Sunday, September 01, 2013

"The myth prescribes the garret rather than the Guggenheim"

I have been exhausted all week, but I think I am finally starting to feel more normal - failed to get up for projected early-morning bike ride today, but it was for the best, I needed the sleep more. Had a good swim yesterday but am feeling much thwarted by August swimming-pool closures.

All sorts of Seamus Heaney-related tabs open, waiting for a proper send-off, but I realize that I could wait forever, so here are a few good ones (I never took a class with him, but he was an active and benevolent presence during my undergraduate days in Adams House): Henri Cole interviewed Heaney for the Paris Review (this one's a must-read, all sorts of the things he says are quite arresting, including thoughts about living in two places); Andrew O'Hagan at the LRB on car trips with Heaney and Karl Miller (note blethering discussion, which strongly reminded me of my Scottish grandfather - it was a word he loved - that and shoogly are two Scots words that remain in my personal idiom).

A good interview with Ruth Franklin about the art of criticism.

Lee Child has an amazing apartment! (I like my current apartment very much, indeed it is somewhere I will very happily live until the day I die if that is the way things go, but at this time of year I hugely regret not having central air-conditioning - it is the nature of the Columbia housing stock to be pre-war and very beautiful/spacious, but the humidity right now is killing me, and it leaves me with the impression of my apartment being a sinkhole, even though really it is the same as always.) Very impatient for the new Jack Reacher book - if I am sensible, I will save it to read on Thursday in the airport en route to Madison for my race.

Light reading around the edges of copious trivial errands and obsessing about upcoming race and digging out books and papers for fall-semester classes: Mick Herron, Slow Horses.

Also I forgot to say I read Adam Phillips' Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life as my "airplane book" (I am ready for the silly rule about not using electronic devices during takeoff and landing to be abandoned - but in the meantime, I will continue to have some kind of nonfiction or essay collection with me to while away those stretches of Kindle-banned time). There are only about three worthwhile paragraphs in the whole book, but on the other hand it is a very short book. At his best, Phillips is transfixing, but one also feels he spools this stuff out without regard to quality - he could use a more challenging interlocutor at this point, I suspect, than his own ears!

1 comment:

  1. Yes the Henri Cole piece was amazing... as an addendum there is also his reminiscence in the New Republic, -- my mind cannot quite wrap itself around the idea of Heaney at Dolphin Sea Foods!

    Heaney read somewhere in W. Mass (probably Smith?) when I was an undergrad. I remember being extremely struck by the voice and esp. how much it was able to draw out of poems like "The Strand at Lough Beg" that I have otherwise never liked.