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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney

This is gold.
Within the first minutes you will hear wisdoms that elude the common man.
One of the primary epics.

Things to listen for: the alliteration, especially head rhymes.
The kenning, a two-word metaphor, such as “swan’s road” for the sea, specifically, a voyage.

Movie scenes in Old English

Those crazy college kids are at it again!

Your Brain on Fiction

Your Brain on Fiction

Neuroscience and the reading of fiction.

Worth a look, even at this early in the game

Eleven Reasons Why I Won’t Hire You

Slide 67.



The stories we tell ourselves

Shekar Kapur is an Indian director who depicted the story of the quintessentially British Queen Elizabeth.



Ballad of Birmingham

Ballad of Birmingham
By Dudley Randall

(On the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963)

“Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And march the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today?”

“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren’t good for a little child.”

“But, mother, I won’t be alone.
Other children will go with me,
And march the streets of Birmingham
To make our country free.”

“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children’s choir.”

She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair,
And bathed rose petal sweet,
And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands,
And white shoes on her feet.

The mother smiled to know her child
Was in the sacred place,
But that smile was the last smile
To come upon her face.

For when she heard the explosion,
Her eyes grew wet and wild.
She raced through the streets of Birmingham
Calling for her child.

She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
“O, here’s the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?”

“Tragedy and the Common Man.”

“Tragedy and the Common Man.”

An essay in which Arthur Miller argues that greatness is not a requisite of the tragic figure.