aftermath

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Alpacalypse!!

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alpacalypseI’ve now got 4 of the most charming bookmarks ever! Alpacas!! Thank you, SuziQ!

Off they go romping into 2017 to reignite some of the reading that has been pushed too far aside the past 3 months —

  • Alice, one of my twins, dances off into my Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas R. Hofstadter.
  • Alison, my other twin, grazes for but a moment in Petrarch’s Songbook a verse translation by James Wyatt Cook. She gets easily distracted and can be found prancing most anywhere.
  • Albert, the eldest, plays in Auto-Da-Fé, by Elias Canetti, translated by C.V. Wedgwood.
  • Alan, the baby of the herd, finds her fun in Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom, by Condoleezza Rice.
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Written by macheide

30 December 2017 at 12:21 pm

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philobibliologue

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1563I have finished reading Undine, a notable fairy tale by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, my own copy being one included within Famous Stories Every Child Should Know, edited by Hamilton Wright Mabie. Undine comes “recommended” by Little Women‘s Jo, it being one she wished to get for Christmas, and it adds a certain charm to think of reading it to her. Thanks, Jo.

In my current reading of Little Women itself, I’ve just passed through the chapters following the letters sent to Mother in Washington, among which Beth’s foresaw the pending shadows, writing “I can’t sing ‘LAND OF THE LEAL’ now, it makes me cry.” Which reminds me of hearing the song during a certain fateful drive home from Nashville that I had about four years ago. Which these days has me playing a fair bit of Silly Wizard, such as —

 
Thanks, Beth.

In my current reading of A Walk through the Dark, I’m up to chapter 20, about halfway through. Eva Piper has just been describing how keeping a personal journal helped her through some of the most difficult times of her caregiving for her husband Don. Me, I’m now rather partial to WordPress, although I too have fill many a handwritten journal through the years. But yes, I quite agree: journaling is a powerful friend. Thanks, Eva.

Having a soft spot for the sestina, my poetry reading for the day has picked up a few gleaned from the pages of the poetry books I received this Christmas —

Thanks, Sara.

Meanwhile, I’m continuing to make progress through Finnegans Wake and Tarantula. Thanks, James. And thanks, Bob.

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Written by macheide

27 December 2015 at 7:58 am

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Villanelle Lover

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2015-08-04 19.24.00

The key to a good villanelle is to come up with two lines that are genuinely attracted to each other but also wholly independent of each other, so that their final coupling will feel both inevitable and surprising.

Annie Finch, in introduction to Villanelles

I smiled when I read that. And before reading further, I paused to launch this blog post.

I thought of how I’ve heard it said that a good villanelle is like a great romance. So as I transcribed Finch’s words, I heard her sentence in my head with substitutions for two words: “The key to a good romance is to come up with two lovers that are genuinely attracted to each other but also wholly independent of each other, so that their final coupling will feel both inevitable and surprising.”

Romancing the Villanelle . . .

Written by macheide

4 August 2015 at 8:12 pm

Stretch Far Away

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ShelleyAlmost exactly 50 years ago, I memorized my first serious poem. More than likely, I’d earlier learned the words of many a childhood poem. But the first serious poem I recited from memory was a classic sonnet (yes, Turco, it is one) by one of our classic poets: Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley. By now I can’t even recall where I was able to dig that poem up back then — perhaps one of my father’s books, although he was partial to Robert Browning; possibly a book from our school, although I recall only our high schools having libraries. Wherever I managed to find it, memorizing Ozymandias represented a threshold for me: crossing that threshold was when I became a lover of poetry. And now, less than 3 years shy of the 200th anniversary of the initial publication of Ozymandias, my poetry bookshelves finally gain a volume of Shelley poetry.

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Written by macheide

15 April 2015 at 6:30 pm

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Practically Up There

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The Practical AstronomerSince two full moons ago, only one night in seven has been clear enough for us to see the moon. Yet I always know where the moon is relative to the sun and the stars and our horizons, and I always know whether our moon ascends or descends and when it stands still and when it crosses over, and I always know whether it has come closer to us or is farther away, and I don’t need to see it to know. Even so, the moon is always a welcome sight, even when it is so close and full that its light makes nearby stars as invisible as on a cloudy night.

And since Jupiter went retrograde back in early December, we’ve had little opportunity to watch the majestic giant back away from Regulus. Yet from the rare evening clear enough to catch the planet rising to the morning clear enough to watch it fade to the sunrise, I can tell the hour of day by its path across our winter night, and I can tell how far we’ve gone into the season by how far the planet leads Leo. Still, Jupiter is always beautiful to witness so bright overhead, and this winter on clear nights it has become the first wanderer I turn to see.

And we’ve had mostly clouds and rain through the past dozen cycles of Algol. Yet as easily as knowing dawn and dusk I can tell when the demon winks, and I know where Medusa’s head floats even during winter’s daytime when it crosses over the other side of our earth, and I know it’s a glimpse of Algol I’m catching even if it’s the only star peeking through a passing break in our clouds. Nevertheless I love having skies open enough to trace the path I love to trace from Saiph through Bellatrix all the way over to Cassiopeia, then back to this fave.

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Written by macheide

13 January 2015 at 6:12 am

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Up Close and Intimate

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An Intimate Look at the Night SkyLike a love that never grows distant life after life after life, but grows only closer, more and more intimate, so is my friendship with the stars.

And like one can never study too many math books, like one can never lose oneself in too many chess books, like one can never fly too far on too many poetry books, likewise I can never have too many books about the skies around me. So yet another book purchased with the Christmas gift card given to me by Natalie: An Intimate Look at the Night Sky, by Chet Raymo.

When flipping through it while at the bookstore, what persuaded me to add it to my shelves: finding myself reading more than a few pages into Chapter 2 — “Dark: Why the Night Is Dark.” Start a discussion of darkness with a fave poem by Yeats and quickly hit escape velocity from there, and I’m caught as easily as a particle veering too close to the event horizon of a black hole.

Thank you again, Nat, for a Christmas gift that will last in my heart as long as the stars.

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Aftermath Afterlife:

 
 
 
 

Written by macheide

12 January 2015 at 6:16 am

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Sonnets Honestly Made

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The Making of a SonnetBecause she was adept at formal verse, a friend once had her poetry scorned as “less honest” than that of someone with no discipline at all to his scribbling. Her talent with sonnets was specifically targeted for unkind mocking. As for me, I always liked how she compared the fourteen lines of a sonnet to the natural cycles of the waxing and waning moon, the patterns of rhyme to the symmetry in a flower, the volta to the turning of the wind. Seriously, can anyone so crudely reject the sonnet, except by being ignorant to the making of a sonnet, let alone the true making of any art?

As many hundreds of sonnets as I already have in my private poetry library, and as many thousands as I have available through my local library, and as many tens of thousands as are available online, I still gladly welcome to my home shelves this new volume, courtesy of the gift card I received from Natalie for Christmas: The Making of a Sonnet, edited by Edward Hirsch and Eavan Boland.

Thank you, Nat, for the Christmas gift. Although I myself don’t write sonnets, I have always appreciated the honesty in a good sonnet. This book will be read many times cover to cover.

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Aftermath Afterlife:

 
 
 
 

Written by macheide

9 January 2015 at 5:41 am

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Legacy Castings

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The KalevalaOne of the books I’ve added to my private collection, courtesy of a Christmas gift card from Natalie: The Kalevala.

This version translated by Keith Bosley. I’d read this several times through a long time ago, long since forgetting enough details about the translation to be able to finger whose that was. Then recently had been reading through the version by John Martin Crawford — who may have done the translation I first read — posted online at Wikisource. Which I won’t be quitting while I pick up through this offline edition added to my library — since my knowledge of Finnish isn’t (yet) sufficient to work my own way through the Elias Lönnrot original, it helps having more than one English translation on hand. Hopefully most of the time the real meaning is somewhere in between these two, or can be pretty well discerned whenever outside the edges of either.

Whatever translation, this does belong in my own poetry library. One need not be authoring something as classic as Lord of the Rings to appreciate the legacy of The Kalevala to poetry and myth and spiritual heritage. Such castings as this don’t get rescinded on a passing whim. Such sampo never gets stolen or lost.

Thank you, Nat, for the Christmas gift.

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Aftermath Afterlife:

 
 
 
 

Written by macheide

7 January 2015 at 6:56 am

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Library Returns

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Hollis DedicationSuch things only happen in the movies, right? Actually, something like this did hit the big screen: think Serendipity, when Jonathan Trager’s bride-not-to-be hands him a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera and he opens the cover to find the name he’d been searching five years for.

About 44 years ago, William Hollis wrote Letters and Voices From the Steppes, a book of poems in which his friend and colleague Bernie — to whom the book is partly dedicated, and one of whose sculptures adorns the book’s cover — figures prominently throughout. Bernie’s children also put in appearances.

One of those children was Becky, who during that same year was beginning to take an interest in the poetry student who was editor of her high school’s poetry magazine: me. Influenced heavily by Becky and Bernie, I eventually doubled up on my math major during my closing years of college so as to have the opportunity for my major in English to be highlighted by some very delightful poetry studies with Bill. Upon college graduation, Becky and I married in a ceremony at Bernie’s home, surrounded by Bernie’s sculptures and the legend in which the Steppes poems were steeped. At which point Bill gave Becky and me a copy of Steppes, recognizing not only her own familiarity with the subject matter, but as much for me as a student of his. Ah, but when Becky and I divorced a decade later, in an effort to avoid any bitter arguments over division of joint property I asked only for Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited (and one other item, meant more as a symbolic gesture the significance of which was lost on her). So Steppes went off with her, although she had by that time demonstrated quite well that, as Leonard Cohen put it, “You don’t really care for music, do ya.”

Several lives later (quite literally so) I am finally rebuilding my own poetry library, so quite obviously needed to add Steppes back to my own shelves. Suzi had just recently introduced me to the online wonderworld of one of my favorite local hang-outs — second-hand book dealer Half-Price Books — where a few weeks ago she guided me through my first foray: four Hollis poetry books, led by Steppes. Coming from various book dealers with whom HPB works, shipping info indicated I would be receiving three separate packages from three separate sources.

My first shipment brought me two newer Hollis books. Although all these books are second-hand volumes, I found mildly intriguing and a bit disappointing that one of those first two books with a handwritten personal note from Bill to the original recipient was in almost mint condition, quite possibly never even opened before for so much as a single poem. My second shipment brought me Steppes which the HPB info had described as also being “Signed by Author.” Having recently read online a Hollis poem speaking of the memorial service for Bernie’s death some years ago (a poem in which many of the Steppes characters re-appeared in a rather sad, very distant echo of the power of the Steppes voices), and guessing that Bernie’s own copy of Steppes probably wasn’t held onto by his beneficiaries, I wondered aloud to Suzi whether I might find this copy of Steppes to have been given personally by Bill to Bernie.

And then opened the book’s cover.

To find the dedication shown here. “Ummm, even freakier than Bernie….,” I said, handing Suzi the book for her to see. “This is my book.” I am the “Richard” of “Richard and Becky.” Almost 3 decades after I forfeited Steppes to divorce, my own copy is the one that finds its way back to my shelves, to my eyes, to my reading.

“Take what you have gathered from coincidence,” Dylan sang. A huge difference between fiction’s Serendipity and my reality’s Steppes is that my coincidence is no sign, no forewarning that anything significant is about to happen. I grew up sincerely believing life made great circles such as those in Dickens’ Great Expectations, and perhaps it occasionally does so. And this nice little completion of a circle is worth a contented smile, like at least one little piece of the whole space-time continuum has actually found its rightful place for a moment. I know Bernie would smile at it, at least, almost as if his emissary from a far place had come home to stay. But past that, no message, no sign. Just that one fitting moment.

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Written by macheide

11 September 2014 at 12:46 pm

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Book Angel

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BAP 2001Little Prince

 

“Beware a man of one book,” warns the bumper sticker I use for the category this post will fly under? Thanks to a precious angel, as of today’s postal delivery, I am a man of at least two!—

  • The Best American Poetry: 2001, guest edited by Robert Hass — the only BAP that I had been missing in the stretch from 1999 through 2013! Just this very morning as I was reorganizing my poetry shelves following a generous land grant, I reserved space for the forthcoming BAP2014 by leaving my Spring 2014 Ploughshares shelved next to my BAP2013, planning for Ploughshares to move to my Closet Bookshelf when BAP2014 reaches my hands. Now Ploughshares moves early, everything shoves to the right to make way for BAP2001, and BAP2014 will have to find one of my other front-row poetry books to displace. These days along with my usual rounds of daily poetry reading, I’m heavily into Dylan Thomas poems, aiming toward his 100th birthday this coming October. Even so, I expect to carve out enough poetry reading time to give this BAP2001 its first cover-to-cover reading by Labor Day.
     
  • The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry — the first Harcourt, Brace & World edition, 1961 hardcover. Ah, whose heart hasn’t been tamed by this uniquely exquisite tale? I have previously owned then lost several more recent paperback editions. Now I get to read it again . . . and again . . . and many more agains in this well-preserved hardcover edition.

Oh well, there went most of my plans for getting much anything else done the rest of this Saturday afternoon. I’m losing myself in great poetry and soft romantic fantasy.

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Written by macheide

26 July 2014 at 6:05 pm

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SRBSs

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SRBSSRBS1-6Thank you so much, Suzi!! Courtesy of our fave house craftsmen, the inner wall of Suzi’s sewing room now has a handsome new workdesk area for one of her machines, aside of which she had them build a new bookshelf stretching from floor nearly to ceiling, set up for us today. Which she has reserved for me to shelve my books! This bookshelf might actually be able to hold all of my existing collection, yes. But maybe we can let it just mop up my extras, recent purchases that hadn’t yet found a good shelf, leaving intact most of my books that had already found themselves a home, then use these new spaces for a new book-buying program? Hmmmmmm?

Whatever, for making shelf assignments I’ll be numbering these shelves bottom to top, SRBS1 (Sewing Room BookShelf 1) through SRBS6, leaving the top of the bookshelf unit unnumbered. On a purely preliminary basis, I’ve started with the top three shelves. Briefly, from the top shelf down —

  • SRBS6 — Active Porch. On the left side are currently borrowed library books (except for “Century,” a book of photographs from the 20th century, which is my own). On the right side are recent copies of the tax code and pension regulations (topped by my hardcover Turco). All the items on this top shelf will be quite active, rather likely to be off the shelf any time I am doing my reading in Suzi’s sewing room.
     
  • SRBS5 — Pensions and Mathematics. I’d already begun the final emigration of my pension book collection from the Cube. With the space given by this bookshelf, I’ll now give the rest of that collection their tickets to come home. Round that out with the few math books I’ve kept (or recently bought), and this second highest shelf will soon enjoy full occupancy.
     
  • SRBS4 — Poetry. Given the height and depth of these shelves as contrasted with my other shelf spaces, I’ll be keeping my smaller-covered poetry books on my Closet Bookshelf. And at least for now, I’ll be keeping my Living Room Poetry Shelf intact. So for this upper-middle shelf on the new bookshelf, I’ll start with some of my larger-faced poetry books. Not as yet in any order, and possibly to be replaced by other of my poetry books as I reshuffle things over the next several days as I settle into these new quarters.

Again, thank you so much, Suzi!

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Written by macheide

24 July 2014 at 5:36 pm

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Doubting Thomas a Little Less

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Doubting Thomas...a Little LessAh, nice, quite nice! I’m on a self-imposed routine to re-read one of Dylan Thomas’ poems per day through the rest of this summer and into the autumn, anticipating completing that re-reading course on October 27 of this year, the 100th anniversary of the birth of the poet.

To set my re-reading schedule, I’d relied on my own personal collection’s copy of Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas 1934-1952 (1971 New Directions paperback), together with a few other DT poems picked up elsewhere along the way. But then a few weeks before I was set to launch my DT re-reading, I lost track of where I’d left my book. Turns out I’d moved it from my bookshelves to my transit bag seeing most current Starbucks action . . . then hadn’t been to Starbucks for several weeks due to other activities. But by the time I relocated my own book (thanks, Suzi), I’d requested backup from my local library, which had to order theirs from another library branch somewhere else in the county.

Theirs came in sometime the past several days, but I waited to pick it up until I was ready to return the Stevie Smith poetry book I had out on an extended loan. Because I’d since found my own Dylan Thomas volume, I came close to just leaving theirs, which after a 9-day holding period would have been shipped back to its own library branch like an illegal immigrant. Ah, but it wouldn’t hurt to keep the library’s copy on my nightstand and send my own copy back to my Starbucks travel kit, right?

Turns out that I did right to proceed with borrowing the library version: The Poems of Dylan Thomas (1971 New Directions hardbound). Hardbound, paperpack, whatever – either way, they’re both New Directions publications copyrighted in 1971, so the library gives me a suitable substitute, right? Ummm, no . . . better! At first perusal while waiting in the check-out line at the library, it appears that this library book has all of the poems of my book, plus all the extra ones I’d collected along the way plus several I don’t recall ever having seen before! (I shouldn’t be so hard on myself about it — after all, I’m a general poetry reader, not a Dylan Thomas scholar, so I only had a vague impression that there was more out there beyond this DT-endorsed set I’d been re-reading since my college days.)

Anyway, since I’m already a week into my re-reading schedule, I’ll be doubling up on a few days, first re-reading the poem I’d originally scheduled for a particular day, then adding a first-time reading of a DT poem I’ll not have seen before, how many newbies on how many two-poem days yet to be determined over the course of the coming weeks as I explore this library book.

Sometimes you have to lose something you know you still have in order to find something you didn’t know you were missing.

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Written by macheide

23 July 2014 at 4:03 pm

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Again Of Math and Metaphor

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Two books new to my home stacks —

AtwoodMorning in the Burned House, new poems by Margaret Atwood. One of two copies that were on the used bookstore’s poetry shelves, and the book has no marks nor signs of wear; so this might actually be a new book, picked up from some other bookseller’s leftovers rather than a previously owned book. One or two of the poems in this book, I may have read online before, I won’t know for sure until I’ve read through them, first reading to be done over the course of the new several weeks, with initial place being a temporary spot on Daystand. Permanent place will be on my key poetry shelf in the living room. Update — Yes, re-reading “Helen of Troy Does Counter Dancing” upon encountering it during transcription of the book’s TOC for my Poetry Register, that one I know I’ve read several times before; it’s been rather frequently passed along elsewhere. But then starting back at the beginning after a preliminary scan of first lines, I know I’ve not previously read the first poem here, “You Come Back” – that closing line is the sort of thing I tend to remember long, the sort of thing that sends that poem to my memorization queue, the spark that has Atwood high on my list of favorite poets, precisely the reason this purchase today was so nice a find.

linear algebraLinear Algebra, by Larry Smith. (The Amazon link here refers to the paperback reprint of the hardbound version I purchased.) First copyrighted in 1978, obviously this is not the same text used by the linear algebra college class I did well at during my second semester at Houghton in early 1973; as I recall, the cover of my linear algebra book back then was a deep blue. Although I’m currently also reading several other math books I own (notably, one on Fermat’s Last Theorem), I’ll be using this linear algebra text to re-launch my own personal mathematics study program, curriculum to follow shortly. Temporary place, as I begin its study: Sewing room book stack. Permanent place: living room math bookshelf.

Susan had been off at the sewing center picking up two machines she’d had off for repair work, but cautioned me against making any purchases at Half-Price Books without checking with her first, then carefully reiterating her caution lest I had thought her to merely be teasing with the running joke about how I’m not to be trusted in a bookstore with spare cash in my pocket — ah, she’s got a surprise coming for me! So I did text her and tried a follow-up phone call after I’d found the Atwood, both book approval attempts seeing no response as she went about her business. Which was what gave me the time to find the linear algebra text — bad enough to let me run free in a bookstore with spare cash, but give me spare time too and I’m seriously dangerous! Finally I simply took the chance and made my purchases without her pre-approved stamp, risking that she’d not managed to find the one Atwood poetry book I’d be most likely to jump at the chance to get, with the even greater risk (ummm, not?) that she’d be giving me a linear algebra textbook. The bookstore clerk had to hear me chat about it, so he took it seriously enough to tell me that the back of my sales receipt described a return policy, should it turn out that I’d matched Suzi’s gift choice. I won’t be needing to use that, thanks anyway.

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Written by macheide

22 July 2014 at 2:38 pm

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Another Wake for Finnegan

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I’d already started reading James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake back before my shenanigans (thanks, Kelly, for the Penguin Books edition I have). And I’d made myself a fairly solid beachhead before that reading effort got torpedoed by my death, followed by the major regulations project I’ve been working on since, together with other responsibilities and interests.

Coming back to it from that very first midsentence “riverrun,” I had decided to read it this time the way I read the original 401(a)(4) regulations, the way I’ve read so many hundreds of poems, the way I’ve read so many blog posts and e-mails and written correspondences — I am manually transcribing the entire manuscript myself, page by page, word by word, letter by letter, each and every punctuation mark exactly as it stands. As I encountered back in 1991 with those 401(a)(4) regulations, so too today, all too commonly the same people who act impressed at how well I know and understand what I have read are quick to judge and even openly insult my methods. *shrug* I know what works for me. If people spent one hundredth the time they spend preaching “acceptance” on actually practicing what they preach instead of rejecting others’ ways and choices and beliefs and kindness, there would be a whole lot more love in this world.

Today, I picked up a new personal trademark idiosyncrasy that will slow my Finnegan transcription to a crawl. I’ve been using my iPad mini for transcription — already possibly the second slowest alternative at my disposal (the slowest being via the smaller keyboard of my iPhone), perhaps even slower than if I wrote it all out in my longhand scrawl, certainly way slower than the PC keyboard I used for 401(a)(4) regulation transcription. Apple’s text services had been annoying me by continually trying to correct what it thinks to be misspellings — nuisance enough for a normal text message, but almost insane for a James Joyce book, in which just about every third word is unrecognized by Apple’s dictionary. So annoying that I can’t count how many times I’ve thought I ought disable the auto-correct feature completely, but for how useful it is when I actually do unintentionally misspell a word and am grateful for the built-in editor.

So I’ve kept the auto-correct on, time and time and time again accidentally typing through the end of a Joyce “word,” having Apple “correct” it, then having to take the extra time and effort to back up and type the correct version back in. But today, the number of amusing replacements finally got to me. So I’ve launched a new Adrienesque exercise: I’m now transcribing two separate versions of Finnegan. First, of course, the authentic version, the way Joyce wrote it. But in my second version, I’m letting Apple run free, like an untrained dog without a leash, which will give me Finnegan According to Apple, so to speak.

Of course, I’ll increase my transcription time by 50% or more: I’ll still have the usual typing with frequent backspacing and retyping for the authentic version; then, to get the Apple version by most direct means, I will be re-typing the entire text from scratch all over again, that second time of course saving myself from the time of correcting whatever Apple decides to do. Even with the extra transcription time, I expect to be completely finished both versions in time for the 100th anniversary of Joyce’s publication of the first edition (about five years from now).

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Written by macheide

18 July 2014 at 3:44 pm

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Hard To Live With

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“I can freely leave an unfinished free-verse poem to prepare a meal, sleep, have a drink with friends, but a formal poem follows me everywhere, makes me hard to live with, and gives me pleasure approaching the ecstatic.”

17It’s far from the first time when I’ve noticed a great woman poet being overlooked, but it’s still odd to find Mona Van Duyn MIA from my personal library’s copy of A Book of Women Poets from Antiquity to Now , edited by Aliki and Willis Barnstone. Like, sure she wasn’t honored as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress until 1992, the year of the book’s most recent publication. But come on, she had won solid recognition of her work soon enough to have been given at least a few pages, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1991 for her 1990 book, Near Changes. How much higher must a woman poet aim to merit the kind of sincere respect and understanding for her work she can truly value . . . or if not that, at least a glance from a collector of poetry written by a woman?!

So anyway, poetry by Mona Van Duyn on websites I care to visit (i.e., those not overloaded with spurious ad-related content) include the following poems –

 
(Footnote: Seems that the selections here that I’m pulling from Google Books are as whimsically volatile as fresh memories – sometimes one poem is showing while another is not; next time I pull the book up to read, those are likely switched. It’s Google, so go figure. Anyway, while I have a copy of a poem from Google books up and readable, I’m transcribing it over into my local files, where those poems for which I have a local copy are indicated in this list by a filled-in box (versus an open circle). Eventually, I’ll purchase a book or more of hers – I do deeply feel her style and voice moving inside – but for now, this will have to do me.)

“The end
of passion
may refashion
a friend”

Update (16 Apr 2015) — This post was originally placed in polymath as of the date given to this re-posting here at aftermath. Since then, I have added several Van Duyn books to my own personal library.

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Written by macheide

25 September 2010 at 8:52 am

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Dawson: Practical Lessons in Actuarial Science

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Practical Lessons in Actuarial Science: An Elementary Text-Book, second edition, revised. Dawson, Miles Meander. The Spectator Company: New York. © 1898, 1905.

What better book to open this [category of this] journal with, than one of my prize volumes, a very old actuarial textbook!

The copy that I have was rescued from the fire! My first post-college employer, Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company, needed more file space in their basement and advised their actuarial students of plans to trash a small forgotten library housed in a dark corner of the cellar shelves. If I had not been living in so small an apartment with someone who already heavily criticized what she saw as packrat habits, I would have preserved the entire collection. Alas, I took only a few boxes away, then am ashamed to admit that I eventually relieved myself of all but this sole survivor during my 1999 move to Texas.

And I have not been the kindest owner of even this old tome, I must admit. Wanting to show it to a colleague sometime since 9/11, I took it on an airplane trip, making the sad mistake of packing it with my checked luggage without enclosing it in special packaging; and airport security was not suitably respectful of its age. So its backbinding has been lost, mine the fault.

For all the pleasure I’ve taken in owning this old sourcebook, I’ve never actually read it. I’ll launch 2008 as a year of renewed book reading by actually delving into this beautiful old soul. Somewhere off in the mists past the edges of an old mortality table, Mr. Dawson must surely be smiling about as much as any actuary could be known to smile.

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - grolier

Written by macheide

1 January 2008 at 2:25 pm

Posted in grolier