The political acrobatics of acrostic poems

Reading is a visual act because writing is a practice meant to be seen. Words appeal to the eyes, even though their final destination is the mind, where they are processed into meaning. I like to think that once humans invented script, they just wanted to play with it. Homo ludens, right? Otherwise, how can…

Prose and cons

  Prose is everywhere. In the newspapers on the morning table, in the school essays on the teacher’s desk, in the novels we read, in the announcements on public transport, in nearly every piece of writing and verbal performance. But most of all, prose goes unnoticed, because it is everywhere. Verse, on the other hand,…

Classical anti-classicism

For the ancient Romans, the past was dominated by Greece and Greek classicism, just like the Renaissance and most of our modern period were dominated by classical antiquity. In fact, our modern love affair with the classical past and classical authors starts with the Paduan scholar and poet Lovato Lovati (1241–1309). He wrote: ‘Do you despise…

The Wicked Fairy at the Manger, a strategic mistake

Last night the church of All Souls Langham Place came alive with the students’ Christmas dinner. One highlight was Hugh Palmer, the rector, who dressed up as Father Christmas and told a poem – rather subversively, I should think, overturning the traditional roles of patron-client involved in dealings with the big fat man – outlining…

Ovid for our time

January etymologically both closed and opened its doors nearly a month ago, for Janus has two heads, one looking back at the forgone year, one looking forth, to new beginnings, like Bilbo Baggins… Now that February too is almost spent, I thought I’d entertain you in some well-seasoned Ovid: January is done, and the year…

Dragoste interconfesională în Spania musulmană

Acum că am părăsit Andaluzia și trecutul ei maur, voi incheia seria de visare umeiado-almohado-almoravidă cu două postări. Prima dintre ele, cea de față, privește o poveste de dragoste dintre un poet musulman, Ibn al-Haddad din Alméria secolului al XI-lea și o creștină pe nume Nuwayra, pe care unele izvoare o prezintă ca fiind o măicuță…

Yeats rides the tube to Innisfree

No amount of parks, gardens and recreation areas in London can put out from my heart the hankering for the lost patch under the sun. And the more it rains, as it has for the last couple of weeks – the more I feel at one with the trecherous sun and its guilty accomplices, of…

Dedicatia zilei: Nichita Stanescu – Sunt un om viu

M-am trezit viu, sper cǎ și dumneavoastrǎ. Dacǎ da, atunci vǎ propun o viiturǎ de bucurie a vieții pe care o împǎrtǎsesc în aceastǎ zi de marți, cu brațele spre cer. Sunt un om viu.Nimic din ce-i omenesc nu mi-e străin.Abia am timp să mă mir că exist, darmă bucur totdeauna că sunt. Nu mă…