A story of America. Donovan Scali is the illicit child of a married woman and a married man—who are not married to each other. The woman dies in childbirth, and the distraught husband kills the child’s father.
After spending the first five years of his life in a convent, Donovan is five years old when he is taken to the South Philadelphia Home for Lost Boys, in the Devil's Pocket section of Philadelphia. When the orphanage burns down one night, the people of the Devil's Pocket each take one of the children to their home to care for them until the State can make other arrangements. In the O'Connor home, for the first time Donovan has found a family. They are boisterous and rowdy, and he loves the Devil's Pocket and all the people in their neighborhood: but a tragic event takes Donovan away from this idyll.
He survives the fifties and joins the army. He is in Germany when JFK stands at the Berlin Wall and says, "Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner) to the long-suffering people in Berlin. Six months later, Donovan is sent to Vietnam where he witnesses a whole village wiped out. Coming home, he attends Florida state University’s graduate program in Creative Writing: he is scapegoated when radicals blow up a building and is sent to prison. His girlfriend takes care of his adopted Vietnamese child. When he is released, he is a hero on campus.
A Friend of the Family is a story that takes the reader through WW II, the election and murder of JFK, the Berlin wall, Vietnam and the world of student protests and radical groups. It is a story of the heart of America, and of the tragic events that change it and the people that are caught up in its history.
Samson Agonistes, the "dramatic poem" by John Milton, was published in 1671, three years before the poet's death. Written in the form of a Greek tragedy, with the Chorus commenting on the action, it follows the biblical story of the blind Samson as he wreaks his revenge on the Philistines who have imprisoned him.
A powerful subject, with a personal resonance for the blind Milton, it is a perfect work for the medium of audiobook where poetry and drama can be balanced equally. This production, adapted for BBC Radio 3, broadcast in 2008 and directed by John Tydeman, features Iain Glen in the title role, with Samantha Bond as Dalila, Philip Madoc as Harapha and Michael Maloney as the Messenger.
In England the Victorian Age was about to become the past and a new age of worldwide wars of horror and slaughter would envelop and decimate generations, forever staining mankind.
The Century would see the World discover strengths. The Democracies would stand firm against Fascism and later Communism yet still keep its own elite and privileged in power and the rest of us underfoot.
The World was more connected than ever before. Culture accelerated its kaleidoscopic and interwoven journey. Transport delivered people by car and train and then aeroplane to far flung corners of the globe. Empires were at their zenith and ready to fragment with new nations, many troubled, rising from their decay.
The natural world continued to be plundered and pillaged for its resources by industries who pledged ‘more’ and ‘better’ and would clothe and feed a growing world yet sow the seeds now ready to devastate us in our current times.
The globe was as vibrant and violent as troubled and tarnished as it ever was. But new ideas, new political systems, new times changed everything once again.
For our wordsmiths there was much to write about, much to contemplate. Poetry was moving from its grand established forms to experiment with others; The Imagists; The Modernists. Poetry seemed to be everywhere and from everyone.
Ivanova, Owen, Mansfield to Millay and McKay. These are but a few of this rich, diverse wave that with mere words bring treasures beyond compare.
This eclectic selection of literary diversity includes several short stories, poems, muses, and a moving memoir. The themes encompass ethics, and our interaction with nature.
"Chris writes in a straightforward, clear style, with strong characters. A first-class story-teller."What would make a man decide to become a vigilante?How does one cope with the death of a sister?An iron-age smith's god-struck son find a purpose in life...A computer programmer with a self-indulgence for cream buns poses a threat to the world...An octogenarian takes revenge on a gold digger...A child who loses her mother is given a priceless gift by her great grandmother..A rather unique masseur with a dubious background has his past exposed...
The slave boy lifted and pulled the stout oaken handle, longer than himself, his lean body reaching and folding with every stroke. As the leather sack of the great bellows sucked and blew, the iron in the birch charcoal fire gradually flowered to red. Echet’s apprentice had already melded the iron with bone ash, working the metal, and now it was ready for the master-smith’s own hand. He had been obliged to take on an apprentice two winters gone. At thirty-eight winters he was no longer a young man; but his years were growing heavy, his time passing more quickly than he would have ever thought possible. When the iron’s tip began to glow with a hint of yellow, Echet reached into the fire with the tongs, pulled the lump of metal out, and clanged it down onto the anvil. The slave boy stilled his labours, waiting as his master began to beat the iron rhythmically, massive biceps stretching and contracting with every stroke. Sparks flew as he muttered the old incantations which would make the iron strong. Lugh, father of all gods, bless this blade. Bang! Ruagh, hag of blood, bless this blade. Bang!
A sensory narrative poem capturing the rhythms of the universe and secrets of the subconscious with stunning linguistic dexterity from the author of On the Road A spontaneous writing project in the form of an extended prose poem, this sonorous and spiritually playful book is one of Jack Kerouac’s most boldly experimental works. Collected from five notebooks dating from 1956 to 1959—a time in which Kerouac was immersed in Buddhist theory—Old Angel Midnight is comprised of sixty-seven short sections unified by an unwavering dedication to sounds, the subconscious, and verbal ingenuity.Friday Afternoon in the Universe, in all directions in & out you got your men women dogs children horses pones tics perts parts pans pools palls pails parturiences and petty Thieveries that turn into heavenly Buddha. Thus begins Kerouac’s Joycean language dance. From birdsong to dharmic verse, street jargon to French slang, the resonances of the universe come blaring in though the windows, unfurling their meaning as the mind lets go and listens.
The former US Poet Laureate shares “fine poems that inspire us with poetry’s greatest gifts: the music of language and the force of wisdom” (Annie Dillard, Pulitzer Prize–winning author). Elephant Rocks, Kay Ryan’s third book of verse, shows a virtuoso practitioner at the top of her form. Engaging and secretive, provocative and profound, Ryan’s poems have generated growing excitement with their appearances in The New Yorker and other leading periodicals. Sometimes gaudily ornamental, sometimes Shaker-plain, here is verse that is compact on the page and expansive in the mind. “Kay Ryan makes it all fresh again with her highly original vision, her elegant, quirky craft. These poems look easy, but the deeper one delves, the more they astonish and astound.” —May Sarton, New York Times–bestselling author of At Eighty-Two “Kay Ryan works toward an exciting art, much less sparse than it looks. This is natural history seen from an angle of vision that Emerson and Dickinson would have approved. It refreshes me to find poems that require and reward rereading as much as these do.” —Harold Bloom, literary critic and author of The Bright Book of Life “The music of these poems is every bit as seductive as their reasoning. Her thinking flaunts the plush, irresistible textures of organic growth . . . Marvelous.” —Boston Review “These poems show a poet who is terribly sly in her reckoning of our world.” —David St. John, author of The Last Troubadour: New and Selected Poems “So original, so astute, so pleasurable are the poems in this book, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if they’re still being read long after current critical fashions are dated.” —Poetry
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