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.

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

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

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Pedestrians on Waterloo Bridge, London, June 2017

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

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.

 

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:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Order: London Eye, an Apartment Building in the Marais, the Islamic Collection at the Louvre

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is ORDER:

Sure, it’s fun to celebrate chaos every once in a while. But it’s others’ visions of order and harmony, from colonnades to geometric patterns on tiles, that most often intrigue me . . .

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

Architecture has to have a sense of order. Otherwise, things just don’t get built.

Here are three beautiful examples of architecture self recently encountered on her travels:

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The London Eye, 7 June 2017

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Apartment Windows, the Marais, Paris: 2 June 2017

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The Collection of Islamic Art at the Louvre, 1 June 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: The Borgias’ Poison of Choice

  • Their method . . .  was to administer arsenic to a boar, and, so soon as the poison began to take effect, hang the animal up by the heels. Convulsions supervened; and a froth, deadly and abundant, ran out from his jaws. It was this froth, collected into a silver vessel, and subsequently transferred to a bottle hermetically sealed, which constituted the liquid poison.

— Sax Rohmer, The Romance of Sorcery

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: 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

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