Absolutely beautiful images from Botswana, the colours and patterns are breath taking. It’s so easy to forget how incredible nature can be. 7
‘Being above the ground at such low elevations, and having the ability to precisely maneuver, was like gliding over an enormous painting and being able to create brushstrokes at will. As soon as I saw the landscape from above I knew there was potential to create a special body of work.’
Smiley was born without eyes and spent his first few years in a puppy mill. His condition also gave him a few other quirks: he is smaller than your average golden, but he has really big teeth. His back legs are a little bowed. And he looks like a puppy — from his size, to his soft, fuzzy coat, you would never guess this boy is nine years old.
Despite his difficult beginnings, Smiley now has an amazing family, and is also a certified therapy dog who gives comfort to mentally ill and disabled patients every week. He loves to be in contact with people.
A lovingly curated scrapbook biography of the late Nick Drake
Remembered for a While by Nick Drake and Gabrielle Drake Little, Brown and Company 2014, 448 pages, 8.2 x 10.8 x 1.5 inches $32 Buy a copy on Amazon
When English singer/songwriter/musician Nick Drake tragically died in 1974 (ironically from an overdose of anti-depressant medication), he was not tremendously well-known. But in death, his hauntingly beautiful compositions have transformed him into a highly influential musical figure who’s inspired generations of musical artists. In Remembered for a While, his sister, Gabrielle Drake (perhaps best known as the purple-haired Lt. Ellis in the cult-fave 70s British TV series, UFO), has put together a touching and beautiful anthology of all things Nick Drake.
This hefty 448-page hardbound book is not an attempt at a definitive biography, but rather an extensive scrapbook companion to the life and work of this troubled and brilliant artist. The book is full of photos, postcards, letters to/from family and friends, hand-written lyric sheets, newspaper clippings, and all sorts of other ephemera from Nick’s all-too-short life and career. There are also dozens of essays too, from Gabrielle, friends and colleagues of Nick, music critics, and others. One of my favorite sections is the brief song-by-song analysis of Nick’s three albums, Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter, and Pink Moon.
In the book, Gabrielle Drake goes to great pains to impress upon the reader that this is not a definitive biography, even quoting Keats’ concept of “negative capability,” or the ability to live within “uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact or reason.” But despite that caveat, when you put all of the puzzle pieces of this book together, one is left with the most hi-res portrait of Nick Drake to date, and one that might actually be more satisfying and resonant than any straight-up bio. – Gareth Branwyn
A sonnet from Sylvia Plath’s Smith College days: originally published in BlackBird Literary Magazine circa 2006.
Ennui-which means boredom and or to be disinterested.
Wikipedia defined: Petrarchan sonnet
The Petrarchan sonnet was not developed by Petrarch himself, but rather by a string of Renaissance poets. Because of the structure of Italian, the rhyme scheme of the Petrarchan sonnet is more easily fulfilled in that language than in English. The original Italian sonnet form divides the poem’s 14 lines into two parts, the first part being an octave and the second being a sestet.
Example of a Petrarchan sonnet: William Wordsworth’s “London, 1802”
The rhyme scheme for the octave is typically a b b a a b b a. The sestet is more flexible. Petrarch typically used c d e c d e or c d c d c d for the sestet. Some other possibilities for the sestet include c d d c d d, c d d e c e, or c d d c c d (as in Wordsworth’s “Nuns Fret Not at Their Convents Narrow Room” poem). This form was used in the earliest English sonnets by Wyatt and others. For background on the pre-English sonnet, see Robert Canary’s web page, The Continental Origins of the Sonnet. In a strict Petrarchan sonnet, the sestet does not end with a couplet (since this would tend to divide the sestet into a quartet and a couplet). However, in Italian sonnets in English, this rule is not always observed, and c d d c e e and c d c d e e are also used.
The octave and sestet have special functions in a Petrarchan sonnet. The octave’s purpose is to introduce a problem, express a desire, reflect on reality, or otherwise present a situation that causes doubt or a conflict within the speaker’s soul and inside an animal and object in the story . It usually does this by introducing the problem within its first quatrain (unified four-line section) and developing it in the second. The beginning of the sestet is known as the volta, and it introduces a pronounced change in tone in the sonnet; the change in rhyme scheme marks the turn. The sestet’s purpose as a whole is to make a comment on the problem or to apply a solution to it. The pair are separate but usually used to reinforce a unified argument – they are often compared to two strands of thought organically converging into one argument, rather than a mechanical deduction. Moreover, Petrarch’s own sonnets almost never had a rhyming couplet at the end as this would suggest logical deduction instead of the intended rational correlation of the form.
Poets adopting the Petrarchan sonnet form often adapt the form to their own ends to create various effects. These poets do not necessarily restrict themselves to the strict metrical or rhyme schemes of the traditional Petrarchan form; some use iambic hexameter, while others do not observe the octave-sestet division created by the traditional rhyme scheme. Whatever the changes made by poets exercising artistic license, no “proper” Italian sonnet has more than five different rhymes in it.
Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey are both known for their translations of Petrarch’s sonnets from Italian into English. While Howard tended to use the English sonnet form in his own work, reserving the Petrarchan form for his translations of Petrarch, Wyatt made extensive use of the Italian sonnet form in the poems of his that were not translation and adaptation work. As a result, he is often credited for integrating the Petrarchan sonnet into English vernacular tradition.
The form also gave rise to an ‘anti-Petrarchan’ convention which may have revealed the mistress to be ugly and unworthy. The convention was also mocked, or adopted for alternative persuasive means by many of the Inn’s of Court writers during the Renaissance.
The sonnet is split in two groups: the “octave” (of 8 lines) and the “sestet” (of 6 lines), for a total of 14 lines.
The octave (the first 8 lines) typically introduces the theme or problem using a rhyme scheme of abba abba. The sestet (the last 6 lines) provides resolution for the poem and rhymes variously, but usually follows the schemes of cdecde or cdccdc.
Example of a Petrarchan sonnet: William Wordsworth’s “London, 1802”
Octave – introduces the theme or problem
Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour: – A
England hath need of thee: she is a fen – B
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen, – B
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower, – A
Have forfeited their ancient English dower – A
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men; – B
Oh! raise us up, return to us again; – B
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power. – A
Sestet – solves the problem
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart; – C
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea: – D
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free, – D
So didst thou travel on life’s common way , – E
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart – C
The lowliest duties on herself did lay. – D
The thing is before they announced Robin Williams death-I was afraid to post this. He’s gone now and I feel like a part of me is gone too.
The thing about internet personalities, celebrity, and or blogging is that, often we only share what we want you to know about ourselves. We hide the rest often ashamed of what we feel or don’t feel. We project an image out into the world of whatever we “think” you’ll like to see. Who wants to hear about someone else’s sadness right? Not Robin William’s sadness, as he’s only supposed to sing and dance for us-like some entertaining puppet, but the thing is-he’s not-none of us are. We are people-human beings.
I’m not comic, and I can’t even pretend anymore either. I can no longer escape this real world truth beyond the internet tweets and or photos I have written/created. I can’t do it anymore.
I am sad, depressed and I’ve been this way for months now. I’ll be better one day, but maybe not today-I can hope for tomorrow though. I do prefer to say that I am feeling sad as opposed to saying depressed as that’s just me-it helps-every little bit helps.
It’s all kind of ironic as well, as I feel like I’m even producing lots of what I might consider to be “worthy pages of writing” and I’m editing almost daily. Part of me thinks that this book I’m editing is partially driving me deeper into whatever this harsh emotional state happens to be. Some chapters seem easier than others. I guess life either on the page or out in the world is never really easy is it?
Besides that, I feel like this fire took a picture of a few months ago. I hope I don’t burn out anytime soon and I am trying to remain lit, and burning-burning and burning.
And now I feel the need to say that yes, I know where my limits are and I’m safe right now. And yes, I’m seeing both my therapist and psychologist quite frequently. This is not some end game note, but more so just me being an open, depressed, and bipolar person.
I do want more out of this world, but right now I am just overwhelmed with sadness and hurt. And why wasn’t it me who died and not him (Robin Williams)? I mean hasn’t he made us laugh more than I have? What is the difference between him, me or you? Nothing really-we’re all just bones, blood and organs-and somehow we work in a way to connect to each other. I don’t understand anything better than you, but I hope to live a long time-as long as I can. As long as I can despite all of my past suicide attempts, depression and or ups and or downs.
I will keep you posted-
Incidentally I am on some new meds and I do hope they will kick in soon, but we all know-it’s more than just some meds we need to keep those fires burning.