The Life of Beasts

The Academy of Inventive Literature has put out their first journal issue! It clocks in at 59 pages, with poems that actually sound good and a little prose fiction to boot.

Subscribe here, or read a free essay (“The Beastly Life and the Life of Art”) to get your imaginative juices going.

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80 Years

It’s 80 years since The Hobbit was first published!

The Oxonmoot is celebrating . . . and I think I might try to replicate a few of their Hobbitish desserts.

The Chariot

I’ve been on an Emily Dickinson kick. Below is the first published edition of one of her best.

The Chariot

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ’tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.

~ Emily Dickinson, Poems: Series 1 (1890)

Dilemma

Behind the hill is sorcery,
And everything unknown,
But will the secret compensate
For climbing it alone?

~ Emily Dickinson, #1603

Inventive Literature

A new literary community is on the web! The Academy of Inventive Literature is taking shape over here. Their first journal issue takes off in late September. They’re looking for “musicality,” “pattern,” and “poetic diction” (as stated on an interesting discussion of formal poetry here).

Submission info is here. Their judging criteria are worth a read as well.

Still on the subject of the Hobbit…

Clamavi De Profundis has a recording of “Far Over Misty Mountains Cold.” They sing Howard Shore’s tune to all 20-odd verses of the original poem(s), including a contrasting melody for Durin’s Song.

Personally, I find Shore’s tune less singable than Maury Laws’s from the 1977 animated version, and it’s less intuitive than folk songs are supposed to be. But the Clamavi De Profundis version is very satisfying. Especially, for some reason,

Under the Mountain dark and tall
The King has come unto his hall.
His foe is dead, the Worm of Dread,
And ever so his foes shall fall.

 

Animal, vegetable, mineral…

We’re listening to an audiobook of The Hobbit, so I’m in the mood for riddling.

*     *     *     *     *

I’m not an animal, and yet I eat.
I’m not a plant, and yet I grow.
I leap and dance, but have no feet.
I have a tongue, but not a toe.

I’m not a seed, and yet I sprout.
A sudden wind can raise me high.
A sudden rain can put me out.
I have no life, and yet I die.

I’m not a mineral, and yet I’m struck
From dust and ash. In times of old
Had men not forced me from the rock,
Their hearts would still be dark and cold.

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