Z e t e o
Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning

Davidson College, down the road from me in North Carolina, just announced that its alumnus Charles Wright will be appearing on campus next month, so I pulled his 2014 collection, Caribou, off the shelf. For those who don’t keep track, Wright is the current US Poet Laureate. I have been reading the poems in Caribou […]

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I’m reading about seven or eight things at the moment, some I need to read and others I simply desire. Books are good friends in the way that they are there when you need them, whether it is to read them in their entirety or simply to open them and find a passage that moves […]

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Stuart Hall, the man known as the “godfather of multiculturalism” died this Monday at the age of 82. Born in Jamaica, he was one of the founders of the school of British Cultural Studies, and his interdisciplinary approach was pioneering. I have read his essay “Cultural Identity and Diaspora” many times. It  expands on the ideas […]

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Reading (again) Lewis Hyde’s Trickster Makes this World: Mischief, Myth, and Art (1998). Hyde is a former professor of writing at Harvard University and was made an MacArthur Fellow in 1991 (amongst other awards). His book on the trickster figure explores the archetype in various aspects, from the mythological figure that helps humanity gain its food […]

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The trickster is one of my favorite mythological archetypes, with his humorous ways of outsmarting the powerful. He is also a character that I study. Tricksters are often misunderstood as impish thieving devils who do more harm than good. However, it is often through their thievery that humans are liberated—Prometheus, who stole from the gods, […]

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Modernist Charles Olson (1910-1970) viewed poetry as a means of projecting energy. As a poet, essayist, and teacher, he had a  far-reaching influence. Rejecting the confines of academic poetry, Olson believed that sound was the way to reach the reader: the HEAD, by way of the EAR, to the SYLLABLE the HEART, by way of […]

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Amiri Baraka, poet, dramatist, and civil rights activist (1934-2014)

We lost Amiri Baraka (1934-2014) last week, at least in body. Writer, poet, dramatist, and civil rights activist, Baraka was slight in stature but grand in presence, words, and ability to generate controversy. He inhabited multiple spaces—in the form of books such as Blues People: Negro Music in White America (1963) which he wrote when he still […]

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I just finished a class on Ralph Ellison and was lucky enough to spend an entire semester on one of my favorite writers. We read his most famous novel, Invisible Man, his collections of short stories and essays, and Juneteenth, published posthumously in 1999. For Ellison, folklore was a constant and significant influence. A folkloric figure […]

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Reading Devil Bird from Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas. Dumas was part of the Black Arts Movement, a civil rights activist, poet, and writer. In 1968, was tragically shot and killed in a New York City subway in a case of mistaken identity. Much of his work was out of print […]

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A Week of Reading from . . . Rachael Benavidez, Zeteo Associate Editor [One in an ongoing series of posts. For the full series see Zeteo is Reading.] 14 October 2013 On Loss Yesterday marked the loss of Cuban-American novelist Oscar Hijuelos, the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for his 1989 novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs […]

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George Bush as The Joker, caricature

The Chosen Comedians Jewish Joking from Nineteenth Century Europe to Twenty-First Century Israel   By Daniel Taub A review of No Joke: Making Jewish Humor by Ruth R. Wisse (Princeton University Press, 2013) Image—also entitled “No Joke”—is from Drew Friedman, the author of The Fun Never Stops, Old Jewish Comedians, and More Old Jewish Comedians. The […]

Review

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Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

The Chosen Comedians Jewish Joking from Nineteenth Century Europe to Twenty-First Century Israel   By Daniel Taub A review of No Joke: Making Jewish Humor by Ruth R. Wisse (Princeton University Press, 2013) Image—also entitled “No Joke”—is from Drew Friedman, the author of The Fun Never Stops, Old Jewish Comedians, and More Old Jewish Comedians. The […]

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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Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

The Chosen Comedians Jewish Joking from Nineteenth Century Europe to Twenty-First Century Israel   By Daniel Taub A review of No Joke: Making Jewish Humor by Ruth R. Wisse (Princeton University Press, 2013) Image—also entitled “No Joke”—is from Drew Friedman, the author of The Fun Never Stops, Old Jewish Comedians, and More Old Jewish Comedians. The […]

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

The Chosen Comedians Jewish Joking from Nineteenth Century Europe to Twenty-First Century Israel   By Daniel Taub A review of No Joke: Making Jewish Humor by Ruth R. Wisse (Princeton University Press, 2013) Image—also entitled “No Joke”—is from Drew Friedman, the author of The Fun Never Stops, Old Jewish Comedians, and More Old Jewish Comedians. The […]

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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