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.

Podcast 26 – Beowulf

In October 1731 there was a fire in the Ashburnham House residence of the Keeper of the King’s libraries in Westminster London. The fire threatened the one and only manuscript of the Old English poem, Beowulf. It was rescued by the librarian and others leaping from the window, clasping manuscripts. Singed but intact, Beowulf was literally saved from a Burning Archive. The episode is available on Spotify, Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

Podcast #21 – Special on 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature

Join the The Burning Archive Podcast on Apple or Spotify and other platforms for a special feature on the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature, and learn not only about the hushed excitement of the winner (sshh no spoilers), but the history of the prize, favourite winners, best losers, and most contentious scandals. Congratulations to Abdulrazak … Continue reading Podcast #21 – Special on 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature

The poet W as comedian

Wallace Stevens is a poet of comedy, and comedy relieves the distress of tragic history. Comedy reconciles the restless, Romantic imagination with the present and the real. When the world falls apart, one must cultivate one's garden, but also tell some comic stories over dinner. It is comedy, not alone but inseparable, that moves the infinite conversation on.

Donne’s sermons and the blogging tradition

Today, 31 March, is the feast day for John Donne in the Anglican and Lutheran denominations and commemorates the metaphysical poet and reluctant priest's death in 1631. In honour of this intriguing figure,  whose poetry and prose I wish to read more of, I am reposting a post from September 2016. It speaks of the … Continue reading Donne’s sermons and the blogging tradition

Ezra Pound, the unavowable fury of thy true heritage in fragments

The story of Ezra Pound's mind cannot be told in plain and simple affirmations. Three twisted trees grow from this mind in all accounts: poetry, unavowable politics, and madness. They stand tangled and tragic in a strange, haunted copse that very few today will see as an holy trinity. The iconoclasts of today's fanatical cancel … Continue reading Ezra Pound, the unavowable fury of thy true heritage in fragments