Saturday, January 10, 2009

 

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Friday, January 09, 2009

 

We have been without power for 24 hours at this point – I was fortunate to get yesterday’s post done before the branch hit the line. Right now I’m operating on battery power here and piggybacking on a neighbor’s wireless connection. And wearing more layers than usual, even for winter.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

 

More books into Braille!

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Poetry & capitalism

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Jack Spicer’s “Golem”

Spicer celebration at SF Main Library
Saturday, Jan. 10

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Richard Seaver has passed away

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So has Carol Adair, Kay Ryan’s partner

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American Hybrid

Some Hybrid

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Partial MLA offsite reading
(85MB, Gordon thru Rothenberg,
available only to Saturday)

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Jessa Crispin talking with Clayton Eshleman

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Why teach literature?

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A profile of the most popular
poetry contest in the world

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Anti-war poetry then & now

Among Gaza’s atrocities

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Doug Messerli
on
Emma Bee Bernstein

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Editing friends

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Francisco Goldman on Roberto Bolaño’s 2666

Natasha Wimmer on Roberto Bolaño’s 2666

Listening to Goldman & Wimmer
on Roberto Bolaño’s 2666

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Nazim Hikmet gets his citizenship back
(too bad he’s been dead for 45 years)

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When Langpo & flarf are not enough

Is “embarrassment” more important than
”offensiveness” to flarf?

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(Re)emerging poets

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Talking with Arielle Greenberg

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Bashō finds an abandoned infant
& leaves it to die

Response to the video

Bashō: The Complete Haiku

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Always on: libraries in a world
of permanent connectivity

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Where Barack buys books

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Where Tom Hanks gets his

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A coup at Borders

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Remembering Glenn Goldman

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How to kill a bookstore:
raise the rent to $1 million

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After 85 years,
Stacey’s to close in SF

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The indie bookstores of
Montpelier, Vermont

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Making used books pay

A renaissance for used books?

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2008: the poetry year in review

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Roberta Beary: one-minute poetry reading

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Still answering H.L. Hix’ “20 Questions”

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Pervasive communication environments

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Every book ever published
will end up online

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Is captcha poetry hipper than flarf?

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Remembering Dave Church

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Mark Doty, making it real

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Remembering Jason Shinder

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Linh Dinh’s Seven Contemporary Italian Poets:
Marco Giovenale
Gherardo Bortolotti

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Looking for a laureate

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Cuba opens Hemingway e-archives

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Shakespeare’s church is becoming unsafe

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Writing & fame –
the case of Mishima

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Frank Wilson’s likes & dislikes for 2008

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Asher Ghaffar & Sue Sinclair

rob mclennan on Asher Ghaffar

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Why spell-check sucks

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Publishing: the new austerity

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The “G” in FSG

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Magazine ads are drying up

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Readings at rush hour
at the train station!

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Talking with Mark Irwin

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Work needed for Poet’s Pause

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The oldsters turn out for
Poems for the Millennium, vol. 3

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Donald Westlake has died

Terry Gross talks to Westlake

Remembering Westlake

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Celebrating W.D. Snodgrass

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Talking with Mark Gwynne Jones

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A poem-a-day for a decade

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Talking with Peter Bennet

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David Lunde’s Breaking the Willow

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The origin of originality

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Worst poetry book covers, 2008

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Stanley Fish goes to the movies
(he gets Vertigo right)

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Quietists who correspond

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The fiction lineup for ought nine

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Cell-phone novels

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Hating all the new Canadian anthologies

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The state of the humanities

Humanities Indicators Prototype (HIP)

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In this recession, who will support the arts

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What happens to the arts
when critics disappear

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The Art Instinct

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David Denby gets all snarky

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Philosophy at (in) the movies

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Making MOCA work

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Foulds wins a Costa

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Matisse’s model speaks

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An artsy homeless shelter

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The opposite of blockbuster

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The man who invented ballet

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Terry Teachout’s top 25
classical recordings of all time

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Music theory now

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The pitch-time continuum

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Grateful Dead analysis:
the relationship between
concert & listening behavior

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Betty Freeman & the music she commissioned

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Ive’s ears

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What we can learn from Guitar Hero

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Magic may be over for
the Magic Theater

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Another at risk
in Beverly, Mass

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What will change
E V E R Y T H I N G ?

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

 




Inger Christensen

1935 2009

In 1981, Christensen
used the Fibonacci series
to compose a book
entitled Alphabet

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

 

I have been asked more than once if I would comment on the situation in  Gaza, tho I’ve never proposed myself as an expert on the Middle East. Philip Metres, in Monday’s comments stream, is very sweet when he writes

You're a voice that matters, that people listen to, and I personally want to know what you think about it.

Personally, I would want somebody with a lot more background on this topic myself.

Having said that, however, I do have both thoughts & feelings on the current situation. More than anything, I am reminded of a conversation I had with Sigmund Laufer the one time I got to spend an afternoon with him maybe 20 years ago. Perhaps it’s that I was just at the funeral for his granddaughter, Emma Bee Bernstein, last week, tho she was buried alongside her other grandfather in Valhalla, New York, not with Sigmund in New Jersey. Sigmund & Miriam Laufer, Susan Bee’s parents, left Palestine in 1947 & settled in New York City just a few blocks from where Susan lives today. They did so at a time when the creation of Israel was clearly about to happen. I asked Sigmund why, with the foundation of a new nation in the offing, they chose to leave. He said that it was self-evident that any Jewish state had to be a theocracy – otherwise the resident Palestinians would have been an overwhelming electoral majority – and that the creation of a state based on religion was only an investment in what he termed a “generation of tsouris.” Would that it had been only a generation.

In reality, the creation of Israel in the 1940s ensured what I believe will be multiple millennia of murder & counter-murder that will make the 700-year-old conflict in Kosovo between Christians & Muslims feel like small potatoes. The creation of Israel could have been accomplished only through genocidal action – the displacement of an entire nation already in place long before Zionism got going in the 1890s. It is a sad comment on the crudeness of colonialism – on a par with many of the arbitrary “national” boundaries that stretch across Africa & well into Southern Asia, completely ignorant of tribal communities that may cross over them – that anyone thought it was in their power or right to just give a state to any group of people.

Now, however, it is there and it is not going away. Israel’s government is dysfunctional and willing to do anything – no limits – to protect itself. That it projects itself externally as a bully, or uses the methodology of apartheid internally, should surprise no one. That it howls when this is pointed out – thank you, Jimmy Carter – is no different than the U.S. pretending it did not commit genocide in its sweeping aside of native nations in the 18th & 19th centuries.

I have sometimes wondered what America might be like today if the Roosevelt & Truman administrations had not been so overtly anti-Semitic and had instead opened our doors to every displaced Jew after the Second World War. The entrepreneurial capabilities and deep commitment to learning of that community would have flourished in the United States, the civil rights movement would have had a much easier time of it and George Bush never would have carried Florida. Instead we have had 60 years of fighting & cease-fires. Some day someone will be able to simply add another zero to that number. And then another.

Hamas is the perfectly logical response to this situation. The local version of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas is at best a group of thugs and even more committed to theocracy than is Israel. They are not all that much different, nor any better, than the Taliban in Afghanistan. By shooting rockets into Israel, Hamas invited the current Israeli response and did so because it forces the population there to rally around what has been an obviously failing regime. The cynicism of its strategy – which turns Gaza’s own civilian dead into an investment in Hamas’ political fortunes – is beyond appalling.

That Israel would be suckered into this response and would do so during the last three weeks of the Bush administration speaks volumes for its role as an American client-state – our primary military surrogate in the region – as well as for the ineptness of Team Bush. The cynicism of Israel’s strategy is beyond appalling.

There are no “good guys” in this conflict. The citizens of both sides are the victims of history as well as of their immediate hoodlum politicians. If the Zionist movement could invent the state of Israel in the middle of the 20th century, you can be certain that the descendants of the Palestinians will still be able to imagine a “right of return” in the 40th century. There is simply no solution. Period.

What there are, however, are measures that can minimize the bloodshed on all sides. A cease-fire, a two-state balancing act, serious economic investment in Palestine – the presence of a real middle class there would be a substantial brake on the impulse to violence – would all have an impact. I don’t think this is all so mysterious, but I don’t think it’s a long-term resolution either.

In the meantime, I bleed for the victims of all sides.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

 

Robert Grenier on Carol Watts

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The program for Emma Bee Bernstein’s funeral

Charles Bernstein’s
”Eulogy for Emma”

A note from Felix Bernstein

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From the Angels of Light to New Narrative

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A terrific anthology of New York City poetry:
The Portable Boog Reader 3
(PDF)

Last year’s equally stunning collection (PDF)

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The poetry of C.D. Wright

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How to write language poetry

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Poetry & relevance
(a good collection of all the links)

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Framing Gabe Gudding’s Rhode Island Notebook

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Cities vie over celebrating Poe

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Mark Scroggins on John Taggart

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Bruce Sterling:
State of the World, 2009

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Talking with Dan Chiasson
about editing
poetry for the Paris Review

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26 instant reviews

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Jack Kerouac’s
”Belief & Technique for Modern Prose”

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Sex at the MLA

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Nobel secretary
who told the truth
steps down

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Taxonomies

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Beloafism

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Eileen Tabios’ Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole

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Teaching & satisfaction

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Some work by Crystal Curry
with a comments stream
that has broken out into warfare

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Writers who practice medicine

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Joshua Clover on Michèle Bernstein

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W.S. Merwin on PBS Newshour

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Hemingway as a poet

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In the basement of the ivory tower

200 applications for every job

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With whom is Stanley Fish speaking with?

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Reading Frank O’Hara on the Blue Line
and a Few Words About Disappointment”

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Poesy for the kids

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Adam Kirsch on a new translation of
Kafka’s Amerika

& on Burton Raffael’s new translation of
The Canterbury Tales

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Prison poetry in India

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Man Booker prize funds
were invested with
Bernie Madoff

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What is “non-commercial”?

How far should
© exemptions extend?

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Hitler’s Private Library

The Man Who Burned Books

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A more intimate memoir from
Azar Nafisi

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A profile of Jay Ruzesky

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Paperback Dreams

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Charity bookshops

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Glenn Goldman has died

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New York’s French bookshop
bids adieu

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The MLA & the Middle East

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Susan Sontag’s early diaries

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Denis O’Leary on poetry
& other stuff

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Poetry as “divine therapy

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Mary Karr on Tryfon Tolides

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The poet of money who saw it coming

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Best translations of 2008

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Recalling the first inaugural poet

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National Reading 2666 Month

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Poets of New York’s suburbs

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Buffalo’s experimental past

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Todd Boss’ Yellowrocket

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Saving (maybe) the foreign language major

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Anne Carson
reading with sculpture & dancers

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Andrew Motion on a bio of
Robert Burns

Burns as an analgesic

& as a democrat

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Little machines made out of words”

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The impact of trees on poetry

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Sylvia Townsend Warner & Valentine Ackland

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Paul Guest’s
My Index of Slightly Horrifying Knowledge

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Richard Tillinghast finds Ireland

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Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman

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Tale of Genji at 1,000

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Edward FitzGerald’s “unfaithful translation”

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Mainstream media is dead (sorta)

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Portraits of America poets

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Painting books

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Oranges & Sardines at the Hammer

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Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes

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Jackson Pollock crosses the street

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S. Clay Wilson today

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The day the music died

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Thelonius Monk’s advice to Steve Lacy

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Putting Charles Olson (literally)
to music (10MB MP3)

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