by | 09.06.2009
Fall has arrived in Seattle. The first cold rain began on Friday. I've been holed up at home, avoiding the wet as long as possible. While going through boxes in my office, I came across a book that I must have bought in Moscow in 1990, though I can't remember doing so: Nikolai Nekrasov's Selected Works.
by | 09.04.2009
What does "improvisation" mean? In the first place, every performance takes place in time, and will vary from any other performance. Someone playing the melody of "Stardust" pretty much "as written" will still be improvising the phrasing, tempo, etc...
by | 09.04.2009
The autumn doesn't officially begin until late September. But let's be honest, emotionally speaking, it starts after this Labor Day weekend. And I just realized I never announced my official song of summer. Well, whoot, here it is.
by | 09.03.2009
Auden's 1939 string of elegies and farewellings – 'In Memory of W. B. Yeats', 'In Memory of Ernst Toller', 'September 1, 1939', and 'In Memory of Sigmund Freud' – contain some curiously discordant notes, as if there were some anarchic or nihilistic principle in them struggling against the ostensible protocol of solemnity.
by | 08.31.2009
'There is no element more conspicuously absent from contemporary poetry than nobility', Stevens wrote. Perhaps in a very literal way we should restore 'nobility' to the history of contemporary poetry, if for no other reason than because it seems foreign to the field?
by | 08.30.2009
Commentary can help a reader appreciate what's left out when a poem is translated from one language to another. It can also be daunting. Unless you're truly convinced that the original version of the poem is absolutely first-rate, why would you ever want to spend time with aridly philological blah-de-blah?
by | 08.27.2009
One of those little lies you tell undergraduates is that Romanticism-its obsession with unique inner feeling, its obsession with nature-emerged as a result of the Industrial Revolution.
by | 08.26.2009
What is it about the human (Western?) mind that compels us to think in narratives?