Archive for December, 2013



Gather around readers. Are you sitting comfortably. Then lets begin.

Once upon a time in an apartment far far away, in the days before yesterday, there were boys and girls.

One boy, called Randolph was very excited because he was having a party, Randolph’s Party. John Lennon was going to be there but Sunshine Santa couldn’t make it. He had to catch the Polar Express so he could do Christmas Downunder.

Luckily all the boys and girls Downunder had read Dr SeussSleep Book so Sunshine Santa had no problems delivering all the presents, to all the children all over Downunder, because they were all sound asleep.

That is until he got to Allan Bennett’s house. The first problem for Sunshine Santa was the Smut in the chimney and the second was Mrs Donaldson. She was pretending to be a child who couldn’t sleep, and that made it very hard for Sunshine Santa.

But the worst problem for Sunshine Santa was The Selfish Giant. He would not let Sunshine Santa into his garden. Imagine! This meant Sunshine Santa could not finish his deliveries to the local children. it was awful.

Finally Rumi suggested Santa Split the Sack and throw the presents into the chimneys of last few children. So happily Sunshine Santa was able to deliver all his presents to the children Downunder. After that he had one more place left to go Ezra Pound had written to Sunshine Santa to make sure he did not forget the boys and girls in Cathay.

After he delivered all his presents to all the boys and girls everywhere in the world there was one more thing to do. He had saved a very special present for one poor little girl called Little Piccola. In the morning Little Piccola woke up and rushed to the chimney and she was very happy with her special present, and they all lived happily ever after.

NOTE: Bookgroupers read each of the stories above out loud. It was great. Because we all enjoyed it, I imagine Bookgroup will be doing more reading out loud and i would encourage other people to try similar events


December 23, 2013 at 1:16 am 1 comment


In_His_Own_WriteRandolph’s Party is a short christmas story by John Lennon. It is delightful to begin with but has a very twisted ending. It is included in a book of drawings and musings by Lennon called In His Own Write.

December 23, 2013 at 1:04 am 1 comment


sleep book Wikipedia says – This book begins with a small bug, named Van Vleck, yawning. This yawn spreads (as yawns are terribly contagious) and then the book follows various creatures, including the Foona Lagoona Baboona, the Collaspable Frink, the Chippendale Mupp, The Oft, and the Krandles, throughout the lands who are sleeping, or preparing to sleep. Towards the end of the book the sleepers in the world are recorded by a special machine (“The Audio Telly O-Tally O-Count”). A Warning is printed on the inside cover of the book that “this book is to be read in bed” as it is intended to put children to sleep. The final line of the book is a simple, unmetered “Good night”.

December 23, 2013 at 1:03 am 1 comment



Unfortunately the excerpt we read in bookgroup didn’t get to the smutty part but this is what the Guardian says about the story as a whole –

respectable, recently widowed Mrs Donaldson, who “was (or thought herself) a conventional middle-class woman beached on the shores of widowhood after a marriage that had been, she supposed, much like many others . . . happy to begin with, then satisfactory and finally dull.” In order to supplement her pension, Mrs Donaldson takes in medical students from the nearby hospital, and is soon making a little money as a “part-time demonstrator” for the students, one of a handful of locals who pretend to have illnesses so that the student doctors can learn how to conduct examinations. She finds herself with an unexpected aptitude for acting, and an unexpected dilemma: the nice students boarding with her keep coming up short on the rent, and eventually offer to “work it off”. Their offer turns out to be considerably less conventional than she expects, and soon Mrs Donaldson is entangled in a farcical sexual ménage that opens her eyes in more ways than one.

December 23, 2013 at 1:02 am 1 comment



Split the Sack by Rumi

Why does the soul not fly
when it hears the call?

Why does a fish, gasping on land,
but near the water,
not move back into the sea?

What keeps us from joining the dance
the dust particles do?

Look at their subtle motions
in sunlight.

We are out of our cages
with our wings spread,
yet we do not lift off.

We keep collecting rocks and broken bits
of pottery like children
pretending they are merchants.

We should split the sack
of this culture
and stick our heads out.

December 23, 2013 at 1:01 am 1 comment



At the Modernism Lab Andrew Karas says of this work
In 1915, Ezra Pound published a slim volume of poems which he called Cathay and which contained, according to its title page, “translations by Ezra Pound for the most part from the Chinese of Rihaku.” Yet in writing the poems contained in Cathay, Pound set out to do much more than transcribe Chinese poems word-for-word or line-for-line into English. He set out to redefine poetic translation itself, replacing long-held ideals like “accuracy” and “faithfulness” with a conviction that one could use old—even ancient—texts to make English poetry look and sound quite new.
Critics have spilled a good deal of ink identifying the numerous inaccuracies of Cathay’s translations, many of which stem from Pound’s almost complete dependence on the notes of Ernest Fenollosa, an American scholar who studied the Chinese poems while living in Japan. (Pound was not himself proficient in Chinese.) Fenollosa’s notes on the poems are terse, occasionally cryptic, and easy to misinterpret. For instance, Pound’s conflation of two distinct Chinese poems into one English piece, “The River Song,” most likely arose from a misreading of Fenollosa’s notebooks. Yet, even when Fenollosa’s notes on a poem’s content are unmistakably clear, Pound shows a remarkable willingness to alter that content in order to craft, in his judgment, a better English poem. Thus Pound often changes details of images or omits pieces of the text altogether. Such omissions often result from Pound’s decision to eliminate instances of complex literary allusion which, though characteristic of Chinese poetry, would probably confuse English readers not versed in the Chinese poetic tradition (Kenner 204-10).
Hugh Kenner is the most prominent of a number of scholars who argue that readers who criticize Pound for Cathay’s variations from its source texts miss the point of Pound’s effort, which was to produce innovative English poems using the ancient Chinese texts as an inspirational springboard, not a constraining template. The “real achievement” of Cathay, according to Kenner,

lay not on the frontier of comparative poetics, but securely within the effort…to rethink the nature of an English poem. It consisted in maximizing three criteria at once, criteria hitherto developed separately: the vers-libre principle, that the single line is the unit of composition; the Imagist principle, that a poem may build its effects out of things it sets before the mind’s eye by naming them; and the lyrical principle, that words or names, being ordered in time, are bound together and recalled into each other’s presence by recurrent sounds.

These things had been done before but not simultaneously. (199)

December 23, 2013 at 1:00 am 1 comment


polar express

Wikipedia says – The Polar Express is a 1985 children’s book (ISBN 0-86264-143-8) written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, a former professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. The book is now widely considered to be a classic Christmas story for young children. It was praised for its detailed illustrations and calm, relaxing storyline. In 1986, it was awarded the Caldecott Medal for children’s literature.[1][2] Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.”[3] It was one of the “Top 100 Picture Books” of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.[4]

December 23, 2013 at 12:59 am 1 comment

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