Literature

Themes and References in Joanna Newsom’s Sapokanikan

Yesterday Joanna Newsom announced Divers, her fourth studio album and her first since 2010’s beautiful and generous Have One on Me. Divers is due out on 23 October on Drag City. Accompanying this revelation, she also unveiled the video for the album’s first single. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, ‘Sapokanikan’ shows Newsom strolling, striding, and sashaying through the streets of New York City. ‘Sapokanikan’ is…

The Early Poetry of Mina Loy

For last weekend’s Cultureteca, among other things, I looked at some of the poetry being written and published in Russia and the United States a hundred years ago, in July 1915. This included a brief recap of the formation of the literary magazine Others: A Magazine of the New Verse, founded in New Jersey by Alfred Kreymborg. When the first…

Tommaso Landolfi and ‘Gogol’s Wife’

The issue of Nikolai Gogol’s romantic life has long vexed biographers and critics. With significant gaps in his biography, especially during his travels and years spent abroad, and with Gogol elusive on the subject in his letters to friends, interest has often centred upon his fiction, which has been navigated and interpreted for all manner of clues. All we know is…

Daily Visual 16.06.15: Bloomsday 2015

Bloomsday today in Dublin marks the culmination of a week-long series of events organised by The James Joyce Centre: from walking tours to pub crawls and high teas, readings, lectures, and interviews with celebrity admirers. As Joyce’s literature continues to flourish worldwide, Bloomsday is celebrated in ever more ways across a growing number of locations. Among other happenings in New…

Crimea in the Russian Empire: A Cultural History

This is an excerpt from a significantly longer piece published more than a year ago, in the midst of Russia’s intervention in Crimea following the Euromaidan and the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych as President of Ukraine. At the time, Russian troops had taken control of Crimea, and the region was days away from referendum. The piece incorporated a cultural history of Crimea…

On the Fugitive and French and Russian Poetry

When we hear or read the word ‘fugitive’ today, we perhaps tend to think of someone fleeing from something: most often in a legal frame, from justice; but also potentially from persecution, or simply from the uncomfortable circumstances of their lives. Supporting the first relation is the FBI’s list of the ‘Ten Most Wanted Fugitives’. This was conceived by J. Edgar Hoover,…

William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and the Beat Hotel

In a piece I wrote last month on William Burroughs, and the composition and publication of his 1959 novel Naked Lunch, I noted his defining relationship with the artist Brion Gysin. Burroughs and Gysin met while staying at the ‘Beat Hotel’ in Paris – which had become a hub for the Beats upon Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky joining Gregory…

Saint Patrick in Context: Dates, Legends, and His Confessio

Saint Patrick in Context: Dates, Legends, and His Confessio

He is Ireland’s outstanding patron saint, conventionally held to have brought Christianity to the country in 432, and his feast day every 17 March is the cause for commemoration and revelry throughout the world – but remarkably little can be stated with any degree of certainty about the life of Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the traditional date of…

Podcast: ‘Silentium!’ by Fyodor Tyutchev

This is the first in a new series of videos/podcasts drawing upon what I have written and published here at Culturedallroundman.com. The podcast returns to the very first piece I published back on my old WordPress.com site, on Fyodor Tyutchev’s 1830 poem ‘Silentium!’. I expand upon Tyutchev’s life, before reading his poem in Vladimir Nabokov’s translation, published with New Directions…