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Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Chapter header by Clive Hicks-Jenkins for Glimmerglass
Photo from the Artlog
On the Move 

I'll be off soon, abandoning the rest of the family to do some events for Glimmerglass and attend to some other matters. Events are scheduled for: Norfolk, Virginia (SIBA trade show and "Moveable Feast of Authors" plus "Double Trouble" reading in town with Luisa Igloria); Athens, Georgia (a reading with Philip Lee Williams); Sylva, North Carolina; Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Take a look at my Events page to see those and other upcoming readings, talks, or signings. Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again! --Shakespeare

excerpt, Dr. Dalrymple on Hamlet

The lines that seem to me crucial in Hamlet are those that occur in act 3, scene 2, in which Rosencrantz and Guildenstern seek, at Claudius’s behest, to sound out the reasons for Hamlet’s strange behavior, so akin to madness. Hamlet asks Guildenstern to play upon a pipe. “I know no touch of it, my lord,” he replies, and when Hamlet insists, pointing out the stops, Guildenstern says, “But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony; I have not the skill.” Hamlet then says:
Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me. You would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery. You would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass; and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak? ’Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.
This passage is of enormous significance on many levels—personal, philosophical, psychological, and even political. For the mystery of Hamlet, that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern would “pluck out,” is the mystery of what it is to be a human being. If we could pluck out that mystery, then we should be able to play upon people as upon a pipe, treat them as objects rather than as subjects. (More Dalrymple on Hamlet here.)

Kim Bridgford and poetry

Please see the foot of the prior post on how to support poet Kim Bridgford in the current trying situation at West Chester's Poetry Center. And in the meantime, here is a snip from an interview with her.
Poetry is an intimate art, and it communicates intensely about the most important moments of our lives: birth, death, marriage, love and loss, heartache. It delights in language and form, and shares that delight with others. We wouldn’t perish without poetry, but we would be considerably less.


  1. Nomination for Hamlet's "best" words:
    "words, words, words"
    "the rest is silence"
    When taken together, we have the aesthetic and spiritual justification for everything ever uttered by anyone.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.