On the Birthday Omnibus

September 5, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, FILM, HISTORY, MUSIC, OPERA, WRITING & LITERATURE |
Photo by Harry Whittier Frees

Photo by Harry Whittier Frees

September 5 Many happy birthdays to a range of historical and cultural notables!! 1638: Louis XIV The great empire-builder applied his zeal to the foundations laid by Cardinal Richelieu.  In the end, zeal undid much of his work but he still left a mighty legacy – he could little foresee on his 1715 deathbed that his great regal empire would last well under a century. Louis to the Duc d’Orléans on his deathbed: “‘You are about to see one King in his tomb and another in his cradle. Always cherish the memory of the first and the interests of the…

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The Library Agenda

September 4, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | PETER'S WRITING, Poetry |
"With you in charge, I am at ease." by Li Yansheng (1976) (Displayed in a series of prints venerating Chairman Mao at the Australian National Library, 2017)

"With you in charge, I am at ease." by Li Yansheng (1976) (Displayed in a series of prints venerating Chairman Mao at the Australian National Library, 2017)

(On the occasion of a rather chilly visit to the National Library, Canberra) Entering the library, one feels alone, No comfort on these shelves, no phone, No sense of welcome or assistance, Proprietorial resistance. No books in sight; no chores to do, Ideas not enclosed, neither old nor new. Heroes extolled in olden times Are traduced for their voguish crimes. I lack the time, I lack the means To gather up the left-wing magazines In serried ranks, beneath gold frames Of left-wing folks with famous names. There’s Ben Chifley, Lenin, Mao Zedong, Jack Lang and Trotsky, Marx and Huey Long,…

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Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

September 3, 2017 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Poetry |
Portrait of Wordsworth by Benjamin Haydon

Portrait of Wordsworth by Benjamin Haydon

Earth has not anything to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty: This City now doth, like a garment, wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky; All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the very houses seem…

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Henry Lawson

September 2, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |
HLportrait3

(17 June 1867 to 2 September 1922) “The minstrel of the people.” So said Prime Minister Billy Hughes at Lawson’s internment (he was the first Australian writer to get a State funeral) His output was large but uneven – he could be both romantic and realist, and his wonderful verse ranged from the lyrical to invective. He was a bit of rogue, and spent much time in prison and the alcoholic wards of hospitals. His neat, clean, confident prose and terrific rhyming ballads and rolling, sonorous songs extolled the Australian landscape, town (which he preferred) and country. Take, for example, The Rush to…

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Happy Birthday, Blaise

September 1, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Books, WRITING & LITERATURE |
BCsmoke

Blaise Cendrars (born 1 September 1887) Happy birthday to the weird and wonderful Blaise Cendrars (real name, Frédéric Louis Sauser) whose alter ego kept creating alter egos (Our review of Moravagine is here.) In La Pierre, 1 September 1917, during the war in which he lost his right arm, although that didn’t slow him down, he wrote: “And more than ever I marvel to see how simple everything is, how easy, useless, and absolutely unnecessary. We commit the most gigantic acts of stupidity and the world hee-haws with joy as, for example, with war, its fanfares, its Te Deums, its…

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