When I am pinned, and wriggling on the wall


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I fired up my record player and listened to some records today. Right now, I’m listening to Steve Wonder’s album, Innervision. Earlier I listened to some of Varese’s music on vinyl. I am beginning to suspect that there is an added visceral aspect to listening to analog recordings. I’m not one to care too much about the varying quality of sounds since I have played some pretty shitty instruments in my time without too much discomfort. However, in both the music of Stevie Wonder and Edgar Varese, my attention was drawn involuntarily to the innate beauty of the sounds themselves as I listened. Maybe I’m imagining this, but I don’t think so.

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I watched another video of a BBC special on T. S. Eliot. (link to it on YouTube).

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I organized my T. S. Eliot books and discovered that I have read most but not all of two of his biographies. They are now back on the “to-read” list. Also, I have been perusing his poetry again even though I have read most of it through in the last few years. I find myself drawn back in.

Here’s a passage I went to mark and discovered I had already previously noted it in the back of the book.

… music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts

from “The Dry Salvages” in Four Quartets

Then re-reading “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” these lines leapt out at me.

I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when i am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?


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coffee with colleagues and t. s. eliot


I’m enjoying my last week of vacation. Yesterday I went to Hope College and accompanied a very talented eighth-grade sax player at his lesson with my bud, Jordan VanHemert. Today I had tea with Rhonda Edgington and Kola Owolabi.

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It’s flattering and fun that my bud, Rhonda, keeps reaching out to me and connecting me to other people. Kola was a delight. He teaches organ at U of M and was interested in maybe returning with his Baroque Italian Organ Music class to play the Pasi which he seems to have fallen in love with.

This morning I exercised to a BBC documentary about T. S. Eliot (YouTube Link). I have been thinking about his work on and off this summer. This documentary was interesting in that I realized that I have read his biography and remember a lot of it. I wondered what they were going to put in the documentary.There are many voice overs of T. S. Eliot and others reading his poetry. I recommend the documentary if you’re into Eliot. It’s over an hour and twenty minutes long.

The following video of a song I like a lot uses many shots from the documentary and it’s much, much shorter.

I looked at The Wasteland and noticed that the epigraph comes from Dante’s Inferno. I knew that Dante was important to Eliot.  The documentary reinforced some of my understandings about him that I have been getting from reading Patricia Sloane’s T. S. Eliot’s Bleistein Poems. 

That Eliot had a pronounced sense of humor and enjoyed confusing his readers with both real and made up erudition.

I seem to be easing back into life in Holland. I have been practicing Sunday’s psalm at the piano.  I am enjoying studying Song of Solomon by Morrison and now I am being drawn back into thinking about T. S. Eliot.

Life is good. Eileen just came in and said it’s beautiful outside and she is going to sit in the back yard.

BBC News: Zuleika Hassan: Kenyan MP with baby ordered to leave Parliament

There’s sin everywhere.

Ibram X. Kendi Has a Cure for America’s ‘Metastatic Racism’ – The New York Times

One of my heroes has a new book out.
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NYTimes: Can Britain’s No. 1 Bookseller Save Barnes & Noble?

I pushed my tablet over to Eileen this morning with this article on the screen. There was a picture of the very cool book store we went to in London recently. I believe that the man in this article, Mr. Daunt, was sitting at the front desk when we walked in.

How Bill de Blasio Went From Progressive Hope to Punching Bag – The New York Times

The Thursday “On the Media” newsletter recommended reading this article however painful the reader finds it. Bookmarked to look closer at.