Archives - January 2011

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Jan. 21

Is Paved with My Good Intentions

8

The Road to Hell

 

 

        Well, the paperwork is done anyway.  My Ph.D. application has been officially mailed.  It will probably be the end of spring before I hear anything back.  But I'm being positive and proactive and already thinking about my plan of study and dissertation.  I want to do something with Southern writers.  I'm leaning toward the Fugitives, particularly Allen Tate, mainly because of his poem "The Swimmers."  The connection between Southern literature and Greek mythology is intriguing to me.  But, Lord only knows, it's probably been done ad nauseum.  I'm also thinking about the connection between Southern literature and Dante's Inferno.  We do love our hellstone and brimfire down here.  This mainly came to mind because Tate's "Swimmers" is written in terza rima.  The study of poetic form is fascinating to me.  The combination of his  three-line stanzas and the enjambment between stanzas reminded me ...

Jan. 10

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

1

What Fools These Editors Be

 

        New South Books has printed a new edition of Mark Twain's classic.  According to them, they have improved it, made it more accessible to more readers.  And just how did they manage this, pray tell?  By removing the words "nigger" and "injun" from the narrative.  This was done based on the sage advice of Dr. Allan Gribben, a faculty member of Auburn University and co-founder of the Mark Twain Circle of America.  (Can you spell i-r-o-n-y?) 

        Twain had a reason for using the racial slurs.  He created a true picture of his time period, warts and all.  We could never fully appreciate Huck's redemption without understanding his society and the accepted views of his fellow Southerners.  I winced every time I came across the word "nigger" when I read the novel as a child.  But I also winced every time I read it as an adult. Guess what ...

Jan. 6

The Poets

9

A Fitting Epitaph

 

 

        I know it sounds morbid, but I have always loved cemeteries.  My poor sons have traipsed with me through many a one I spotted as we drove down the road, especially in rural areas.  When I was a little girl, my brother and sister and I played in the town cemetery while our grandmother tended her mother's grave.  Hide-and-go-seek and tag were our favorite games.  We used the tallest tombstone as base.  It belonged to Morris Daniel, a seven-year-old boy who died in 1915 from whooping cough.

        I like to read the tombstone epitaphs.  Some are touching, some banal.  The older ones are usually the most interesting and poetic.  Speaking of which, poets have some of the best epitaphs.  My favorite is that of John Keats, who is buried in a cemetery in Rome:

 

This Grave

contains all that was Mortal

of a

YOUNG ENGLISH POET

Who

on his ...

Jan. 4

Imagery

3

Just the right word

 

        Still mesmerized by Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian.  I would give my eye teeth to be able to create the vivid imagery he has on the pages of this novel.   I can see it, hear it, feel it, smell it.  Sometimes I can even taste it, sense its movement.  As I read the novel, there were times when the story itself became secondary, even incidental, to the images. 

        From Chapter IV, in the desert:

 

"They set forth in a crimson dawn where sky and earth closed in a razorous plane.  Out there dark little archipelagos of cloud and the vast world of sand and scrub shearing upward into the shoreless void where those blue islands trembled and the earth grew uncertain, gravely canted and veering out through tinctures of rose and the dark beyond the dawn to the uttermost rebate of space." 

 

        McCarthy finds just the right word (canted, tinctures ...

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Listening to the whispering pines

Hello. My name is Donna Cozart Pauley. Welcome to The Whispering Pines, a literary blog dedicated to my love of the written word. It is an eclectic collage of my life -- from my poems to my stories to my family to my pets to my causes to my photographs to my recipes to my love of teaching to my favorite literature. Please feel free to comment. Words are only important if they are heard or read. Just like those soundless trees falling in the forest.

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