Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Posts from — April 2005

Venezuelan govt. hands out one million copies of Don Quixote

BBC NEWS | Americas | Free Quixotes big pull in Caracas:

People in the Venezuelan capital Caracas have been queuing around the block to collect free copies of the Spanish masterpiece Don Quixote.

The Venezuelan government is handing out a million copies to mark the 400th anniversary of its publication.

Populist President Hugo Chavez has urged Venezuelans to draw inspiration from the figure of Don Quixote.

April 26, 2005   2 Comments

The Death of Yvonne Vera

One of the great discoveries for me last year when I taught a course on 20th Century world literature in English was the work of Yvonne Vera from Zimbabwe. I taught her novel Under the Tongue, which is a powerful and unforgettable book about one girl’s attempt to find herself in the face of incest, war, and the complex workings of society and family. The book won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1997 and Vera quickly became one of the rising stars in African literature.

Sadly, Vera died a few weeks ago in Toronto after an extended battle with meningitis. She was only 38. She had lived in Canada on and off for the past number of years, having done her PhD at York University and then teaching there before returning to Zimbabwe to become quite quickly the country’s best known young writer and the Director of the National Gallery in Bulawayo. Later, after being struck with meningitis, she returned to Toronto to battle through her illness and to work on her sixth book.

Vera’s death is a great, great loss to the world of literature and to the people of Zimbabwe. Fortunately we can remember her through the remarkably rich body of work she left behind.

April 26, 2005   2 Comments

Great interview with Nick Hornby

It seems only appropriate that, after talking for the first time on this blog about one of my all-time favourite bands (certainly in my top 10), that I point to this great interview with Nick Hornby in the Guardian. If you’ve not read High Fidelity, it’s one of those great books that you will read cover-to-cover in one sitting.

I wish I could say that I’ve read his other books, but a number of them (About a Boy, Fever Pitch, and his new one A Long Way Down) are on my top 20 list of “books I’d like to read if only I had the time to do so.” 😉

April 23, 2005   Comments Off on Great interview with Nick Hornby

The Smiths meet academe

I’m struggling with a nasty case of the flu but couldn’t resist directing you to this great story at about an academic conference on the Smiths, one of my favourite bands of all time. Now I love The Smiths more than most people I know, but I don’t think I could enter into a discussion about Morrissey in the creepy way that some of these people did. Still, it’s a great article on how many of us still can’t leave The Smiths’ music behind.

April 21, 2005   1 Comment

“the ‘classical holy grail’ that may rewrite the history of the world”

How cool is this? The Independent today is reporting on how scientists are using new technology to uncover texts long thought unreadable from a pile of papyrus documents “discovered in an ancient rubbish dump in central Egypt.”

“Now, in a breakthrough described as the classical equivalent of finding the holy grail, Oxford University scientists have employed infra-red technology to open up the hoard, known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, and with it the prospect that hundreds of lost Greek comedies, tragedies and epic poems will soon be revealed.

In the past four days alone, Oxford’s classicists have used it to make a series of astonishing discoveries, including writing by Sophocles, Euripides, Hesiod and other literary giants of the ancient world, lost for millennia. They even believe they are likely to find lost Christian gospels, the originals of which were written around the time of the earliest books of the New Testament.”

This could well change our understanding of this world’s past, and most certainly our literary past. Wow.

via the wonderful site ArtsJournal, one of my first stops every day.

April 18, 2005   No Comments

NH Elegy: hockey poetry hits the news


One of my favourite poets is Richard Harrison. While he writes poetry on a wide variety of subjects — his book Big Breath of a Wish was nominated for the Governor General’s Award — his hockey poetry gets a lot of well-deserved attention. I can’t think of many poets, though, who have had a single poem become the subject of a Canadian Press wire story. A quick Google search brought up 46 hits, and I’m sure this will increase over the coming days as this story is making the news across Canada and into the US. How cool is that?

[

April 8, 2005   4 Comments

Blogging at UVM

A number of you have asked me over the last couple of months for more information on blogging. In the latest UVM IT Newsletter, Stefanie Ploof has a great summary of all the things you need to know to get started blogging either using your UVM account or one of the services off-campus that allows you a greater freedom of expression.

April 6, 2005   Comments Off on Blogging at UVM

Fall advising season

I’m setting aside a couple of days over the next week to meet with you to review your choice of courses for the Fall semester. You can find the list of Fall 2005 courses from the Department of English online at the department’s website. On that same page, you will also find the list of courses that fill the A, B, C, D, and senior seminar requirements.

Here are the available time slots I have for the rest of this week. Please e-mail me right away and book an appointment. I’ll fill in the taken spots on this form as I hear from you on a first-come, first-served basis.

[

April 5, 2005   Comments Off on Fall advising season