He was sat in an obscure corner of the world, In Memphis (of late), and left alone to read Obscure histories, of the fishing of sea-bream, And grouper, of the proper ecological relations, Of sponge, tortoise, and the sunlight which scatters Thru the unlanc’d emeraldry of sea-skin, Their holy bilayer. This curriculum Like most, went … Continue reading After “Vor dem Gesetz,” At Home, Oct ’20
If geopolitics ever found itself in need of a fabulist, it could do worse than to give Peter Zeihan a call. To be fair, geopolitics today does need a fabulist – one of the wittier passages in Zeihan’s recent book, Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World, concerns the moment in 1990 … Continue reading Review: Peter Zeihan, “Disunited Nations”
American movies have lost their sense of place. What did we lose when that happened?
Wanted to pass along some beloved excerpts from John Ashbery, who I try my utmost to imitate. Nothing is like his poetry. An immodest little white wine, some scattered seraphs,recollections of the Fall—tell me,has anyone made a spongier representation, chasedfewer demons out of the parking lotwhere we all held hands? Little by little the idea … Continue reading Sharing some John Ashbery, and Poetry in California
I was asked, after posting my translation of this story, whether I could offer readers a link to the original. Hoping ardently that I’m not running afoul of any copyright laws for posting a 117-year-old story, here it is in full. Das Wunderkind kommt herein – im Saale wird’s still. Es wird still, und dann … Continue reading “Das Wunderkind,” by Thomas Mann
For the Christmas 1903 issue of Vienna’s Die Presse, the Nobel laureate-to-be Thomas Mann contributed this lovely short story, about a wintertime concert given by a prodigy pianist. “Das Wunderkind” was the title it carried when published as a novella in 1914. Mann himself wrote in 1910 that it was his “most beloved” work. I … Continue reading “The Prodigy,” by Thomas Mann – My Translation
The arduous discovery of the properties of the quaternions by William Rowan Hamilton has always stuck in my mind as among the most romantic of modern math’s encounters. Until the fall of 1843, Hamilton was set to work extending the complex numbers, by then a regular feature of the theory of equations. As he would … Continue reading Hamilton, the Quaternions, and Mathematical Mythologies
There are no mountains On the sky-rim here, no. Not much offered to the gauzy eye, Squat and squinting, On the lookout for orogenies And irruptions. It’s a flat place. For the Puritans, the most attractive features of this, The nearer coast, was respite, a chance to get away from it all, Arable land less … Continue reading Predestination, Home, Aug ’20
A night-dark cormorant skizzed past us on a solid packet of waves. Some minutes later, he came back the same way. You gripped with both hands alert and taut the unspooling line which plumbed the gloom. I had taken to wondering by and by when those hands would jump up and clamp into a vise … Continue reading Barnacle-Studded Buoy, Seattle WA, Aug ’20
I follow in the tradition of the great A.C. Bradley in presenting here some odd notes on Hamilton I thought up while watching the filmed version a couple of weeks ago. I have adored Hamilton since 2016 or so, and I got there by way of The Knack’s “My Sharona,” which has always been to … Continue reading Dramaturgical Notes on “Hamilton”
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