1. …and I just spilled coffee all over García Lorca’s “Dance of Death” from Poet in New York. Just listen to these lines (read them aloud, I mean):
They are gone, the pepper trees,
the tiny buds of phosphorous.
They are gone, the camels with torn flesh,
and the valleys of light the swan lifted in its beak.
It was the time of parched things,
the wheat spear in the eye, the laminated cat,
the time of tremendous, rusting bridges
and the deathly silence of cork.
Now imagine those lines swimming in Starbucks Christmas blend. What is a laminated cat? WHAT IS A LAMINATED CAT? (Other than the band or the song.) I don’t care–I’m a believer in Keats’ negative capability argument:
when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.
Which could be a handy way of getting out of analysis, but I don’t think so.
If you buy any book with that holiday gift card from Aunt Mitzy, go out and get García Lorca’s Selected Verse, Revised Bilingual Edition, edited by Christopher Maurer. With cover art by the poet. I don’t actually understand very much Spanish, but I think it’s important to read the Spanish aloud anyway to get the rhythm and lilt into my bones.
2. On a more ridiculous note, I reread The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett this weekend. Yes, that’s The Secret Garden, the book many of you (girls?) read when you were nine or ten. I was at my parents’ house and forgot to bring a book. Dickon was one of my first literary crushes. He went around with a pet raven on his shoulder (those of you who know me will recall my only tattoo).
Remember the books that made you fall in love with reading? And the characters you first fell in love with? What were they? Sometimes I think we all get so caught up in what’s going on now, what’s cool now, that we forget the importance of our formative literary experiences…
3. Interesting article about female sexuality as portrayed in the media (New York Times).