Monday, April 30, 2007

Mark Strand on CBC

The CBC recently expanded its podcast lineup, and its program Writers & Company is finally available as a podcast. The program for April 1st, I have just learned, is a long and excellent interview with Mark Strand. If you're a poetry lover, you'll love this interview.

The CBC only archives its podcasts for four weeks, so if you hurry, you might be able to get it here (direct download). If not, it's available in a streaming version on this page. You can subscribe to Writers & Company in iTunes here, or simply pick up the RSS feed here. The Writers & Company home page is here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Greek & Roman love poetry

That's the topic this week on the BBC's excellent program In Our Time. Melvyn Bragg and his guests start with Sappho and end with Ovid. A really interesting program and well worth the 40 minutes or so it will take from your busy, busy life.

You can get it here and you can thank me later.

[Update: a commenter pointed out that you can also read a summary of the program here. However, both he and I strongly recommend you listen to the podcast. I always find that doing the dishes or some other such chore is much more enjoyable when you're learning something at the same time. Thank you Paul Grieg (even if your blogger profile is maddeningly blocked, so I can't even visit your blog to thank you for the tip).]

Saturday, April 14, 2007

White day in spring, song sparrow
alights in a naked maple,
the first hopeful bird
in the yard.

No mystery, this telepathy,
buzzy trills and tremolos
come to mind,
byproducts of a vital message

The sensible hen is somewhere
south where April snow
knows to fall
as rain.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Joshua goes to D.C.

The Washington Post Magazine ran a really excellent article this weekend. The premise of the article was an incognito performance by violinist Joshua Bell in the Washington D.C. Metro. Read the article to find out how discerning Washington commuters are.

From the article:

There was no ethnic or demographic pattern to distinguish the people who stayed to watch Bell, or the ones who gave money, from that vast majority who hurried on past, unheeding. Whites, blacks and Asians, young and old, men and women, were represented in all three groups. But the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.

My favourite quote by Bell, referring to the $32 he made in just under 45 minutes: "That's 40 bucks an hour. I could make an okay living doing this, and I wouldn't have to pay an agent."

He was joking, of course. I'm bet the insurance premiums on that violin are more than many people make in a year.