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Alice Oswald, Dart

Gabriele D'Annunzio, Episcopo & Company

Vincent Kaufmann, Guy Debord: Revolution in the Service of Poetry

Dorothy L. Sayers, Busman's Honeymoon



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Just finished Ask the Dust by John Fante, a slim novel which didn't live up to the extravagant praise I've heard from Bukowski fans. Henry Miller and Hubert Selby did this kind of thing much better.

I'm currently reading Middlesex, has anyone else read it? I remember it being discussed elsewhere and people were criticizing the fact that it won the pulitzer prize. Maybe not Pulitzer Prize worthy

Several of the pieces in Paris to the Moon appeared earlier as Gopnik's monthly Letters from Paris to The New Yorker. His use of adjectives to describe the weather, the neighborhood, etc impressed me

On 7/4/2020 at 11:59 AM, Wilfrid said:

A bonanza time for Jeremy Prynne fans. He just turned 84, and what a sprint he's putting on. At least two books last year, three this year already, with two more already announced.

But also, we now have a late Prynne style. He long ago squeezed the lyricism out of his work, turning to obscure and scientific and technical vocabularies. The result was forbidding blocks of verse with rare glimpses of meaning.  Starting (I think) with 2019's Of Better Scrap, he introduced new sonic qualities, working at the syllabic level: not just occasional internal or half rhymes, but multiple variations of them, sonic attention to vowels and consonants. This creates a remarkable music when the verse is read aloud, even though meaning is utterly allusive. It's as if he has not just the English language, but all its niche idioms at his fingertips, and he can play it like an organ.

Rather inspiring.  (There's also Parkland, a book-length prose poem like nothing he has written before.)

I've just ordered the fifth volume of poetry published by Prynne this year. It really is extraordinary, this burst of late productivity. One comparison would be with the Welsh poet R.S. Thomas, who published five collections (including two very large ones) after his 75th birthday, resulting in a second volume of his collected poems. Prynne has published 15 (rather shorter) volumes since his 75th birthday, precisely a third of his entire output.

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Gabriele D'Annunzio, Virgins of the Rocks, The Intruder

I thought I had worked through D'Annunzio's novels a few years ago. Complete fantasy. Working through them now. Aestheticism which borders on proto-fascism (these were written a long time before Mussolini came on the scene), but I figure I'm allowed as I just read a couple of antifascist Silone novels.

Geoffrey Hill, Broken Hierarchies

The massive (almost) complete poems, where I am working through the collections I haven't previously bought and read.

Susan Stewart, The Ruins Lesson

A survey of the role of ruins in European art and literature. Bogglingly erudite, but I confess I expected her to draw some clearer conclusions from the material.

Ian Nairn, Ian Nairn's Paris

Alcoholic curmudgeon and architectural critic takes on the city of light.



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How did I forget Canetti’s Auto da Fe? This is one I should have already read: long, German-language, modernist. And I have read Crowds and Power.

It’s good of course, minor characters are hilarious, but I was a bit concerned by my sympathetic identification with Kien’s relationship with his books.

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When I finish The Flame of Life, I'll be finished with D'Annunzio's novels (there's a later one, but I can't find an English translation). This and The Triumph of Death show him at his best: amazing set pieces like sick pilgrims packing a shrine to be healed, and a night of fireworks over Venice. Conscious attempts at Wagnerian scale and drama. Along with that, you get plots that move like drugged snails, and his thoroughly offensive worldview.


Alice Oswald, A Sleepwalk on the Severn

Joe McGinniss, The Selling of the President 1968

Charles Olson, A Nation of Nothing but Poetry (these are poems, fragments, etc which got omitted somehow from the massive collected poems: although I think you need to be an Olson scholar of some skill to tell what's a finished poem, what's a fragment, and what may be a shopping list).


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