Thursday, January 31, 2013

Music do I hear?
Ha, ha! Keep time: how sour sweet music is
When time is broke and no proportion kept! - Richard II

Monday, January 28, 2013

After the ceilidh

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.
Robert Burns' Address to the Haggis

Sunday, January 27, 2013

'Harriet has made a contrapuntal composition, so intricate she is unable to play it. What can be played sounds post Schoenberg, but that may be due to her faulty command of what Allen would call traditional skills.’ - Robert Lowell on his daughter to Peter & Eleanor Taylor

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Blessing for someone using the Bodleian libraries:

May everything you want be there in the right order.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Space seems to be either tamer or more inoffensive than time: we're forever meeting people who have watches, very seldom people who have compasses.

Georges Perec, Species of Spaces

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Night

Theseus: Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?
What masque? what music? How shall we beguile
The lazy time, if not with some delight?

Midsummer Night's Dream V:i

Friday, January 18, 2013

Because of the snow

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow...

From Wallace Stevens' The Snow Man

Thursday, January 17, 2013

‘I have a vague theory that one learns most – I have learned most from having someone suddenly make fun of something one has taken seriously up until then.’ Elizabeth Bishop to Anne Stevenson

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

'To write: to try meticulously to retain something, to cause something to survive; to wrest a few precise scraps from the void as it grows, to leave somewhere a furrow a trace, a mark, or a few signs.’ - George Perec, Species of Spaces

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

proposition for a commonplace book

Over Christmas my dad said he’d noticed that nothing had been happening on this blog, and it’s true. Moreover, it’s probably going to get – in a way – worse, as I prepare for my final examinations in May. My good angel says keeping a blog – writing for its own sake – would be a welcome alternative to weekly work, but the truth is that the quality would be very low and uninspired. I predict as the next two terms wear on that my trips outside the garret (I’m living once more in my happy attic room overlooking Holywell Street) will be less and less and that my excursions into books not necessary to my passing Finals will be similarly restricted. I’d still like to keep this moving, however, if only as a record to myself of what I’m reading.

So, in that spirit I’d like to post a quotation every day – long or short – from something I’ve read during the day. I’m going to try to avoid the purely inspirational and vary it from day to day and present amusing things from the newspaper, from poetry or prose, drama, criticism, diaries, letters etc. Anything is game. It’s likely that certain characters will figure quite highly, at least at first: this term I’m writing an extended essay on Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, and Randall Jarrell, so mid-century American poets may particularly feature. Shakespeare, too, is studied this term. Then, over the Easter break, things should descend into madness. This and, I hope, organ lessons in our chapel, will minimize that madness.

I’ll begin with this elegant observation:
‘Oxford graduates smell…’ Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell, August 26th, 1963