The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Robert Burns’

Antrim Returns, and Other News

September 18, 2014 | by

083114-the-emerald-light-in-the-air-600

  • John Jeremiah Sullivan on Donald Antrim and his new collection of short stories, The Emerald Light in the Air: “That last story [‘The Emerald Light’] does something special, something very quiet that demands extremely close brushwork, something that exceedingly few writers can do … The technique is one of illusion and happens at the level of the text itself. It’s a way of rendering permeable the surface lens that divides the underworld of fantasy from the ‘painful realism’ hovering above it, so that writer and reader at moments seem joined in not being totally certain whether what’s happening on the page should be taken literally and naturalistically or as mythical, otherworldly.”
  • “It is almost unheard-of for the same writer to have a byline on the lead item in rival newspapers. But it has happened in Britain today—to a man who last picked up his pen in 1796.” (Hint: think New Year’s Eve.)
  • Apple’s iOS 8 includes QuickType, a predictive typing feature that suggests words you might want to type next. Followed to its extremes, it takes one’s sentences to strange and arguably poetic lands: “I have a great way of saying the government has ordered a pizza./ Yes, you do that for the rest of the day before I go to sleep.”
  • Ben Lerner and Ariana Reines in conversation: “For me, the cow is a real modernist figure. I feel like after God died, the cow became the onlooker in great works of modernism. It’s the witness in Joyce, it shows up again and again—for me, it’s like the residue of the divine in the twentieth century.”
  • In the eighties, Michael Chabon had a punk band in Pittsburgh. They were called the Bats. One of his bandmates said, “I just remembered being very impressed with his stage presence, like he’d been waiting all his life to do this.”

NO COMMENTS

Robert Burns’s “Address to a Haggis”

January 24, 2014 | by

Haggis Bernt Rostad

Photo: Bernt Rostad, via Flickr

To paraphrase Laurie Colwin, the world divides unequally between those who love haggis (not too many) and those who loathe and fear it (most). Tomorrow is Robert Burns’s birthday, aka Burns Night, which is to say, probably the zenith of the haggis-eating year. Whether this strikes dread or delight into your hearts, I cannot say.

Burns—aka the Ploughman Poet, aka Robden of Solway Firth, aka the Bard of Ayrshire—was a poet, folklorist, lyricist, radical, bon vivant, womanizer, and, during his lifetime, certainly the greatest promoter of Scottish history and culture. Sir Walter Scott (no slouch himself in the mythologizing department) met the poet as a teenager in Edinburgh and later recalled,

His person was strong and robust; his manners rustic, not clownish, a sort of dignified plainness and simplicity which received part of its effect perhaps from knowledge of his extraordinary talents … I never saw such another eye in a human head, though I have seen the most distinguished men of my time.

The first Burns Supper was held in June 1802, not many years after the poet’s death at age thirty-seven. But, perhaps on the thinking that haggis and whiskey are best enjoyed in frigid weather, the celebration has for some time now been held on January 25. The traditional Burns Supper contains a number of prescribed steps, including the Selkirk Grace (allegedly penned by Burns for the Earl of Selkirk), a Toast to the Lassies, a Toast to the Laddies, speeches, “Auld Lang Syne,” and muckle, muckle piping. Read More »

Comments Off

Buy Tiffany’s, and Other News

April 24, 2013 | by

600

  • Should you have $50,000 lying around, you have two days to bid on this manuscript of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
  • A new book argues that Jane Austen “isn’t merely fodder for game-theoretical analysis, but an unacknowledged founder of the discipline itself: a kind of Empire-waisted version of the mathematician and cold war thinker John von Neumann, ruthlessly breaking down the stratagems of 18th-century social warfare.” But … didn’t she come first? Doesn’t that make him a trousered version of her? Discuss.
  • Andy Griffith and Robert Burns: a surprisingly convincing case for their spiritual kinship.
  • An appreciation of The Lonely Doll and its complex legacy.
  •  

    2 COMMENTS

    The Gift of Hunger

    January 25, 2013 | by

    The first time I cooked for him, it was the height of August. The meal was very simple: a salad; a pasta; some peaches I roasted and served with ice cream. Nothing special. And he seemed to like it okay. But the writing was on the wall: this was a man who ate to live, and not the other way round.

    For some of us, this is unthinkable. I am always plotting my next meal, mulling over my last, calculating my degree of appetite. Those days when illness robs me of hunger are among my most hopeless. I remember food scenes in movies and books better than others. The city is mentally mapped by cookies and hamburgers; noodle stands are my landmarks; a trip is an opportunity to eat new things, and work up an appetite, and try more. Read More »

    17 COMMENTS

    Didactic Seuss, and Other News

    January 17, 2013 | by

  • If Dr. Seuss books were titled according to their subtexts, they would be harder to read.
  • Conversely, can you ID these books from their phantom covers? It’s nearly impossible!
  • A cache of Robert Burns manuscripts and letters has been discovered—a major find.
  • The 2013 Yale Writers’ Conference is now accepting applications. Je Banach will lead a seminar on literary discourse; visiting faculty includes Tom Perrotta, Susan Orlean, and ZZ Packer.
  • “By all means be experimental, but let the reader be part of the experiment.” Sebald’s writing tips, compiled by his students.

  • NO COMMENTS

    The Presidency, in Verse

    November 2, 2012 | by

    We may know their takes on climate change, on reproductive rights, on economic policy. But what of poetry? The Poetry Foundation has investigated the poets the presidents loved, and presented their findings in an illuminating and timely post. Just a few pairings:Read More »

    6 COMMENTS