Category Archives: Writing

Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity

An excerpt from If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino Translated by William Weaver So, then, you noticed in a newspaper that If on a winter’s night a traveler had appeared, the new book by Italo Calvino, who hadn’t published … Continue reading

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one person out of 8,000,000

“Personal Poem” by Frank O’Hara Now when I walk around at lunchtime I have only two charms in my pocket an old Roman coin Mike Kanemitsu gave me and a bolt-head that broke off a packing case when I was … Continue reading

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And the Moon Be Still as Bright

Regular visitors to TBTP may recall my many posts about the novels and short stories by the great American writer Ray Bradbury. One of the first sci-fi gems of his that I remember reading as a young child is the … Continue reading

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Primary Source

It’s now possible to read one of the oldest books of English literature in the world  online.The Exeter Book is a 1oth century anthology of poetry in Old English and one of  only four manuscript books containing virtually all the English … Continue reading

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Freedom is a Fable

Freedom, A Fable: A Curious Interpretation of the Wit of a Negress in Troubled Times.Illustrated book with offset lithographs on paper and laser-cut pop-up paper silhouettes, 1997. I have always been emotionally moved by Kara Walker’s powerful art work, especially … Continue reading

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Summer Reading List

Once again Barack Obama has released his summer reading list. On Facebook, he wrote, “Whether you’re camped out on the beach or curled up on the couch on a rainy day, there’s nothing quite like sitting down with a great book … Continue reading

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Nemo me impune lacessit

In this age of mindless memes, it’s refreshing to run across an unexpected Edgar Allan Poe reference. While not as well known as the Murders in the Rue Morgue or the Tell- Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado is just … Continue reading

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The Idea of a Forest

THE OTHER TRADITION John Ashbery They all came, some wore sentiments Emblazoned on T-shirts, proclaiming the lateness Of the hour, and indeed the sun slanted its rays Through branches of Norfolk Island pine as though Politely clearing its throat, and … Continue reading

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Soon the city fades before your eyes…

When you have arrived at Phyllis, you rejoice in observing all the bridges over the canals, each different from the others: cambered, covered, on pillars, on barges, suspended, with tracery balustrades. And what a variety of windows looks down on … Continue reading

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The sound of liberty

The Memoirs and Poems of Phillis Wheatley celebrates the life and work of the first Black American poet to be published. Although she was an enslaved person, Phillis Wheatley Peters was one of the best-known poets in pre-19th century America. Educated … Continue reading

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