Monday, October 20, 2008

Free Money

We here at TLS admire creative types, but we have a particularly soft spot in our hearts for writers. We know not everyone can be a Writer when asked, "What do you do for a living?" For the most part, this is a good thing because you wouldn't want to flood an already competitive and, unfortunately, increasingly unread maket (we're talkin' fiction here). However, we would like to see everyone become at least competent in their writing, and this seems to be one of the goals of our institutions of higher education. Unfortunately, some Writers can sometimes go astray, but, then again, it's hard to blame them when they can't put food on the table for their many, many children.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Drunk Horse

We are always sad to see friends fall on hard times, so it was disheartening to see this headline in The Guardian: Drunk pony rescued from swimming pool. Fat Boy had tried so hard to stay off the fermented apples, but apparently the global financial crisis was just too much for him:
The pony, called Fat Boy, broke in to Sarah Penhaligon's garden in Newquay, Cornwall, to get to the fruit, which had fallen from trees.

He ate so many apples that he became confused.

Thankfully, he hadn't lost the weight he had been trying to shed lately; the extra bulk kept him warm while in the water.

We've all been there, Fat Boy. Here's to better times.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Other Things Also"

Today was an exciting day! Our new favorite poet has published a new poem! Sarah Palin's latest release finds her expanding her range: she is using longer lines and experimenting more with syntax and enjambment. Whereas, with previous efforts, such as "Challenge to a Cynic" and "On Reporters," her debt to John Ashberry's short collages of disparate, unrelated words was obvious, her newest work sounds more like the free-flowing stream-of-consciousness of Frank O'Hara. O'Hara's influence can also be seen in direct, concrete references, like "the New York Times" and "Barack Obama." But this new directness does not mean she has abandoned her commitment to abstraction. Indeed, the hazy syntactical relationship between her words and any kind of referent is just as present here. Like Emily Dickinson, she uses pronouns like "It" and "they" without a clear antecedent so as to elide any reduction of her work to a single interpretation. She prefers that the reader get lost in the twists and turns of her mysterious, snaking sentences. If there is a connection between all these orphaned clauses, she doesn't want to impose a meaning on it. The very idea of meaning becomes obsolete; reason and logic are abandoned. She aims for, and achieves, an emotional effect that transcends thinking. She is a poet who captures the confusion of our times. Language, she seems to suggest, cannot begin to capture the experience, only suggest, or gesture toward it.

But enough analysis. As Wordsworth said, "We murder to dissect."

Here is the thing itself:

"Other Things Also"

It is pertinent,
it's important
because when you consider
Barack Obama's reaction to
and explanation to
his association
and without him being clear
at all
on what he knew and when he knew it,
that I think
kinda peaks into his ability
to tell us the truth on,
not only on
but perhaps
other things also.

it's relevant,
I believe,
and I brought it up in response
to the New York Times article
having been printed recently,
and I think
it just makes us ask the question that,
if there's not forthrightness there,
with that association
and what was known
and when it was known,
does that lead us to ask,
is there forthrightness
with the plans
Barack Obama has
or say tax cuts,
or spending increases,
makes us question judgment.
And I think
it's fair and relevant.

(October 7, 2008, on a plane from Florida to North Carolina)

(via AS)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sarah Palin Reads The Lonely Seagull (And The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Harper's, and Newseek, and Inches, and The Daily Worker...)

The Virginia Quarterly Review points out that the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate is evidently a voracious reader. She reads "all" the magazines and newspapers, according to what she told Katie Couric:
COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?

PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.

PALIN: Um, all of them…

We're grateful that Mrs. Palin has read our small effort. We hope that she's enjoyed it and, perhaps, gleaned some wisdom about geopolitics, or at least what animals are best associated with certain Jimi Hendrix songs.

Video of the interview can be found here, among doubtless innumerable other places.

(via VQR, and apologies for stealing their joke.)


This month ushers in a difficult season. Baseball is still around in playoff form for a while, but that only means the winter is a little closer, and will soon have fewer distractions. And with all the uncertainty clouding the news in addition to the general gloominess of early darkness and overcast days, this winter will likely need some distractions. But this inchoate dread, distilled from internal and external threats, is hardly a new feeling.

Frank O'Hara, in his poem "October," articulates it quite well:

Summer is over,
that moment of blindness
in a sunny wheelbarrow
aching on sand dunes
from a big melancholy
about war headlines
and personal hatreds.

Restful boredom waits
for the winter’s cold solace
and biting season of galas
to take over my nerves,
and from anger at time’s rough passage
I fight off the future, my friend.

Is there at all anywhere
in this lavender sky
beside the UN Building
where I am so little
and have dallied with love,
a fragment of the paradise
we see when signing treaties
or planning free radio stations?

If I turn down my sheets
Children start screaming through
the windows. My glasses
are broken on the coffee table.
And at night a truce
with Iran or Korea seems certain
while I am beaten to death
by a thug in a back bedroom.