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*keeps journaling*

I'm beginning to wonder if it would be possible to break this habit. The one where I find a computer with a good computer (my laptop's doesn't count) and then I write FLOODS OF USELESS WORDS ABOUT MY DAY.

I think ten years' worth of forced journaling has warped me.

Anyway, the other day I sailed into the library and checked out a couple of books on poetry. I managed to buy the Norton Anthology of English poetry from the library's used book store some months ago, see. The anthology starts with anonymous poems of 1300 or so, I believe - you know, 'sumer is icumen in' [Wikipedia]; one of these days I need to acquire the Classical works that precede these, but not yet - not enough historical background for that one. Unfortunately, it's definitely just an anthology - it has the birth/death dates of poets, dates of poems, and some annotations for references, but otherwise it simply presents poems. My dad acquired this poetry book - an instructor's guide, actually! - and for the first three hundred or so pages, it had commentary on poetry, in a way that would introduce common poetic devices to a beginner. After the poems, there'd be a few questions to direct an analysis, and in the back there was even answers, sometimes with amusing anecdotes about the poets or professors and students. I love the commentary; much as I enjoy the poems, I also kind of want to know what others think.

So then I was in the library poking around in the PR section for poetic commentary, and - this point still stuns me - I sailed out of the library again, having checked out a book published in 1845. It's so old that the cover and the back have fallen away from the binding and the component parts are kept together with a length of black ribbon, tied like a package. (The signatures and binding have held together perfectly fine. None of the pages are falling out, even though the tape that holds together the back page is orange-yellow with age.) Intellectually I know that the library has rare book collections and keeps them elsewhere - I work in the library system, I know that my library has restricted sections (for rare/unbound/manuscript/brittle volumes) that are restricted to basically faculty and grad students upon request - and I still can't get over this. No matter how common the book is, it's still a one-hundred-fifty-year-old book! How am I able to just waltz to the thirteenth floor and check it out?! Since it is in the stacks, the entirety of the student body can also check it out, and it is requestable through interlibrary loan (it ships things as far as to the University of British Colombia library, for one).



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 18th, 2012 03:42 am (UTC)
Yes, that's cool, you're god damn right it is
A 150 year-old book that is available like any other really is awesome, no question. That it is (presumably) not that rare doesn't make it any less so; rarity is over-rated.

And that is why, when I took my 25 or 30 year-old bike in for a tune-up and the "mechanic" there wondered why I didn't buy a new bike instead of having the one I already had fixed up, I decided to take my business elsewhere. (And after two more tries, I have found a shop willing not just to keep my 25 year-old machine on the road, but my fifty year-old classic as well.)

In with the new by all means, but by no means necessarily out with the old.
Aug. 18th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC)
Re: Yes, that's cool, you're god damn right it is
That's either a really well made bike or a really well tended bike (or both, or the standards of manufacturing have gone down somewhat). *laughs* Good to hear you found a mechanic who's willing to tend your bike! Is the fifty-year-old one built substantially different from the ones sold now?

It is a very good book! I'm glad it circulates, and so freely, apparently. But I'm still stunned.
Aug. 18th, 2012 04:09 am (UTC)
Re: Yes, that's cool, you're god damn right it is
Is the fifty-year-old one built substantially different from the ones sold now?

It's essentially the same as any racing-style 10 or 12-speed you might see around. The technology hasn't changed much, I don't think. But the old(er) one is a beautifully-engineered machine and a joy to ride. Savvy bike-geeks tend to drool a little when they see it. Me, I enjoy the ride and like the fact it's a bit older than I am. Enough so that I carted it around needing repairs for a few years and that I will put it away for the winter in favour of the 25 year-old Norco.

Right enough about bicycles. Really. I'm not a bike geek, damn it!
Aug. 18th, 2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Yes, that's cool, you're god damn right it is
Hee, no wonder you kept it around! That sounds like a great bike. (For me, bikes get shed whenever we moved, so I've owned many bikes over the years...it's a bit odd not to have one these days. I sometimes wish I had one, because it's not hilly here and it would mean I could get places more smoothly!)
Aug. 20th, 2012 04:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Yes, that's cool, you're god damn right it is
You should do it! Hogtown's not a bad city for cycling, just watch out for the streetcar tracks!
Aug. 18th, 2012 10:05 am (UTC)
I HAVE that anthology and it is my bible, my comfort, and has been for YEARS... And the wonderful Anons at the beginning...oh they were poets even then...aaaah. Bless you.

I think someone should provide a decent cover for that little treasure you've found.. a really nice hardboard coverbox... but keep it in it's present state,as that is such a LOT of the excitement to see it, touch it, appreciate it. It instils into the 'looker/reader' a sort of greater respect... or something.

Bless you.
Aug. 18th, 2012 04:59 pm (UTC)
I have...let's see...the third edition, published in 1983. (Which explains why poets such as Earle Birney have their date of death blank, because at that point they were still alive...) As for the anonymous poems, I am particularly fond of The Silver Swan (we sang the Orlando Gibbons version! It would be impossible to not like it after that!) Every once in awhile I'll flip to a random page and start reading - I'm making my way through Pope's Rape of the Lock now, and laughing. Oh, man, I didn't like his On Critisism, but this poem is much funnier. :)

Definitely. I feel the ribbon is kind of a stopgap solution for this.
Aug. 18th, 2012 05:14 pm (UTC)
Oooer mine's a bit later, the print is so small, I think it says 2000 or something. I've been screen staring all day, and my eyes are NOT good as a result. I'm going to give them a rest by watching a tape on TV.

I'm afraid I read just mostly for the words, and the music in them, So I don't analyze too much. I find Milton mindblowingly boooooring... all these 'allusions' aaaccch. I like mind-pictures...

I don't have any favourite poets, as they are like music, each to their own moods and feelings. Some I do run to in times of bleakness or needing to cry... but I love to just let the book open, and stick a finger on some print and read that! Surprises happen! Fun.

Bless you lassie, see you!! Blue.
Aug. 18th, 2012 06:03 pm (UTC)
I don't have favourite poets, but I do have favourite poems! Though some poets are more reliable than others - Tennyson, Yeats, Wordsworth sometimes. The Romantics are lovely for the gorgeousness of detail - Kubla Khan I like but he's so overdramatic! - but some of the poems are LONG.

I tried to read Milton, and I will eventually, but talk about a looooong poem, and in that style! Oof. Like wading through molasses.

:D One of my favourite concrete poems is about swans, too - you might want to read this later, when your eyes feel better: Swan and Shadow. Oh, ignore the webpage's pink thing...I don't know what they're trying to do there!

Aug. 18th, 2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
Hahahah I read the pink thing too. rather clever the shape it made... teehee. But The swan was - errr.. a bit too broken up to enjoy the words. I get the symbolism and the shape...swan reflected... clever, but I had to type out the words to enjoy them. He obviously 'tries' very hard!

But good old Kubla Khan... tho I could do without the long fat middle verses. But he does have some exquisite imagery... and the finale... drunk the milk of Paradise.
One can imagine him lying back, absolutely blissed out!

(if one suffers the fat verses, one might lie back, knocked out with excessive imagery!). teehe.

Bless. and have a good night, it will be HOT here.. Blue.
Aug. 18th, 2012 09:42 pm (UTC)
True - it's rather broken up! But I like the ending, 'as though a swan sang'.

YESSS I was more interested in what this place looked like and this cedarn well cover and the woman wailing...not interested in the talking bits! :P Oh well.

(Apparently it was a vision from his dream, and then while he was writing it down, someone interrupted him...!!)

Goodnight, bluegerl! Sleep well.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )



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