Refuse Thy Name

Last night on WFHB’s Interchange I hosted a discussion about Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. You can download the podcast here: Interchange – The Prick of Noon: Romeo & Juliet. I believe that, after Hamlet, it is the most performed of Shakespeare’s plays. I also understand that some folks think it is too juvenile and too sappy. […]

Serving the Word

It might have been but a deception of the vapours, but, the longer the stranger was watched, the more singular appeared her manoeuvres. “Benito Cereno” by Herman Melville In a recent scholarly biography of Louis Agassiz, Christoph Irmscher, in a chapter on Agassiz’s notorious “race science,” notes that Agassiz is in no way the lone […]

A Sane Impulse and a Clear Lesson: Charter Schools

Let’s dare to be honest about charter schools. There is no “testable” benefit. Which is to say that testing tells us the same thing about any school environment. Kids, as humans, grow and develop variably, that poverty deadens living and this includes “intelligence” as part of overall health. What is a charter for? To create […]

The Privilege of the Engaged

In a recent “rant” about Indiana’s “testing regime” and its instrument of student “achievement” measurement, the I-STEP, posted on the blog page of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, the Chair of the Monroe County and Southern Indiana chapter, Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer , wrote something that struck me as extremely instructive and worth discussing. First though, […]

All Over Lost

I am nearly 47. I am very old and extremely ignorant of what has meaning to so many people these days. This piece in The New York Times by Leon Wieseltier (h/t Colin Allen), Among the Disrupted, pretty much expresses much of what I feel regarding the way the speed of “cultural transmission” allows for […]

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To Catch a Noddy

The tops were large, and were railed about with what had once been octagonal net-work, all now in sad disrepair. These tops hung overhead like three ruinous aviaries, in one of which was seen, perched, on a ratlin, a white noddy, a strange fowl, so called from its lethargic, somnambulistic character, being frequently caught by […]

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Everything Reminds Me of Moby Dick: Maxine Kumin

It came to my attention while skimming the Women’s Review of Books that poet Maxine Kumin had died (nearly a year ago). I know nothing of Kumin’s work but this memorial piece by Robin Becker reminded me of something: The humor here belies the relationship Kumin negotiated with her own impulse toward reverence. The paradise […]

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The Work of Language

This is from Dan McCall’s preface to the Norton Critical ed. of Melville’s Short Novels. ********* He read voraciously; in Moby-Dick he said, “I have swam through libraries.” When he began to read Shakespeare, for example, something not altogether conscious or voluntary began happening to him. In American Renaissance, …F. O. Matthiessen concludes that Melville’s […]

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Immeasurably the Most Important Book of Poetry

  CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING “KORA IN HELL” by Robert McAlmon [Williams reprinted Kora in Hell: Improvisations in 1957 without the Prologue.  So, here is an audio recording of the 1920 Kora without the Prologue. (1:46:13); and here is beginning of the Prologue from The Little Review.] Dear POETRY:—Writers, quite as much in the countries of older art tradition as in […]

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UPDATE: About a Boy? Richard Linklater’s Critique of Woman

UPDATE, 1/5/2014: Patricia Arquette as quoted on IMDB concerning her character submitting to drunken abuse by men: “Now, I wouldn’t […]

Soldier-Sentimentalist-Poet

Two snippets from Ford’s The Good Soldier (1924). The word “sentimental” or some form of it occurs 28 times in […]

Forget the Ones

Will Johnson, in Scorpion, has told an album-length story that seems to me to dramatize the human in a particular […]

This is 40: Will Johnson’s Best

In 2011 Will Johnson turned 40. In that same year his rock and roll project, the group Centro-Matic, released what […]

The Golden Beast of Love

I have loved single songs off of probably every album Will Johnson has attached his name to. Multiple songs off […]

It’s My Nature: Will Johnson’s “Scorpion”

Will Johnson’s 2012 album Scorpion is a beautiful work. Each listening will deepen your experience. When asked in an interview […]