Friday, September 14, 2012

Bookmarks List/Bedside Table

Currently reading and enjoying:

“GPS and the End of the Road,” by Ari N. Schulman in The New Atlantis (Spring 2011). I teach a class around the theme of “Getting Lost,” and this essay has been useful and fun. The whole issue (on Place and Placelessness in America) is completely fascinating.

Speaking of navigation, “Map Quest,” by Alice Bolin in The Paris Review online. Bolin talks Elizabeth Bishop, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and “emotional cartography.” Completely engaging and delightful essay (and I teach some Bishop poems in my “Getting Lost” class, so I particularly appreciated this). 

“Cleaving To,” by Kristine S. Ervin in the current issue of Crab Orchard Review. Whew. Stunning and tragic essay in which the author struggles to address her mother’s murderer. This piece is honest and painful and brave (since it’s in the current issue, it’s print only, for now).

“In the Well,” by Andrew Hudgins. I was reminded of his poem recently, and it is living in my brain this week.

What are you reading/listening to this week?


  1. Landscape And Memory by Simon Schama. A fascinating, complex, rambling (in a good way), learned study of the perceptions of landscape (specifically wood, water, and stone) in Western art and society. Simon Schama's brain must be super-absorbent. I think I love him.

  2. Thanks for the links to some good reading, Hannah. Enjoy your day!

  3. Wow, that poem by Hudgins!

    Just finished Chris Benfy's "Red Brick Black Mountain White Clay". Am reading a Sharon Olds's "Stag's Leap" collection and a Joe Wilkins memoir, "The Mountains and the Fathers". Plan to begin Victoria Sweet's "God's Hotel", a memoir about a hospital in California.

    Have a great weekend, Hannah.

  4. Your students must be very be thought-provoked, to read such cogitations on place, technology, the dichotomies between tourists and “journeyers”, mapping/capturing and experiencing. I especially appreciate the literary connections made, like those between Bishop and Hugo, On the Road (a modern-day Lazarillo de Tormes) and The Moviegoer (a modern-day Don Quixote). I prefer Schulman’s exegesis of technology, the “augmented reality” that turns us all into Lewis and Clark even as it further shortens our attention spans and tolerance levels, the self-driving cars that would be great for drunk drivers, the apps that make all of life like an audio tour of an art museum, to his literary analysis. In particular his attempts to reconcile Huck Finn and On the Road, two definitive narratives about outcasts seeking other outcasts, to the concerns of “normal” people was a stretch to say the least. And he left unanswered some deeper questions about GPS:

    - Why did the transsexual who commercialized GPS technology give her a female voice?
    - Do they program the voice with slight irritation when saying “recalculating…”?
    - Why, no matter where I go, my fellow GPS passenger (we have a dialogue, if not an understanding) always tries to send me to I-95 (what I call the Matrix Reloaded Highway)?
    - And why is a young, presumably healthy man driving around Dupont Circle, much less trying to GPS his way through the Knossos that is DC?

    As for what I’m reading this week, aside from some poetic pit-stops like Edwin Markham, Jordan Davis and the regular blogroll (of which the Storialist is a proud member), I’ve been immersed pretty heavily in Oxfordian scholarship. Among the more interesting recent discoveries:

    - The Warwickshire dialect spoken in Stratford-on-Avon was as close to German as English and would have been completely incomprehensible in 16th century London.
    - The problematic First Folio was published by DeVere’s children and friends as a way to turn public opinion against the marriage of King James’ son to a Spanish heir.
    - Ann Cornwallis, a cousin of DeVere’s, saved some of his original manuscripts, including poems officially attributed to DeVere, a sonnet officially attributed to Shakespeare, and parts of the Passionate Pilgrim (officially attributed to Shakespeare). This is significant not only in that this is the first real manuscript of Shakespeare found (I suspect but can’t prove there were manuscripts buried with him in Westminster Abbey), but they predate by 10-20 years their publication date (completely obliterating the already thin reed of the Stratfordian timeline).

    There is of course so much more, casting illumination not only on the Shakespeare works, but on hidden British history and of course current events. I’ve also been perusing Moby Dick again, having found out that Melville was an early Oxfordian, and cannot help but be struck by the thought that Ahab is DeVere’s immortal soul plunged into the eternal vengeance of Hades to avenge his terrible injury – chasing a merciless adversary alone with a terrible truth that drives him mad. Melville’s writing is so direct on this, and so Shakespearean, that crazy me speculates he may be a reincarnation of the Earl.

  5. Thanks for your list, and, oh...!, that poem!

  6. Thank you for your list....I wish I were in your class...I am only reading essays, you, random stuff now. I want to read Albright's new book. Have a great weekend. : )

  7. Chrissy---that book sounds so great!! I will look it up.

    Maureen, those are good recommendations....

    Bill, I am cracking up about your comments on the GPS voice. "Recalculating" DOES sound completely annoyed.....what "she" really means is "recalculating...(you freaking morons)...." :) And you are doing some very fascinating reading, indeed!


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