Monday, February 27, 2006
Franklet, the Boylan Blog's own strikingly imaginative poet, presents "Favrile" from Mark Doty's Sweet Machine. Enjoy!
at century's end,
compounded metallic lusters
to natural sheens (dragonfly
and beetle wings,
marbled light on kerosene)
and invented names
as coolly lustrous
as their products'
respectively, the glaze
that sun-shot fog
of which halos
and -- what?
What to make of Favrile,
for his coppery-rose
flushed with gold
like the alchemized
atmosphere of sunbeams
in a Flemish room?
his lamps illumine
wisteria or trout scales;
like a tidal stream
on which an excitation
of minnows boils
and blooms, artifice
made to show us
the lavish wardrobe
of things, the world's
glaze of appearances
worked into the thin
and gleaming stuff
of craft. A story:
at the puppet opera
--where one man animated
the entire cast
while another ghosted
the voices, basso
to coloratura -- Jimmy wept
at the world of tiny gestures,
forgot, he said,
these were puppets,
forgot these wire
and plaster fabrications
were actors at all,
since their pretense
allowed the passions
released to be--
It's too much,
to be expected to believe;
art's a mercuried sheen
in which we may discern,
because it is surface,
clear or vague
suggestions of our depths,
Don't we need a word
for the luster
of things which insist
on the fact they're made,
their maker's bravura?
Favrile, I'd propose,
for the perfect lamp,
too dim and strange
to help us read.
For the kimono woven,
dipped in dyes, unraveled
and loomed again
that the pattern might take on
a subtler shading
For the sonnet's
for bel canto,
which begins in limit
(where else might our work
begin?) and ends in grace,
or at least extravagance.
For the silk sleeves
of the puppet queen,
held at a ravishing angle
over her puppet lover slain,
for her lush vowels
mouthed by the plain man
hunched behind the stage.
Janusz Korczak: The Children’s Friend
A hero does not know he is a hero.
He risks his life a thousand times
to save yours.
He risks his life a thousand times
not for glory, not for rewards--
but to wipe your tears when you are sad,
to warm your heart when you are lonely,
to hold your hand when you are falling.
A hero does not know he is a hero.
He is like Atlas, holding on his shoulders
the conscience of the world.
Janusz Korczak was such a hero.
“You don’t labor for your homeland, for society, for the future unless you labor toward the enrichment of your own soul. Only in taking can you give, only in the growth of your own soul can you participate in growing. In the notes there are seeds from which rose forests and meadows, there are droplets which created streams, brooks. This is what I feed on, drink, comprehend, rejoice from drudgery in. From your own notes you derive a balance of life. They are proof you didn’t squander away your life. Life always challenges only a small portion, allows only a fraction to be attained. I was once young—I didn’t know. My hair has turned grey—I know now but the strength is lacking. From your own notes you set up a defense before your own conscience that it wasn’t as much or in such a way as it should have been…”
Such was the credo of Janusz Korczak, spelled out in the preface to his book An Educator’s Moments (1919), a credo of a man whose own conscience stands as an example for generations to follow. When Belzec and Dachau, Treblinka and Auschwitz were filled with the silence of death, when the hearts of people were frozen, when humanity seemed to gather around the banner of hatred, there appeared a brave man, the noted Polish pedagogue, doctor, writer and a friend of children to prove that in the midst of destruction and death, there is hope for rebuilding the world. Like a phoenix, he rose from the ashes of the war and confirmed that even death chambers could not trample his spirit, his vision, his creed of love, and his belief in the power of children to create a just, humane world, a world built not on mutual animosity but on mutual respect.
Born Henryk Goldszmit on July 22, 1878 in Warsaw, Poland, he became known through his country and in the world for his work and his writings published under the pen name Janusz Korczak. Korczak’s life can be described as one of selflessness and dedication to others. From the age of fourteen, after his father’s sudden death, he helped his family survive by giving private lessons after school. Then, as a young medical student, he provided free medical aid to the poor of Warsaw. Later, he served in field hospitals and wards as an army doctor, an experience that initiated his lifelong work—the caring for children. In 1911, Korczak was appointed the director of two orphanages, one for Jewish and one for Polish children.
From that moment on, Korczak had never ceased defending children’s rights. The theme of all his books--over twenty in number--is respect for a child, an appreciation of a child’s feelings, and the belief in a child’s wisdom. For instance, in his famous fable for children King Matt the First, Korczak narrates the story of a boy-king bent on reforming the world, the boy being no other than Korczak himself who has always attempted to fight the world’s wrongs. In another story, “When I am Little Again,” he poses both as a child and an adult, as a learner and an educator, endeavoring to demonstrate to each the difficulties and joys of the other.
Korczak’s natural kindness and his direct involvement with children through his work in the orphanage were the kernel from which his decision to dedicate his life to the love of children grew. It was this passion, along with his editing of a children’s newspaper, his participating in a children’s court, his talent of observation, and his zeal for scrutiny that led Korczak to construct a unique methodology of child upbringing. In his most serious book, How to Love a Child (1920), Korczak--a philosopher whose moral and ethical concerns resemble those of Socrates--recounts this methodology. In this work in particular, and in the course of his life in general, the great humanist had created a children’s republic, an island of justice and good amongst the waves of prejudice and repression.
“A child is a butterfly over the seething whirlpool of life. How can one give it steadiness without weighting down its flight, how can it be tempered without tying its wings?” Korczak asks. When his conviction of the children’s right to liberty was challenged by the Nazis, Korczak has denied all offers of personal rescue. To all such offers his response was a firm: “And what about the children?” On August 5, 1942, his soul united with those of his students as he joined them in their last march, a march to the gas chambers in the extermination camp of Treblinka. The great educator, teacher, counselor, friend lived for the children and died with them, an act of choice that affirmed his unwavering devotion to all he has ever believed in.
Korczak’s last lines--written just a few days before his death and inspiring like his life--read: “I exist not to be loved and admired but to love and act. It is not the duty of those around me to love me. Rather, it is my duty to be concerned about the world, about mankind.”
Cohen. Adir. The Gate of Light: Janusz Korczak, the Educator and Writer who Overcame the
Holocaust. New Jersey: Associated University Press, Inc., 1994.
Falkowska, Maria. A Chronology of the Life, Activities, and Works of Janusz Korczak. Trans.
E.P. Kulawiec. New York: The Kosciuszko Foundation: 1978.
Korczak, Janusz. The Warsaw Ghetto Memories. Trans. E.P. Kulawiec. Washington: University
Press of America, 1979.
Lifton, Betty Jean. The King of Children: A Biography of Janusz Korczak. New York: Farrar,
Straus and Giroux, 1988.
"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."
Martin Luther King, Jr. -December 11, 1964
Life Under the Mud
Philippines President Gloria Arroyo visited the scene of the landslide in Guinsaugon, after rocks --some the size of cars--had come crashing down, engulfing the entire village on Feb. 19. The president held hands and talked with the survivors and victims of the disaster. The official death toll stands at 107, based on the number of bodies found, but the final toll could surpass 1,000. There have no been no signs of life since the reports of tapping sounds from under the rubble on Monday. Officials warned that it might soon be time to call off the search for survivors.
Rescue efforts have focused on the elementary school where 200 children and 40 teachers were thought to have been trapped. But despite constant digging for the past few days, the mud is so deep that the searchers have yet to reach it. In an attempt to penetrate the site, US Marines brought in a two-ton drill on Wednesday. Such heavy equipment was avoided before for fear of destabilizing the mud and suffocating possible survivors. Hopes of finding anyone alive are quickly fading and many are trying instead to prepare for the future.
As Violence in Nigeria Rises, So Do Oil Prices
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta conducted a series of attacks on Shell oil and gas pipelines in Nigeria this past weekend, attacks that may limit the country's crude oil supply. The militants--who also raided a barge owned by the U.S. based Willbros Group and kidnapped nine foreign oil workers on it--demanded greater control over oil revenues and refused to hold hostage negotiations with what they termed a "fraudulent" Nigerian government without the intervention of a neutral third party.
Nigeria, Africa's leading exporter of oil, has seen a 20 percent reduction in its crude oil production as a result of acts of industrial sabotage and increased violence fueled by resentment over economic inequalities in the oil-rich Niger Delta. In the past 15 years, strikes against oil operations have become commonplace in a region where many of its impoverished residents feel they have been denied their fair share of the oil revenues. The violence has done little to dampen demand for oil, however, as the possibility of supply disruptions led to inflated oil prices in the
Red-Faced Mao: Artistic Political Statement Earns 20 Years in Prison
Chinese Journalist, Yu Dongyue, was released from jail on Wednesday after serving 17 years for defacing a portrait of Mao during the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. Mr. Yu had worked as a reporter and art critic for Liuyang News, a local paper in Hunan, when he and two friends threw eggs filled with paint at the Mao portrait. The act resulted in splattered red paint all over the portrait, which hangs in Tiananmen Square to this day.
Mr. Yu's re-entry into society will be heavily restricted, as is the case with many Chinese political prisoners. Mr. Yu will no longer have the right to work at any state-owned enterprise, including universities, and he will be prohibited from speaking to any news organizations. "He will be, for the rest of his life, a targeted person," said Mr. Kamm an advocate for the release of Chinese political prisoners.
Family members and friends were appalled by Mr. Yu's treatment in prison. He suffered injuries to his head, had been tied to an electricity pole and left in the sun for several days, and had been locked in solitary confinement for a total of two years. His family members fear that the psychological damage from this abuse is irreversible. Reporters Without Borders, a journalism advocacy group, claims that Yu went insane as a result of the tortures in prison. His
own brother says that Mr. Yu no longer recognizes him.
German Man Convicted of Insulting Islam by Offering “Koran” Toilet Paper
A German court this week convicted a 61 year-old man, identified as Manfred van H, of insulting Islam by printing the word “Koran” on toilet paper and peddling it to mosques. The man was sentenced for a one-year jail sentence, suspended for five years, and ordered to complete 300 hours of community service.
Manfred van H. printed the toilet paper after a series of bomb attacks in London during July 2005. He sent the paper out to German media outlets and about 15 mosques, with an accompanying letter, referring to Islam’s holy book as “a cookbook for terrorists.” He also offered the toilet paper for sale on the Internet for 4 euros ($4.76), indicating that the proceeds would fund a "memorial to all the victims of Islamic terrorism."
Olympics Fun Facts:
--Traditionally, the Olympic flame in Olympia, Greece was rekindled every two years using the sun's rays and a concave reflective mirror.
-- The early Olympic Games were celebrated as a religious festival from 776 B.C. until 393 A.D., when the games were banned for being a pagan festival (the Olympics celebrated the Greek god Zeus). In 1894, a French educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin, proposed a revival of the ancient tradition, and the modern-day Olympic Summer Games were born.
--In 1908, the marathon standard had been set at exactly 26 miles. However, at the Olympic marathon in London, it was decided that the royal family needed a better view of the finish line; the organizers added an extra 385 yards to the race so the finish line would be in front of the royal box.
Elina Bloch is here with this week in OurStory!
1737—Elizabeth Rowe, English poet, dies
1852—Nikolai Garin, Russian author, is born
1881—Pedro Muxos Seca, Spanish playwright, is born
1883—Shiga Naoga, Japanese novelist, is born
1888—Georges Bernenos, French novelist, is born
1985—Freida Geiken—autobiographer, is born
1905—Jasha Golowanjuk, Swedish poet, is born
1591—Robert Southwell, English Jesuit/poet, hanged
1684—Justus van Effen, writer, is born in Holland
1710—Willem van Haren, Frisian nobleman/poet, is born
1730—Charles L Fournier, Flemish writer/painter, is born
1837—Rosalia de Castro, Spanish writer, is born
1852—Nikolai Gogol, Russian playwright, author of Dead Souls, dies
1862—Justinus A C Kerner—German doctor/poet/writer, dies
1078—Johanned van Fécamp, Italian mystic writer, dies
1819—James Russell Lowell, poet/critic/diplomat/abolitionist, is born
1832—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet, dies in Weimer, Germany
1892—Edec St. Vincent Millay, poet/writer, winner of the Harp Weaver-Pulitzer Prize, is born
1896—Paul van Ostaijen, Flemish poet/writer/critic, is born
1900—Giorgios Seferis, Greek poet, winner of the Nobel Prize (1963) is born
1900—Sean O’Faolain, Irish writer, is born
1987—Glenway Wescott. U.S. writer, dies at 85
1821—John Keats, Romantic poet, dies of tuberculosis at 25 in Rome
1920—Walter Ernest Allen, British novelist/academic/critic, is born
1945—Aleksei Toltoi, Russian poet/writer, dies at 62
1955—Paul Claudel, French poet/playwright, dies at 86
1304—Muhamad ibn Battitah, Arab travel writer, is born
1501—Suxt(us) Birck, German writer, is born
1750—Miklós Révai, Hungarian linguist/poet, is born
1836—Dániel Berzseng, Hungarian poet, dies at 59
1843—Joaquim Theóflilo F. Braga, Portuguese poet/author/politician, is born
1983—Tennessee Williams, U.S. playwright, dies at 71
1707—Carlo Goldoni, Italian playwright, is born
1725—Karl Wilhelm Ramner, German poet, is born
1866--Benedetto Croce, Italian humanist/historian/editor/philosopher
1907--Mary Coyle Chase, playwright, winner of the Harvey-Pulitzer Prize, is born
1914—John Tenniel, British illustrator (Alice in Wonderland), dies at 93
1802—Victor Hugo, author of the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables, is born in France
1842—Karl May, German writer, is born
1893—Ivor A Richards, English poet/critic, is born
1898—Julien de Valckenaere, French writer, is born
1984—Robert Penn Warren, Pulitzer Prize Winner, named 1st U.S. poet laureate
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Attention all English majors:
There will be an English Majors Open Meeting on Thursday, March 2, 2006 during club hours (1:30-3:30pm) in 2315 Boylan (the Barker room).
This will be an informative meeting for English majors to learn more about the major, voice any questions or concerns, meet other English students and member of faculty. Students are strongly encouraged to attend.
We hope to see you there!
The Zine is published annually by Dr. Roni Natov's English Majors' Counseling Office at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. We invite submissions of student/faculty/staff art, essays, fiction, plays, poetry and prose. The deadline for all submissions to the 2006 edition is March 1, 2006.
Up to 6 poems may be submitted per poet. Essays, fiction, plays and prose should not exceed 6 pages, double-spaced in standard 12-point font with one inch margins--one submission per writer. No more than 6 pieces of original art per artist, please.
Submissions may be e-mailed to BoylanBlog@yahoo.com attached as a Word document, or dropped off at the English Majors' Counseling Office (3416B) as a Word document on a floppy disc. Art should be submitted as a MAC compatible program on a floppy disc or zip drive. Please be sure to include your name, phone number and e-mail address on all submissions. Thank you.
****HURRY! The deadline is quickly approaching!****
Great news! Deadlines have been extended for the English department contests! All contests (except the ones listed below have been) have a new deadline of February 28, 2006!
The Poetry Exegesis Prize (explication of poem) has been extended to February 23, 2006. Drop your entries off in 2307B.
Also, please join Professor Geof Minter for the Shakespeare event--February 14, 2006 at 6:15pm in 132NE.
Please register with Grace in the English Department (2308B) for either of these awards/events. Students may register as late as the "day of."
For a full list of the English Department Contests, please visit: English Department Contests.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Monday, February 20, 2006
Christine Choi, a fabulous poet in her own right, presents us with a wonderful poem from Edmund Berrigan entitled, "Pastures of Plenty." Enjoy!
Pastures of Plenty
I want you to understand
that I don’t know why I’m here.
I was born in another country
with which I now have no association.
I was raised in a New York City
that has been wiped away by economics.
Much of my immediate family has
been removed from this life,
& much of my sense of experience
of this life has been removed with them,
making all of us new people.
I have let much of my sense of self
be informed by an art that is little used
& undervalued. I have sacrificed many
social relationships to these experiences,
which are inextricably linked, because
I come from a family of poets. The life
& values of a poet are antithetical to the
political landscape of the country
I live in, & no political machination
that I may inhabit remotely serves
the causes for which I live, though
I am bound to this land by knowledge of it.
I continue in poetry & song
because the experiences of my senses
are wholly held in these continuous
& inexplicable drives, their reason
& mine never idle or held to law or language.
Dear Poets and Writers,
What better way is there to spend the last day of February than at a meeting of The Poetry Club? I sure can't think of anything! For those of you who missed our last fun-filled meeting, we had a blast playing my homemade version of Jeopardy. The pictures are posted up at our website ( http://students.brooklyn.cuny.edu/poetry) for your viewing pleasure. Congratulations again to Bryan and Carole. And to Sarah and Maryana: you gals have an exceptional knowledge of literature, poetry and television. I was very impressed.
This week, we're going to get our creative writing juices flowing again with collaborative sestinas! So mark your calendars for Tuesday, February 28 @ 1:30 p.m. in 2307 Boylan.
Here are some reminders for upcoming deadlines/events:
1) The deadline for submissions to the English Majors ZINE is Wednesday, March 1. We are accepting up to 5 poems and a short story (5 pages maximum in length). You can also submit artwork! So drop off your submissions (a hard copy of your work and a copy of it on disk/CD) at 3416 Boylan OR email them as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure your name and a contact number/email appear on all of your work.
2) The deadline for English Department contests has been extended to Tuesday, February 28. This is a great chance to gain recognition for your work at a nice ceremony (The English Majors Tea held in May) and also win some money. There are a few poetry and fiction contests as well as essay-writing ones and scholarships. Visit the English Department (2308 Boylan) for more information or visit The Boylan Blog ( http://boylanblog.blogspot.com).
3) We also have an English Majors Open Meeting coming up on Thursday, March 2 during club hours (1:30-3:30pm) in 2315 Boylan (the Barker room). This will be an informative meeting for English majors to learn more about the major and voice any questions/concerns they might have.
Recap: Come to the next Poetry Club meeting, note the aforementioned deadlines/events, and keep writing! Spring is just around the corner.
Poetry Club President
P.S. The Poetry Club is open to ALL Creative Writers!
"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS."
-Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Horn of Africa in the Grip of Thirst
Suffering from the area’s worst drought in 40 years, people in southern Somalia are beginning to die of thirst. Surviving on just three glasses of water per day, with temperatures soaring to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Somalis are being forced to beg for water along roadsides, according to the aid agency Oxfam.“
The situation is as bad as I can remember,” said Abdullahi Maalim Hussein, a Somali village elder. “Some people are dying and children are drinking their own urine because there is simply no water available for them to drink.”
People are trekking as much as 45 miles in search of water because all surface water has dried up, and bored wells are running dry. Somalia’s lack of a functioning central government and poor transportation are inhibiting relief efforts, which include schools and local groups raising $100,000—a huge sum to the impoverished country.
The United Nations estimates that more than 11 million people will require food aid for the next six months in the region that includes parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Tanzania and Burundi. According to the World Meteorological Association, the Horn of Africa will remain in the grips of the drought until at least April.
Post-election Violence in Haiti
Tens of thousands of people, mainly from Haiti’s poorest slums, partook in demonstrations after a recount of votes in last week’s presidential election found that Rene Préval had not won the required majority of votes. “They told us to come to vote in peace and we did,” said Pouchon Pierre, one of the protestors in support of Préval. “Now they want to steal the election from us. But we will not let them.”
When the votes were recounted, Préval’s earlier tally of more than 60 percent shrunk to 48.73 percent—just shy of the 50 percent needed to win. Soon after the new results were broadcast, waves of people marched into the city’s main thoroughfares, where they set tires on fire and smashed the windshields of cars that tried to pass. One protester was shot and killed in the commotion, allegedly from a clash with the United Nations, a charge that the United Nations denied.
Mr. Préval addressed the nation the Tuesday following elections and demanded that final election results be withheld pending a review—“a political solution to a political problem that was necessary because of the widespread fraud that threatened to undermine the election and the will of the people.”
After lengthy negotiations, leaders of Haiti’s interim government to retabulate the votes finally reached a deal on Thursday, Feb. 16, and declared Préval the winner of the election. Apparently, electoral authorities had recovered a large number of missing ballots that were believed destroyed or stolen, and those ballots, estimated at 8 percent of all ballots cast, were overwhelmingly in Mr. Préval’s favor.
Opposition Swells Over Australian Ruling on Abortion Drug
In a bold move last Thursday, the Australian parliament took away regulatory control of a controversial abortion drug from the country’s conservative health minister, and thereby ended the nationwide ban on RU486. The Therapeutic Goods Administration, which already regulates the use of other drugs and medical devices, replaced current Health Minister Tony Abbott—a staunch Roman Catholic against the use of RU486—as overseer in decisions concerning the drug.
Since Thursday’s vote, contrasting views have been expressed regarding the drug’s safety and the morality of its use. Supporters argued RU486 “was a cheaper and less invasive method of abortion than surgery.” Moreover, the decision was described “a winner for Australian women and their families, and also a winner for the House of Representatives,” by Senator Lyn Allison, one of the bill’s co-authors. Health Minister Abbott railed against Sen. Allison’s comment, calling it an “unutterable shame” that there were up to 100,000 abortions a year in Australia and that some women saw this as “a badge of liberation.”
The issue split Prime Minister John Howard and his heir-apparent, Peter Costello. Howard opposed the bill, saying parliament should have control over the drug, while Costello lent his support to the decision that relieved the health minister of his drug regulatory powers. “I have no doubt that the law should not have prevented such a choice—that the law should allow a choice, whether physical or mental health of the woman is at risk,” Costello said.
-While in college at the University of South Carolina, Bush’s Chief of Staff Andrew Card managed a McDonald’s. He discovered someone was stealing money, but none of the employees would admit to it. His solution? He fired everyone.
-A Hummer H2 SUV could be driven around the world 244 times on the excess calories Americans consume each year.
-Sixty-eight percent of people believe they have met or seen the Devil.
This week new Boylan Blogger, Yevgeniya Drobitskaya, shares what she learned from other Brooklyn College students...At this Moment.
"I have recently attended the screening of Eugene Jarecki's film "Why We Fight?" and, having engaged in an intellectual discussion with the director about the movie and the issues it raises, I am thinking about the possible interview with him for the CUNY TV or radio. I mean, with the prolonged warfare resulting in a large number of casualties, American people become more and more dissatisfied with the idea of war. What's also present is lack of meaningful debate over reasons for starting the war in the first place. What we need to do is not cry for the fallen soldiers but try to figure out why we got (and get in general) into warfare, and try and prevent it from happening again."
-Daniel, an ex-marine and a fellow Brooklyn College student at present
"What isn't on my mind these days? School, work, and my son. He is three-years old, and demands a lot of attention, and it's difficult to manage."
-Jennifer, a fellow Brooklyn College student
"Not much, except for this awesome, spring-like weather. Makes you want to mate!"
-Sean, a fellow BC student
Elina Bloch tells us what happened this week in OurStory....
1658—Jan B. Wellekens, Dutch poet/painter, is born
1881—Eleanor Farjeon, English writer, is born
1886—Ricardo Güiraldes, Argentinean novelist, is born
1903—Georges Simenon, Belgian mystery writer, is born
1974—Dissident Nobel Prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn is expelled from the USSR
1533—Christianus Adrichomius, Dutch poet/writer, is born
1571—Benvenuto Cellini, Italian sculptor/metalsmith/author, dies at 70
1707—Claude Prosper J. Crebillon, French writer, is born
1835--François Haverschmidt, Dutch writer, is born
1989—Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini offers $1million-$3million bounty on Salman Rushdie’s death due to his novel Satanic Verses
0399—Philosopher Socrates is sentenced to death
1707—Claude Prosper, French novelist, is born
1781—Gotthold Emrich Lessing, Scottish playwright, is born
1856—Frank Harris, English writer, is born
1935—Susan Brownmiller, feminist author, is born in Brooklyn, NY
1075—Ordericus Vitalis, French monk/historian/poet, is born
1751—First publication of Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard.”
1850—Octave Mirbeau, French writer, is born
1886—Van Wyck Brooks, literary historian/writer, is born in New Jersey
1907—Anghélos Terzakis, Greek writer, is born
1907—Giosué E. Carducci, poet, Nobel Prize winner in Literature (1906), dies
1992—Angela Carter, British novelist, dies of cancer at 51
1673—Moliére (Jean Baptist Poquein), French playwright, dies in Paris at 51
1752—Friedrich M. Klinger, German playwright, is born
1776—1st volume of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is published
1856—Heinrich Heine, German poet, dies at 58
1862—Mori Oyai (Moru Rintarô), Japanese author, is born
1879—Dorothy Canfield Fisher, U.S novelist, is born
1559—Isaac Casaubon, naturalized English classical scholar/theologian is born
1884—Police seizes all copies of Tolstoy’s “What I Believe In”
1885—Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published
1890—Boris L. Pasternak, Russian poet/writer, is born
1890—Lauri SA Haarla, Finish (stage)writer, is born
1896—André Breton, Surrealist poet/writer, is born
1905—Jules de Geyster, Belgian poet, dies at 75
1931—Toni Morrison, novelist, author of Tar Baby, Beloved, Song of Solomon, is born in Ohio
0003—Sadiq Hidajat—Persian writer, is born
1532—Jean Antonie Baif, French poet, is born
1754—Vincenzo Monti, Italian poet/translator, is born
1833—Elie Ducommun, writer/pacifist, winner of the Nobel Prize (1902), is born in Switzerland
1889—José Eustasio Rivera, Columbian poet/novelist, is born
1951—André Gide, French writer, winner of the Nobel Prize (1947), dies at 81
1932—William Faulkner completes his novel Light in August
1963—Robert Frost wins the Bollingen Prize
Monday, February 13, 2006
Bella Akhmadulina is a renowned Russian poet, essayist, and critic. With her daring verse, she has been compared to Anna Akhmatova and Marina Tsvetayeva. Akhmadulina’s poetry was translated into English, German, Italian, Danish, Slovak, Check, Hebrew, Bulgarian and numerous other languages. She has published books of poetry, short stories, and translations and has won both national and international poetry awards.
I went out to the garden - but in garden,
the word, lies lush luxuriance.
As gorgeous as a full blown rose,
it enriches sound and scent and glance.
The word is wider than what surrounds me:
inside it all is well and free;
its rich black soil makes sons and daughters
of orphaned and transplanted seeds.
Seeding of dark innovations,
O garden, word, you are gardener,
who to the clipper's gleam and clutter
increase and spread the fruits you bear.
Set within your free-and easy
space are an old estate and the fate
of a family long gone, and the faded
whiteness of their garden bench.
You are more fertile than the earth:
you feed the roots of other's crowns.
From oak to oakwood, Oakboy, you are
heart's mail, and word's - the love, the blood.
Your shady grove is always darkened,
but why did a lovelorn parasol
of lace look down in embarrassment
in the face of hot weather coming on?
Perhaps I, who guest for a limp hand,
redden my own knees on the stones?
a casual and impoverished gardener,
what do I seek? Where do I tend?
If I had gone out, where would I really
have gone? It's May - and solid mud.
I went out to a ruined wasteland
and it read that life was dead.
Dead! Gone! Where had it hurried to ?
It merely tasted the dried up agony
of speechless lips and then reported:
all things forever; only a moment for me.
For a moment in which I could not manage
to either self or garden clearly.
"I went out to the garden" was what I wrote.
I did? Well, then, there must be
something to it? There is - and amazing
how going to the garden takes no move.
I did not go out at all. I simply wrote the
way I usually do,
"I went out to the garden..."
In Afghanistan, a total of twelve protestors have died since the cartoons parodying the prophet Muhammad were first published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, whose editors commissioned 12 artists to draw their versions of Muhammad. According to Islamic tenets, it is considered blasphemous to depict the prophet, even if the depiction is not meant to offend.
Many of the cartoons ironically commented on religion and even on the assignment itself, while others were more incendiary, such as one that shows Muhammad holding a bomb in the shape of a turban. The cartoons have sparked further resentment in the Muslim world towards negative depictions of Islam in the European and American press since 9/11.
Editors for the Danish and French newspapers that carried the cartoons defended their decision to engage in free speech even at the risk of offending religious sensibilities. Others, such as author Alexandre Adler, believe that inciting religious Muslims is dangerous: "We're at war. And sometimes war demands censorship. In this context, anything that might strengthen the hate of the West is irresponsible."
Nepali Police Attack Protesters
Municipal elections in Katmandu turned violent on Thursday when Police fired tear gas on citizens demonstrating against the election process, calling it a charade. The protesters, who oppose King Gyanendra's order for local polls, marched on behalf of an anti-king protester who was killed Wednesday during elections in Dang, the Maoist rebel heartland of West Nepal.
Gyanendra seized power last year, eliminating civil liberties and sacking the government, and justified his takeover by claiming it necessary to destroy the Maoist rebellion, which has claimed more than 13,000 lives. Since 1996, political parties and Maoist rebels have been trying to bring down the Himalayan nation's monarchy. They said the intent of the elections was to project an air of legitimacy onto Gyanendra's rule.
"The United States believes Nepal's municipal elections called by the King today represented a hollow attempt to legitimize his power," the U.S. State Department said in a statement on Wednesday. "The only way to effectively deal with the threat posed by the Maoists is to restore democracy in Nepal."
Yahoo and Google Aid in the Chinese Search for Ways to Control Free Speech
Evidence presented by Yahoo Inc. to Chinese authorities led to 2003 arrest of Li Zhi, a journalist and Internet writer who was charged with subverting state power. He was sentenced to eight years imprisonment.
In February 2005, Yahoo was accused of helping Chinese authorities identify Shi Tao, who received a 10-year prison sentence for leaking state secrets abroad.
Such complicity with the Chinese government seems to be the rule among the major Internet search engines. Google Inc. has also come under fire in the last month after it announced it would block politically sensitive terms on its new China site, bowing to conditions set by Beijing.
Yahoo claims that local laws restrict its ability to resist the Chinese government’s requests. However, when asked about the September 2005 case, the company refused to confirm or deny providing any of the information.
Bird Flu: Educating the Public
During the national celebration of the Vietnamese Festival of Tet-Lunar New Year-the Government of Viet Nam and the United Nations join forces to educate the public about the spread of the fatal avian influenza, or bird flu, and possible preventative measures against this deadly disease.
Ever since the virus was discovered two years ago, 79 people worldwide were killed by the flu, and millions of chickens were slaughtered in an attempt to lower the number of birds presumably infected.
The UN and the Vietnamese Government employ all media to broadcast important messages that, at this moment, are considered the most efficient preventative measures against the virus. These include basic hygiene procedures while handling and cooking poultry, eliminating contact with sick or dead chickens, and following standard safety procedures while slaughtering poultry.
The UN World Health Organization acknowledges the fact that, though until now the virus was primarily transferred from infected birds to humans, the disease may turn into a disastrous epidemic by changing its form to one that is passed on easily from one person to another. With $1.9 billion donated for the fight against the flu, antiviral vaccines are being distributed worldwide, and the hope of triumph over this deadly virus remains.
Pounding the pavement to discover what's on the minds of our brothers and sisters on the Brooklyn College campus this week is the Poetry Club president, Christine Choi.
"I work full time in the mornings and am a full-time student in the evenings. I’m tired mentally, physically . . . I need a vacation from life."
-Diana, Business Major
Alzheimer’s research—because my mom is dying of it.
My wedding. I’m getting married in the summer. In the meantime, I am trying to finish up my classes so I can graduate and have my degree from BC before having to move and live with my husband upstate.
-Liza, Accounting Major
Once again, Elina Bloch....
1461—Dzore Drzic, Croatian poet, is born
1564—Christopher Marlow, English poet/dramatist, is born
1778—Ugo Foscolo, Italian writer/poet, is born
1812—Carlo Goldoni, Italian dramatist, dies at 104
1929—Keith Waterhouse, English writer, is born
1764—Ann Radcliffe, Gothic novelist, author of The Mysteries of Udolpho, is born
1812—Charles Dickens, English novelist, is born
1818—1st successful U.S. educational magazine “Academician,” begins in NYC
1823—Ann Radcliffe dies at 58
1833--Ricardo Palma, Peruvian writer/poet, is born
1836—“Sketches by Boz” essays are published by Charles Dickens
1577—Robert Burton, British writer, author of the Anatomy of the Melancholy, is born
1612—Samuel Butler, English poet/satirist, is born
1851—Kate O’Flaherty Chopin, novelist, author of The Awakening, is born
1852—Nikolai Garin, Russian author, is born
1441—Ali Sjir Neva’i—Turkish poet, is born
1874—Amy Lowell, U.S. poet/critic, is born
1881—Feodor M. Dostoevsky, Russian writer, author of Crime and Punishment, dies at 59
1887—Vital Celen, Flemish writer, is born
1944—Alice Walker, U.S. novelist, is born
1609—Sir John Suckling, English Cavalier poet/dramatist, is born
1685—Aaron Hill, English playwright/poet, is born
1775—Charles Lamb, English poet/critic/essayist, is born
1890—Boris L. Pasternak, Russian novelist/pot, is born
1898—Bertolt Brecht, German playwright/composer, is born
1992—Alex Haley, U.S. writer, author of the Autobiography of Malcolm X, Roots, dies at 83
1568—Honoré d’Urfé—French writer, is born
1912—Roy Fuller, English poet/novelist, is born
1917—Sidney Sheldon, American screenwriter/novelist, is born
1963—Sylvia Plath, poet/novelist, kills herself in London at 30
1567—John Campion, English poet/playwright/composer, is born
1939—Leopold Ashen, Austrian author, is born
1972—Padraic Colum, Irish poet/writer/ founder of the “Irish Review,” dies at 90
1992—Walt Morey, U.S. children’s book writer, author of Gentle Ben, dies at 84
Monday, February 06, 2006
Consider us your own, personal deep throat.
In an about-face, the U.S. moved to support an Iranian proposal that would exclude organizations that help protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from participating as UN consultants.
The U.S., along with Cameroon, China, Cuba, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Iran, voted against a measure designed to detect and deter human rights violations committed against members of the international LGBT community.
“It is an absolute outrage that the United States has chosen to align itself with oppressive governments all in an effort to smother the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world,” said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “It is deeply disturbing that the self-proclaimed ‘leader of the free world’ will ally with bigots at the drop of a hat to advance the right wing's anti-gay agenda.”
U.S. officials have so far not commented on the situation.
-Robert Jones, Jr.
Cricket Fans Chirp Racial Abuse
Following alleged racial abuses at recent matches, the International Cricket Council, the governing body of the sport cricket, moved to investigate incidents in several Australian cities. Cricket players from South Africa and Sri Lanka have reported abuse during recent tours in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. India’s Solicitor General, Goolam Vahanvati, was appointed to investigate the incidents.
Spectators reportedly taunted South African players with the terms “kaffir” and “kaffir boeties,” defined by the BBC as “derogatory terms for black people and those sympathetic to them.” The recent incidents came on the heels of racial violence at a Sydney beach in early December, when thousands of alcohol-fueled white young men attacked people of Arabic and Mediterranean background—apparently in retaliation to an attack on volunteer lifeguards by young Arab or Mediterranean men.
Cricket authorities have called for lifetime bans or heavy fines for fans who taunt players with racial slurs. Sri Lankan Cricket Secretary Adil Hashim reacted positively to the International Cricket Council’s action, and said, “Sport bridges barriers and the last thing that should happen in it is racial divisions.”
The Pigeons Will Fly No More
The death toll from the roof collapse of the snow-covered International Fair building in Poland reached 67 people last Monday. The disaster first occurred last Saturday afternoon when an estimated 500 people were gathered in the hall for “Pigeon 2006,” a pigeon-racing exhibition near Katowice.
Nearly 1,000 police officers, firemen, soldiers and miners dug through the remains of the hall in search of survivors. By Sunday, however, no more voices were heard from underneath the metal wreckage. One of the survivors escaped the catastrophe only to find that his 26-year-old son had been killed. Another survivor recalled, “It was suddenly all quiet around me. No one was running or panicking. Everyone was just buried.”
Grzegorz Slyszyk, a lawyer for the owners of the building, insisted that his clients met all Polish safety regulations. Slyszyk blamed structural faults and the huge difference in temperatures inside and out for the accident. Negligence was also cited as a possible cause, as expenses for building the pavilion have been reduced in many areas in order to maximize profits.
The development of reproductive technology and genetic testing has given rise to a new phenomenon in health care commonly known as “savior siblings” or “spare part” babies—babies created by parents to aid a brother or sister suffering from a life-threatening disease.
One such baby was Jamie Whitaker, born to provide stem cells for his older brother Charlie, who was suffering from a rare disease called Diamond-Blackfan anaemia.
The use of babies to save the lives of siblings may lead to serious ethical consequences, according to the Human Genetics Commission in Britain. It warned “that once a child has been created to save a sibling, there could be a temptation to view them as a spare parts bank.”
While the Commission acknowledged the impossibility of preventing parents who have a sick child from attempting to create a “savior sibling,” it urged for safeguards in such situations.
A line needs to be drawn to determine exactly how far is too far. The Commission noted that minor procedures like taking blood from the umbilical cord is acceptable, but the removal of bone marrow, the donation of a kidney, or repeated tissue donations are ethically questionable and should be considered “before children are used as guinea pigs in a social experiment.”
Keith Zackowitz, bless us with one of your favorite poems.
Memories of West Street And Lepke
by Robert Lowell
Only teaching on Tuesdays, book-worming
in pajamas fresh from the washer each morning,
I hog a whole house on Boston's
"hardly passionate Marlborough Street,"
where even the man
scavenging filth in the back alley trash cans,
has two children, a beach wagon, a helpmate,
and is a "young Republican."
I have a nine months' daughter,
young enough to be my granddaughter.
Like the sun she rises in her flame-flamingo infants' wear.
These are the tranquillized Fifties,
and I am forty. Ought I to regret my seedtime?
I was a fire-breathing Catholic C.O.,
and made my manic statement,
telling off the state and president, and then
sat waiting sentence in the bull pen
beside a Negro boy with curlicuesof marijuana in his hair.
Given a year,
I walked on the roof of the West Street Jail, a short
enclosure like my school soccer court,
and saw the Hudson River once a day,
through sooty clothesline entanglements
and bleaching khaki tenements.
Strolling, I yammered metaphysics with Abramowitz,
a jaundice-yellow ("it's really tan")
and fly-weight pacifist,
he wore rope shoes and preferred fallen fruit.
He tried to convert Bioff and Brown,
the Hollywood pimps, to his diet.
Hairy, muscular, suburban,wearing chocolate double-breasted suits,
they blew their tops and beat him black and blue.
I was so out of things, I'd never heard
of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
"Are you a C.O.?" I asked a fellow jailbird.
"No," he answered, "I'm a J.W."
He taught me the "hospital tuck,"
and pointed out the T-shirted back
of Murder Incorporated's Czar Lepke,
there piling towels on a rack,
or dawdling off to his little segregated cell full
of things forbidden to the common man:
a portable radio, a dresser, two toy American
flags tied together with a ribbon of Easter palm.
Flabby, bald, lobotomized,
he drifted in a sheepish calm,
where no agonizing reappraisal
jarred his concentration on the electric chair -
hanging like an oasis in his air
of lost connections...
Hello everyone and welcome to this week's edition of At this Moment, the blog section where we take a moment to talk to our fellow Brooklyn College campus-dwellers about their foremost concerns.
This week's At this Moment interviews were conducted by the esteemed Elina Bloch.
"I am concerned about the current war in Iraq, which seems to continue relentlessly and to claim more and more lives. I am also worried that we may be on the brink of a nuclear war, World War III, and that more destruction and deaths are impending."
--Phil, cafeteria staff
"I am a mother of two, and have been trying for three years to adopt another child. There are so many children out there in need of warmth and love. If my family can make at least one such child happy, I feel it is my duty as a human being to do so. However, the adoption procedures in the U.S. are so bureaucratic and lengthy that I have almost lost hope in succeeding in my endeavor."
"First, I would like to be more involved in the college’s affairs and events. Even though I have been working here for years, I know almost nothing about Brooklyn College, its operations, and its study programs. It would be truly wonderful to feel more belonging to this community. Second, I would like Brooklyn College students to be more considerate and appreciative of others’ labor. I respect them and expect respect in return. Students should realize that rudeness is neither the correct nor the mature way to act."
--Anonymous, cafeteria staff
"I am double majoring in English and Film. What concerns me is the lack of necessary equipment in the Film Department and the long procedures required to obtain a permit for filming on campus. Students are obliged to go to numerous offices in order to procure such a permit, a procedure both time consuming and discouraging. Also, at this moment I feel that our library does not have a sufficient amount of books for conducting a thorough research. Many of the available materials are either outdated or maintained on reserve. It would be very helpful if the library collections could be renovated and if students could check out the necessary materials rather than having to study them only during the limited hours in which the reserve room operates."
Elina Bloch, what happened this week in literary history?
1719-- Magnus G. Licher, German writer, is born
1818—John Keats composes his sonnet “When I have Fears”
1858—William Wells Brown, abolitionist, author, playwright, publishes Leap to Freedom
1912—Barbara Tuchman, U.S. historian/author, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is born
1787—Louis Angely, German comedy writer, is born
1817—Antony Winkler Prins, Dutch writer, is born
1872—Zane Grey, American West novelist, is born
1933—John Galsworthy, author of the Forsythe Saga, Nobel Prize winner, dies at 65
1938—Ajip Rosidi, Indonesian writer, is born
1550—Rene Descartes, philosopher, author of “I think therefore I am,” stops thinking forever
1884—The first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary is published
1904—S.J. Perleman, author of the screenplay for the movie “Around the World in 80 Days,” (based on Jules Verne’s novel), is born in Brooklyn
1935—James T. Farrell finishes his Studs Lonigan trilogy
1583—Anna Roemers Visscher, Dutch poetess, is born
1708—Scottish Sailor, Alexander Selkik, the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, is
rescued after spending five years in an isolated island on the coast of Chile
1863—Samuel Clemens becomes Mark Twain for the first time
1882—James Joyce, Irish novelist and poet, is born
1922—James Joyce’s Ulysses is published
1957—Valery Lerband, French author, dies at 57
1468—Johann Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press, dies
1861—Leopold Couroble, Belgian writer, is born
1874—Gertrude Stein is born in Pennsylvania
1688—Pierre De Marivaux, French writer, is born
1693—George Lillo, English dramatist, is born
1892—Huge Betti, Italian playwright, is born
1925—Russel Hoban, U.S. children’s book author, is born
1626—Madam Marie de Sevigne, renown letter writer, is born
1897—Marcel Proust meets Jean Lorrain in a pistol duel
1967—Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to Robert Penn Warren