Tag Archives: literature

From Poe to Parker.

In my course, we’re transitioning. From one fractured poet to another, we’re transitioning.

From Poe to Parker.

So, I thought I’d present you with an imagistic representation of this literary trajectory.

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On my summer reading list:

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Peter Ackroyd is somewhat of a kindred spirit, frequently publishing wonderful material on tortured poets, even novels (Ackroyd’s Chatterton, for example, which I strongly recommend to anyone even remotely interested in the British Romantics).

Vintage Rye.

Found: A collection of Catcher in the Rye covers in a variety of languages, from HERE. Oh, J.D…. R.I.P.

Some favorites:

The Pelican Project

The evolution of the Pelican cover, from the 1930s through the 1980s, presented HERE by Things Magazine. Note: It didn’t really get exciting until the 1960s. Peace, love, and Pelican.

Some of my favorites:

1943

1945

1960

1962

1962

1963

1964

1966

1967

1972

1972

1974

Thanks so much to @AquaVelvet for clueing me in to this great collection via Twitter.

The book cover designs of Isaac Tobin

Just stumbled upon the blog of The Casual Optimist and caught an interview that he conducted with Isaac Tobin, senior designer with the University of Chicago Press. The images are fabulous, so I wanted to share some of my favorites with you here. I want to run my fingers all over that Obsession cover.

More of Tobin’s designs and the full interview at The Casual Optimist HERE.

Follow The Casual Optimist/Dan Wagstaff on Twitter HERE.

Design on my desk.

It’s pretty unnecessary to state that I was supremely excited to receive the following Pelican 1969 edition of R.D. Laing’s Divided Self last week. In fact, I posted an image of a very similar edition last month and drooled over the cover design.

If all book covers were as cool as this, I probably wouldn’t mind that they’re strewn all over/next to/around my desk. And couch. And bed. And life.

And here are the covers of a couple of my old stand-bys: two texts by Alfred de Vigny from the 19th century. Stello (1832) and the play Chatterton (1835), which I’m currently translating into English.

These Garnier-Flammarion paperbacks from 1984 (Stello) and 1968 (Chatterton) are the first copies I ever purchased of each text. I now own three versions of Stello and four of Chatterton. You could say I love them.

Here’s another Stello paperback (Garnier 1970), frolicking next to Laing:

Yellows and blues and greens throughout the whole lot. Conspiracy?

Words of the Day: Edgar Allan Poe on poetical irritability

Edgar Allan Poe wrote about poetical irritability in his Fifty Suggestions, which was published in Graham’s Magazine in 1849, the year of Poe’s death:

hat poets (using the word comprehensively, as including artists in general) are a genus irritabile, is well understood; but the ruby, seems not to be commonly seen. An artist is an artist only by dint of his exquisite sense of Beauty — a sense affording him rapturous enjoyment, but at the same time implying, or involving, an equally exquisite sense of Deformity or disproportion. Thus a wrong — an injustice — done a poet who is really a poet, excites him to a degree which, to ordinary apprehension, appears disproportionate with the wrong. Poets see injustice — never where it does not exist — but very often where the unpoetical see no injustice whatever. Thus the poetical irritability has no reference to ” temper ” in the vulgar sense, but merely to a more than usual clear-sightedness in respect to Wrong: — this clear-sightedness being nothing more than a corollary from the vivid perception of Right — of justice — of proportion — in a word, of [beauty]. But one thing is clear — that the man who is not “irritable,” (to the ordinary apprehension, ) is no poet.

I gave this text to my students today — the first day of the new semester — in my Tortured Poet course, and I received some interesting responses. I love the emphasis on sensitivity to injustice… which lends itself, of course, to the Poet’s own feelings of victimization, sometimes self-inflicted.

And that’s what’s flitting through my mind right now, at 12:13AM.

More tomorrow.

Some links (hardly exhaustive, but a good little selection for you in case your Poe interest is piqued):

Poe Museum (Richmond, VA)
Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore
“The Raven in the Frog Pond: Edgar Allan Poe and the City of Boston” (an exhibition at the Boston Public Library)
“The Great Poe Debate” via wbur.org (Boston’s NPR affiliate)

{ Blog Note }

I decided to delete my other (older) blog earlier this evening. It was there that I would post literary/academic/political/pop-cultural items, commonly including excerpts from literature, essays, articles, etc.. Over the past several months (since last summer, really), I started neglecting that blog and focusing all my energy and passion on Words and Eggs, which I’ve loved. But I’m thinking that it has come time to do a bit of melding – or at least adding some adhesive to these two divisions of my Self (which, admittedly, stretch well beyond the blogging world: my artistic vs. my “academic” selves). So, I just wanted to let you all know that you can expect some more, well, WORDS. Whether literary or political or… whatever. And today’s words belong to Mr. Poe. And I hope you enjoyed listening to them.

Faber & Faber book cover designs

Lovely book cover designs from Faber Books’ Photostream: