poetry, plants and poison

Other than the gourd patch down in the orchard, one of the few bright spots in the garden at the moment is the uncontrollable oleander outside my study window.

red oleander flowers
I say “uncontrollable” as it has been ruthlessly cut back a couple of times and tied back with twine, rope and clothes line and still manages to break free enough to block the driveway. At least this year it isn’t covered in black fly and other bugs.
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polish/spanish/english: a few thoughts on poetry & other writing

The revista literaria El Malpensante has an interesting article based on the column written in a Polish newspaper for 30 years by the Nobel prize winner Wislawa Szymborska.

In Cómo escribir and cómo no escribir poesía they have selected a few of the replies Szymborska made to readers who aspired to write poetry. Most of the article is interesting, but I have selected just two snippets.

The first, chosen because it ties in with my interest in translation:

Para H. O., de Poznan, un posible traductor
El traductor no está obligado a serle fiel al texto únicamente. Debe dejar ver la belleza de la poesía conservando su forma y reteniendo, en la medida de lo posible, el estilo y el espíritu de la época.

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quibbles & niggles

Having picked up Pride and Prejudice to look up Bingley’s comments on accomplishments the other day, I decided to re-read the whole book.

Along with Kipling’s Kim, it’s one of my ‘comfort books’; this time, however, I wasn’t reading it while ill in bed, so perhaps I was more critical. Certainly it struck me that it would be hard to cite Austen as a role model for good writing.
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a ‘fuller’ understanding

I have finally had time to read the copy of the TLS that I bought over a month ago. There’s a piece entitled The brick-wall moment – What is poetry about? And other puzzles, which appears in a section labelled ‘Commentary’.

I’m not sure I’d have read it with quite the same attitude if I’d realised it was an edited extract from a book, but it was a lot more interesting than the formal review in the Independent of Who is Ozymandias? And other puzzles in poetry by John Fuller.
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motivation II

The survey I mentioned yesterday also had a question that asked “What is most likely to motivate you to READ a poem?” It gave the following list of possible reasons, from which you were allowed to choose up to three:

reasons for reading a poem

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