Leontia Flynn: The Bloomsbury Hotel, 1939 – 1945

Self cannot believe that the hotel gives away these precious little poetry collections, collections of all the poems written about The Bloomsbury Hotel.

Here’s an excerpt from a Leontia Flynn poem about the hotel during wartime:

Shutter the windows. Tumble down the wall.
Sleep under a curtain in the swimming pool
and shelter in the old gymnasium.
After the talks, the shying and denial,
War has come again. War: the word’s a bomb

on everyone’s lips.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry About the Bloomsbury Hotel, London

They give poetry books to each guest, which is how self happened upon this poem by Jo Shapcott:

New commission

It’s a hot night. We walk our wheelies from the tube.
The brick walls seep warmth. On the way we smell shop-
flowers through the traffic, hear church bells, loiter
in the odd sweet spot until we’re here, looking up
at a paradox of double steps. Still curbside, we sense
that if there’s a muse of stairways, she lives here,
inside these buildings made of red brick and rain.
Through the doors and we’re inhabiting a chandelier
or library or a chapel or a cave, and our minds flash and glow
with noises, words and tastes until our hearts have softened
inside our bodies and when we leave, the street is silk under
the lamps.

Everlark: It’s Been a While

Her fingers danced across the leather spines like thin spiders . . .

After Violence: Editors’ Note, J Journal, Fall 2012

This morning, self was standing on Platform # 5 in St. Pancras, waiting for the Picadilly Line southbound to Russell Square, when she heard the announcement over the PA system: We invite you to take a minute of silence to remember the victims of last Saturday’s attack on London Bridge.

It just so happens she has the Fall 2012 issue of J Journal here in London, and here’s what she read in the Editors’ Note:

. . .  after muggings in the park or fights on the street, after flood and fire, after 9/11 — why write? Why read? What good comes of either? Aren’t they just flimsy paper shields against what Yeats worries is “passionate intensity,” the eruption of chaos, of hurt and death? No. After violence, after strangeness on the street, after degradation and the jolt of darkness, what do people do? Grab someone and start talking. The writer grabs a pen and arranges events, turns abstractions into images, draws from chaos something to hold, something with meaning. In that way, perhaps writing is itself the first act of justice.

J Journal, A Note From the Editors, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Fall 2012)

Could have been written yesterday.

J Journal is published twice-yearly by the Dept. of English of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 West 59th Street, New York City.

Stay tuned.

#amreading: About Ancient Egyptian Incense

  • A recipe for its preparation is contained in the Ebers papyrus, and Ebers says that three different varieties were made up by L. Voigt, a Berlin chemist. That from the formula of Dioscorides was the best. It consisted of resin, wine, Galangal root, juniper berries, root of aromatic rush, asphaltum, mastic, myrrh, Burgundy, grapes, and honey.

— Sax Rohmer, The Romance of Sorcery

#amreading: THIS IS YOUR LIFE, HARRIET CHANCE!

Yes, we’re getting ahead of ourselves again, but hey, it happens . . .  The reflective mind is a pinball, pitching and careening, rebounding off anything it makes contact with.

— p. 29, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison

#amreading: THIS IS YOUR LIFE, HARRIET CHANCE

Self is very much enjoying her first Jonathan Evison novel, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance. She is in Paris, enjoying the vibes. The book she read before this one, The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck, was about crossing America in a covered wagon; she began reading it in Cork, almost a month ago. She was still reading it in London. Still reading it in Bath. Finally, finally, in Versailles, she finished it. Because mules just do not go with chateaus, just saying.

Now, at least, she’s reading about cruises. Much better:

The weight of the impending cruise sits on her shoulders, a heavy dread. If only she could cancel without breaking Mildred’s heart. From the beginning, Harriet hoped that Mildred would decline, so she wouldn’t have to go herself, but she should have known better.

— p. 23, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison

Since the book blurbs all state that the cruise is going to happen, self doesn’t have to wallow in the main character’s dithering. Rather than condemn, she relates.

It is a painful, really painful, idea to go on a cruise.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Friends 2: Monet’s Garden at Giverney

Two days ago, self had the opportunity to visit Giverney for the first time. She got so lost in the gardens, she didn’t even bother going inside Monet’s house. Go figure! She’s always loved flowers. They are her friends, always. Which is perfect, since this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is FRIENDS:

DSCN0533.JPG

DSCN0531

DSCN0502

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Still More Evanescent: Paris Day Trip

Today self and her niece Irene went on a one-day tour to Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte and Chateau de Fontainebleau. The guide’s name was Laurence: she was great.

Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte came first. OMG, that estate is just fabulous. It’s privately owned. The main buildings are open to the public; no sign of the family that owns the place, but hey, imagine giving birthday parties there! Must be soooo fun!

At some time in its fabulous past, the estate was in the hands of the same family for eight generations. The last heir murdered his wife so he could be with his mistress, was convicted and imprisoned, and committed suicide in his cell, a year later. Payback’s a bitch!

His chef invented the praline.

DSCN0288

A Photo Shoot Was Happening at the 17th Century Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte! Self was so woke!

DSCN0240

Windows, Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte

DSCN0230

More Windows at Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte: Self took so many pictures there that by the time the tour arrived at Fontainebleau, her camera battery was exhausted. Ugh!!!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Evanescent: Big Bus Tour of Paris Great Moments

DSCN0180

DSCN0179

DSCN0178

Moments: Musee de l’Orangerie

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is EVANESCENT.

What is fleeting, what is most evanescent.

Look at the pictures she chose to take at the Musee de l’Orangerie. Instead of waiting for people to clear out of her photograph, they became part of the moment. And that was even before she found out what this week’s Photo Challenge was.

Moments. That’s all she was interested in capturing this afternoon. Apparently.

DSCN0105

DSCN0104

DSCN0102

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading “Salt” from Joan McGavin’s PASSING ARCADIA CLOSE

Rivers fascinate self.

Here’s a poem about rivers from Joan McGavin’s second collection, Passing Arcadia Close (Oversteps Books 2017).

Self met Joan 2012, in Hawthornden.

SALT

by Joan McGavin

The changing taste of rivers
told me where I was heading.
How could I fail to swim faster?
I’d hugged the coast for hours,
kept the lap of landbound waves
to my right, where the tang of fresh water
mixed in with salt would flood
the roof of my mouth
at each estuary.

At night I dozed in the hammock between waves
or beached and slept away from houses
but within earshot of tides.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Heritage 2: Film Maven, Paris While Cannes

Self was last here in 2012.  She’s declined every opportunity to return, until now.

Look what she encountered around the corner: a film festival running in conjunction with Cannes. The movies are in English, with French subtitles. Perfect.

DSCN1965

Her Dear Departed Dad worshipped Orson Welles, and movies in general. He passed on this HERITAGE to self.

DSCN1970

Self didn’t know until today that it is the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival:

DSCN1967

Self is a film nut. She takes advantage of every opportunity to attend film festivals, wherever in the world she happens to be: Edinburgh; Ojai, California; Cork, Ireland; Palo Alto; San Francisco.

One day, perhaps, she’ll write a script based on one of her stories.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Reflecting: Seeing “Mayerling” Last Night

The Daily Post Photo Challenge this week is REFLECTING.

Can self just say she arrived sick and barely able to keep upright. But damn — the Royal Opera House!

Seeing it for the first time was — awesome.

Plus, the adjoining bar/restaurant: All that glass! All that light!

Perfect for this week’s Photo Challenge!

Before the start of the ballet, self dashed to the bar to order some hot tea. She wound up sharing a table with an American woman, a ballet aficionado who has season tickets to the New York City Ballet and watches “thirty ballets a year. At least.” Self confided that she wasn’t feeling well and might leave during one of the intermissions.

And the womans said: The pas de deaux in Act III are spectacular. Don’t leave.

HamlynHallRestaurantROH

The Bar at the Royal Opera House, 8 p.m. Saturday, May 13

And then, the interior of the Royal Opera House itself:

RoyalOperaHouseMay13

Waiting for the beginning of Kenneth Macmillan’s beautiful, stunning ballet, “Mayerling”: Saturday, May 13

More of the Royal Opera House Bar. At intermission, self went up an escalator to the “Bridge” over the bar, from which she got a jaw-dropping view of Covent Garden, at 8 p.m.:

DSCN1822

Center Top, the “Bridge”: A side escalator takes you to it, and from there you can see all of Covent Garden. SPECTACULAR. Especially at sunset.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Hockney and Cavafy in the British Museum

It is Friday. The British Museum is open late. Right now, it’s full of schoolchildren. They slouch all over the galleries in their jeans and backpacks. Some are French. One French schoolgirl calls an elevator by pressing one sneakered foot against the down button. Remind self never to touch a button in the British Museum. Ever. Another sits on the floor of a gallery, just staring in a kind of daze. Two of her friends come sit next to her. They don’t ask her if anything’s wrong.

The Hockney sketches are in a room right next to the British Watercolors, 1850-1950. Self walked all through the watercolor exhibit yesterday. It was so amazing.

She went back today for the Hockneys.

She loves Cavafy. So does Hockney.

Hockney’s sketches of men are simple pencil, or pen and ink. They are so evocative. Two men lie naked in bed together. There’s one simply entitled “Peter, 1966.”

How beautifully he captures the form of these men in repose! Some of the schoolboys in the gallery were giggly, though not to the point of disrespectfulness.

There’s also a sketch of a shopkeeper standing at the door to his business. Beneath that sketch is a Cavafy poem, “In the Dull Village”:

In the dull village where he works —
as a clerk in a shop;
very young — and where he waits
for two or three months to go by
another two or three months till business slows down,
to go then to the town and throw himself immediately
into its life and entertainment,
In the dull village where he waits —
he went to bed love-sick tonight,
his whole youth afire with fleshly passion,
beautiful youth beautiful in intensity.
And pleasure came to him in sleep; he sees
and has the body he desires in his sleep.

— C. P. Cavafy

Further background on the exhibit is here.

It runs through this Sunday, May 14.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: Kristin Dimitrova

Self has read this collection before: it’s in the Blue Room of Café Pardiso.

An Old Mesopotamian Legend About Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, Who Wanted to Become Immortal

— by Kristin Dimitrova

Wanted to;
could not.

— from Dimitrova’s collection A Visit to the Clockmaker (Southward Editions, 2005), translated from the Bulgarian by Gregory O’Donoghue

#amreadingpoetry: Liu Xia

Before you go into the grave
Don’t forget to write to me with your ashes
Don’t forget to leave your underworld address

quoted by Liao Yiwu in his introduction to Liu Xia’s collection Empty Chairs, the bilingual edition (Graywolf Press)

Now For One of Self’s: “The Lost Language”

This was published many years ago, in a magazine called Isotope.

Published in Utah and edited by a poet, Chris Cokinos.

It joined together two things: science writing and creative writing.

You would find, in the same issue, a play by a physicist, a nature essay, a poem by a mathematician. That sort of thing.

Self loved it.

Chris Cokinos, what are you doing now? Know that self considered Isotope a very noble experiment.

Here’s an excerpt from the story they published, which became the title of her third collection. It’s one of those hybrid things: part essay, part memoir, part myth, part short story.

The Lost Language

Filipinos once had an ancient written language. If I were to show you what the marks look like on a piece of paper, they would look like a series of waves. Or like Egyptian hieroglyphics. Like the eye of the Pharaoh I saw in my old high school history books.

The language was written on tree bark. Epics were probably written in this language, but I don’t know what they are. My ancestors are shadowy people. Shadows.

When I was a little girl, perhaps eight years old or so, my mother gave me a book of Philippine legends. The legends were mostly about beautiful maidens and enchanted animals. But the story I liked best was about Hari sa Bukid, which means King of the Mountain.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Metamorphosis Generator

From A Work-in-Progress:

The Jaguar I know is a bit much. Especially for the country. But Wolfgang must have his toys. The Jaguar, the helicopter, the espresso/ice cream machine, the Jacuzzi with 20 different spurt settings, the 80-inch flat-screen HDTV, the four-foot Bose speakers, the laser wrinkle removers, the Do-It-Yourself Botox injectors and hair implantation devices, the state-of-the-art dollar-printing mechanism, the 3D Alternate Universe Hologram, the foot-high platform shoes with the massage feature, the metamorphosis generator . . .

Once, he trapped a fly in the metamorphosis pod, and what emerged was a woman with wondrous, bulbous dark eyes and gossamer hair.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Three Days, Three Movies

Self has been so starved for movies.

In a prevous life, she’d be in her local cine-plex every other day.

The past couple of years, though, unless she feels really driven, she’ll go months without seeing a movie.

Here are some of the ways she shows her movie geek street cred:

Oxford, UK: She gave up seeing the Ashmolean in favor of watching Captain America (In all fairness, the movie theatre was so conveniently situated: just across from Gloucester Green)

London: She walked — walked — in full summer heat, from Russell Square to Shaftesbury Avenue, simply to watch X-Men in the Odeon.

Fort Bragg, CA: She went during a lull in a storm. The movie? Kingsmen, with Colin Firth. When she came out of the movie, the wind was blowing flat out. Self thought she was going to be swept into the ocean.

Now, in the past four days, she has seen three movies:

  • Band Aid
  • Beatriz at Dinner
  • Wonder Woman

Sorry to say, she nearly fell asleep during the action sequences at the end of Wonder Woman. But woke right up again when she saw, in the closing credits, the name of her friend’s daughter:

DIRECTED BY PATTY JENKINS

Of the movies she’s seen so far this summer, her favorite would be Beatriz at Dinner. For Connie Britton and John Lithgow’s performances.

Today, she’s going to see The Book of Henry, even though it hasn’t gotten good reviews. She loves Naomi Watts, even though she’s been so under-used by Hollywood lately.

A long time ago, self met a Mills College student at one of her San Francisco readings. Chatting with the young woman after the reading, the student revealed she made money by working part-time as an exotic dancer. And self happened to mention how much she liked Naomi Watts (What’s the connection to exotic dancing? Nothing), and the young woman said even though Watts had turned 40, if the young woman were a man, she’d definitely consider her hot.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

TRANSIENT 2: AT SFMOMA

Went for the Edvard Munch exhibit. Stayed to view the permanent collection. Forgot about Gay Pride and got stuck in the hugest traffic jam. At least, got to see the mayhem starting.

While taking a coffee break at SFMOMA, she shared her little table with a young woman from Japan named Yoshie Yam. It turned out we both love traveling. Love, love, love traveling. So, self chooses to begin her second post on The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge, TRANSIENT, with this, our little table at the SFMOMA Coffeeshop:

DSCN0069

Coffee break at SFMOMA, after seeing the Edvard Munch exhibit

On the second floor of the SFMOMA is this huge black-and-white photo. Not quite sure about the decade. 1960s? Which reminds self, it is the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s Summer of Love! There’s an exhibit commemorating the anniversary at the de Young. Self wanted to go today, but was put off by the traffic that always surrounds Gay Pride Day:

DSCN0067

Finally, the Munch exhibit, the one that self drove all the way to San Francisco to see. The paintings are striking, powerful, disorienting. The one below is one of the largest. It’s called “The Dance of Life.” The men are already turning into ghouls:

DSCN0025

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Gelato” by Gerald Stern: The New Yorker, 10 April 2017

Here’s an excerpt from a poem she encountered today in The New Yorker, one in a huge pile that gathered dust while she was on her latest trip:

we turned to Chinese poetry and Kenneth Rexroth’s
“Hundred Poems” and ended up
talking about the Bollingen and Pound’s
stupid admiration of Mussolini
and how our main poets were on the right
politically — most of them — unlike the European
and South American, and we climbed some steps
into a restaurant I knew to buy gelato
and since we were poets we went by the names,
instead of the tastes and colors — and I stopped talking
and froze beside a small tree since I was
older than Pound was when he went silent
and kissed Ginsberg, a cousin to the Rothschilds,
who had the key to the ghetto in his pocket,
one box over and two rows up, he told me.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Transient: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 21 June 2017

  • “For this week’s challenge, show us your perception of transient . . .  a depiction of the state of impermanence.”

—  Andrea Badgley, The Daily Post

DSCN0956

Tray Table Art by Self’s Seatmate on the Flight to San Francisco, a Girl Named Caroline Rose

DSCN0895

Pedestrians on Waterloo Bridge, London, June 2017

DSCN0775

Paper Birds, Church of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, London

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Emma Rice: Shakespeare and Love

This year, self was fortunate enough to catch two plays at Shakespeare’s Globe: Twelfth Night and Tristan and Yseult.

Both plays were terrific. But only one was truly unforgettable, because self watched it her last night in London, that fabulous city.

Here’s an excerpt from the Tristan and Yseult programme, written by Director Emma Rice:

Love, I celebrate it, practise it, mourn it, and fight for it.

But my appreciation and experience of this most seductive of topics is dwarfed by Shakespeare’s understanding of love. My mind spins when I imagine how his life must have been: how hard he worked, how far he travelled, how dark and scary the landscape he lived in was. If I close my eyes and propel my imagination back in time, I hear the tectonic plates of the planet creak, I see the ground opening up and Shakespeare clambering out of a deep crack in the earth’s surface, dusty, desperate and gasping for air . . . then, with the clarity of clear water, he sings from the earth he was born. Shakespeare gave voice to desire and to grief, to parenthood and to marriage. He charted the waters of courtship and the loneliness of a failing marriage. He mourned for us, married for us and betrayed for us. He gazed fearlessly into the human existence like no other, before or since.

DSCN0910

Shakespeare’s Globe, Just Before the Start of “Tristan and Yseult,” June 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

#amreadingpoetry: Anne-Adele Wight

  • Imprudent
    you go about like a tiger
    not knowing you stir the real beast.

from “Imprudent,” included in Ann-Adele Wight’s poetry collection, Sidestep Catapult

Focus 2: London, Giverney and Versailles

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is FOCUS.

David W. asks:

Are you a stickler for getting in close to your subjects and capturing every detail, or do you prefer a more ethereal look that illustrates the sensations of the moment? Or both?

Self definitely falls into the latter group.

Much has happened in the world in the four months self traveled through England, Ireland, and France. She took this picture standing on the steps of London’s St. Martin-in-the-Fields, where she’d gone to listen to a candlelight Pachelbel Canon concert:

DSCN0778

Iconic Double-Decker: London, Early June 2017

Before London, self was in Paris. She spent one day at Monet’s Garden in Giverney, which was awash in blooms:

DSCN0497

Blooming in Monet’s Garden in Giverney, Early June 2017

Finally, Versailles. The lines were incredible. It took all of her niece Irene’s ingenuity to get us both inside. Self took this picture staring through the gilt iron gates at the front entrance, on a very hot afternoon in late May:

DSCN0442

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Matthew Hopkins, Witch-Hunter

In the 1640s, a self-designated witch-finder named Matthew Hopkins “toured the counties of Norfolk, Essex, Hants, and Sussex, in quest of witches.”

In one year he brought no fewer than sixty to the stake.

Method of detection: “swimming”

  • The right thumb of the suspected person was tied to the toe of the left foot, and vice versa. She was then wrapped in a blanket and placed on her back in a pond. If she floated — which we are told was generally the case when placed carefully upon the water — she was guilty, and was burned forthwith; if she sank, she was innocent.

— Sax Rohmer, The Romance of Sorcery

Only the preposition “she” is used, throughout this section. Self can only assume this means: No male witches, ever.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

« Older entries

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photography

Learning and teaching the art of composition.

fashionnotfear.wordpress.com/

Fear holds you back, fashion takes you places!

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

the contemporary small press

A site for small presses, writers, poets & readers

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

"Stories makes us more alive, more human. . . . "---Madeleine L'Engle

Rants Of A Gypsy

Amuse Thyself Reader!

FashionPoetry by Val

Sometimes, I write down my thoughts (and other random stuff) and I share them

Kanlaon

Just another Wordpress.com weblog

Jean Lee's World

Finder of Fantasy & Adventure in Her Own Backyard