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Mike Snider's Formal Blog at the Sonnetarium

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Monday I downloaded Mark Turner’s Death Is the Mother of Beauty: Mind, Metaphor, Criticism from CYBEREDITIONS and, bothered by my inability to place the title reference, googled it. It’s a line (actually 2 lines) from Wallace Stevens’s “Sunday Morning,” of course — a poem which like almost all of Stevens’s work has seemed to me too meandering and florid. No doubt that’s a personal problem, but Monday the poem surprised me, and I read it over several times, more and more impressed.

That Google search also returned, on the first page, this 2005 blog entry from Chet Raymo’s Science Musings. It’s good, both on the poem and on the biological consequences of death, and it led in some fashion I can’t remember to an article on Mark Ridley’s The Coopoerative Gene and how meiosis — Mendel’s Demon — makes multicellular life possible. No meiosis, no Wallace Stevens, no "Sunday Morning." Does that make meiosis the father of beauty?


That night I read the poem to Krys, who was also impressed. But read aloud, its wordiness nearly overcame its virtues. I tried reading a few others to myself, and was quickly irritated and bored. Guess I still have that personal problem. Turner, on the other hand, just gets more exciting.


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Thursday, February 15, 2007

  • Yesterday I finished a poem for the first time since June of last year. No, you can’t see it, because it’s a Valentine’s poem for my sweetie, but my services are available. Still, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I can write, and that’s a good thing. I’ve got a long weekend coming up, so I’m going to try for a new Weekly Sonnet (your suggestions welcome).

  • My sweetie’s band, Baker’s Boys (and I’m one of ’em), along with The Bootleggers and the 25th Hour Band, is playing on the 24th at the Newtowne Player's Three Notch Theatre in Patuxent River MD for a Breast Cancer benefit. Y’all come!

  • The next day, and on the last Sunday of every month thereafter, I’m going to be hosting open poetry readings at Fenwick Books in Leonardtown, Maryland. Y’all come again!

  • Yesterday Slate ran a piece by Robert Pinsky offering selection of “Great Poems about Sex” for Valentine’s day. Pretty hot stuff, actually, especially Frost’s sonnet “Putting in the Seed.” His choice from Cavafy is pretty tame, though, especially compared to this … poem in a book I can’t find after looking for half an hour in the unheated attic through piles and boxes of my unpacked books. But look! It’s here! And that link to the English translation at the bottom actually takes you to the Greek. Whodathunkit?

  • Via the always excellent Arts & Letter Daily, The New Yorker this week has a pretty snarky piece from Dana Goodyear about Ruth Lilly’s $200,000,000(!) bequest to the Poetry Foundation. Along the way, she makes fun of the intientions and the poetry of the Foundation’s president, John Barr. Take a gander at some of hers, here and here. And personally, I think Michael Blowhard had it right when he said that writers and writing would be better off if their work was treated like the work of cooks. At least I think he said that, and I know W. H. Auden would have approved. BTW, there are celebrations of Auden’s hundredth birthday coming up. Info here.

  • One of my favorite internet reads is Pharyngula, where PZ Myers provides a wonderful mix of evo-devo and religious nut-watch (epecially where the nuttiness concerns Creationism and IDiocy (that’s Intelligent Design Idiocy). The latter means keeping watch on state school boards and legislatures, and today I found there a wonderful surprise from the Minnesota legislature. PZ's link is indirect: the chain runs through here and here.

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Monday, February 5, 2007

It ain’t broadband, but it’s close, and I’ve got a place to work, and I think I’ve arranged the time to work.

I’ve also decided to stop beating myself up over the big things I haven’t done here and just start working, getting done what can get done.

Well, we’ll see.


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