feeling a tad bitter this moring


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I finished rereading The Saddest Summer of Samuel S. by J. P. Donleavy last night. I barely remember reading this book before. I did remember accurately the incident of the therapist telling Samuel. S. that he was cured because he (Samuel S.) was driving the therapist crazy.

However I remembered it taking place in Washing Square, NYC. Instead it takes place in Vienna where the entire novel takes place. Samuel S. is in the therapist’s office. I think I may have conflated two literary memories. It’s possible they were both from Donleavy novels.

Image result for storm clouds painting great artists

After cleaning the kitchen and doing some Greek I again sat down and read poetry. I am finding Tyehimba Jess an extremely powerful poet.  Due to reading the history of slavery I am finding new resonance in his work and the work of Amiri Baraka.

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This morning I read his poem about Sissieretta Jones singing Aida at Carnegie Hall in 1902. I find it satisfying that he pulls the entire African American experience into the operatic moment. I like this line especially:

What is a coon show anyway, but one poor devil putting on a mask another devil willing to pay to see?

Did you know there were hundreds of “coon” songs written and performed  at minstrel shows? Jess makes a entire chapter based mostly on just their titles. The chapter takes its title from one, “All Coons Look Alike to Me: A Chant of Merry Song Melodies Guaranteed! All Titles Historically Accurate! Guaranteed!

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It is a painful read. It too me several days to get through that chapter.

The Real Story Behind Roald Dahl’s ‘Black Charlie’ – The New York Times

More info on this.

Marilynne Robinson on Finding the Right Word – The New York Times

I read Gilead by this author.

Solving the Puzzle of Eggplant Parmesan – The New York Times

Slice it thinly into a fan shape.

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