Z e t e o
Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning
Categories: Essay | 3 Comments
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

By Walter Cummins   Life is a Fiction Over a half century ago, shortly before the twentieth-century British literary critic Frank Kermode’s seminal The Sense of an Ending was published, I found myself in a debate with the campus chaplain, a priest named Joe Casey, whom I barely knew at the time. The topic—Life is […]

Essay
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John Coltrane, "Wise One" score

By Walter Cummins Distraction and concentration form polar opposites which may be stated as follows: A man who concentrates before a work of art is absorbed by it. … In contrast, the distracted mass absorbs the work of art. — Walter Benjamin, as translated by Harry Zohn   The other day when I asked Alexa […]

Essay
Categories: Review | 1 Comment

By Walter Cummins Review of At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell (New York: Other Press, 2016)   One reason Sarah Bakewell’s The Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails is such an engaging read was her decision to organize her examination of philosophy around the lives of the central […]

Review
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Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Anima dannata, 1619, white marble. Embassy of Spain in Vatican City, Holy See, Rome

Review of H.L. Hix, American Anger: An Evidentiary (Etruscan Press, 2016).   “I’ve got a family to feed, a neighborhood to defend.” “I’ve got a family to feed, a principle to defend.” “I’ve got a family to feed, my honor to defend.” — H.L. Hix, American Anger   These lines taken from separate poems in […]

Review
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Outliving Society’s Capacity to Care   Despite the rapidly growing number of aged in America, the ranks of geriatricians is not keeping up with the needs for old people’s medical care. So reports the New York Times. According to projections based on census data, by the year 2030, roughly 31 million Americans will be older […]

ZiR
Categories: ZiLL | Add a Comment
English servant, washing in tub

Downton Abbey, now in its sixth and final season, has been a TV phenomenon, with audiences in more than 200 countries, including 160 million viewers in China. In the US it is the most popular PBS program ever, and, during the 2014-15 viewing year, it came out twentieth in popularity among all network and cable […]

ZiLL
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Seeking Spirituality in a Secular World   An article in the New York Times about people who enjoyed a religious experience in a gym led me to think about the range of human quests for some sort of spiritual connection, and beyond that what such a spiritual connection might mean. The Times article, “When Some […]

ZiR
Categories: ZiR | 1 Comment
People console one another outside the emergency room entrance to Loma Linda Medical Center after two shootouts in San Bernardino. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

  Details are still emerging about the San Bernardino shootings, but evidence mounts that this was terrorism. Public reaction appears to be much more disturbed and fearful than it was a few days earlier when a lone domestic gunman shot people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood office. The extent of the San Bernardino reaction […]

ZiR
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Paris: Nothing Like It, Nothing Better   In recent days, I’ve spent time formatting a book titled Paris, Etc., edited by Jessie Vail Aufiery. Jessie lived in Paris for a number of years with her French husband and their twin daughters. My immersion in poems, stories, and essays steeped in Parisian details, venues, attitudes, and […]

ZiR
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Biblical Uncertainties   I came to Aviya Kushner’s The Grammar of God well prepared, having, a month before the book was published, heard her talk about her arduous ten-year writing process. When I first learned of her topic, Biblical translation, I expected a discussion of the typical complexities of rendering a work in a language […]

ZiR
Categories: Article | Add a Comment

By Walter Cummins   Third in a series   Arobot killed a young contractor in a German Volkswagen production plant recently. While the worker was installing the stationary robot in its protective cage, the device suddenly struck out with a fatal blow. Apparently, this robot killing was the first of its kind in German manufacturing, with […]

Article

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Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

By Walter Cummins   Third in a series   Arobot killed a young contractor in a German Volkswagen production plant recently. While the worker was installing the stationary robot in its protective cage, the device suddenly struck out with a fatal blow. Apparently, this robot killing was the first of its kind in German manufacturing, with […]

Essay

June 14, 2018

The time that takes place in stories compared to the time that we actually live is radically abbreviated. It briskly sweeps aside all the commonplace moments that make up the long stretch of toilsome time and focuses instead on the interesting and compelling. With a mere section break or a simple transitional phrase, days, months, and whole years are disposed of as if they had no significance at all. “Then time passed slowly until the day arrived when….” A lot of important living is hidden in such a phrase. From the moment-to-moment flow of time, the storyteller lifts out only those narr...

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Categories: Essay | Add a Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

By Walter Cummins   Third in a series   Arobot killed a young contractor in a German Volkswagen production plant recently. While the worker was installing the stationary robot in its protective cage, the device suddenly struck out with a fatal blow. Apparently, this robot killing was the first of its kind in German manufacturing, with […]

Essay

May 11, 2018

Using personal essay, literary reference, and journalistic voice, the article plants itself on our existential doorstep while illuminating Barnes' novel one more time. Very strong. Thanks.

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Categories: Essay | Add a Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

By Walter Cummins   Third in a series   Arobot killed a young contractor in a German Volkswagen production plant recently. While the worker was installing the stationary robot in its protective cage, the device suddenly struck out with a fatal blow. Apparently, this robot killing was the first of its kind in German manufacturing, with […]

Essay

May 10, 2018

"When these new memories suddenly came upon me … time had been placed in reverse. As if, for that moment, the river ran upstream." Stolen from Barnes's book for my poem "From the Vale for a Soul Making". Great book to write about.

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