poems, mostly metrical, and rants and raves on poets, poetry, and the po-biz (with 8-string stuff)
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Posts from — March 2013

Does Greatness Require Difficulty?

If what one means is that there is always difficult work to do in preparation for doing great work in some field and, sometimes, even more difficulty in the production of some particular great work in that field, I’m on board.

But in a fine essay at The London Review of Books , “Is Wagner bad for us?,” Nicholas Spice says this near the end:

The compression of information characteristic of much great music, the speed at which it passes, the bewildering density and delicacy of its over-determination, makes it difficult in the way that poetry is difficult. Like poetry, music deflects our gaze. It is an elusive medium which we grasp only partially through an endless process of interpretation.”

I know that’s meant as a compliment to poetry, but I’m glad for that “much” immediately before “great music,’ and I’d be very glad for a similar qualifier applied to “poetry.”

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March 28, 2013   1 Comment

Starting All Over

Well, not really.

I’ve just started violin lessons. I’ve owned a decent violin for years, but I never played it much, mostly because you actually have to read music to play the thing. It’s not like mandolin (which is tuned the same way), where it’s easy to find tablature which tells you just what fret to use, and in any case there are no frets on a violin so you have to be much more accurate with the left hand and you have to stretch your left hand fingers just a smidgen more than you do on a mandolin. I’m flat all the time except when I overcompensate and go sharp. It feels like starting over.

But when the band died a couple of months ago I found myself with some time and decided to take the plunge and learn to read music by learning to play fiddle. I’m terrible at it, and, without scheduled practices where other people are depending on me, I’m not so good at scheduling the time I thought I’d have for private practice.

I’m not sure it’s a good thing my teacher is patient. I think I could use a few raps on the knuckles with a ruler.

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March 14, 2013   2 Comments

I Blame Goodreads

It’s a long story, but here are two limericks—

The truth of those tales of old Sodom
Is nothing is there at the bottom
Of infinite space,
Of faith or of grace—
So light ’em up boys, if you got ’em.

The cruelty of gods is assured,
Though we’ve become somewhat inured.
A moment of mirth
Has infinite worth—
Ask Job after what he endured.

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March 6, 2013   No Comments