This-82Things-is a new blog format I’m trying out, inspired by the way in which HTMLGiant deals with the pervasive “listicle” format. Their list-articles seem to me to have more to do with “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” than with BuzzFeed.
I was particularly inspired by John Rufo’s list-review, “Sortes Poundianae“. It seemed to me that the list format also referred interestingly to the way the Cantos, themselves, do not hold together. The way it is so difficult to make over-arching claims about Pound’s life. The way that Pound’s “do-I-contradict-myself”-ness contradicts himself so consistently.
So–this is my attempt at a listicle/round-up of my own, 82 items long, not related by theme or argument, only by a nine-day timespan. Rather than (or as well as) posting things when I read them, to Facebook or elsewhere, I am accumulating them here, with some commentary.
The title quote of this post is one of the lyrics from composer Huang Ruo’s new opera “Dr. Sun Yat-Sen.” (This is a translation: the original is in Mandarin.) It’s a chorus of people singing about “the state of the country under the Qing dynasty,” (see article here) but I found the line relevant to so many things we’ve all been thinking about in the news recently recently…Israel, Palestine, Gaza…Hungary…Ukraine, Russia, Poland…
August 1, 2014
1) R.L. Stevenson, “Death, To the Dead For Evermore”:
“The all-pondering, all-contriving head,
Weary with all things, wearies of the years;
And our sad spirits turn towards the dead…”
I do like “the all-pondering, all-contriving.” Unfortunately, the first two stanzas that get you there are pretty general and negligible; only the third has gas in the tank. I keep running into poems like this, older poems, where there’s an elaborate heap of setup for the only worthwhile part. I am probably too dismissive of them; I remember a teacher telling me once, in response to my saying that “The Raven” was too long, that this was a form of entertainment, like a television episode, and that people didn’t *want* poetry to be shorter. They wanted it to last awhile. But now, I suppose, we expect PASSIONATE INTENSITY from every line-crevice.
2) “Gallivanting around the cosmos is a game for the young.”
– James T. Kirk, The Wrath of Khan
Is it possible that I have never watched The Wrath of Khan before August 1, 2014? Despite being an avowed Trekker? [Ed: And despite it being released in the year I was born??]
It would seem so.
It seems utterly new to me.