Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Three-Sided Penny

My next post will be about a short story published in the Missouri Review in the Winter, 2007 issue. It's set in Ireland and is written by Dennis McFadden. It's a simple tale of human acquisitiveness for material things and where that leads, and has the pure cautionary notes of a folktale, but there is a lively, new energy to it. You can check out the excerpt the Missouri Review provides (very brief) here for the flavor of the thing.


I was compelled to look for more work by McFadden after reading this, hoping there was an anthology of some kind, but, though he has published in other literary journals, no such luck on a book. Yet.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


So, although I've thought about doing this off and on for awhile, the impetus to actually start came from reading a beautiful poem in the latest Paris Review, which, in case anyone happens to be reading this in the future, is the Spring 2008 issue. It is called 'Badger Disguised as a Monk--a netsuke', and is written by Elizabeth Spires. In case you aren't familiar with the word, a netsuke is a toggle that closes a purse or bag, worn on a cord hung from the sash or obi of a kimono. Often these were (and are) carved as tiny figures, and a whole tradition of artistry evolved over time. If you ever get a chance to see a netsuke collection, by all means go see it, as you can spend hours marveling over the intricacy and charm of these miniature carvings.

Spires' poem takes a popular subject for netsuke carvers--the badger, who disguises himself as a monk for his own nefarious ends--and imagines an inner life for him. This wise little poem evokes much of the Japanese folk tradition that inspired it, yet inflects it to Spires' own ends.

Seek it out.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Brief Introduction

The idea for this blog came to me after reading a couple of pieces in literary journals. One was a story, one was a poem. The only discernable similarity between the two were that both invoked a certain feeling in me, which I suppose I would describe as love. I would not want these pieces to be lost. This is my small contribution toward preventing such loss. I can't predict in advance what the limits of this blog are. The next post or two are known, but after that, who knows?