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Blog Meridian

Blog Meridian
Arranging, deepening, enchanting the atmosphere. Commentary on art, books, film, music, and the ideas they inspire.
Articles: 1, 2, 3, 4


A stretch of river LII: Yet another reason I wish I had a camera
2008-10-05 14:35:00
Seen on this morning's walk at one of the other apartment complexes we pass: A large, shattered piece of plate glass lying on the grass by one of the buildings, in the middle of which was a thick rectangular piece of ceramic with a label on it. That label reads: "Set the Mood Candleholder." __________ Along these lines: Some of you might be intrigued by Unphotographable by Michael David
More About: Camera , River , Reason , Stretch
Scratching my head over here . . .
2008-10-03 00:11:00
(Edited for clarity) Over at The New Republic's blog The Plank, there's a very odd post by Max Fisher on why U.S. writers have been overlooked for the Nobel Prize for Literature. After citing committee chair Horace Engdahl's contention that U.S. writers are, in essence, too provincial in their concerns to be taken seriously by the world literary community, Fisher offers up another possibility:
More About: Scratching , Head
Wallace Stevens
2008-10-02 19:44:00
Image found here. Today is Wallace Stevens ' birthday. Long-time visitors here know that Stevens' work is an important touchstone for this blog, so I would be remiss if I didn't post a little something in honor of this man on his day. Below the fold: a couple of links to past posts of mine in which Stevens figures prominently, along with a poem of his. First the posts, which also happen to be
A stretch of river LI: In which the Meridian and Scruffy witness something
2008-10-01 02:48:00
Image found here. Picture, if you will, an early-fall afternoon, the sun slanting goldenly, gloriously through the just-turning leaves of the walnuts and cottonwoods of the northeast corner of River side Park. Picture, further, an open space in those trees measuring, oh, a hundred yards in length by 50 or so yards wide, bounded on three sides by the trees and on the fourth by a road which
More About: Witness , Meridian , Stretch
2008-09-24 18:11:00
This, contra the subject of my previous post, appears to be worth your while. This is based on the excellent novel by Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago. The novel is a fast--because absolutely gripping--read; I hope you'll have a chance to read it before going to see the film. The premise: an unexplained blindness suddenly strikes masses of people worldwide, and world governments quarantine the
More About: Blindness
"Not your grandfather's Moby-Dick"
2008-09-24 04:00:00
Ahab. Illustration by Rockwell Kent for the 1930 Random House edition of Moby -Dick . Now: to see a film of Moby-Dick that looked like these illustrations . . . "It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me." So says Ishmael of the titular character in Moby-Dick. But I can't say the following exactly puts roses on my cheeks: Universal Pictures has made a splashy
Faulkner on family you didn't know you had
2008-09-22 13:23:00
Image found here. From a transcript of Q&A sessions with students at the University of Virginia, April 27th, 1957: Q: This genealogy with all these people that were connected with each other, McCaslins and everybody--was that made up before the books were written or as each one was written? A: No, that came along as these people appeared--I would think of one character to write a story about
More About: Family , Faulkner
You may now call me Bang Wal-Mart Palin
2008-09-19 23:33:00
"It's mine, dammit," he said without blinking. "Get your own." Sarah Palin Baby-Name Generator
More About: Mart , Wal-Mart , Bang , Call , Wal Mart
The "ideology of form" and Go Down, Moses
2008-09-19 20:41:00
Hosam Aboul-Ela’s book, Other South: Faulkner, Coloniality, and the Mariátegui Tradition, begins at the same place Glissant’s Faulkner, Mississippi does: that it might be useful to read Faulkner not as a Modernist or American writer, but as one whose region has much in common with those of other colonized places of the world, what Aboul-Ela calls the Other South. But whereas Glissant limits his
More About: Moses , Ideology , Form
Synecdoche, New York
2008-09-19 00:32:00
The trailer for Charlie Kaufman's new film (which he also directed): 'Synedoche New York ' Theatrical Trailer @ Yahoo! Video I really like this guy's work, so keep that in mind when I say: It's been a long time since I was last left gasping for air at the end of a trailer.
More About: New-York
"Ideology of form"
2008-09-18 21:32:00
In what sense might one promote a politics when choosing to write, say, a sonnet rather than a blank-verse poem on the same subject, or when making decisions about diction in that poem? Or when a novelist chooses odd, a-chronological arrangements of material, or multiple narrators who speak on behalf of a character who never speaks directly to the reader on his/her own behalf, instead of a
More About: Ideology , Form
"Most Like an Arch This Marriage," by John Ciardi
2008-09-17 23:06:00
One of the lovelier poems on marriage you'll ever run across. Found here. Most like an arch—-an entrance which upholds and shores the stone-crush up the air like lace. Mass made idea, and idea held in place. A lock in time. Inside half-heaven unfolds. Most like an arch—-two weaknesses that lean into a strength. Two fallings become firm. Two joined abeyances become a term naming the fact that
More About: Marriage , John
16 de Septiembre
2008-09-16 16:25:00
Detail of El grito ["shout"] de Dolores (1960-61) by Juan O'Gorman. Mural at the Museo Nacional de Historia, Castillo de Chapultepec, Mexico City. Miguel Hidalgo is the figure in black in the foreground. Image found here. In case you have been casting about today for a semi-legitimate reason to drink a (good) Mexican beer, you could do worse than this: This is the 198th Mexican Independence
Another new reason I will miss David Foster Wallace
2008-09-15 15:16:00
You can subtitle this post, "Why you should never, ever, skip Wallace's footnotes." This is the entirety of the 17th and final footnote to Wallace's August 2006 New York Times article on the finals of Wimbledon that year, "Roger Federer as Religious Experience." Though you should read the whole thing--especially if you are a Federer fan or a tennis fan in particular--this footnote is
More About: Miss , David , Reason , Foster
A new reason I'll miss David Foster Wallace
2008-09-15 02:14:00
Image found here. Here are the concluding paragraphs from his short talk, "Some Remarks on Kafka's Funniness From Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed," in Consider the Lobster and Other Essays: What Kafka's stories have . . . is a grotesque, gorgeous, and thoroughly modern complexity, an ambivalence that becomes the multivalent Both/And logic of the, quote, "unconscious," which I
More About: Miss , David , Reason , Foster
David Foster Wallace
2008-09-14 18:16:00
The news of Wallace's death--apparently a suicide--has just floored me. By sheer coincidence I had just bought a remaindered copy of his most recent essay collection, Consider the Lobster, and was looking forward to reading it when I wanted/needed to get away from sabbatical stuff. What better way to honor an author you admire, especially on the occasion of his death, than by reading his work?
More About: David , Foster
Being and Nothingness and a Cloud of Dust
2008-09-12 23:01:00
Pre-Game Coin Toss Makes Jacksonville Jaguars Realize Randomness Of Life (via Andrew Sullivan, and in memory of my bloggy friend Winston Rand, whose beloved Titans get mentioned.)
More About: Cloud
Of being deferential
2008-09-12 20:23:00
As you may have guessed via my previous post, I don't hold Sarah Palin in very high regard for having agreed, without blinking, to be John McCain's running mate, nor John McCain for selecting her in the first place, and I see her ignorance (which is, of course, something different from being stupid, and I do not think she is that) of the Bush Doctrine as only one of the more compelling of many
Posted without comment
2008-09-12 02:45:00
An excerpt from today's Charles Gibson interview with Sarah Palin on ABC:
More About: Comment
September 11: The Life/Art Confluence
2008-09-11 16:21:00
The cover art for Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, originally scheduled for release on Reprise on September 11, 2001. Wikipedia. Image found here. I have posted before about this day: the usual sorts of posts one has seen or will see on the anniversary of this day. In rereading my versions of those sorts of posts, I see no need to add to them. Instead, I want to simply note a couple of musical
More About: Life , September 11
"They endured": Further comments on Glissant's Faulkner, Mississippi
2008-09-11 00:43:00
Caroline Barr (1840-1940), the Faulkner family maid, to whom Go Down, Moses is dedicated. Image found here. "They endured," as readers of "Appendix: Compson" know, is the sum total of how Faulkner describes Dilsey, the Compson's black maid in The Sound and the Fury. Glissant finds that a crucial textual touchstone in his effort to determine how Faulkner locates African-Amercans in his (
More About: Mississippi , Comments
"What do you talk about when you cannot explain the last 8 years of failure
2008-09-10 20:29:00
In case anyone is just dying to know this blog's thinking about the election . . . Crickets. Just as I suspected. Ah, well. . . . I'll just refer you to this. Keep that question in mind as you listen to the rhetoric of the campaign whose manager has determined that this election will not be about issues--that's my question as well: Nothing has happened in the past week that makes that
More About: Talk , Failure , Years
In which the Meridian ponders his place in the Wichita blogosphere
2008-09-08 07:54:00
I recently learned via the indispensable-for-Wichita Douglas and Main that there is now an interactive map of Wichita websites, done London Tube style, that shows and links to the city's most-visited sites and blogs. It's attractive-looking and functional besides. Anyway, good old Blog Meridian , it appears, is among those sites, thanks to you reading these words and to those who find their
More About: Blogosphere , Place
Adventures at the Wichita Art Museum #4: David C. Driskell
2008-09-07 18:45:00
UPDATE: Here is the travelling schedule for the exhibition. I keep forgetting there's this thing called Google . . . African Saint. 2005. Linocut. Image found here. A black man, certainly serious, perhaps a bit bemused, peers through the eyelet at the top of his stylized shepherd's crook at the world, his head cocked as if to see/understand it more clearly. This print, part of the Driskell
More About: David , Museum , Adventures , Wichita
Lynn Westmoreland, His Songs and Sayings; or, Who says white folks don't kn
2008-09-06 15:20:00
Bumped up because it has more stuff added to it: A. B. Frost, 1851-1928. "Terrapin speaking to Brer Rabbit" Illustration for Uncle Remus, His Songs and Sayings: Folklore of the Old Plantation by Joel Chandler Harris. Image found here. For a discussion of "signifying," go here Lynn Westmoreland, Republican Congressman from Georgia, yesterday: "Just from what little I've seen of her [
More About: White
Films about film
2008-01-19 20:30:00
Usually blissfully unaware of his surroundings, it perhaps begins to dawn on Marcello Mastroianni that he's being followed. Federico Fellini is at left (Click to enlarge; image originally found here). This semester, as in the fall, I'll be teaching seven classes (a full load for full-time faculty is five, just so you know). Also, I'll be tutoring on Friday mornings. But as I began to survey
More About: Film , Films
The Edge of the American West
2008-01-18 07:54:00
I want to both thank and draw your attention to a newish history blog, The Edge of the American West . Eric Rauchway and Ari Kelman, both of the University of California at Davis, offer up commentary on contemporary events in this country by providing historical context for those events, along with This Day In History-type entries and the occasional oh-by-the-way entries we all have on our blogs.
A stretch of river XLIV: Scruffy as Ishmael
2008-01-16 17:15:00
Scruffy longs for ice. "Call him Scruffy--I do. On several occasions this winter--never mind how many; I've lost count--having no money whatsoever in his purse, and nothing particular (aside from his leash) to interest him in staying on the banks of the Little Arkansas, he thinks on occasion he will suddenly lunge forth when there is ice on the river and visit our small watery-but-frozen part
More About: River , Stretch
". . . when the menstrual sings a song . . . "
2008-01-15 13:12:00
The title for this post, taken from an actual sentence in a paper on the Odyssey that I received, reminds me that one of the (unintentional, I'm sure) effects of spell-checks is that they can produce unexpected but often delightful moments of humor for instructors as they read student papers. In that vein, I point you in the direction of Taylor Mali's "The Impotence of Proofreading," with thanks
More About: Song , Sings
The electronic lever and fulcrum
2008-01-13 20:51:00
Archimedes rocks your world. My colleague Larry the movie guy has noted odd things in the answers on tests he gives in his physics class, in which students are allowed to use calculators (Larry keeps a slide-rule around to show his students how things used to be done): students who get the more complicated math right but who end up getting the wrong answers because of mistakes in simple
More About: Electronic
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