Links We Liked for 9 October 2007

While we were deciding what to do about National Poetry Day on The Reader Online I was pointed at a new-ish site called Pass On A Poem which aims to promote poetry readings and encourage people to read poetry aloud. From the blurb:

a not-for-profit initiative to provide entertainment and to create enthusiasm for poetry by bringing people together to read out loud poems which have a special personal significance and to explain, briefly, why.

Professor of English, writer, and now blogger Philip Davis has been busy over at More Intelligent Life and his latest post on New York, email, blogging, and blondes called Philippa may well be his best yet.

Davis’s biography of Bernard Malamud appears at a time when Philip Roth is promoting (and how) his latest novel, Exit Ghost. Malamud of course was once part of a Jewish literary triumvirate that included Saul Bellow and Roth; the title of Roth’s latest seems even more appropriate in the context of that strained metaphor. As it usually does the New Yorker get’s to the nub of the matter. James Wood begins his review:

Before his death, Jonathan Swift pointed to a blighted tree and said to a friend, “I shall be like that tree; I shall die first at the top.” Philip Roth’s dying animals, at loose in the twilit carnival of his late work, reverse Swift’s prophecy: they fear they will die from the bottom up. Their minds are ripe with sexual energy, with transgressive vitality, but their bodies are sour with decline.

October is of course Black History Month and it seemed appropriate to post this video promoting reading. Things like this often smell a little inauthentic, but this seems properly felt. Still, as an almost-40 white English bloke, what do I know? The images accompanying the rap lyrics are more affecting anyway than the animated film that sometimes go with it. But here’s a warning: this contains ‘bad language’ from the start. If you are easily offended or you’re sitting behind a PC on the front counter of a bank, you probably won’t want to click ‘Play’, but then you know your boss better than I do:

Posted by Chris Routledge