introduction)
Short Talk on Brigitte Bardot
Short Talk on Charlotte
Short Talk on Chromo-luminarism 
Short Talk on Defloration
Short Talk on Disappointments in Music
Short Talk on the End
Short Talk on Geisha
Short Talk on Gertrude Stein About 9.30
Short Talk on Hedonism
Short Talk on His Draughtmanship
Short Talk on Hölderlin's World Night Wound
Short Talk on Homo Sapiens
Short Talk on Hopes
Short Talk on Housing
Short Talk on the King and His Courage
Short Talk on Le Bonheur D'Etre Bien Aimee
Short Talk on Longing
Short Talk on Major and Minor
Short Talk on the Mona Lisa
Short Talk on My Father
Short Talk on Orchids
Short Talk on Our Debt to the Memory of the Dead
Short Talk on Ovid
Short Talk on Parmenides
Short Talk on Penal Servitude
Short Talk on Rain
Short Talk on Reading
Short Talk on Rectification
Short Talk on the Rules of Perspective
Short Talk on the Sensation of an Airplane Taking Off
Short Talk on Shelter
Short Talk on Sleep Stones
Short Talk on Sunday Dinner with Father
Short Talk on Sylvia Plath
Short Talk on the Total Collection
Short Talk on The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Deyman
Short Talk on Trout
Short Talk on the Truth to Be Had from Dreams
Short Talk on Van Gogh
A Short Talk on Vicuñas
Short Talk on Walking Backwards
Short Talk on Waterproofing
Short Talk on Where to Travel
Short Talk on Who You Are
Short Talk on the Youth at Night
Some Afternoons She Does Not Pick Up the Phone
Stanzas, Sexes, Seductions
Teresa of God
That Strength
Town of Finding Out About the Love of God
Town of the Sound of a Twig Breaking
Town of Spring Once Again
Town on the Way through God's Woods
TV Men: Lazarus
TV Men: Sappho
TV Men: The Sleeper
Why Angry Is
Wildly Constant
Would Be Her 50th Wedding Anniversary Today

Friday, May 17, 2013

Roses and Radiohead

In very much the same way at 21 I discovered Radiohead and became abruptly very pleased with myself (and then increasingly so with Atoms for Peace), I love finding my own ignorances in the world's wide field of beauty and subsequently glutting hard on whatever new gorgeous principal presents itself.

So: this week I'm going to tell you to read a play that you haven't read and probably wouldn't read otherwise (unless, of course, for some strange, reason you're an academic interested in Early Modern literature, in which case this will be quite redundant). There exists a play called The Two Noble Kinsmen which was co-written by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher. Don't bother looking at the Wikipedia quotable quotations page: they don't do any kind of justice to the play. And before I hear a chorus of complaining cries, read this:

 ...they two have Cabind 
In many as dangerous, as poore a Corner, 
Perill and want contending; they have skift
Torrents whose roring tyranny and power
I'th least of these was dreadfull, and they have
Fought out together, where Deaths-selfe was lodgd,
Yet fate hath brought them off: Their knot of love,
Tide, weau'd, intangled, with so true, so long,
And with a finger of so deepe a cunning,
May be outworne, never undone. I thinke
Theseus cannot be umpire to himselfe,
Cleaving his conscience into twaine and doing
Each side like Justice, which he loves best.

Problematically, all the online versions are decidedly, obtrusively, sub-par. Gutenberg, in my opinion, is a noble effort in general but fails to be readable. Because, I suppose, it's co-written, my favorite online searchable Shakespeare is useless in not even including it. Thank goodness the delightful people who digitize photos of the original texts have the Quarto edition. But, if you're anything like me, on first reading I like a text which has been modernized for spelling (and long s's, v's for u's, etc.). I should note that the question of 'modernization' of archaic texts is a can of worms of its own which I would love to open, pour on the ground, and roll around in like a Newfoundland puppy, but will postpone for now with the proviso: I am provisionally in favor of modernized spellings, and categorically opposed to Early Modern texts 'translated' into modern English.

Since it seems I have quite a bit to say on the subject, I will go read lots about it (including counter and supplementary arguments like Anne Carson) and come back to gush. For now, go find The Two Noble Kinsmen (or, fondly 'TNK' in the biz) preferably in your handy dandy Norton Shakespeare (because the annotations are excellent) or the Oxford Edition if you can. If you can't, check out one of the unannotated online editions. And then come back and make some noise about it.

So for now, signing off.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Poems I’m going to write and submit to Fence by Lindsey Baggette

Poem that I spilled a soda on but can still kind of read

Poem that isn’t just about porn but is porn

Shall I compare thee to a summative datum?

How to communicate diseases through a public pool

On the Phenomenology of Self: My Colon and its Relevance to Global Politics

I love you here is a gold star

Collage of words obscured by chocolate fingerprints in my copy of Aristotle’s Poetics

Excerpts from your secret diary that is now mine

Census on the tropical Pokemon of Japan

Hamburger insides poem
between two expansive poems

Poem delineating multiple dimensions of time that exists in a dimension we can’t perceive

Dissertation on American imperial brutality as sung by Jewel

This poem is reading your thoughts but it approves

Lullabies for your kidney stone

Poem about beach sex with sand glued over all of the dirty words

I am a better writer than Shakespeare

Poem about being in a helicopter, which goes in a couple of circles and then vomits on itself

Grandma called to say the elevator doesn’t smell bad anymore

Do not make paper birds out of this; I want it back

New news

And we're back!

After a long hiatus our Shakespeare-inspired / Classically Twisted / Gaiman insisting installments should be continuing.

I am beginning to realize that perhaps this blog has turned out to be less processural to my project and more the prelude and aftermath--of which the volume to be said is considerable.

Fluff aside: this week I write to post a new podcast series entitled Prometheus Unbound created by one C. Brady, a gifted classicist with a penchant for Shakespeare and other things close to my heart, who is working on his MA in Classics at UBC.

The project begins topically with Lucan's Pharsalia but doesn't stop there; his goal is to approach the Pharsalia in context through other contexts--which is a roundabout way of getting exactly to the core of things. In the first episode his lens happens to be the Bard's Julius and is co-hosted by yours truly.

So enjoy--as Brady says, it's as "hot as Phaeton post-driver's ed".

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Only Am Escaped Alone to Tell Thee

I Only Am Escaped Alone to Tell Thee

I tell you that I see her still
At the dark entrance of the hall.
One gas lamp burning near her shoulder   
Shone also from her other side   
Where hung the long inaccurate glass   
Whose pictures were as troubled water.   
An immense shadow had its hand   
Between us on the floor, and seemed   
To hump the knuckles nervously,   
A giant crab readying to walk,   
Or a blanket moving in its sleep.

You will remember, with a smile   
Instructed by movies to reminisce,   
How strict her corsets must have been,   
How the huge arrangements of her hair   
Would certainly betray the least   
Impassionate displacement there.   
It was no rig for dallying,
And maybe only marriage could   
Derange that queenly scaffolding—
As when a great ship, coming home,   
Coasts in the harbor, dropping sail
And loosing all the tackle that had laced
Her in the long lanes ....
                                       I know
We need not draw this figure out.
But all that whalebone came from whales.   
And all the whales lived in the sea,   
In calm beneath the troubled glass,   
Until the needle drew their blood.

I see her standing in the hall,
Where the mirror’s lashed to blood and foam,   
And the black flukes of agony
Beat at the air till the light blows out.

Howard Nemerov