Monday, July 14, 2014

The Internet is a Wondrous Place!

About a month ago I was googling myself (seeing what was up with the way I'm interacting with the universe), and I came across a link to an essay on Isaac Bashevis Singer that mentioned me.  I spent about 15 years of my academic career writing about Singer, and so I was curious what this critic had to say about what I had to say about Singer.  Well, the critic, Andrew Crown, thought I was completely wrong in what I had to say about Singer and that my approach simplified the complexities of that great writer.

I didn't take offense.  In fact, on the contrary, I was happy to see that anyone was considering any of my critical work.  I spent most of my academic career writing and publishing literary criticism, and most of it has -- justly or unjustly -- escaped any notice.

So of course, I tracked down Andrew Crown's email address through google, and wrote him a note thanking him for remembering what I wrote about Singer.

We struck up a correspondence of course because -- checking him out on the internet via google -- I discovered that he was a homeboy from Chicago (just like me) and he's writing weird stuff (just like me) and -- unlike me -- he's living and teaching in South Korea.  Totally, unlike me.  But absolutely interesting.

Today, he sent me a link to a short story/memoir he's posted on the web, and I enjoyed reading it and thought some of my FB friends might like to read something by Andrew.  It's a piece about literary criticism and reading and how to get along with a Korean wife.

Here's the link to Andrew Crown's "The Caveman."

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Summer I Watched the World Come to An End on TV

It started with Walking Dead and continues through The Last Ship, and soon I'll be watching the Strain and Under the Dome and Extant and Falling Skies.

I'll see the world brought to an end by zombies, vampires, diseases, and alien invasions.

And God maybe.

I just started watching Leftovers--the HBO series about what the world is like after what appears to be the Rapture happens.

It's not pretty.  God doesn't take prisoners.

Of course, it gets me wondering why this fascination with the end of things?

Is it because the world suddenly feels really old, and when you get to feel really old you start thinking about how things will end?

Or maybe it's because the world has ended--virtually.  We spend so much time inside our homes watching the World Come to An End on TV that we don't realize that there's a real world still out there, the one outside my window, a world free of zombies and dogs and cars -- and people.


Where is everybody?  Nobody has passed the house in about 30 minutes.  No walkers or runners.  Nobody.

Has the world ended while I was typing this?

I better turn on the TV and see if there's anything left.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Way You Will Go by Sandra Kolankiewicz

My friend Sandra Kolankiewicz has a new poem of poems coming out called The Way You Will Go, and she needs to have a certain number of pre-release sales.  
Sandra is a terrific writer.   Here's my short Amazon review of her previous book:

I really can’t tell you how good these poems are because I like them too much. Sandra Kolankiewicz, through some kind of emotional osmosis or psychological transference, has the gift of telling me what I think and feel and dream in ways that confound me with their clarity and vision.


I open a poem of hers like “A Long Toothed Dilemma,” and I read about her difficulty in expressing what her self is and I know immediately she has someone stepped into my soul and come out with a certainty and understanding that I wish I had.

When I read her poems, I feel what I feel when I read the great poets, Dickinson, Whitman, and Donne, a stillness and clarity that makes sense of all the confusions in the world and in my self. 

Here's a poem from Sandra's new book.  If you like the poem, please consider ordering a copy at this link:

Claudia, 19 East, Bed A

She was once the mist weaving its way through the valley.
She clung to leaves,
melted, dropped.
The ground was soft because of her.
Now despair is the steam rising from the breakfast tray.
Like the fan above a stove,
she draws it in.
Strapped into her chair,
diapered under her gown,
she rubs her eyes,
mutters to her palms:
Father will be there,
Mother will be there,
and we will all be clean.