“Shadow words / that beat like hammers.”
“Four hundred years ago yesterday saw the first printing of one of the great wonders of the literary world: Shakespeare’s First Folio. Published in 1623, seven years after he died, it was the first printed edition of the collected plays. Without this achievement, half of Shakespeare’s dramatic work would have been lost.” — Folio 400
It is widely acknowledged that Shakespeare lacked a university education — there is no record of it — unlike his contemporaries or near-contempories, such as Marlowe, Greene, Jonson, Nashe, Beaumont, Fletcher, so forth. Despite that, he was a greater writer than any of them, and pilfering was part of his toolkit. As Anthony Burgess notes in his biography of Shakespeare, he not only took plots and stories for his plays — this too is widely acknowledged — but also “filched” entire passages (plagiarized them, if you will) and in the process improved them immeasurably.
The world Mark Terrill sees is “essentially forlorn, if not absurd, if not entirely hopeless. But his poetry is far from hopeless.” — Lawrence Ferlinghetti
‘My road to biography began at TIME magazine.’
He titled his lecture ‘Lessons About Living with Geniuses.’ His latest biography is about Elon Musk. His previous biographies were about Henry Kissinger, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Jennifer Doudna.
“A visionary prophetic book written when the Hippies and Yippies were dissolving the Sixties, which didn’t give us the political and social change needed . . . Pélieu saw Céline’s words become the reality: ‘The poetry of heroism appeals irresistibly to those who don’t go to war, and even more to those whom the war is making enormously wealthy’.”— Charles Plymell
Presiding writers, for their part, bequeath journeys.
Homer to Ithaca. Basho to Deep North Honshu.
Coleridge to Xanadu. Yeats to Byzantium.
Journeys full of imagining.
as a brief visitor to my ear
a fly droned on about
some matter or other that
was too brief for me to catch
“Cut Up or Shut Up” was an experiment that grew out of Carl Weissner’s “The Braille Film” and a cut-up text by the two of us, “The Louis Project,” both published by the Nova Broadcast Press in 1970. To put the stamp of approval on our effort, so to speak, we asked William Burroughs for a text to use perhaps as a foreword. As far as I know, Burroughs never did say whether he approved. But we took his contribution for an implicit endorsement.
Mark Terrill’s latest book fits gemlike and exquisite in the palm of your hand. Yet it spreads like a flower deep in your head. Probing daily life for meaning in far-flung places, this sea-going, globe-trotting author is a roving poet with a painter’s eye. If it’s possible to be Kerouacian without the mawkishness and Baudelaireian without the derision, Terrill is both.
I’m told that a review of “Kleine Tiere / Small Animals” will appear in the Swiss literary journal ORTE. The book has been published in a bilingual (German-English) edition by Stadtlichter Presse. The review is by Clemens Umbricht.
This letter to Laura Huxley appeared on eBay. Where did it come from? Possibly from a dealer via the Huxley Estate.
Jay Jeff Jones was born in in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1946. His parents, Nelson and Lila Fay Jones, both hailed from Cherokee ancestry. Raised in and around San Francisco, Jay joined the Hell’s Angels in the early 1960, riding his Harley Davidson around the city. As a teenager, he hung around North Beach, acting with the Mime Troupe, later working as a copy boy for the San Francisco Examiner. Frank Herbert, author of “Dune,” was one of his bosses.
Which do you prefer? The earlier or the later version?
Straight Up has moved house and is taking a vacation break.
ET IN BOHEMIA EGO — A poem for the ages by Jay Jeff Jones (1946-2023).
If the opening of Ernst Pawel’s biographical study of the 19th-century German poet Heinrich Heine doesn’t grab you, don’t bother to read on. But it if does, treat yourself to a great reading experience by getting hold of the book. ‘The Poet Dying’ includes a selection of Heine’s poems that runs to 80 or so pages, with the originals and the translations facing each other. Read an excerpt from one of the poems, ‘The Slave Ship,’ a depiction of the Dutch slave trade that gives you a solid dose of Heine’s sarcasm.