PDF Better late than never - poems by John Claxton

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This seems to me to be a rich concept and one with both an interesting history and a suggestive range of applications to our contemporary situation.

John Clare uses the word frequently and often in more than one sense, even within the same poem. For example, 'wonder' crops up four times in 'The Landrail', where the boys who are out bird-nesting are perplexed by the mysterious 'craiking sound' they hear in the local fields, since they can never catch sight of the elusive birds that are making it. As Clare explains, the bird is easy to hear and to identify from its rasping repetitious calls but hard ever actually to see, such is its camouflage and powers of concealment.

There is a little historical irony here in that in the period between Clare's time and the present day the species has moved from being merely 'hard to see' to being extinct in this area. A combination of changes in agricultural practices and habitat destruction progressively restricted its distribution as a breeding species in Britain, until by the end of the twentieth century it was surviving just in a few places in the Outer Flebrides and the far north-west. But there is now a further chapter to the story: since there has been an active programme to reintroduce corncrakes into the wild at a site in the Nene Washes in Cambridgeshire, just a few miles away from Clare's Helpston.

They will never return to the local fields of Clare's boyhood, but they are at least back almost in craiking distance. Here is an extract from 'The Landrail', which includes three uses of 'wonder', each slightly different my italics :. There are many other references to 'wonder' in Clare's poetry. For example, the word crops up three times in 'The Stonepit',2 where the traveller is struck to be looking down from above on to the tops of trees and the birds' nests in a deep quarry; it occurs twice in 'The Ants',3 where Clare is marvelling at the organisation and industry of an ant colony; it is mentioned three times in 'November',4 where people both wonder and wander in the fog on the dull, dark days of that month,- three times again in 'The Squirrel's Nest',5 where Clare is puzzled by a construction of twigs in a tree that he first thinks is a bird's nest and then goes off wondering about it; and then once in 'Swordy Well', where he contrasts 'the wonders of great nature's plan' with the destructive power of man.

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In these and similar passages Clare is combining a number of notions later separated out in our culture, and this seems to me to be a characteristic of a certain kind of nature writing whose key feature is the habit of close attention. It may be instructive to compare Clare with his contemporary Keats in this respect. One cold mountain night in , Royal Shannon Robbins dangled from ropes hundreds of feet up the gigantic Yosemite cliff called El Capitan, clutching a hammer and chisel and worrying that he had made a shameful mistake. The most influential American rock climber of the 20th century, and a serious-minded fellow who disdained vanity, Robbins had spent that whole day chopping steel bolts off El Capitan, obliterating the climbing route called Wall of the Early Morning Light, created by his alcoholic rival, Warren Harding.

The sport, in his view, should always be a quest for self-understanding, not self-aggrandizement. Climbers who made first ascents should consider themselves artists creating aesthetic pathways for others to follow. The canvas of the great rock walls was finite — there was only so much cliff — so those who claimed a piece of it had a responsibility to climb along natural rock features and minimize the use of permanent safety hardware, like bolts. To ignore that responsibility was to sin against the larger climbing community. He performed times at my restaurant.

Sometimes he would nudge the keyboard player aside and play piano. When he was really feeling it, he would sling his long leg up and then let it hit the ground, and the band would know to stop, and he would start reciting poetry or tell a joke. He intuitively choreographed the greatest stage moves — playing the guitar behind his back! He made the guitar a star. The file tracks the rare trajectory of a man who made an enormously successful show-business career a footnote to his activism. Page of the first of eight installments of his government file includes a warning from someone who was clearly afraid of this empowerment — so much so that he sent his concerns directly to J.

Y ou are a year-old mother and retired high-school English teacher, bred in a small, puritanical Ohio town. The conventional avenues for dating at your age — senior hikes, senior bird-watching, senior mixers you even hang out in hardware stores — have netted little.

Online dating is not yet commonplace. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me. There is a practicality and a confidence to it. His work was key to his day and it was always about process and project. I was a wrangler on Silent Tongue; it was my first job. It was the last location work I did with him.

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S he lived in a tiny New Orleans cottage filled with Cajun barbecue, Palestinian tapestries, books on torture, dirty jokes and stacks of academic papers on topics like the effects of neurotoxins in fertilizers. For a while there was a deceased inmate in a pine box in her yard, because she believed he deserved a respectful burial, and when no one in his family offered to provide one, she took him home. Her Tennessee drawl, pale skin and wispy blond hair were hard to square with her radical, irreverent, voracious mind.

She once fell in love with a man who knocked on her door impersonating the hunchback Igor. Holdman developed the field of death-penalty mitigation, a dry, abstract term for the floridly fascinating practice of humanizing defendants enough to keep the state from killing them. Her clients — Jared Loughner, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Eric Rudolph among them — were hard to love, yet she loved them anyway, and not for sappy or religious reasons. Holdman believed monsters, as the state painted her defendants to be, were made, not born.

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One question animated her life: What happened to turn you into a person capable of doing this? He was 37, and had been a Hollywood B-lister for almost a decade. But there was a catch — the character was a comic-book figure already adored, or at least known, by legions. There would be expectations. And even if he got it right, he risked being typecast for the rest of his career, like most every other actor who ever played a superhero. He certainly looked and sounded the part: He was tall, handsome, fit, his voice a Bond-like mix of suave and smarm. He had read the comics himself as a boy growing up on a ranch in the Pacific Northwest.

But this Batman was different — not the tortured, noirish character who came to life in , in the shadow of totalitarianism, but rather one who was ready for the colorful, splashy s, the brooding cello replaced by a snappy Motown bass. Batman and his heartthrobby teenage sidekick, Robin, would still be saving Gotham City from archcriminals on a weekly basis.

Five minutes into reading the initial script, West was giggling. He knew it would be a stretch. But if nothing else, he figured, he could have some fun with the part.

Wonder: Some Reflections on John Clare and Henry David Thoreau

He took it. Later, he reached out to his designer friend Gucci Ghost to freestyle customize the jacket. With P.

M aryam Mirzakhani was a mathematician, but she worked like an artist, always drawing. She liked to crouch on the floor with large sheets of paper, filling them with doodles: repeated floral figures and bulbous, rubbery bodies, their appendages sliced clean away, like denizens of a lost Miyazaki anime. One of her Stanford University graduate students said Mirzakhani portrayed problems in mathematics not as daunting logical conundrums but as animated tableaus.

Mirzakhani grew up in Tehran with dreams of becoming a writer. As a high school junior, she and her best friend, Roya Beheshti, became the first Iranian women to qualify for the International Mathematical Olympiad, and the next year, in , Mirzakhani took a gold medal with a perfect score.

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Anything that Bill gave her was special. He was my godfather, but also my paternal figure. She had a very special way about her that people would find easy to talk to. Occasionally, she would take me to some interviews. When I graduated from high school, we went to Paris, and she did an interview with Truffaut.

The items varied, but he dubbed this the bottle-shoe-and-plate project, because these were the objects most students chose. Over the semester, the students would draw and redraw them — in different styles, in different media, in different orders — until he was satisfied. While each student worked, he circled the room, clutching his thermos of tea with honey and lemon, peering at their papers.

Poetry blog: Poems and postcards | YorkMix

He was known to harangue students for not-perfectly-rounded teacups or loudly harrumph at overdramatically shadowed plates. It was a class people cried in. I was there.