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Purity ?>

Purity

I’m about 300 pages into Franzen’s new novel, Purity, and it’s truly hit its stride. It started out a little slowly for me, and I think he did too much telling, rather than showing, but readerly patience has paid off. At this point, and especially after his brilliant, almost ecstatic description of Pip’s sojourn in Bolivia, it’s more than clear that Franzen can build a compelling case for his world, its multiplicity of emotions, motives, betrayals and jealousies, and especially…

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Clever Autumns With Parochial Zephers ?>

Clever Autumns With Parochial Zephers

Looking at an old poem from decades ago. Trying to see if it still holds up. Some poets, like Yeats, revised even published works, changing new editions of their collections over time. This isn’t really like that. But it is a return to some dark cove, some ancient lough, for reassessment and advice:   Clever Autumns With Parochial Zephers   Blindness and cacophonyLike time underwater The yews tremble for their Lovers on the mountain tops Four beats to every heartAnd…

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4 Non Blondes: What’s Going On? ?>

4 Non Blondes: What’s Going On?

To avoid any conflict with the song by Marvin Gaye, Linda Perry and company renamed their beautiful, angsty, anthemic (1993) single to “What’s up?” But it’s all about that question from 1971, and about the knowing confusion, the justifiable frustration and alienation of the young. That’s at least how it sounds. One of the original 4 Non Blondes, Christa Hillhouse, says it’s a mistake to read too much into it. Linda was just playing guitar down the hall from Christa…

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Timbuktu ?>

Timbuktu

One of the best films of the past year is Timbuktu, directed by Abderrahmene Sissako. Understated, beautifully shot and composed, it tells the story of a village, a people, caught in the arbitrary and repressive grip of a Jihadist takeover. The focus of the film, but never at the cost of the village’s story itself, is a small family on the outskirts of Timbuktu, making a life on the dunes. Kidane, the father, Satima, the mother, their daughter Toya, and…

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Welcome to Spinozablue! ?>

Welcome to Spinozablue!

The work is done. Rebirth is here. We’re ready, finally, to start adding again to this fine collection of poetry, fiction, reviews, art, photography and film. Six years of excellent contributions. Then a pause. But that pause has been lifted. If you’d like to contribute, please click on the submissions page and follow the directions therein. No previous publishing experience is required. All that matters is the quality of the work itself. Spinozablue promotes an internationalism of the arts and…

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Necessary Fictions, Their Sources and Utility ?>

Necessary Fictions, Their Sources and Utility

Stumbled upon a fascinating¬†TED talk this morning, by Yuval Noah Harari, entitled What explains the rise of humans? In a nutshell, his thesis is that we alone, among all the species on earth, are capable of flexible cooperation in large numbers, and that the chief galvanizing force behind this is our ability to create and believe in fictions.¬† His recent book is now on my must-read list: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. From the author’s website: Homo sapiens rules…

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Dawn Powell’s Turn, Magic Wheel ?>

Dawn Powell’s Turn, Magic Wheel

¬†Recently finished a truly excellent novel, Turn, Magic Wheel (1936), by Dawn Powell. A formerly neglected master, she was “rediscovered” in the 1990s, thanks to the efforts of critics and writers like Gore Vidal and Tim Page. Today, she is seen by some as at least the equal, if not the superior, to Dorothy Parker as satirist of the first rank — especially of the New York literary scene. That scene is the main subject matter for the novel in…

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