Friday, March 24, 2023

Epanorthosis in Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Monument”

I was amused — no, I was thrilled — when a student taught me the rhetorical figure of epanorthosis: the correction — no, the emphatic replacement — of a word by another word or phrase that is more precise — as in my uses of the figure in this sentence. The student was discussing the opening of Elizabeth Bishop's "The Monument" (from her 1946 collection "North & South"): "Now can you see the monument?  It is of wood / built somewhat like a box. No. Built / like several boxes in descending sizes / one above the other." In our Bishop course, we had followed Mark Doty in calling this and other constructions "Bishop's characteristic hesitations". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 24 March 2023)

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Birdsong on a spring evening

It's just past six in the evening, the apartment's quiet, the sounds of the city are distant, the sky's lightly overcast, the warm spring afternoon is gradually cooling down, and I hear birds singing. The one nearby is a blackbird, not "in the dead of night" but at this time of day when they usually sing, saying "here I am." Further off, I can dimly make out two or three other distinct birdsongs that I cannot identify. And as I add the sound of typing to the sounds of the evening, I look outside just in time to see two crows fly by, on their way from one place to another. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 23 March 2023) 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

How I “deeped my ear on the movietone” in a passage from James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake” (1939)

While we were looking at our passage from James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" (1939) in our reading group this evening, we came across a parenthetical phrase: "(if you are looking for the bilder deep your ear on the movietone!)" (FW 62.8-9). "Bilder" is the German word for "pictures", and I "deeped my ear" into the recesses of my brain and heard that "Movietone" was the brand of newsreels shown in old movie houses, which we confirmed. It can take reference books, dictionaries, and the minds of several people to "deep your ear on" "Finnegans Wake", but sometimes someone turns out to know something, even, as in this case, to my own surprise. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 22 March 2023)

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

“Primordial” memory in Denise Levertov’s poem “Becca” in “Evening Train” (1992)

I wrote in January about how two of the poems in Denise Levertov's "A Door in the Hive" (1989) make long-lost moments vivid through recollection (of a family story about her grandmother in "Inheritance") and imagination (of a medieval mason in "The Past II"). In Levertov's "Evening Train" (1992), the poem "Becca" does this with a personal memory of herself as a small child running between the clotheslines hung with washing by the family's washerwoman: "Lodged in my head / forever, primordial. Becca. / Known. Unknown." The poem's rendering of this "primordial" memory makes this "unknown" woman "known" to me, reading of her in 2023 (the 100th anniversary of Levertov's birth). (Andrew Shields, #111words, 21 March 2023)


Monday, March 20, 2023

"The context might change my reading”: Quotations from Denise Levertov poems as epigrams

In my daily reading of Denise Levertov's poems (and John Ashbery's before that), I quote a passage from each day's poem. Today's line is from "Letter to a Friend": "It’s against the rules to tell your own fortune." I realize that my practice takes the lines I choose out of context and makes them into epigrams. The context might well change the sense of the epigram — and "Letter to a Friend" is about context: Levertov is replying to a postcard with an image of a woman that her friend identified with: "The image is only / a detail, a fragment of a larger whole. / The context might change my reading." (Andrew Shields, #111words, 20 March 2023) 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

25 Andreas Schärer concerts from August 2012 to March 2023

25 Andreas Schärer concerts: Hildegard Lernt Fliegen (HLF), Willisau, 20120826; HLF, Basel, 20130126; Rom Schärer Eberle (RSE), Baden, 20130316; HLF, Zurich, 20130414; ARTE Quartet and Wolfgang Zwiauer, Basel, 20140227; HLF, Zurich, 20140517; with Lucas Niggli (SN), Zurich, 20141129; HLF, Basel, 20150429; RSE, Basel, 20160317; SN, Basel, 20160428; SN, Strasbourg, 20160430; A Novel of Anomaly (ANOA): Andreas Schärer, Lucas Niggli, Luciano Biondini, Kalle Kalima, Biel, 20170316; HLF with Orchestra (HLFO), Basel, 20170506; HLFO, Lucerne, 20171125; ANOA, Basel, 20180429; HLF, Lörrach, 20180718; with Emile Parisien, Vincent Peirani, Zurich, 20200114; HLF, Freiburg, 20200311; ANOA, Winterthur, 20210703; HLF, Burgdorf, 20210814; HLF, Liestal, 20211106; HLF Zurich, 20211112; Solo, Dornach, 20211125; HLF, Zug, 20230318; HLF, Freiburg, 20230319. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 19 March 2023)

Saturday, March 18, 2023

James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake” (1939) and Christoph Irniger’s Pilgrim at the Bird’s Eye in Basel

While reading James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" (1939), I arrived at a thunder word: "Lukkedoerendunandurraskewdylooshoofermoyportertooryzooysphalnabortansporthaokansakroidverjkapakkapuk" (FW 257.27-28). Just then I heard clapping from the audience; Christoph Irniger and his band Pilgrim were just going on stage at the Bird's Eye in Basel last night. The next word caught my eye: "Byfall" (FW 257.29), an English spelling of the German for "applause" ("Beifall"). And I saw the next word: "Upploud" (FW 257.30). The "upplause" at the end of the first set was indeed loud; the last tune was "Back in the Game", which the next sentence in "Finnegans Wake" also seemed to comment on: "The play thou schouwburgst, Game, here endeth" (FW 257.31). (Andrew Shields, #111words, 18 March 2023)