Saturday, August 27, 2005

Teapot saga (conclusion)

So about three weeks ago, I finally bought a new teapot. After hunting high and low for a Brown Betty I finally relented and got the teapot I had seen months ago at The Bay, even though it was only a 6-cupper. Functional and comfortable, but nothing too exciting.

Then, while S. and I were down in Cape Cod, we went into a shop in Chatham called Plymouth Tea and sure enough, they had a Brown Betty. I almost bought it, but the guy convinced me that if I was looking for a no-drip pot, I should go for a Japanese pot. He said the British pots were terrible for dripping, and that the Brown Betty was notorious for it.

So I ended up getting a Beehouse pot (we got the orange model). Part of me wishes I'd got the Brown Betty, but I must say, I love the new one. It's the end of an era, I guess.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Books I bought while on vacation

Evangeline, by Longfellow: A small volume of this "Tale of Acadie" in verse, with a 30-page introduction.

The search for the North West Passage, by Ann Savours: Though I consider Pierre Berton's The Arctic Grail to be the definitive one-volume description of the quest for the passage, this seemed like an interesting book, so I picked it up in a used book store. I've become wary about it's worth, however, after reading the introduction. At the end of it, she quotes the chorus of Stan Rogers' Northwest Passage but then cites it as "Seafarer's song, provenance unknown to me." I'm not sure how much faith I can put in a "researcher" who couldn't put a title and composer to what is probably the most famous song ever written about the Northwest Passage, and one of the most well-known Canadian folk songs of all time. Sheesh!

Constance, by Jane Kenyon. I've always wanted a volume of poetry by Kenyon. I've read some of her work on-line and have been drawn to it. This is a beautiful but haunting book of poems written shortly before her death from leukiemia.

Geography III, by Elisabeth Bishop. A poet I have always admired. Picked this up (along with the two books that follow) in a great used book store in Provincetown, MA (an otherwise tacky place). The poetry section was fantastic. I would have bought a dozen books if not for heroic self-restraint. Some part of me regrets not being weaker. In any case, what a great book this is; cost me all of $4.50. The neat thing was that right beside it, was a first-edition hardcover of the very same book, with a price tag of $95. Thanks, but no thanks.

One Art: Elizabeth Bishop--Letters, selected and edited by Robert Giroux. This is a huge tome I picked up for $10, and for that price, I couldn't pass it up, even though I'll probably never read a lot of it. But I'm a fan of Bishop's, and I'm looking forward to browsing through some of her correspondence, though it'll probably make me feel vaguely like a peeping tom.

Eugene Onegin, by Aleksandr Pushkin, translated by Nabokov. The most famous (and many say the best) translation of Onegin. Again, cheap cheap cheap and in good shape. Saw it new in Boston for four times the price. Too bad the companion volume of Nabokov's commentary wasn't there too. I've always thought it hillarious that the companion volume is more than twice the size of the translation itself. But I'm happy with the mere translation. The fact is, in this book of 334 pages, the translated poem itself only occupies about 220 pages; the rest is introduction and notes. Gotta love that Nabokov. Talk about obsessive!

And finally...

Birdsong: A Natural History, by Don Stap. Birdsong has always fascinated me, and this looks like a really cool book, part travellog, part popular science.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Yesterday, when no one was looking
a rainbow broke free of its arc,
spilt colours into summer sky
releasing clouds from white cages.

Birds swam in strange hues, beat wings
thickly against dripping ink, left
iridescent swirls in their wakes and sang,
mixing paint with music.