Monthly Archives: November 2013

How accentual pronunciation determines meaning

joistEnglish building contractor testing Irish labourer: “What is the difference between joist and girder?”

Irish labourer responds: “One is an Irish novelist and the other a German philosopher.”

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Schedule Changes

Schedule_changeThanks to everyone who participated in our fun session on ekphrastic poetry on Thursday, November 28th. The topic has proved to be so popular that it will be repeated on June 26, 2014. At the end of the meeting we made several changes and additions to our program for 2014. Please visit the Schedule Page for details.

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Ekphrasis on Thursday

Ek-1Folks – a last reminder about our exciting session on Ekphrastic Poetry this Thursday, November 28th. Following are links to the texts of poems to be read, along with links to the art that inspired them. Download and print if you wish to refer to them on Thursday. We’re all looking forward to a riveting gathering.

Graeme Hughes: W.B. Yeats‘ “Leda And The Swan.” Images
Elizabeth Godley: Nancy Sullivan‘s “Number 1 by Jackson Pollock”
Bruce Burnett: Philip Larkin‘s “An Arundel Tomb.Images
Penny Sinclair: Warhol / Madison Ave. / 9-11 by Peter Balakian. Image
Geoff Mynett: HomerShield-of-Achilles” from
The Iliad
John Stape: Wislawa Szymborska‘s “Vermeer’s painting The Milkmaid” (Image) and/or “Brueghel’s Two Monkeys
Nora Grove: Mystery and Melancholy of the Street (Chirico 1914) Image and Rilke’s
Archaic Torso of Apollo Images
Sharon Lindsay: Allen Ginsberg’s Cezanne’s Ports

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Another Reason to go to the Roundhouse

Pi_TheatreFolks, if you only see one theatre production this winter, make sure it’s the new Canadian play by actor/playwright Sean Devine (who is also a virtuoso performer in the play), Except in the Unlikely Event of War, currently playing at the Roundhouse Performance Centre. It’s a brilliant political satire and it’s very topical. As the director, Richard Wolfe, asks in the program notes, “What is the place of satire in our modern culture? We live in a time where whistleblowers are vilified, a former Prime Minister is caught accepting brown paper bags full of cash, and a crack-smoking mayor who threatens to gouge out people’s eyes is vigorously defended by his base. Could the soil be any richer?”

In addition to brimming with intelligence, this play will have you laughing out loud. I saw the matinee on Wednesday 20th. If I lived in Vancouver I would see it again. And again. This magnificent production deserves a wider audience.

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Muriel Rukeyser Centennial Celebrations

Muriel Rukeyser

Muriel Rukeyser

Poet Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980) helped usher in a new era for women writers. This December the Academy of American Poets will take part in a series of events in New York City celebrating her centenary.

Read an excerpt from Rukeyser’s seminal book The Life of Poetry, and listen to Rukeyser read her poem “How We Did It” on Poets.org.

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Proust’s Previously Unknown Illustrated Poems

ProustAs you read the poems, the lapidary wall of Great Writer dissolves and the person expands horizontally.”

In recent decades, literary history has unearthed previously unknown — and, often, unexpected — poems by such prose icons as Vonnegut, Bradbury, Joyce, and Twain. But even those most deeply acquainted with his work might be surprised that between the ages of seventeen and fifty, Marcel Proust — master of tormented prose, weaver of breathless sentences, sickly eccentric — penned a number of poems, mostly scribbled in his journals and in letters to his correspondents. A newly released dual-language edition of The Collected Poems, with parallel text in French and English, features Proust’s poems never previously translated into English or published in book form at all. Affectionate, witty, often lascivious, frequently full of longing, these unexpected verses reveal a side of Proust that is at once utterly new and all the more intimately familiar.

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Emily Dickinson Archive

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Unlike most authors, she did not publish in her own lifetime.” This video clip features the Emily Dickinson Archive, which offers high-resolution images of Dickinson’s poetry, transcripts, and annotations from her historical and scholarly work.

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Last of the Modernists

Basil Bunting

Basil Bunting

A Strong Song Tows Us:
The Life of Basil Bunting
By Richard Burton
(Infinite Ideas 618pp £30)

No other poet in English sounds like Basil Bunting. In his first published poem, ‘Villon’, written under the guidance of Ezra Pound in 1925, he had already worked out a brusque music of his own, with an ear for rhyme unusual in modernist poets:

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How to Enjoy Poetry

How-to-enjoy-poetryPoetry makes possible the deepest kind of personal possession of the world.”

True poetic practice implies a mind so miraculously attuned and illuminated that it can form words, by a chain of more-than coincidences, into a living entity, ”Edward Hirsch advised in his directive on how to read a poem. But how, exactly, does one cultivate such “true poetic practice”? In an essay plainly, promisingly titled “How to Enjoy Poetry,” found in the 1985 anthology How to Use the Power of the Printed Word— the same treasure trove that gave us Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 timeless rules of writing, and Bill Cosby’s 3 proven strategies for reading faster — the poet and novelist James Dickey, winner of the National Book Award for his poetry collection Buckdancer’s Choice, offers some timeless and breathtakingly articulated advice:

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Beyond the Artifice

 

Mary Szybist

Mary Szybist

Listen to National Book Award Poetry finalist Mary Szybist read her poem about grief, “Beyond the Artifice.”

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