November 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
In shooting the documentary ‘Nick Nolte: No Exit’ (available On Demand via Sundance Selects), director Tom Thurman concocted a rather existential ploy to bring out the burly, intimidating seventy-three year-old actor’s vulnerable side: he assigned Nolte to literally interview himself. Hopefully, this oddball tactic would uncover the true Nolte, who in the past notoriously relished in embellishment.
“I’m known for being a liar,” Nolte said. “I lied for a living and I lied in my interviews. It got boring after twenty years. People have said to me, after interviews, ‘I really wished you answered that motherfucker’s question!'”
To avoid that escapism, Thurman and Nolte, who became friends while filming Thurman’s ‘Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Hunter S. Thompson on Film,’ developed a series of deeply intimate questions, several of which would probably catch Nolte off guard if an actual journalist posed them. In one day, Thurman shot footage of Nolte as slick reporter, sheepishly grilling Nolte the actor; the very next day, he filmed a wearier-looking Nolte answering his own questions, sometimes wistfully, sometimes sarcastically. Nostalgic slides of Nolte in his salad days were projected at random onto a computer throughout the “interview,” further derailing him.
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October 26, 2014 Comments Off
Drawn from Aelfric’s Old English Lives of the Saints, this is an edition of the lives of the little-known virgin spouses: Julian and Basilissa, Cecilia and Valerian, and Chrysanthus and Daria. As well as the Old English original texts, it provides the reader with modern English parallel-text translations. As a useful comparison, their closest Latin source texts are also reproduced – again with English parallel-text translations. As a leading churchman writing at the time of the Viking raids at the end of the first millennium, Aelfric wrote his Lives to bolster the faith of English Christians. These three stories of couples who marry but do not consummate their unions point to an ideal of marital celibacy in Aelfric’s programme of pastoral care. Taken together, the group provides an opportunity to emphasise different but related points about literal and figurative types of chastity and purity appropriate to the laity.
October 17, 2014 Comments Off
Originally posted on A R T L▼R K:
15 October 1888 – says the postmark on the letter received by George Lusk, the then head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. The sender of the letter was allegedly the serial killer and bogeyman of Victorian London, Jack the Ripper. The cryptic message in the letter read as follows:
I send you half the Kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer.
Catch me when you Can Mishter Lusk.
The letter was accompanied by a small parcel wrapped in a brown paper. The parcel contained a human kidney, preserved in “spirits of wine” (Philip Sudgen, Complete History of Jack the Ripper). Mr. Lusk’s initial reaction to the letter was that of laughter…
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September 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
MZ: Basing the “hardness” or “softness” of surrealism on whether or not it challenges “poet-reader relations” and the “power relations of writing,” is not only ahistorical but beside the point. It’s like saying, “I like grandma’s meatloaf better than your meatloaf because your meatloaf is too coercive.” Coerciveness may or may not be an important value in meatloaf-eater relations, but it’s not what grandma or you were thinking about when you were making your meatloaves. Likewise, you can say “poet-reader relations” and the “power relations of writing” are the most important things to think about in every act of writing—I mean, that’s an opinion you can, tragically, have—but it wasn’t what Breton or James Tate or anyone else under discussion was thinking about.
Hannah Gamble: When I first emailed the four of you about this interview, I indicated that I saw surrealism as part of your poetic lineage; much of your work employs surrealist staples such as dream logic, collage, collaboration, tragicomic approaches to human existence, and inventive syntax which tries to get at a usually-inaccessible kind of hyper-reality. How do you feel about your work being referred to as “surreal”?
Zachary Schomburg: I’ve noticed poets of my generation often feel a bit leery of labeling their work as “surreal,” and suspicious of others who call themselves surrealists. But maybe this is a larger contemporary issue of poetry labels in general—nobody is willing to strike a pose, in fear of becoming a poser. I do feel proud when my poems are called surreal, because I think that adjective is not far off. French Surrealism is something I studied extensively at the University of Nebraska, and it became integral to my writing. What the original Surrealists were doing is something I, too, am trying to do, so I feel I am a part of that lineage. I’m certainly influenced more by them (and the Russian Absurdists perhaps) than by any other poetics. However, that label is far too simple. The process through which I write is entirely different from Breton’s (or what Breton may claim), as are my politics, my philosophies, etc.
Besides, the word “surreal” has—in our broader, non-poetry lexicon—come to mean something much simpler: strange, unreal, weird. I’ve read too many poems that are labeled surreal only because they are not obviously confessional or sincere. I’d hate for the word to become a catch-all, one that has no recollection of Breton. In other words, if we’re going to label something surreal now, those poems should probably resemble each other in some tangible way, or they should perhaps resemble the French Surrealists’ poems in some tangible way. There should probably be a new word for it, and a new manifesto, and maybe this conversation can spark something like that.
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September 9, 2014 § 2 Comments
Journey to the West is a Chinese novel published in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty and attributed to Wu Cheng’en. It is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. The book tells the story of the fourteen-year pilgrimage of the monk Xuanzang, one of China’s most famous religious heroes, and his three supernatural disciples, in search of Buddhist scriptures. Throughout his journey, Xuanzang fights demons who wish to eat him, communes with spirits, and traverses a land riddled with a multitude of obstacles, both real and fantastical. An adventure rich with danger and excitement, this seminal work of the Chinese literary canonis by turns allegory, satire, and fantasy.
The textual history of ‘The Journey to the West’ is relatively simple. The standard modern version in four volumes, publisehd by The University of Chicago Press and translated by Anthony C. Yu, is substantially the same as what is thought to be the first edition, in 100 chapters, published (the author was anonymous) at Nanjing in 1592.
The narrative is mostly in a polished vernacular prose, but about 750 poems and verse passages in an older and more classical language are interspersed through the book. These introduce, summarize or comment upon the action, sometimes in the arcane language of mythology or alchemy, or they provide descriptive set-pieces – landscapes, battles, banquets. The adventures occur on many literary and intellectual levels at once in a story that moves with surprising speed through its many chapters.
September 8, 2014 § 3 Comments
The Twin Cities Book Festival—brought to you by Rain Taxi—is not only the largest and most important literary gathering in the Upper Midwest, it is the annual get-together for the Twin Cities’ devoted literary community.
This FREE, day-long festival brings around 7000 people together to celebrate our vibrant literary culture. The festival welcomes ‘rock star’ authors, local literary heroes, publishers, kids and book lovers, who connect over real-live books and conversations.
Progress Center, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
An all-day exhibit of publishers, magazines, literary organizations, local authors, booksellers, and more! Check back for a complete listing of exhibitors and exhibitor specials.
The Reading Stages are located in the Fine Arts Building, located next door to the Progress Center. CLICK HERE to see who’s coming and check back for a complete schedule of events. Book signings will take place after each event in the Progress Center building.
CLICK HERE to see who’s coming and check back for more information on Children’s Pavilion authors and activities! Sponsored by MELSA—Metro Public Libraries.
NEW! MIDDLE GRADE HQ and TEEN TENT
CLICK HERE to see who’s coming and check back for more information on participating authors and activities.
Mingle with literary luminaries! Check back for a complete list of participating authors.
USED BOOK BONANZA
Great deals on thousands of gently used books and records.