Monday, November 14, 2016


Left: Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance) by Jeff VanderMeer.
Right: Daniel: Under the Siege of the Divine by Daniel Berrigan.

I have been reading. Some of what has caught my attention this fall includes...


Authority by Jeff VanderMeer

During this reading of Authority, the second book of The Southern Reach trilogy, I'm captivated by the failure of the various systems in which the protagonist Control finds himself—the various government organizations he works for, his family of origin, social settings. On top of that, contrary to his nickname, he has very little control.

And when the horrors lurking in the background start to move toward the foreground...

VanderMeer plays with a gentle hand, which is refreshing. He could have easily focused on gore, but he skirts the violence in favor of the dawning horror of the monsters that lurk, in a manner reminiscent of H. P. Lovecraft.


Daniel: Under the Siege of the Divine by Daniel Berrigan

Priest, poet, and modern-day prophet, Daniel Berrigan died earlier this year. So I have his books pulled off of the shelves in the home library and stacked up. A reading from the text of Daniel 7 during a church service sent me back into this book. It includes all of the text of the book of Daniel, with Berrigan's commentary on the same.

I am always amazed how the prophets of the Israelites speak to (and against) powers and principalities of the their own time and ours.


Poetry magazine, October 2016 issue

I love it when the latest issue of Poetry shows up in my mailbox. There is always one poem that speaks to me more than the others, no matter how great those other poems are.

In the October issue, that poem is "Barbie Chang's Tears" by Victoria Chang. Similar to the poems in her book The Boss, this poem plays with homonyms, puns, alliteration—all of it running across line breaks (and without punctuation) in ways that forces me to read lines more than once to make sure that I'm reading it right. But once I've found the way the line leads and reads, there is great reward.


Poetry magazine, November 2016 issue

The poem that catches my attention in the November issue of Poetry magazine is "From 'feeld'" by Jos Charles. It uses simple language, but couches it in unfamiliar spellings and presentation. It mimics Middle or Old English. It reminds me of both the poems of Romey's Order by Atsuro Riley and "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll.


The Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke

I have four different English translations of Rilke's Duino Elegies that I am reading and comparing to one another, trying to let Rilke's concepts sink into the marrow of my bones. My two favorite translations are by Gary Miranda and Stephen Mitchell, although I find phrases of interest in the translation by Alfred Poulin and the first English translation by J. B. Leishman and Stephen Spender.


Public Domain Review

I recently discovered a public domain online literary journal, Public Domain Review, and it is filled with wonderful things. It has some great essays about various artistic, philosophical, and cultural pieces in the public domain.

Some favorite essays:

"Black on Black" by Eugene Thacker

"Frankenstein, the Baroness, and the Climate Refugees of 1816" by Gillen D'Arcy Wood

Plus a gloriously beautiful piece in their collections:

"The American Woods"

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