August 7th, 2011 § § permalink
Totally lame month for reading. I blame fabulous London, which distracted me immensely and in beautiful ways. I also blame having to fly — and no, you can’t really get much reading done when you’re flying, especially if you get one of those random upgrades and a gorgeous European man is bringing you wine and chocolate every half an hour. And I also blame being home in Bangalore and getting pampered by people who manage somehow, despite everything, to love me.
After shamefully excusing myself from this shoddy performance, these are the two books I read in June:
- Ted Hughes: The Hawk in the Rain (1957) [EDIT 23/09/11 Apparently I read this is May, not June.]
- Yu Xuanji: The Complete Poems (tr. from the Chinese by Leonard Ng)
[EDITEDITEDIT! I discovered I did read another book in June: it was John Haines's The Stone Harp. I wrote about it in my July roundup here. 25/08/11]
The Hughes was a re-read. Ted Hughes has been a favourite poet of mine for a long time and probably the first poet I read in any sort of detail. So it’s hard for me to say this, but I didn’t like the book as much this time round. I wonder if it’s first-book syndrome, because a lot of it seemed too much, too embellished and fussy. Of course, some poems are still exceptional and pretty much flawless (the title poem, ‘A Modest Proposal,’ and various others), but the book as a whole may not be the gem I used to think it was. » Read the rest of this entry «
June 17th, 2011 § § permalink
One of mine is to find in a bookstore a writer I have never previously known. The writer could be very famous indeed, but if I have never even heard of her before, then the pleasure is acute. It’s a discovery, like finding a perfectly shaped stone. Someone else could have found that stone. In fact, it’s likely that many people before me have. Sometimes many, many people. Yet there is something unique about the experience, something personal.
A few hours before flying from London to Bangalore, my cousin and I walked into a secondhand bookstore on the way to the tube station. It was a Books for Amnesty outfit, whose proceeds go to Amnesty International. I found a lot of lovely books there, but I also found a book by John Haines called The Stone Harp. I’d never heard of Haines before, but the poems I read in that book in that bookstore were extraordinary. The book was rather expensive for a secondhand (non-first edition) copy. When I asked the cashier, he said it was because they match their prices online. So I got the feeling that it was a hard-to-find if not rare copy. I bought the book.
» Read the rest of this entry «
April 19th, 2011 § § permalink
Lately, I’ve fallen in love with so many women — utterly in love — with who they are, how they are, what they do. These women are all of a certain age, and it makes me excited; it makes me wonder what it would be like to be that age and to have something and to live a life of — I suppose I could only call it a life of poetry, and to live it fully. It almost makes me want to skip all of the in-between, which I know is unwise.
Most recently, my excitement has been for Susan Howe, whose work I never expected to like much at all, having read individual poems. But then I read a whole book (Souls of the Labadie Tract, 2007), which I liked quite a bit, and I heard her read from her latest (THAT THIS, 2010), which seems even more fascinating. She also gave a talk on Emily Dickinson, a favourite poet of hers. She spoke so passionately of her — it seems weak to use the word ‘passion’ even. Howe believes strongly that if you love a writer, you must go after the original manuscripts, as she has done with Dickinson. Find the library or estate that owns them and do what you can to see them for yourself, not just digitally. The experience, she says, is radically different. And she’s right; there’s a material significance to it. » Read the rest of this entry «
December 26th, 2010 § § permalink
1. “All dreams, please.”
Quantin looked up. Under the conductor’s canting a red beard bubbled, and through the beard a smile.
“Be so kind as to have your dreams ready.” » Read the rest of this entry «
August 10th, 2010 § § permalink
Firstly, this is not just a corny title, it is a self-conscious, referential, corny title.
Secondly, OMG, I’m leaving, like, tomorrow.
So this is a post to tell you that Blotting paper will be temporarily on hold. I’m thinking two weeks, but it might be more. » Read the rest of this entry «
October 27th, 2009 § § permalink
I hate to travel. I feel displaced and lost, and find myself wanting a particular thing — a sweater, a book, the ability to buy cake at a place that I know for sure sells nice cake — that I don’t have in the new place. Recently I went to Hyderabad for all of two days, which arguably isn’t ‘travelling’ but I have to say I had the best time. And not simply for obvious reasons that I’ll come to later. » Read the rest of this entry «
May 27th, 2008 § § permalink