Sadly one of the tragic, compassionate lessons of history is that sometimes people can destroy themselves. There are many examples in history where people become possessed by strange ideas, and when these possessed elites follow a path of ruin.
The Seminar and the Last Night
Shvarts has become for me an important poet.
Flowers of the Mind 17
A holiday of regeneration. The crisis in Europe, Ukraine, the failure of American diplomacy and the end of NATO. The Siege of Leningrad, Vladimir Putin, Operation Barbarossa, and Dmitri Likhachev on the Russian Soul. Elena Shvarts and the Flora of Ukraine. Russian Ark and the survival of culture in the floating hermitage of the Neva.
Flowers of the Mind 16
Elena Shvarts and the burnt archive. Olga Tokarczuk, The Books of Jacob, and the perils of order in history. The Stranger Effect and the charisma of Messiahs. The Coming of the Third Reich. Hermann Broch, The Death of Virgil and the ethics of poetry as gathering flowers of the mind.
Flowers of the Mind 15
Elena Shvarts, New Jerusalem Monastery, Patriarch Nikon and the Resurrection of religious life in Russia. A definition of empire. Olga Tokarczuk and the Books of Jacob. Please consider purchasing my collected poems, Gathering Flowers of the Mind, and listening to my podcast, The Burning Archive. Best wishes for renewal in the New Year.
Flowers of the Mind 12
Omricon, fear and crowd psychology. Jay Bhattacharya and the catastrophic errors of public health. Grieving memories of Stuart Macintyre. Szymborska on what matters. Paul Kingsnorth on fear, tyranny and the vaccine wars. Elena Shvarts on both hopelessness and hope.
Flowers of the Mind 8.
Beowulf, polyphony and Mikhail Bakhtin. RussiaGate indictments approach the spider. Peter Frankopan and Fiona Hill. Jordan B Peterson. Elena Shvarts. Jonathon Sumption on how fear has undone democracy.
Flowers of the Mind 6. Asvina (week 4) 2021
Glenn Greenwald, Havana Syndrome and Anglophone Russophobia. Vladimir Putin, Nikolai Berdyaev and the Free Academy of the Infinite Conversation. The return of history and the last democracy. Woke cults. Saint Thomas More and Thomas a Kempis. Elena Shvarts. Culaincourt and the retreat from Moscow.... and Afghanistan. Gideon Haigh, Melbourne lockdowns, wastelands, and the false freedom event.
Flowers of the Mind 5. Asvina (week 3) 2021
Karamzin, Memoir on Ancient and Modern Russia. Thomas Gray Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard and lockdown. Andrew Marvell's "The Garden". Elena Shvarts. Poetry. Prophecy. The traditions of St Petersburg and modernism.