Z e t e o
Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning
Molly Renda, Water Glass, 2018

By William Eaton   I have proposed previously a first law of American literature, complete with a rider. The law: You are always going to come across one more, intriguing Emily Dickinson poem, ready to reward your attention. The rider: The poem may have something to do with sex. Vivian Pollak, a professor of literature […]

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Categories: William Eaton, ZiR | 2 Comments
Asano_Takeji-No_Series-Snow_at_Iwashimizu_Hachiman_Shrine_Kyoto

A book by an American scholar of Japanese literature briefly discusses one of the anecdotes of The Tsurezuregusa of Kenko, a classic which dates back to the fourteenth century. The scholar, Linda Chance, offers the following translation: A priest of the Ninnaji, regretting that he had not paid his respects at Iwashimizu [a Shinto shrine […]

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Wilfred Owen's mother, pictured center with her family

By William Eaton This appreciation of one of Bob Dylan’s love songs, “Ramona,” leverages its lyrics to make three basic observations about poetry and to call attention, to include in the endnotes, to several poems by other writers. While not all of these comments are positive, in general this short essay is watered with a […]

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E.E. Cummings, Self-Portrait, 1958, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian

The present short text is also a calling card or an example of the kind of piece that I believe Zeteo would best be publishing now. For more in this regard, see the Addendum.   now air is air, and thing is thing:no bliss of heavenly earth beguiles our spirits Or so, E.E. Cummings wrote […]

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William Patrick Roberts, 1895-1980; A Reading of Poetry (Woman Reading)

 . . . la lecture, . . . ce miracle fécond d’une communication au sein de la solitude, . . . (reading, this fertile miracle of communication in the midst of solitude) — Marcel Proust, Pastiches et mélanges   This year Gallimard published, in French, an amalgam of some of Proust’s writing on reading. Herewith […]

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Categories: William Eaton, ZiR | 1 Comment
A Syrian man holds lifeless body of his son, killed by Syrian Army, Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2013, photo by Manu Brabo - AP

To designate a hell is not, of course, to tell us anything about how to extract people from that hell, how to moderate hell’s flames. Still, it seems good in itself to acknowledge, to have enlarged, one’s sense of how much suffering caused by human wickedness there is the world we share with others. Someone […]

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Photo of third suicide bomber behind Stade de France blasts - photo released by French police, 22 Nov 2015 - AFP; Getty Images

. . . though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us. — U.S. Grant, writing, years later, about the Confederate […]

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  A comparison with a shaggy dog tale—with “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”—may help us appreciate and begin to think about an “elusive passage” in Plato’s Symposium. In Twain’s text, the narrator goes seeking news of the Reverend Leonidas W. Smiley and ends up hearing stories about an inveterate gambler named Jim Smiley. […]

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Whig primary, 1848 - An Available Candidate, The One Qualification for a Whig President

Many people in Europe believe without saying, or say without believing, that one of the great advantages of universal suffrage is that it calls men worthy of the people’s confidence to take charge of public affairs. The people do not know how to govern themselves, but, it is said, they always want the State to […]

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Drink's, sign in Troncones, Mexico; photo credit: Jonah Warner, February 2016

Backfiring, shall we call this?   First bursts. Sue Ellen Christian, one of Zeteo’s long-time contributors, e-mailed us a draft response to one of the random, crazed shootings with which the United States is now plagued. As has been reported, several residents of her town, Kalamazoo, Michigan, were allegedly gunned down by an Uber driver. Random […]

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Lawrence Goldhuber in straitjacket, photo by Josh Gosfield

  A touching story, and likely more common, in one variation or another, than it may at first seem. Among other things, I have in mind lives that come to be defined by one event which casts its spell, be it evil, enlightening, forgiving—over all the other years. The story I am going to tell, […]

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Recent Comments

  A touching story, and likely more common, in one variation or another, than it may at first seem. Among other things, I have in mind lives that come to be defined by one event which casts its spell, be it evil, enlightening, forgiving—over all the other years. The story I am going to tell, […]

ZiR

July 26, 2018

A point of information... This book was translated as "A Fortnight in the Wilderness" and included as Appendix 2 in "Democracy In America: Historical-Critical Edition", edited by Eduardo Nolla. There this amazing text can be read in full. It is worth comparing the translation by James Schleifer to your own. In particular, the rendering of "désert" to "wilderness" is most intriguing.

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  A touching story, and likely more common, in one variation or another, than it may at first seem. Among other things, I have in mind lives that come to be defined by one event which casts its spell, be it evil, enlightening, forgiving—over all the other years. The story I am going to tell, […]

ZiR

July 26, 2018

Thanks so much for this translation and excellent analysis.

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Asano_Takeji-No_Series-Snow_at_Iwashimizu_Hachiman_Shrine_Kyoto

  A touching story, and likely more common, in one variation or another, than it may at first seem. Among other things, I have in mind lives that come to be defined by one event which casts its spell, be it evil, enlightening, forgiving—over all the other years. The story I am going to tell, […]

ZiR

July 16, 2018

Thanks a lot, Steve. And, continuing the segue-ing, here's an old (and traditional) Gary Snyder poem I just came across yesterday: Seaman’s Ditty I’m wondering where you are now Married, or mad, or free: Wherever you are you’re likely glad, But memory troubles me. We could’ve had us children, We could’ve had a home— But you thought not, and I thought not, And these nine years we roam. Today I worked in the deep dark tanks, And climbed out to watch the sea: Gulls and salty waves pass by, And mountains of Araby. I’ve travelled the lonely oceans And wandered the...

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