Posts Tagged ‘intellectual’

Why I do what I do



a fine explanation of independent publishing from a practitioner…  RT

(reosted from Cedar Writes)


Why I do what I do.

An Instant of Midnight

Simon H. Lilly strikes again with a meditation on midnight…RT

(reposted from Simon H. Lilly)

An Instant of Midnight.

Celts & the Exile of Poetry

March 14, 2013 8 comments

File:Sanzio 01 Socrates.jpg

OF THE many excellences which I perceive in the order of our State, there is none which upon reflection pleases me better than the rule about poetry.

To what do you refer?

To the rejection of imitative poetry, which certainly ought not to be received; as I see far more clearly now that the parts of the soul have been distinguished.

What do you mean?

Speaking in confidence, for I should not like to have my words repeated to the tragedians and the rest of the imitative tribe– but I do not mind saying to you, that all poetical imitations are ruinous to the understanding of the hearers, and that the knowledge of their true nature is the only antidote to them.

(Socrates speaking to Glaucon, from the opening of Book X, Plato’s Republic)


We are over fathomless waters here. The banishment of the poets from Socrates’ ideal city has had immense consequences for the practitioners of the art (and in the end, RT suspects, for all artists, whatever their medium). Here Poetry, and by extension all “imitations” of nature, is condemned as fundamentally uncivilized and destructive to its audience’s understanding, filling the mind with obstructive figments that may please for a moment but serve in the long run only to confuse people’s thinking.

And RT thinks it is no coincidence that Plato (424-348 B.C.) who lived to see the Celt’s sack of Rome and other depredations, may have been speaking not only of Homer and Greek poetry, but of the Celt’s poets, who formed a highly disciplined guild of practitioners, headed by a High Poet (or at least in ancient Ireland). Plato cared deeply for the city, believing it to be capable of producing the best human life possible. The Poets, as far as he could see, advocated an uncivilized life ruled by fancy and belief–the life lived by the Celts at the time, a life lived in the midst of nature.

The debate has raged down the centuries, Philosopher vs. Poet, hard reasoning vs. inspiration. The current state of things would suggest a nearly complete victory for the Philosophers, with enormous cities spread across the globe and poetry seen as an idle past-time, the Celts pushed to the edge of Europe, their languages besieged by the current koine, English.

How much discipline is good? When do we need to stop and feel the richness of experience? Certainly science has brought many miracles; but the argument for the survival and restoration of the Celtic speech must take into account the possibility that there is something good in the magic of poetry–and of language.    RT

Painting: The School of Athens, detail showing Socrates; Raphael, 1509, oil on canvas. WikiCmns, Public Domain. Text from Book X: Wikisource. Public Domain.


Less than two weeks


go, indiegogo!!!  RT

(reposted from Christian Mihai)


Less than two weeks.

samsung project (9) i drown my sorrows in the darkness of papua wamena


sounds delicious…  RT

(reposted from sonofmountmalang)


samsung project (9) i drown my sorrows in the darkness of papua wamena.

A Tale of Two Libraries: MLK Memorial and the Library of Congress

File:Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library.jpg

MLK Jr. Memorial Library

RT finds it somewhat odd, if not outright inexplicable, that he has never posted about libraries before: he is a lifelong lover of libraries and learning and an avid patron of any library that happens to reside near his current domicile.

The library that has corrected RT’s egregious oversight, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., is not as famous as its neighbor, the Library of Congress, but is in its way just as important. But the two buildings could not be more different: the LOC’s Thomas Jefferson Building, designed by John L. Smithmeyer and Paul J. Pelz and opened in 1897, is a fine example of the Beaux Arts style, roofed with a copper dome and containing a grand reading room.

File:Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. - c. 1902.jpg

Library of Congress, 1902

The MLK Library building, on the other hand, is a modernist work, designed by Mies van der Rohe, one of the 20th century’s most distinguished architects. It opened in 1972 and is the only public library ever designed by the architect.

Then there are the differences in function between the two libraries. The Library of Congress is the United State’s unofficial national library. Among its holdings (22.7 million cataloged books, plus millions of other items) are the Russian Imperial Collection, consisting of 2,600 volumes from the library of the Romanov family; collections of Hebraica and Chinese and Japanese works; and Otto Vollbehr’s collection of incunabula, including one of three remaining perfect vellum copies of the Gutenberg BibleWow!

The MLK Library is the central library of the District of Columbia’s library system. It houses several of the system’s special collections. The Washingtoniana collection includes books, newspaper archives, maps, census records, and oral histories related to the city’s history, including 1.3 million photographs from the Washington Star newspaper and the theatrical video collection of the Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archive. The library offers a) computer and adult literacy instruction and b) help for job seekers and people filing their income taxes. Many of its services are available on the internet. Wow!

It’s clear that the two libraries serve different audiences: the LOC, though open to the general public, has special resources that interest the most serious readers and researchers; MLKL serves Washington D.C.’s residents and those interested in the history of the District of Columbia. And, to RT’s eye, the buildings they are housed in reflect their purposes in a helpful way. In particular, RT would like to note the main hall of MLKL. There is something quite subtle about Mie’s work; his sense of volume is sublime, and any who enter the library feel the dignity of the space–even if the building materials are steel, glass, and brick. RT could find no picture that gives the reader an adequate idea of the main hall, so he offers an interior photo of another of Mie’s buildings: the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.    RT

File:Berlin Neue Nationalgalerie June 2002.jpg

Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin












Photos: Top two: Public Domain; Bottom: CC 1.0. All: WikiCmns.


Nightstand 2013: Week Nine

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment


some excellent magazine reading…

(reposted from The Quotidian Diary)


Nightstand 2013: Week Nine.