urban literary-knot

Post Holiday-New Year Detox… January 3, 2009

The Book of Disquiet

 

It’s been one hell of a year, and right about now I’m desiring some good ‘heteronym’.  Mr Pessoa still remains relatively obscure here in the states, all the more reason to rekindle this genius work…

‘Like Kafka, Pessoa left his work in disarray, much of it to be published posthumously. And throughout Europe, Pessoa has already become a literary icon of postmodernism, as Kafka was of modernism. He is portrayed on postcards and bookmarks, and in Portugal he is even on the 100 escudo bill.

Much of Pessoa’s mystique comes from his unique practice of writing under different “heteronyms”. These heteronyms generated radically different texts, and Pessoa supplied them with distinct biographies, life spans, and even horoscopes. In The Book of Disquiet, Pessoa came as close as he would to autobiography. But the book is, like everything about Pessoa, an object of mystery. Left on disordered scraps of paper in a trunk discovered after the author’s death, the fragments that make up The Book of Disquiet have no fixed sequence, and therefore every reader must make out of it a different text. It is the ultimate postmodern novel: hypertext perfected long before the advent of the internet.’   -Exact Change

 

Let May be ‘Wild’ May 3, 2008

I can’t think of a better book to read this month than Griffiths’  Wild: An Elemental Journey  … and no there won’t be any ayahuasca to enhance the reading!

Contact for details- etc.

                          “As dreams are essential to the psyche, wilderness is to Life.”

                                                      -Jay Griffiths

 

Complicated Geniuses March 15, 2008

Her Husband

This month I’d like to delve deeper into two incredibly talented writers that seemed to have brushed popularity with novices simply due to tragedy- and Plath’s death was truly that. 

Middlebrook’s biography really keeps both Hughes and Plath simultaneously entwined yet distinctly apart, and she is refreshing in her detail, wit and compassion towards these two literary artists- blame and sensationalism is not the focus.  And for Plath especially, this is what seemed to overshadow so much of her less studied writings.

Smith College is also hosting a 75year Symposium next month in Ms Plaths honor- indeed well earned and timely.

-salut

 

‘Atheists with Attitude’ February 18, 2008

God Is Not Great

I know- I know… I’ve been aloof and inconsistent, neglectful and unreliable; I have a life that pulls me in too many directions, with little spare time- but I try. *sigh*

I’ve been mentally engaged by the commentary surrounding God Is Not Great  (and unfortunately I’ve been a year behind- and only now resuming the on again/off again re-reading of the book) and some critique is obviously much better than others.  But at this time of year, until the spring begins to thaw out the unyielding winter wonderland we’ve been enveloped in here in the Midwest, I’m quite intrigued, but not surprised to find the brilliance of Hitchens to evoke such passionate debate– as religion usually does.

If you’re inspired to keep the dialogue going drop an email for gathering together to discuss and deconstruct further.

 

‘Looking for Mr Goodvegetable’… November 2, 2007

hands

It’s slightly ironic that I’m living in the city, close to Lake Michigan, and yearning restlessly to head back “to the country”; writing about urban irks and how irritating Wisconsin is for the most part. 

What country exactly I’m bemoaning about, more and more is continuously becoming less and less- that’s for certain.  When I take the occasional drive back to my childhood haunts I see McMansion’s rising up all over the those ‘ol farmlands.  

When we first moved “out there” as kids from the city, there were still wild turkeys in our backyard, pheasants galore, and the memories of cross-country skiing for endless stretches of snow-packed miles- it was great to have that kind of childhood abundance and freedom.

In this economy I’m constantly amazed at the cha-ching spilling over, and the sources for many of these endeavors is certainly questionable… all in the name of continued “growth and progress”- yadda-yadda..   

For all the “green” talk, you certainly don’t see much pause to reflect on the McMansion-builders and buyers side, the microcosm/macrocosm is quite blantant even if you are “too busy” for that type of  mental withdraw.

Only a few chapters into Barbra Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life  and admittedly, I’m completely taken up by the family’s adventure thus far..

Feel free to comment and discuss if you’ve already had the pleasure.