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.

“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.

Random Thoughts: “Beatriz at Dinner”

This movie beautifully captures the class divide in America.

Self was going to see Wonder Woman.

Her friend’s daughter directed Wonder Woman.

Every single Everlark fan fiction writer has seen Wonder Woman.

But something about the casting of Beatriz at Dinner intrigued her. It was Chloe Sevigny that finally pushed her over the edge. Sevigny is such a kick in the pants, every single time. She’s got this playfully acerbic affect. In Beatriz, she’s decked out in sky-high heels and positively towers over her fellow cast-mates. Just one look from those lazy doe eyes and one is pinned, forever, in the zone of the socially, painfully ridiculous.

Which happens to, of all people, Salma Hayek (playing against type).

Self would also like to say that John Lithgow is particularly good here. Usually, he has such an affable aspect. Here, his affability masks a most cruel arrogance. There is a fantasy sequence which, while shocking, makes complete cinematic sense.

Finally, the real standout — no, not Salma Hayek. It’s Connie Britton, who is best known for her role in Friday Night Lights.

God, this actress. Every brittle gesture and line of dialogue rings true.

The guy who plays her husband — his conversation makes great, casual use of the “F” word — is someone who self has seen before, but always in bit roles. He’s very well cast here.

Everyone is good in this film, but the weakest performance is from the guy playing Chloe Sevigny’s partner. He has some good lines, of which the best is a Mexican phrase he throws out (wittily, he thinks) after Beatriz delivers a heartfelt performance of a Mexican song for the group’s entertainment. Self thinks it’s something like Ay, cucaracha but it could easily be Caramba or something of that ilk. Whatever. It achieves its purpose, which is to establish Beatriz as the Other. And since it’s the end of the evening, and these people have had hours to interact with Beatriz, when the man utters that throwaway line we know all is lost, the evening’s been an utter waste of Beatriz’s (and our) time. It’s a heartbreaking conclusion: that no one can bridge that divide between rich and poor, brown and white, and it’s foolish to even try.

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.

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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Focus: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 14 June 2017

The bokeh that resulted give the lights of the city a magical quality and creates a unique look for a heavily photographed location.

— David W., The Daily Post

Self had to look up the definition of “bokeh”, here.

Last night, self saw “Tristan and Yseult” at Shakespeare’s Globe. Such a beautiful, high-energy production, Emma Rice’s last as Director at the Globe.

Audience Leaving the Globe After “Tristan and Yseult”: Tuesday, 13 June 2017

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Leaving Shakespeare’s Globe after a performance of “Tristan and Yseult,” Tuesday 13 June 2017

Going home, over London Bridge, she snapped this shot of Big Ben:

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London Bridge Last Night, Around 10 p.m.

And this one of the London Eye:

DSCN0933

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Still Reading: THIS IS YOUR LIFE, HARRIET CHANCE!

Hugely enjoying this Jonathan Evison novel from a few years back, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! Turns out Evison isn’t even remotely close to being the age of his protagonist. That is what happens when you have imagination!

pp. 94 – 95:

“I feel so strange,” says Harriet. “Am I . . . dead?”

“Not yet,” he says, examining the television remote. “Trust me, you’ll know.”

“Should I be frightened?”

“Won’t do you any good,” he says, setting the remote aside. “Don’t bother planning.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: “Measure for Measure”

O, it is excellent
To have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.

— Isabella, Act II, scene ii, Measure for Measure

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