Archive | February, 2012

Bookish News of the Day

29 Feb

Happy Leap Day!! On this day, in 1940, and for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Academy Award.

Welcome to your Bookish News of the Day!

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Born on This Day

1692 – John Byrom, English poet
1920 – Howard Nemerov, American poet
1920 – Fyodor Abramov, Russian novelist

Died on This Day

1928 – Ina Coolbrith, American poet
1940 – Edward Benson, English novelist, biographer, memoirist and short story writer
2004 – Jerome Lawrence, American playwright

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Literary Proposals Quiz

On the traditional day for women to propose to men, The Guardian is popping some questions – on bended knee, of course – about literary marriage offers. How did you do? I sucked canal water, with only 5 out of 9 correct! DOH!

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How To Spot a Reader

Well, yeah!

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Best Translated Book Award Longlist Announced

Yesterday, my TBR list grew and grew! The Best Translated Book Award finalists were announced. “Organized by the publisher Three Percent at the University of Rochester, the annual Best Translated Book Awards recognize the best works of fiction published in English but originally written another language.

Founded in 2007, the BTBA is notable in recognizing both author and translator in tandem. The 2012 BTBA longlist features authors from 14 countries writing in 12 languages. The author of the original work will receive $5,000 and its translator $5,000.”

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Book Covers

Two much anticipated new books have had their covers revealed!!

The cover for Hilary Mantel’s sequel to Wolf HallBring Up the Bodies – (and the second book in the planned trilogy!!) has been shared by the publisher. What do you think?

As well, yesterday saw the realease of the cover image for Zadie Smith’s upcoming novel.

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Charlotte Brontë

A long-lost short story written by Charlotte Brontë for a married man with whom she fell in love is to be published for the first time after being found in a Belgian museum a century after it was last heard of.

Hear Gillian Anderson read ‘L’Ingratitude’ for the LRoB!

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Art of the Hobbit

JRR Tolkien created more than 100 illustrations, recently uncovered amidst Tolkien’s papers, digitized by Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and freshly released in Art of the Hobbit — a magnificent volume celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit with 110 beautiful, many never-before-seen illustrations by Tolkien, ranging from pencil sketches to ink line drawings to watercolours.

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Laura Miller

Miller is a writer over at Salon, who I enjoy reading very much. Today, in response to the death of Dmitri Nabokov, she is writing about literary executors. Miller argues that “We live in an age of some very daunting keepers of the flame.

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Poem of the Day

Writing by Howard Nemerov

The cursive crawl, the squared-off characters
these by themselves delight, even without
a meaning, in a foreign language, in
Chinese, for instance, or when skaters curve
all day across the lake, scoring their white
records in ice. Being intelligible,
these winding ways with their audacities
and delicate hesitations, they become
miraculous, so intimately, out there
at the pen’s point or brush’s tip, do world
and spirit wed. The small bones of the wrist
balance against great skeletons of stars
exactly; the blind bat surveys his way
by echo alone. Still, the point of style
is character. The universe induces
a different tremor in every hand, from the
check-forger’s to that of the Emperor
Hui Tsung, who called his own calligraphy
the ‘Slender Gold.’ A nervous man
writes nervously of a nervous world, and so on.

Miraculous. It is as though the world
were a great writing. Having said so much,
let us allow there is more to the world
than writing: continental faults are not
bare convoluted fissures in the brain.
Not only must the skaters soon go home;
also the hard inscription of their skates
is scored across the open water, which long
remembers nothing, neither wind nor wake.

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Word of the Day

Clerihew: A form of comic verse named after its inventor, Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956). It consists of two metrically awkward couplets, and usually presents a ludicrously uninformative ‘biography’ of some famous person whose name appears as one of the rhymed words in the first couplet:

Geoffrey Chaucer
Could hardly have been coarser,
But this never harmed the sales
Of his Canterbury Tales

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And…Finally…

Because I am a Geek like that!

Big Bang Theory…re-imagined as Firefly (possibly best mash-up ever):

Bookish News of the Day

28 Feb

On this date, in 1953 – James D. Watson and Francis Crick announce to friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA; the formal announcement takes place on April 25 following publication in April’s Nature (pub. April 2). (Rosalind Franklin also deserves big credit for her work on this discovery, but is often omitted.)

Welcome to your Bookish News of the Day!

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Born on this Day

1812 – Bertold Auerbach, German poet & author
1894 – Ben Hecht, American playwright
1895 – Marcel Pagnol, French writer
1909 – Stephen Spender, English poet &
1929 – John Montague, Irish poet
1930 – Bruse Dawe, Australian poet
1970 – Daniel Handler, American writer

Died on This Day

1869 – Alphonse de Lamartine, French writer & Poet
1916 – Henry James, American writer
1967 – Henry Luce, American publisher
2004 – Carmen Laforet, Spanish author

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RIP, Jan Bernstain

Jan Berenstain, who with her husband Stan wrote and illustrated the Berenstain Bears books that have charmed preschoolers and their parents for 50 years, has died. She was 88.

Berenstain, a longtime resident of Solebury in southeastern Pennsylvania, suffered a severe stroke on Thursday and died Friday without regaining consciousness, her son Mike Berenstain said.

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Anna Karenina for the Big Screen

Now, I love me some Anna Karenina…but I have had some concerns since it was announced that Kiera Knightly would be playing Anna. Yesterday, still shots from the filming were shared.

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The Paris Review at 200!

The April edition of The Paris Review will be the publication’s 200th issue! And it looks to be huge!

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John Steinbeck

One of John Steinbeck’s diaries is available for online viewing from The Morgan Library & Museum. This diary was kept by Steinbeck during the writing of The Grapes of Wrath.

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Tips for Writers, From Writers

Many readers are writers. All writers are readers! Here, Time Soak has compiled a list of 105 tips for writers, taken from some of the best known writers of all time.

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Minimalist Fairy Tale Posters

Now, I am not one to crave the olden days or hang onto thoughts that childhood was better…but these posters are so cool and – if i had a kid – I would actually consider buying one or two for their room.

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Poem of the Day

I Think Continually

by Stephen Spender

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are feted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
Born of the sun they travelled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.

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Sir Stephen Harold Spender (born on this day in 1909) was an English poet, novelist and essayist who concentrated on themes of social injustice and the class struggle in his work. He was appointed the seventeenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the United States Library of Congress in 1965.

A biography of Spender was published in 1999.

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Word of the Day

pettifog \ PET-ee-fog \ , verb;

1. To bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters.
2. To carry on a petty, shifty, or unethical law business.
3. To practice chicanery of any sort.

Quotes

Marius, my boy, you are a baron, you are rich, don’t pettifog , I beg of you.
— Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Naturally, the wonderful tubers Brillat-Savarin dug up and dished out lacked the penultimate refinements of washing and cooking, but it would’ve been gauche to pettifog.
— Elizabeth Gundy, The Disappearance of Gregory Pluckrose

Origin

Pettifog comes from the Middle Dutch word voeger meaning one who arranges things and the word petty meaning insignificant.

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And Finally….

Writing is hard work!

Bookish News of the Day

27 Feb

Lord Byron

On this date, in 1812, poet Lord Byron gives his first address as a member of the House of Lords. “A strong advocate of social reform, he received particular praise as one of the few Parliamentary defenders of the Luddites: specifically, he was against a death penalty for Luddite “frame breakers” in Nottinghamshire, who destroyed textile machines that were putting them out of work. His first speech before the Lords was loaded with sarcastic references to the “benefits” of automation, which he saw as producing inferior material as well as putting people out of work. He said later that he “spoke very violent sentences with a sort of modest impudence”, and thought he came across as “a bit theatrical”

Welcome to your News of the Day!

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Born on This Day

1807 – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
1902 – John Steinbeck
1910 – Peter De Vries
1912 – Lawrence Durrell
1913 – Irwin Shaw

Died on This Day

1706 – John Evelyn
2008 – William F. Buckley, Jr.

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Freedom to Read Week

The 49th Shelf has posted a list of challenged Canadian books that you should read this week!! (It’s Freedom to Read week!!)

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The Big Shew

This weekend saw some serious hardware being handed out, with both the Independent Spirit Awards and the Oscars being handed out. There were more than just a few Bookish connections as many vying for honours started their lives as books.

Twitter saw some fun: as people imagined books or authors walking the red carpet. #BooksRedCarpet trended for a good while!

The adorable Michelle Williams is Bookish. YAY!

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The Nabokovs – Vlaimir & Dmitri

In some sad news, Dmitri Nabokov, son of author, Vladimir Nabokov, died this past Wednesday in Vevey, Switzerland. He was 77. Nabokov the younger “In contrast with his father, who was said to focus on literature and lepidoptery to the exclusion of all else, Dmitri Nabokov was a bon vivant, a professional opera singer, a race car driver and a mountain climber.

He was also devoted to the full range of his father’s work” and he was responsible for the management of his father’s literary legacy.

Check out this old footage of Vladimir Nabokov as he marvels of the different covers for his novel, Lolita.

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Oh Dear – Franzen Does It Again

Last week, Jonathan Franzen wrote in The New Yorker, on the occasion of Edith Wharton’s 150th birthday (paid access content). The piece caused not just a few ripples. He “he harped on her looks and read the biographical record in ways” that caused author Victoria Patterson to respond.

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Jane Austen – On Display

World Book Day (this Thursday) will see Bodleian Library in Oxford display ‘new’ Jane Austen portrait and sampler – for one day only.

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March Madness – HarperCollins Canada Style

64 books are competing to become HCC’s 2012 March Madness Champion. You could win all 64 books! The brackets of competition will be announced next Monday.

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Leonard Cohen

How does a poet of despair survive in rock ʻn’ roll? Ideas are the engine of Leonard Cohen’s success. His ideas are old and radical and, on occasion, surprisingly persuasive.

On occasion of the release of Cohen’s 12th album, CBC’s Radio 3 takes a look at Cohen’s most famous song, Hallelujah.

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Poem of the Day

SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY

by: George Gordon (Lord) Byron (1788-1824)

SHE walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

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Word of the Day

flexuous \ FLEK-shoo-uhs \ , adjective;

1. Full of bends or curves; sinuous.

Quotes

Her flexuous and stealthy figure became an integral part of the scene. At times her whimsical fancy would intensify natural processes around her till they seemed a part of her own story.
— Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

What is anomalous about Nietzsche in this context is scarcely the hold this plot has on him, but indeed the flexuous sweetness with which sometimes he uniquely invests it…
— Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet

Origin

Flexuous is derived from the Latin word flexuōsus which meant full of turns or crooked. This is an interesting example where the suffix changes the implication of the word. Unlike the more common word flexible, which means “capable of being bent” because of the suffix -ible , flexuous has the suffix, -ous meaning “full of.”

Bookish News of the Day

24 Feb

On this date, in 1942, the Battle of Los Angeles took place! And…being Hollywood, after all – there’s a film for that!

Welcome to your News of the Day!

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Born on This Day

1597 – Vincent Voiture, French poet
1786 – Wilhelm Grimm, German folklorist, younger of the Brothers Grimm
1852 – George A. Moore, Irish novelist
1909 – August Derleth, American writer
1943 – Kent Haruf, American novelist

Died on This Day

1781 – Edward Capell, English Shakespearean critic
1825 – Thomas Bowdler, English physician & editor
1990 – Malcolm Forbes, American publisher
2003 – Christopher Hill, English historian

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J.K. Rowling – The Masses Went WILD!

Yesterday, word leaked that Little Brown had inked a deal with J.K. Rowling for a new – adult! – book. Twitter exploded! Mark Medley, of The National Post, had my favourite Tweet on the topic: “Does JK Rowling’s new novel become the most-anticipated book of all-time? It’s like god announcing a follow-up to the Bible.”

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The Future of the Book Launch?

“Deal site Gilt City offered customers a $15 ticket to a book launch party for Cristina Alger‘s debut novel, The Darlings. The deal has completely sold out and now has wait-list.

The event is scheduled for February 23rd. Attendees will spend two hours at the Gilt restaurant inside the Palace Hotel and get a copy of the book. The party includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a book-signing.

Could this strategy work for other authors?”

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Fictional Hacks

I enjoy The Guardian. A lot. Yesterday, they shared a piece about fictional hacks. “Journalists have been glamorous social climbers and bumbling fools in fiction – sometimes they’ve even been feminists and righters of wrongs”

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Reading Forgetfulness

“To read a novel requires a certain amount of concentration, focus, devotion to the reading. If you read a novel in more than two weeks you don’t read the novel really. So I think that kind of concentration and focus and attentiveness is hard to come by – it’s hard to find huge numbers of people, large numbers of people, significant numbers of people, who have those qualities.” – Philip Roth

Does this afflict you? Do you have a problem remembering books? So does Gabe Habash!

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Roald Dahl Survival Guide for Kids

I’s all a bit bleak really. But, McCracken’s not wrong.

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Poem of the Day

The Waking, by the wonderful Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

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Word of the Day

In honour of birthday boy, Thomas Bowdler!

bowdlerize   [bohd-luh-rahyz, boud-] verb (used with object), -ized, -iz·ing.

1. to expurgate (a written work) by removing or modifying passages considered vulgar or objectionable.
Also, especially British , bowd·ler·ise .

Origin

1830–40; after Thomas Bowdler (1754–1825), English editor of an expurgated edition of Shakespeare

Bookish News of the Day

23 Feb

On this date, in 1898, Émile Zola is imprisoned after writing J’Accuse, a letter accusing the French government of anti-Semitism and wrongfully imprisoning Captain Alfred Dreyfus.

For an interesting fictional spin on the Dreyfus Affair, check out Kate Taylor’s novel A Man in Uniform.

Welcome to your News of the Day.

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Births

1633 – Samuel Pepys, English man of letters
1840 – Frederick Wicks, English author & inventor
1899 – Erich Kästner, German author, screenwriter, poet & satirist
1933 – Donna J. Stone, American poet
1944 – John Sandford, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist & best-selling novelist
1958 – Tony Barrell, English writer & journalist

Deaths

1800 – Joseph Warton, English literary critic
1821 – John Keats, English Romantic poet
1955 – Paul Claudel, French poet, dramatist & diplomat
1995 – James Herriot, English writer & veterinary surgeon

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Freedom to Read Prize

Lawrence Hill, author of The book of Negroes has been awarded the 2012 Freedom to Read Prize. Last summer, Hill was the target of a Dutch activist, offended by the use of the word “negro” in the title of the novel. It was Hill’s “reasoned and eloquent response to the threat to burn his novel The Book of Negroes,” according to a statement from The Writers’ Union of Canada chair Greg Hollingshead, that secured this honour for Hill.

This annual Prize coincides with Freedom to Read Week – which kicks off this Sunday. John Ralston Saul, last year’s prize winner, will receive his award at a ceremony on February 28th.

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HELP!

Two self-described bookish people with an unusual dream have worked over the past twenty fiver years and amassed a 30,000-volume collection on “the land and people’s connection to the land” that could make any naturalist drool. It’s called the Rocky Mountain Land Library, and experts say it’s a Colorado treasure. But the books are about to be homeless.

Soft-spoken Tattered Cover Book Store employees Jeffrey Lee and his wife, Ann Martin, who met on the job, bought all of those books and stored them in every nook and cranny of the rooms of their rented home on Humboldt Street. After nearly 23 years, they must move because the house is being sold.

I wonder if they could afford this awesome house? Of course, that would involve a move to Oak Park, Illinois…but how cool would it be to live in Hemingway’s childhood home? Pretty cool, I’d say!

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Whodunnit First?

Poisoning, hypnotists, kidnappers and a series of crimes “in their nature and execution too horrible to contemplate”: The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Felix, believed to be the first detective novel ever published, is back in print for the first time in a century-and-a-half.

Although Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, published in 1868, and Emile Gaboriau’s first Monsieur Lecoq novel L’Affaire Lerouge, released in 1866, have both been proposed as the first fictional outings for detectives, the British Library believes The Notting Hill Mystery “can truly claim to be the first modern detective novel”.

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What’s In a Name?

Patricia O’Brien had five novels to her name when her agent, Esther Newberg, set out last year to shop her sixth one, a work of historical fiction called “The Dressmaker”. A cascade of painful rejections began. Ms. O’Brien’s longtime editor at Simon & Schuster passed on it, saying that her previous novel, “Harriet and Isabella,” hadn’t sold well enough. One by one, 12 more publishing houses saw the novel. They all said no. Just when Ms. O’Brien began to fear that “The Dressmaker” would be relegated to a bottom desk drawer like so many rejected novels, Ms. Newberg came up with a different proposal: Try to sell it under a pen name.

Written by Kate Alcott, the pseudonym Ms. O’Brien dreamed up, it sold in three days.

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Big Top on the Big Screen

Moira Buffini has been signed to adapt Erin Morgenstern’s wonderful novel, The Night Circus for the big screen. Buffini has enjoyed recent success for her adaptation of Jane Eyre. It was really a stunning film so this should be a magical partnership!

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Winter is Coming, Toronto

Calling all Game of Thrones lovers: HBO Canada is partnering with TIFF Lightbox, for Game of Thrones: The Exhibition.

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Literary Mixtapes

I love this idea! It’s been around for a while now, but I haven’t gotten off my duff to actually create any mixtapes for my own favourite books. Harriet the Spy might be just what I needed to get going on this project.

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Poem of the Day

In honour of the day of John Keats’ death (d.1821), I share with you: When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.

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When I have Fears that I may Cease to Be is an Elizabethan sonnet. The 14-line poem is written in iambic pentameter and consists of three quatrains and a couplet. Keats wrote the poem in 1818. It was published (posthumously) in 1848.

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Word of the Day

desinence \DES-uh-nuhns\ , noun:

1. A termination or ending, as the final line of a verse.
2. Grammar. A termination, ending, or suffix of a word.

Quotes

The extreme facility with which the language lends itself to rhyming desinence has a most injurious effect upon versification. There are not verses only, but whole poems, in which each line terminates with the same desinence.
— Wentworth Webster, Basque Legends

But it will end, a desinence will come, or the breath fail better still, I’ll be silence, I’ll know I’m silence, no, in the silence you can’t know, I’ll never know anything.
— Samuel Beckett, “Texts for Nothing,” The Complete Short Prose

Origin

Like descent, desinence is related to the Latin word dēsinere which meant “to put down or leave.”

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And, Finally…

Not very Bookish, but very beautiful!

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