To cite the English translation of an ancient Chinese proverb, we are living in “interesting times”. In a bit of a nod to that, this week there’s a classic short story by Washington Irving and a reflection on Irving’s work that appeared at the First Things blog “On the Square”. Jagi Wright presents David Marcoe’s brief reflection on elements of a story in this week’s “Wright’s Writing Corner”. The poetry entry comes from two Southerners from the “Fugitive Poets”, who wrote during a period of “interesting times” in America’s history.
Finally, there is a bevy of links to short stories, reviews, news and opinion from around the literary world.
- “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving
- Short Story: “An Insurrection” by JR Walsh – Esquire Fiction Contest Winner
- Audio Short Story: A. M. Homes reads Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”
- Book Review: Jack London’s Dark Side – Wolf: The Lives of Jack London by James L. Haley
- Book Review: Contemplating Death From Above – Robert Messenger on Bomber Country: The Poetry of a Lost Pilot’s War by Daniel Swift
Criticism, Commentary and News:
- Washington Irving and the Specter of Cultural Continuity
- Truce Called in Battle Over e-Book Rights
- The ABCs of E-Reading
- Telling Tails – “The problem with unsuccessful stories is usually simple: They’re boring, a consequence of the failure of imagination.”
- Google Book Search: A Disaster For Scholars
- Great Poetry Is No Scandal – “Traditionally, the Oxford Professor of Poetry has tended to receive much less publicity than the British Poet Laureate.”
- Harper’s Short Story e-Book Giveaway: Two Weeks Only
- World Fantasy Award Nominees Announced
The Writing Life:
Robert Penn Warren and Allen Tate were both members of the Fugitive Poets and the Southern Agrarian movement. Rather than choose between them for this week’s taste of poetry, for your pleasure is one from each.
by Robert Penn Warren
[ A ]
Long ago, in Kentucky, I, a boy, stood
By a dirt road, in first dark, and heard
The great geese hoot northward.
I could not see them, there being no moon
And the stars sparse. I heard them.
I did not know what was happening in my heart.
It was the season before the elderberry blooms,
Therefore they were going north.
The sound was passing northward.
[ B ]
Tell me a story.
In this century, and moment, of mania,
Tell me a story.
Make it a story of great distances, and starlight.
The name of the story will be Time,
But you must not pronounce its name.
Tell me a story of deep delight.
by Allen Tate
I have looked at them long,
My eyes blur; sourceless light
Keeps them forever young
Before our ageing sight.
You see them too, strict forms
Of will, the secret dignity
Of our dissolute storms;
They grow too bright to be.
What were they like? What mark
To signify their charm?
They never saw the dark;
Rigid they never knew alarm.
Do not the scene rehearse!
The perfect eyes enjoin
A contemptuous verse;
We speak the crabbed line.
Immaculate race! to yield
Us final knowledge set
In a cold frieze, a field
Of war but no blood let.
Are they quite willing,
Do they ask to pose
Naked and simple, chilling
The very wind’s nose?
They ask us how to live;
We answer: Again try
Being the drops we sieve!
What death it is to die!
Therefore because they nod
Being too full of us
I look at the dirty sod
Where it is perilous
Yawning all the same
As if we knew them not
And history had no name-
No need to name the spot!