Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Update update

I meant to add earlier that I'm now reading Grimmelshausen's Adventures of a Simpleton in what appears to be a pretty free-and-easy 60s translation by Walter Wallich (not sure if the link is to that translation or not). For example, I bet there's no exact 17th-century German equivalent of 'jumble sale'. But what the hell - it's extremely engaging, an early exercise in hilarious, obscene, satirical picaresque. Lovely.

Must... write... poems

Somewhere between the finishing of my thesis, polishing of two manuscripts and a mountain of freelance work to pay the bills, I seem to have written no new poetry for a while. It's a bad habit to lose, as it were. But a hoo-haa about what counts as rhyme over at Poets on Fire has given me a few ideas - for technical exercise really, but it's something to go on. I won't post my list of ideas here, since the last time I did so it was the death knell for them all.

Still: cat... dog...



Well, Fliight Without End was OK, but not a patch on the later Roth novels I've read - flashes of brilliance, but all rather lifeless.

Similarly Conrad's The Secret Agent was fine in its way, but hardly 'one of the twentieth century's greatest novels' as the blurb and FR Leavis both assert. It felt dated, unlike the best of his sea stories. You can hardly blame old Leavis for not knowing it would date, but I wonder what it is that determines such a thing. Is it possible to tell when a piece of work will date? It strikes me that the sea stories were written from Conrad's own experience, The Secret Agent not. Write what you know?

Meanwhile my critical essay 'The House Overlooks You': Tradition and Genre in Two poems by Peter Didsbury has been published in prnt and web forms by Ecloga, the postgraduate journal of the University of Strathclyde (absurdly the issue is labelled as 'autumn 07'...). Of the other articles in the issue, I like the look of the ones on Wyatt and the New Woman novel, though I haven't had a chance to read them yet.