books

Emily Dickinson’s ‘What care the Dead’

July 24, 2020 3 Comments
Emily Dickinson’s ‘What care the Dead’

When I’m distracted or glum I often reach for the poems of Emily Dickinson. I’ve an old copy of Thomas H. Johnson’s complete edition, published in this country by Faber.  It’s less of a book and more of a box.  With its stocky build and 770 pages it looks like a box of postcards.  You […]

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Cymru a W.G. Sebald

June 12, 2020 0 Comments
Cymru a W.G. Sebald

Cyhoeddodd W.G. Sebald Austerlitz, ei nofel olaf (os mai nofel yw hi) yn Almaeneg yn 2001.  Pan ddaeth y fersiwn Saesneg allan yn 2002, roedd yn syndod i ddarllenwyr yma i ddarganfod mai Cymru yw un o’i phrif leoliadau, mewn llyfr sy’n crwydro dros rannau helaeth o gyfandir Ewrop.  Hanes dyn o’r enw Jacques Austerlitz […]

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‘Reports of my death’: the many lives of Jean Rhys

April 25, 2020 1 Comment
‘Reports of my death’: the many lives of Jean Rhys

False news is now so natural a part of our world that few people are surprised to read about the deaths of people who remain stubbornly alive.  There are plenty of examples, many of them recent.  Wikipedia lists over 300 in one of its more amusing pages, List of premature obituaries. The ‘reported death’ people […]

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Circles of light

April 18, 2020 0 Comments
Circles of light

A virus, the Oxford English Dictionary tells us, is ‘an infectious, often pathogenic agent or biological entity … able to function only within the living cells of a host animal, plant, or microorganism’.  It’s a dark and invisible thing, that threatens suffering and destruction.  William Blake knew about the terrors it would bring: O Rose […]

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Lludd and the three plagues

March 30, 2020 2 Comments
Lludd and the three plagues

Lludd, son of Beli Mawr (‘Lud’ in English) is king of the Island of Britain, and a wise and successful ruler.  From his capital, Caer Lludd (London), he takes care of his subjects, housing them well and supplying them with ample food and drink.  One of his brothers, Llefelys, is king of France.  So begins […]

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A journey around my room

March 25, 2020 0 Comments
A journey around my room

One of the many effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been to put a stop to all but the shortest and most qualified kinds of walking.  But if social distancing means that your personal movement is restricted to walking around your own home (and garden, if you have one) and little more, that doesn’t mean […]

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Darllen: a oes argyfwng?

March 7, 2020 0 Comments
Darllen: a oes argyfwng?

Ar 7 Mawrth dathlon ni Ddiwrnod y Llyfr unwaith eto, gyda digwyddiadau mawr mewn ysgolion, siopau llyfrau a  llyfrgelloedd.  Ond ar drothwy’r ŵyl, cyhoeddodd y National Literacy Trust (NLT) adroddiad brawychus sy’n dangos bod darllen er pleser wedi dirywio yn sylweddol unwaith eto yn y DU. Dim ond 25.8% o blant a phobl ifanc (oedran […]

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A Czech refugee artist in Mumbles

December 20, 2019 7 Comments
A Czech refugee artist in Mumbles

In the big show of Swansea-themed art currently on in the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery are three paintings from the permanent collection I’d not seen before.  They’re by a Czech artist called Ernst (later Ernest) Neuschul.  What intrigued me was a note in the caption for one of them to say that he’d found refuge […]

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Television, books and lists

November 8, 2019 0 Comments
Television, books and lists

Television is scared stiff of books.  It’s different on the radio, and it used to be different on television in the distant past – remember Melvyn Bragg’s excellent Read all about it In the 1970s? – but those who decide what we watch on the box today seem to think that to make a programme […]

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Poetry as blood donation

June 30, 2019 0 Comments
Poetry as blood donation

O Positive, says his publisher, ‘is the long-awaited debut collection of poetry from Joe Dunthorne’.  Faber seem to have forgotten that they published an earlier, shorter collection in 2010 in the Faber New Poets series.  Several poems in this are carried over into the new book. Though he started out as a poet, Joe is […]

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