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Ten Poems You Must Know (3) 28 January 2009

Posted by ABD in ABD, Arts, Poetry, Politics, Reviews.
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This is the third post of a ten-part series. The first two introduced Langston Hughes’ Harlem and Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est.

One of Yeats’ poems was briefly mentioned in my previous post in this series, but the one you should really know is

William Butler Yeats


Alcohol and Short Stories 21 December 2007

Posted by mecca in ABUSHARIF, Reviews, Sociology.

I looked for something to read a slow Sunday evening and pulled down a volume of short stories on alcoholism, a Graywolf Press collection of short fiction from masters (like Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Frank O’Connor, and Langston Hughes) who had honest and pointed observations to make about liquor and its impact on the lives of families and individuals. Appropriately, the stories are free of nasal moralizing; the narratives allow the movement of plot and characters to carry the day. The introduction begins this way:

Whether its purpose is social or business, to celebrate or to mourn, Americans have come to expect the presence of alcohol whenever they come together. If anyone should drink too much, it is not seen as a problem but rather shrugged off as a mistake or an amusing peccadillo. Few people are comfortable making an issue of drinking because alcohol is such an accepted ingredient in our way of life.

The book is: The Invisible Enemy: Alcoholism and the Modern Short Story (Graywolf Press, St. Paul, MN, 1989). Ever since I picked up its first volume from a Hyde Park (Chicago) bookstore, about fifteen years ago, Graywolf has been a personal favorite of mine as far as small literary presses go. There is something unpretentious about Graywolf, kind of like its namesake, the endangered animal itself.

retread| Ten Poems: Lovelace’s “Lucasta” 7 April 2007

Posted by EDITOR in ABD, Poetry, Psychology, Relationships, Reviews.
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Retreads are quality posts from yesterweeks that are given a second run on Saturdays. This piece was originally posted by ABD on 28 Sep 2006.

“Love me as I am,” we hear. “Don’t try to change me.” We don’t love heroes anymore, or maidens or heroines or saints. We love our best friends, our lab partners, our shipping clerks. And promise to love them just as they are.

So strange, then, to hear an appeal to love in the service of a higher cause.


Book Brief: Blindness 8 March 2007

Posted by mecca in ABUSHARIF, Reviews, Spirituality.

An epidemic of blindness. That’s the central allegory of Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago’s novel. The victims do not experience blank dark, but a mysterious white incandescence that would otherwise evoke awe were it not for the disability. The white blindness first afflicts a man stopped at a traffic light. From there, the affliction spreads to hundreds of people who are immediately quarantined in an abandoned psychiatric hospital–all the inmates sightless, except inexplicably one woman, the wife of the ophthalmologist and the main character of a narrative that pursues a group of seven struggling to emotionally and theologically manage a blight with no etiology or explanation within grasp. Desperation spreads among the swarm of blind internees crammed in a dilapidated structure; decorum fails and blind tyrants appear, otherwise normal people who soon discover how to control with their fingertips (and one aimless pistol) a vital resource (bins of food) and then exploit those who need it, some for their jewelry and some for their bodies.


Buy Jimmy Carter’s Book 25 December 2006

Posted by MOZAFFAR in History, MOZAFFAR, Politics, Reviews.

I’m urging everyone to invest $20 in Jimmy Carter’s new book, Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid.