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Franco File

November 15, 2010
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If James Franco’s first name had been Ben, it would take very little to convince me that he is, in fact, the 24-hour multimedia reincarnation of the original King of Enterprise and Toil, Benjamin Franklin.

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Sondheim, The Demon Lyricist of Broadway

November 14, 2010
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Sondheim isn’t a man to cloud the expression of his judgments with considerations like politeness or collegial complicity. Were his rivals still alive, they might want to take out a contract on him.

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Translation, Film, and the ESL Student

November 11, 2010
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A new language is a bully. Learning a new language is not really learning a new way to communicate, but a new way to think.

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Memorial Day

November 10, 2010
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White’s poems are mired in a period, but not stiffly so: they breathe, they surf along the pulse of memory and desire.

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¿What Where? Poetry Series

November 9, 2010

[Reading: Nov. 17]

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Metaphor as Foundation of Consciousness

November 9, 2010
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Metaphors are committed to falsehood and inexactness for the sake of a possibility more vital than precision.

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A Ghost (Sonnet) in Gene Tanta’s “Unusual Woods”

November 8, 2010
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Seemingly disconnected things envisioned as unified: this is the surreal experience of the “marvelous” or the Deep Image experience of the deep image.

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To carve a face

November 7, 2010
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Cut triangles with the tip of your knife for eyes, pairs of triangles on each side of each eye. Connect them with thin, arching lines, cutting a curl of wood away, leaving a circle remaining, a mound, a pupil, inside. Practice until you have a whole boards of eyes.

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How to Teach Writing to Beginners (Towards a Different Kind of Workshop, Part IV)

November 5, 2010
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Russian novelists exhausted every eye color in the 19th century. Pop song writers are the only people who can make a big deal out of eyes anymore.

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Empathy, Cultural Dialogue, and Dead White Men

November 4, 2010
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“Bloody hell, no! I want to study dead white men!”

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Election Day Interregnum

November 2, 2010
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Nixon went down to the beach and sat in the sand and waited. The waves came in, the waves went out, and he sat there in his suit and waited.

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Jazz, Workshop, Fake books, & Misremembering

November 2, 2010
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By the shores of gitchee goomy, / Stood the noble Hiawatha / quoting from the other shore: / Only this and nothing more.

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Adam Fitzgerald’s “Life of Gorgias”

November 1, 2010
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Not only is Adam a teaching, magazine editing, book publishing maniac, he’s also managed to put together a poem collage in all that spare time he has.

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Poetry Fix Episode 15: Transtromer

October 31, 2010
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Mary Karr and Christopher Robinson briefly discuss Tomas Transtromer’s poems “Street Crossing” and “Face to Face.”

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Andrei Tarkovsky and the Visionary Experience

October 31, 2010
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Andrei Tarkovsky made an important film called Andrei Rublev, about a doubting monk, Russia’s greatest iconographer. The film feels very much like Bergman, from whom much of Tarkovsky’s style emerged. Like Bergman’s Seventh Seal, Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev is a slow-paced journey with monks, holy idiots, existential discourse, and symbolic animals.

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On Gene Tanta’s “Critical Introduction to Unusual Woods.”

October 30, 2010
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Even though both the form and content of Gene Tanta’s work are particular to his Romanian-immigrant experience, he insists that his poetry is accessible to everyone. His poetry, he says, exists both as aesthetic objects and political propaganda. This is absolutely true about all poetry, not just his own. Inevitably, literary criticism will come to see that literature is always both.

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