Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

(Cover by N.C. Wyeth)


I didn't know I was grateful
for such late-autumn
bent-up cornfields

yellow in the after-harvest
sun before the
cold plow turns it all over

into never.
I didn't know
I would enter this music

that translates the world
back into dirt fields
that have always called to me

as if I were a thing
come from the dirt,
like a tuber,

or like a needful boy. End
Lonely days, I believe. End the exiled
and unraveling strangeness.

Bruce Weigl

I will not make it back to see the family in New England for Thanksgiving so the sentiment of the poem is more for the last time I was back in Connecticut two years ago. This year it will be spent in my adopted home with friends here in Iowa. I would like to send out best wishes to all those spending the holiday with their loved ones and families. I hope to see you all sooner than later.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Boston Spaceships

Robert Pollard's latest post Guided By Voices project. I think he also has another band with a record coming out soon and likely a couple of solo records. He puts almost as many records as Joyce Carol Oates writes books. This video is one of four submitted by fans. The rest are at the Boston Spaceships site.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Iowa City Named World City of Literature

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
"This is at once a celebration of the literary riches and resources of Iowa City and a spur to action," said University of Iowa International Writing Program Director Christopher Merrill, who led the UI Writing University committee that submitted the city's proposal. "We look forward to working with our new partners in the Creative Cities network -- to forging dynamic relationships with writers, artists and others committed to the life of discovery. This is a great day for Iowa City."
Iowa City joins Edinburgh, Scotland, and Melbourne, Australia, as UNESCO Cities of Literature.
Here is a link to a video of Marvin Bell reading his poem, "Writers in Cafe", that accompanied the application. Also a pdf of the poem.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pedroia wins AL MVP award

Congrats Dustin. He just missed sending the Red Sox to back to back World Series.

“And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks"

William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Photo by Ginsberg 1953

This book is mostly a curiosity long known to exist but withheld from publication for numerous reasons including the wishes of Lucien Carr himself. All the principles are dead so now it comes out. After reading the first half I wouldn't recommend it for any one's holiday shopping list but for fans it's worth checking out just to see their early styles.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. "

Another music mix site, Mixwit. I have only played around with it for a few minutes after running across Bob Mould's latest DJ Mix. I was trying to make a mini-mix of current faves; the new Lucinda Williams duet with Elvis Costello Jailhouse Tears, a Loudon Wainwright track since he is town tonight, and a cool song by Teitur, Catherine the Waitress. Not sure about how the whole thing works but I love the part about designing your own tapes and you tube like linkage.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veteran's Day (Belated)

American Life in Poetry: Column 189

On Swearing

In Normandy, at Point Du Hoc,
where some Rangers died,
Dad pointed to an old man
20 feet closer to the edge than us,
asking if I could see
the medal the man held
like a rosary.
As we approached the cliff
the man's swearing, each bulleted
syllable, sifted back
toward us in the ocean wind.
I turned away,
but my shoulder was held still
by my father's hand,
and I looked up at him
as he looked at the man.

In celebration of Veteran's Day, here is a telling poem by Gary Dop, a Minnesota poet. The veterans of World War II, now old, are dying by the thousands. Here's one still with us, standing at Normandy, remembering. -Ted Kooser

I did not get to post in time for Veteran's Day yesterday so here is the ALP column for this week and thanks to all veterans of the past and to those of the future who are currently serving. It was a good day for war movies yesterday as I flipped back and forth between The Bridge On the River Kwai and The Guns of Navarone, followed later with long stretches of Midway.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

More Good News...

Photo Credit: David Scrivner/The Daily Iowan. Iowa sophomore Daniel Murray kicks the winning field goal for the Hawkeyes from 31 yards out on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008. Murray's field goal put Iowa ahead of Penn. State 24-23 with one second left in the game

A nice turn of events this week. I did not brave the weather to see the game in person but enjoyed it from the comfort of a cozy sofa while reading the DeMille potboiler.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

'Nuff said. (I won't mention the weather today in consideration of those trapped indoors.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

One of Saturn's moons, Enceladus. (Photo from NASA site. More at Boston Globe here.)

I wish I had my camera with me to capture how perfect it is outside today here in Iowa City. There are long lines here at the library lobby for the early voting stations. This along with the weather seem to bode well for Election Day tomorrow. (Knock on wood.)

I finished Tony Horwitz's book this morning and again still highly recommend it. Check out the website for the book. He also includes a thorough section on notes and an extensive bibliography for further reading. American Journeys is one of the online sites he mentions as one of the best compilations by and about explorers.

I am off to find another book and head outdoors.