On Discussion

What is there to discuss-ion? “Music as discourse (jazz) doesn’t work,” John Cage said.* “If you’re going to have a discussion, have it and use words.” As both a jazz and Cage fan, I’ve often reflected on the paradox, for discourse, “running to and fro,” seems an accurate description of jazz, with or without words….

Titles in “The Reader” Series

The Reader and the Paywall Poem The Reader and the Wally Moon Foul Ball The Reader and the Pool Hall Doggerel The Reader and the K of C Third Degree The Reader and the Professor Who Knew It All The Reader and the Screwball PCH Big Sur Rally of 1972 The Reader and the Walled…

Find a New Year’s Resolution at Berfrois!

New Year’s resolutions sounding redundant? Bored with the idea of giving up potato chips and dip for another year? Discouraged just looking at the stationary bike you got for Christmas? Read the Toads post “Why Read Poetry?” at Berfrois, and make poetry a New Year’s resolution!

Unmoving Literary Works; or, Needs Editing, “Ha Ha Ha”

“Ulysses could have done with a good editor,” Roddy Doyle said, fed up with all the attention Joyce gets to the neglect of other Irish writers. “I doubt that any of those people were really moved by it [Ulysses],” Doyle said. Roddy was just stirring up the stew, tossing in some new ingredients, and no…

A Portrait of the Retiring Reader

At El Camino College in the late 1960s I met an old man and an old woman in a literature class. I fell into talking with them outside class one day, waiting for the professor to arrive. The old man said he was recently retired from a life of work that had permitted him little…

Common Earworm Remedies and the Mutant Earworm

Thanks a compost heap to the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg (April, 2011) for re-infecting readers with a term we already could not forget – earworms. Earworms are snippets of jingles or songs that unwanted, uninvited, and unannounced crash the polite party of our otherwise peaceful thoughts. We now have a mutant version that has crawled through…