The sonnet never written

The sonnet never written

This is one of the longest and most entertaining chapters in Machado de Assis’ novel Don Casmurro, a fictional memoir of the eponymous narrator.  Many of the other chapters are shorter than a sonnet, but I liked this one, describing the sonnet he almost wrote,...
Hopelessly insane: Homer fans

Hopelessly insane: Homer fans

Here Christopher Logue highlights the sheer vital durability of Homer and the magnitude of such sustainability, kept alive through a hard core of ‘Unprofessional Ancient Greek Readers’. I don’t know if I qualify, since the UAGR could refer only to...
Poetry pressed out by pain

Poetry pressed out by pain

Poetry is one of the strongest channels for expressing pain, and I liked the use of the word ‘pressed’.  It implies a wine-making process, as if you emptied vat loads of painful must and then pressed out a small quantity of distilled language to be...
A voice answering a voice?

A voice answering a voice?

More than just the writing of poetry, isn’t writing in general often ‘a voice answering a voice’? This touching quotation comes towards the end of Orlando and the end of Orlando’s long endeavours to complete her poem.  It is the first and last...
Shorter but longer

Shorter but longer

This pithy summary of the difference between prose and poetry is as much as Orlando gleans from the convoluted accounts of a poet to whom he has opened his home, larder, wine cellar, purse and poetic aspirations, in the hope of some helpful guidance.  Not forthcoming....
To see at a distance

To see at a distance

Thoreau has many striking things to say about poets, and even if I can’t seize on them as definitive or universal in their application, they make me think.  This one is a little clunky in its expression, as if he is thinking out loud, but I like the idea of the...

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