right now I’m spending a lot of time trying to choreograph an allegria for my coaching class… here’s an example of a class working on an allegria  I could only dream of getting mine to look like this! 


The Literary Review Bad Sex Prize

Perhaps one of the most interesting literary prizes given each year, and a heck of a lot more interesting than our GG’s, is the Literary Review’s Bad Sex Prize which was announced today in London.  The winner, Norman Mailer, is the first recipient to win the prize posthumously.  I’m not sure he deserved it after reading the other candidate’s work and believe that Ian McEwen should have won it for his book On Chesil Beach, which was an entire book based on an episode of bad sex.  I’m still trying to figure out why anyone published On Chesil Beach anyway… McEwen is such a fine writer, I snored through the thing…anyway, if you’re interested check out this article


pb240136-1.jpg         finally, just arrived from Spain…. my new senovillas… silver nails, rosewood heels (for sound quality) writers, think MontBlanc fountainpen and gorgeous, handmade paper…    pb240141-1.jpg  

maremagnum – word of the day

well actually it’s so great I think it should be word of the month or maybe even year…

a friend in Madrid just wrote me the following,

I’m still in the maremagnum of closing the [business] year

I’ve never heard the word before but I just knew it to be perfect for what Miguel was describing…

here is the translation from a Spanish/English dictionary from Granada University… (I love the baroque Spanish translations):

= welter, maelstrom.
Ex: Without language we would go bumping around in the dark and eventually take leave of our senses under the welter of the incomprehensible, withdrawing, as some people do, into a closed world in order to protect ourselves against the unbearable onslaught.
Ex: Specific types of information are considered imperative to decipher the intricate process of surviving in a modern, mid-nineties maelstrom of socio-economic crises.

when you look at the translation into German, there is a terse

maremagnum= Mischmasch

no examples… still, I think the German gives us a good feeling for the word.

As for origin:

magnum from Latin, meaning great

and mare, meaning ocean/sea

some other translations suggest: maelstrom, confusion

and here is the Spanish definition:

(Del lat. mare magnum, mar grande).
1. m. Abundancia, grandeza o confusión.
2. m. Muchedumbre confusa de personas o cosas.

Living near the sea, I’m particularly intrigued with the latin root mare… I don’t really think of the ocean as being particularly confused – turbulent at times – but not confused and certainly not a mishmash.

Now, the challenge is to use maremagnum… any takers?

How about this:

My new project is a maremagnum of ideas and images.

I don’t think this does the word justice….

genre bending

I’m reading an interesting book from my daughter’s library – The Uses of Poetry, by Denys Thompson, Cambridge Press, 1974 (yikes). It’s one of those great little books that somehow survives librarian purges despite the fact it hasn’t been signed out since 1978!

Here’s the blurb from the back cover,

this is an account of the part played by poetry in the life of man from earliest times to the present. Older than prose, it was the vehicle for his technology, history, philosophy and science; it helped him feel at home in his environment; it was the social cement between him and his fellows… [he] goes on to consider the impact of printing when in [the author’s] view poetry became subtler but ceased to be a popular possession. However, Mr. Thompson shows, poetry could still be of value in helping people to cope with the strains of living, in assimilating the implications of vast new fields of knowledge, and in keeping alive the idea of humanity in a dehumanising age.

interesting to read these themes from 3 decades ago.

His first paragraph of the book makes me pause as it’s something I struggle with all the time – my work being heavily narrative, and one collection that I’m working on, the Lewis Chessmen, being described by readers/listeners, as a saga

There is little point in trying to site a dividing line between the territories of poetry and prose, for some of the corralled inmates will leap over any barrier. Dickens in his novels broke into verse in more than one place… Elliot too wrote a kind of verse in Adam Bede… moreover poemes trouvees [sorry about the lack of accents] can be found in scientific prose…

Thompson then quotes Elizabeth Sewell’s arrangement in in verse form, Linnaeus’ Mollusca.

I suppose the question is, does it really matter? Isn’t good writing good writing? But I suppose one could launch into endless debates about what is good writing.

As a musician, I see the world of music not fragmented, but with the grace of technology and access to both audience and artist made easier with said technology, that there is an openness to genre/style etc. Just this morning I was listening to National Public Radio out of the U.S. and they featured a Mexican band that lives in Chicago who are up for a Grammy tonight. They cover trad. Mexican music, but also have covered Led Zepplin etc… and totally shocked people with how well they have broken down the barriers and cast shapes with the material.

I’m currently working on a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing in a jazz style. Let’s see if it works!

but what about poetry….