Thursday, February 28, 2013

Illuminating Information - Doug Draime

Doug Draime is counted as one of the Outlaw Poets. Illuminating Information is part of a poem called Six Poems.

Illuminating Information

They talked about “art” as
if it was some
perfect glistening
thing like a diamond
after the mining
and cleaning

I swept the floor
as they talked
I took out the trash
washed the dirty glasses

“Art” without the blood
and torment
Mickey Mouse
without the mouse

After they left I
cleaned the ashtrays
scrubbed the toilet
waxed the floor
did what I had to do.

“Art” had nothing
to do with their lives
“art” was a good movie
a concert in the park
created and performed
by people with masters degrees
and winter homes
in Arizona.

I clocked out
bought a couple beers
and went home
tomorrow was another day
of illuminating information

This poetic fragment illustrates, through Draime, the attitude of the outlaws to "Art" as performed by those with Masters degrees i.e academic and comfortable art.

Draime is waiting tables to pay for his artistic pursuits, far removed from grants, teaching scholarships and patronage.

Real poetry is ever thus. Raw poetry comes from raw circumstances.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Children as Readers

Children have a layered relationship with words..., they enjoy them on an aural/oral and visual level as much as for meaning, and sometimes they live happily with a word on an aural level - without knowing its meaning.

Kate de Goldi

The thought of a layered relationship with words excites me, even as an older adult. I too, enjoy the sound and look of some words, without the need to understand them. The Jabberwocky, a poem by Lewis Carroll, springs to mind here. Nonsensical at the level of meaning but with a rich texture at the aural and visual levels.

Once again we are led by the little children.

As a converse, reading some of the post-modern literary critics there is no enjoyment at any level and sometimes it appears to be a literary and academic attempt at a Jabberwocky stripped of meaning, charm or fun.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Lunch Time Poems - an Experiment

I have only recently been exposed to the poems of Frank O'Hara. In particular I was drawn to one of his lunchtime poems titled, "The Day Lady Died", which is about his reactions to the death of Billie Halliday.

I purchased his book, "Lunchtime Poems", but have not got far. So today it got packed in with my lunch and I will read one poem a day. I suspect that this may lead me to write a series of lunchtime poems based on my own observations. Isn't derivation grand.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Books about Books

It is surprising that today we see so many books being written about other books. While from time to time these secondary source books are important they do not as a matter of course add anything to readers and students.

I was trained to work with primary sources and to put in the effort to understand them. I would rather struggle with a primary source written by the author than get my information second hand as it were.

Many books are hard to read and take due attention to detail. Expend your energy at the source not at the pool of surmise and opinion.

So read the book, not the book about the book. I was lucky to have got my undergraduate degree at an institution that truly wanted us to do this. For many students, I realise, this is not always possible, because at many universities, Prof X and Dr Y want you to reference their own erudite works.

I had a most informative seminar when I was a postgrad student where the primary author, the source, was present and kindly punctured the egos of several academics who had been pontificating about what he, the author, really meant in his works. Very entertaining as well, it is not often that you get to witness such literary evisceration.

Go on, read the source, you know that is the right, even if the hardest, thing to do.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Librarians are Great Company

My thesis that librarians are wonderful people was confirmed again today. I had called a meeting and only one other person turned up. We had a great chat and I found out that she had been a librarian and had an MA (Hons) in History. I shared with her about a librarian friend of mine who became a programmer and who worked with me on a number of international projects. He is the best programmer that I have ever worked with, and he told me that it was his library training that gave him his edge.

My first love in life was a librarian. I was 5 and she was probably in her 30's but she fostered my love of books.

It is unusual and wonderful to talk to intelligent and literate people. I am yet to find an illiterate librarian :)

So 3 cheers for Librarians.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Taster - 18 Business Leaders who are or were Avid Readers

This is just a taster for a wonderful article that can be accessed here.

"Some of the world’s greatest leaders are also among the world’s most avid readers, and we’re certain that it’s no coincidence. Whether you’re reading business books or history novels, reading offers great opportunities for learning and perspective that can build a foundation for greatness. We’re inspired by these 18 business leaders who have a deep love of books, and we’re sure that their passion for literature and reading has a lot to do with their success in business."

In the article there is good information under every name.

1. Oprah

2. Steve Jobs

3. William Randolph Hearst

4. Phil Knight

5. Martin Scorsese

6. Sidney Harman

7. J.P. Morgan

8. Michael Moritz

9. David Leach

10. Michael Milken

11. Shelly Lazarus

12. Jay Walker

13. Dee Hock

14. David Rubenstein

15. Karl Lagerfeld

16. Bill Gates

17. George Lucas

18. George Peabody


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Friday, February 1, 2013

Writing from the Cathedrals of the Imagination

"Writing a novel is not merely going in a shopping expedition across the border to an unreal land: it is hours and years spent in the factories, the streets, the cathedrals of the imagination."
Janet Frame

What a great thought. The imagery of the cathedrals of the imagination is very evocative. Frame, in fact, spent many years living in her imaginary world.

Styron on the Reading Experience

As Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Styron put it: “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”

I have had the exhausted feeling after reading a number of books. I enjoy the vicarious living and experiences that good books give.