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Category: Literature

Sha-la, la-la-la-la, live for today!

Sha-la, la-la-la-la, live for today!

It’s only been in recent times that opening credits for TV shows seem to matter artistically, at least to me. I never gave them much thought and would often just skip them if that was an option. But queue up a wonderful show like Pachinko, based on the 2017 novel by Min Jin Lee, and it’s no longer automatic. It can be its own tiny moment of genius, and in this case, the near-perfect blend of music, image, and sheer…

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The Sibyl, Bound, by S.R. Brown

The Sibyl, Bound, by S.R. Brown

THE SIBYL (Lagerkvist, P. The Sibyl. Translated by Walford, N. Vol. V-240. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1958) I – P 1 (pinioned within the (ancient (sibyl (god’s (her son’s unchanging (smile)) touched)) rocks) heights) Sun: II – P 3-5 gazes ((below, (maelstrom (of rocks. (serene (white (the bridal)): temple)) above) the city) son). III – P 7-10 Threading the path (mirrored, mazed,( (the sibylline focus) raveling unfocused intent,) reflecting an intricate silence) uncreating prophecy: IV – P 10-14 thorn…

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New poetry, paintings, Coda, and Camus

New poetry, paintings, Coda, and Camus

Spinozablue welcomes new poetry by John Grey, Nanette Avery, and D.R. James. Rereading some good books about Camus and his times, which strike me as highly relevant again. Robert Zaretsky’s Elements of a Life, and Alice Kaplan’s Looking for the Stranger, with more on my To Be Read shelf, including The Plague. His refusal to follow the prevailing winds, his courage under direct and indirect fire, his impassioned moral compass — we could use all of that right now. Perhaps it…

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Robert Mueller and Petrarcan Mirrors

Robert Mueller and Petrarcan Mirrors

Petrarcan Naissance by Robert Mueller Here is a poem from the great sequence of poetry using the native Italian tongue, instead of being written in Latin, by Francesco Petrarca and covering much of a life lived during the 14th century. Readers will know him as Petrarch. The time he lived is important to the extent he is regarded as a proto-Renaissance-humanist and well ahead of his time. The later developments emphasizing human autonomy are already in evidence in Petrarca’s poetry,…

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Lauren Groff’s wondrous Matrix

Lauren Groff’s wondrous Matrix

Mother, womb, mater, matrix. An environment for growing, developing, thriving. A special place, an original story, a lasting vision in which evolution is still possible, even likely. In this case, an abbey in medieval England, or an abbess in that ancient home, or the mind that creates the character with surreal visions of new worlds. Lauren Groff’s Matrix is all these things and more. Her heroine, Marie de France, was real, but we know little about her beyond her poetry…

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Lean Fall Stand, by Jon McGregor

Lean Fall Stand, by Jon McGregor

Aphasia. The Antarctic. The mystery of speech and the mind and the white noise between us, and how we recover from trauma, and how we never do. The hit and miss essence of working together to recover, or not. The small family dramas, the miscommunications between those with and without aphasia. The white noise and shattered ice thousands of miles away that never leaves us. Sudden storms. Unbridgeable distances. The worst possible moment for things to go terribly wrong, and…

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Joseph Campbell and the Feminine Divine

Joseph Campbell and the Feminine Divine

I’ve been reading Joseph Campbell since I was nine. He was foundational for me, along with Robert Graves, Lady Gregory, and Jane Harrison, sparking a greater love of world mythology, its roots, its scope and diversity. Going back to him as of late, I’m uncovering things I either forget about or missed entirely the first go round, and it has me rethinking more than a few things these days. Nearly halfway through his posthumously published book on goddesses, and I’m…

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New Poetry and Recent Reads

New Poetry and Recent Reads

Spinozablue welcomes new poetry from John Grey and Alessio Zanelli.   Michael Gorra’s The Saddest Words (2021) is an intellectual griffin of sorts: a serious literary biography, a thoroughly researched history of an era, and a thought-provoking, fearless, and moral accounting of our past. Departing from most biographies of Faulkner, Gorra focuses primarily on how the Civil War, slavery, and its aftermath influenced his major novels and best short stories. In close readings of his work and life, he demonstrates…

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The Passenger, by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz

The Passenger, by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz

The Passenger is a prophecy come true. It’s that rare novel that speaks of its time (1938), to its time (Germany, under the Nazis), and a host of possible futures. It’s a novelistic expression of Rilke’s You must change your life, laced with Kafkaesque anxiety and rational paranoia, with a Hamlet of sorts at the helm. The author, Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz, was all of 23 when he wrote it, and just 27 when he died. Written in the wake of…

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Happy Bloomsday 2021!

Happy Bloomsday 2021!

It’s that wonderful time of year again, when we celebrate James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, and Leopold Bloom’s long day’s journey home to Molly Bloom. An excellent source for the above, from the James Joyce Center: here Kate Bush based the title tract of The Sensual World (1989) on Molly Bloom’s “Yes” soliloquy. The video adds dance to this. Kate as Molly, as herself, as every woman, as every human “touched” by the luminous, the unrepressed, the truly free. Watch this…

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