Gerard Manley Hopkins

July 28, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889 We recall his Sprung Rhythm and his Sadness: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod…” (from God’s Grandeur) “No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of…

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“If” They Could Only Think – the Ban on Kipling

July 22, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, Poetry, Ulalume, WRITING & LITERATURE |

True Art is Art, and true idiocy is idiocy, and idiots insist that the twain shall meet.

Our venerable Hodder and Stoughton hard-cover ‘inclusive edition’ of Rudyard Kipling’s verse (1885-1918) sits proudly in our poetry bookcase. We understand that his fatherly riff, “If – ” written 4 years before a war that would devastate two generations, and lose Kipling his only son, has been scrawled-out at Manchester University (yes, Manchester – home of the Enlightenment). The Student’s Union has taken a stand.  “We, as an exec team, believe that Kipling stands for the opposite of liberation, empowerment, and human rights – the things that we, as an SU, stand for,” Miss Sara Khan, the union’s liberation and access…

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Charles Baudelaire and the Flowers of Evil

June 1, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Published today (1 June) in 1857, Les Fleurs du Mal, Baudelaire’s masterpiece was controversial, of course, but it went way beyond that – beyond the outrage aux bonnes mœurs, this big, bold collection of seething poetry was genuinely terrifying.  “Walking through the neighborhoods of Paris, he observed animals rotting in the street, the homeless alcoholics, drug users, or assassins loitering in the gutters. The beggars, the blind, the ragpickers, the skinny old ladies and the young famished prostitutes, all became mediums through which he could convey his changing moods. He turned abstractions like Beauty, Sorrow, Death, the Ideal into existential…

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Paradise on 10£ a Day

April 27, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Poetry, RELIGION, WRITING & LITERATURE |

April 27, 1667 – John Milton assigned the copyright to Paradise Lost for 10£.  Half then, half later: he should have made it 5£ plus a percentage. And did those pounds in ancient time make up for all of his striving, and his sight?  Speculation as to why Milton wrote Satan in such a sexy way – he is close to the star of the show – and yet convicted him of an impious war on heaven on the mother of all monarchs, God herself – Milton, a congenital republican – leads nowhere, and so we just take the time…

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Knifing the Dark With Deadly Photographs

March 27, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Kenneth Slessor (27 March 1901 to 30 June 1971) – He helped Australian poetry transcend its traditional town-and-country ballads and move into the 20th century. See how this distant memory, from Country Towns, perhaps a fragment of time from his birthplace of Orange, New South Wales, compares with, say, A. B. Paterson: “Verandas baked with musky sleep, Mulberry faces dozing deep, And dogs that lick the sunlight up Like paste of gold – or, roused in vain By far, mysterious buggy-wheels, Lower their ears, and drowse again….” Judith Wright wrote – “…the note of hollowness and hopelessness in Slessor’s work is inescapable…in…

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