Category Archives: Uncategorized

academic writers as readers


Many academic writers are avid readers. That’s because there is a strong connection – not causal, but surely correlated, she says hastily – between reading and writing. Reading and writing are mutually beneficial, they feed each other.

I was thinking about the read-write connection just this morning as I sat reading the books section of the weekend newspaper.

As I slurped down my breakfast smoothie – strawberry, raspberry and banana with yoghurt in case you want to know – I got stuck into the regular column where writers talk about the books that they read. And I realised that we tend not to have these kinds of conversations with academic writers. We don’t ask what academic writers are reading at the moment, the books influenced them most, the book they wish they’d written, the book they are ashamed not to have read, the book they couldn’t finish, the book they…

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TCS: Two More Poets, Six Poems, Shared Birthday

Flowers For Socrates

Good Morning


Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.


When you use the term minority or minorities
in reference to people, you’re telling them that
they’re less than somebody else.

– Gwendolyn Brooks

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Criticisms of The 1619 Project

Diane Ravitch's blog

Criticism of The 1619 Project appeared soon after its publication. On the right, it was denounced as an unjustified, outrageous attack on traditional American values and ideals, an attack on the Founding Fathers, an attack on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. President Trump denounced it and established the “1776 Commission” to urge the teaching of “traditional” history that instills patriotism and pride. Legislators in Republican-dominated states framed legislation to ban it as well as the teaching of “critical race theory.”

It was not only conservatives who objected to The 1619 Project. Five respected historians published their disagreements, sent them to The New York Times, and demanded corrections. Adam Serwer of The Atlantic reviewed the debate and offered a balanced view of the different criticisms, as well as the response by The New York Times to the critics.

He wrote:

The reaction to the project was not…

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Simon & Garfunkel – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966)

1960s: Days of Rage

“Simon & Garfunkel’s first masterpiece, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme was also the first album on which the duo, in tandem with engineer Roy Halee, exerted total control from beginning to end, right down to the mixing, and it is an achievement akin to the Beatles’ Revolver or the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album, and just as personal and pointed as either of those records at their respective bests. After the frantic rush to put together an LP in just three weeks that characterized the Sounds of Silence album early in 1966, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme came together over a longer gestation period of about three months, an uncommonly extended period of recording in those days, but it gave the duo a chance to develop and shape the songs the way they wanted them. The album opens with one of the last vestiges of Paul Simon’s stay in England…

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Thursday’s Gone by Steve Bogdaniec (I AM STILL WAITING Series)

Silver Birch Press

eyes-that-dream-20-3-08-clifford-dies-2008.jpg!LargeThursday’s Gone
by Steve Bogdaniec

Last night
old cassettes and records came to me in a dream
they all ganged up on me
spinning me around
asking me how I liked it for a change

Then CDs and DVDs came by
all shiny and proud
they scoffed at me too
talking about me like I was no better
than outdated magnetic tape technology

The cassettes and the records pushed stop on me
and asked the CDs and DVDs who the hell they thought they were
like they could bully me
but no one better try it

The CD pulled knives
the records had chains
and they started dancing about
in a tightly choreographed fight scene
which is weird, since I’ve never actually seen West Side Story
and yet I knew enough to reference it in my dream

I need to see West Side Story some time
I don’t why I…

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Casey at the Bat

Flowers For Socrates

June 3, 1888 – The San Francisco Daily Examiner first publishes “Casey at the Bat” by newspaper columnist Ernest Lawrence Thayer

Ernest Lawrence Thayer (1863-1940) American writer, newspaper columnist, and poet. He graduated with a B.A. in philosophy from Harvard University in 1885. While at Harvard, he met William Randolph Hearst, who would later hire him to write a humorous column for the San Francisco Examiner when Hearst was running the paper.

To read Thayer’s poem “Casey at the Bat” click:

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Stopover by Rikki Santer (I AM STILL WAITING Series)

Silver Birch Press

by Rikki Santer

Drop me off somewhere in suburban Ohio
where nostalgia conjures me with a topaz
wand and I am still waiting. Not hometown,
call it tabernacle where a front yard cloak
of dogwood blossoms stands in for the whole,
where tame childhood in peach gingham thrills
when concrete mixer truck in striped churn
rattles past the playground, when glint of Girl
Scout compass nestles in Mill Creek silt. Yet on
bedroom wall a doe-eyed Keane reminds
that timidity is a false-bottomed boat. Black Leather
Jacket grinds his body into mine in a tufted field
behind the school. Terrier’s neck snaps broken
in a neighbor’s backyard. Suicide note on dresser,
feet sway like the tongue of a bell. Memory blows
on ashes to scatter them—give & take.

IMAGE:The Waiting Room by Nieves Mingueza.

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors, including five Pushcart and…

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Frank O’Hara, “Memorial Day 1950”

Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets

Frank O'Hara, on leave from the Navy with his parents and brother and sister, 1944
Frank O’Hara, home on leave from the Navy,
with his parents and brother and sister (1944)

Picasso made me tough and quick, and the world;
just as in a minute plane trees are knocked down
outside my window by a crew of creators.
Once he got his axe going everyone was upset
enough to fight for the last ditch and heap
of rubbish.
Through all that surgery I thought
I had a lot to say, and named several last things
Gertrude Stein hadn’t had time for; but then
the war was over, those things had survived
and even when you’re scared art is no dictionary.
Max Ernst told us that.
How many trees and frying pans
I loved and lost! Guernica hollered look out!
but we were all busy hoping our eyes were talking
to Paul Klee. My mother and father asked me and
I told them from my tight…

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dreams I dreamed by Mark A. Fisher (I AM STILL WAITING Series)

Silver Birch Press

the-birthday-cake-1975dreams I dreamed
by Mark A. Fisher

I am still waiting
for a future I’ll never know
like the ghost of this house
lingering with unfinished business

I am still waiting
for a past that fades
like the sepia-toned photos
of people without any names

I am still waiting
in a now that hurts
like a sunburnt back
always peeling away in layers

I am still waiting
to be remembered
like the words on a page
in a universe doomed to forget

the wishes of a child
of blown out candles
like the dreams I dreamed
all this time I’m still waiting

PAINTING:The Birthday Cake by Le Pho (1975).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I started this poem, the tenses just seemed to come naturally, since “waiting” implied a tense, as did “still.” The other stanzas mirrored back at me, and so the last stanza became a mirror too.

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The Politics of the French New Wave

1960s: Days of Rage

Paris Riots 68

“The world in the 1960s was a world on fire with change and revolution. It does seems strange, then, that when discussing the French New Wave the point of politics often receives only the lightest brushstrokes. Many are familiar with the Left Bank Group and their political leanings towards socialism and the radicalism of the left. Most fans of the Nouvelle Vague are aware of Godard’s radicalisation later in his career. But what about Truffaut, Chabrol, or Godard before 1968? Were they really, as is sometimes murmured in academic circles, right-wing radicals and fascist sympathisers? How could they be fascists, when their films were so humane? What happened to Godard in the late 1960s? And if the Cahiers directors were so preoccupied with truthfully representing life, how could they do this without having some consciousness about the political world around them? … In film, this…

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