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from ARCHIVES - in category Harmless Untruths

Poetica/Poem Jam

I don’t often read poetry, but I have had a distant wisp of a poem stuck in my mind all day, and spent an hour or so leafing through books of poetry and some general literature compendia, seeking out something that may not even exist. I have more poetry on my bookshelves than I would have guessed, and more than I have ever read. Part of the reason that I even have any poetry at all is for moments like tonight, so that on terribly rare occasions I can leisurely look through it, wondering if anyth…

from ARCHIVES - in category Harmless Untruths

Swiftly tilting

I’m taking a break from homework to ponder the state of the world and especially the loss of Madeleine L’Engle, the second death this year (following Kurt Vonnegut’s) of an extraordinary author of vaguely-science-fiction books. I didn’t really know anything about L’Engle, which made the obituaries and appreciations feel strange. But of course, I read her books during that curious age that is the target of the “young adult” section of bookstores; I suppose her books may have been scattered betwee…

from ARCHIVES - in category Harmless Untruths

So it goes

R.I.P. Kurt Vonnegut. It may not be obvious, but this blog is technically named “Harmless Untruths” (a part of my larger website). This term, “harmless untruths,” comes from Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle , one of my favorite books. In Cat’s Cradle , a strange religion called Bokononism admits that it is mostly made up of lies — called foma , or “harmless untruths.” Still, people take comfort in these lies and find them meaningful. I don’t claim to totally understand the concept, but on t…

from ARCHIVES - in category This Altogether Thunder

Josef Lada

I’ve been slogging through The Good Soldier Švejk , a well-known World War I novel by Czech writer Jaroslav Hašek. This is a book that I’ve been wanting to read for years; I was supposed to read it for a class in college but never got around to it. I’m almost done now and the whole thing has been rather underwhelming. In fact, I might have just given up were it not for the amazing illustrations by Josef Lada: Švejk and some officers / Josef Lada My problem with the book might just come from the …