Reading about the first newspaper in India reminded me of Aveek Sarkar, the colourful newspaper proprietor. He is also based in the same city, Calcutta (now called Kolkata), where the Irishman James Augustus Hicky launched the Bengal Gazette or the Original Calcutta General Advertiser in 1780.
John Le Carre once said, ” ‘The cat sat on the mat’ is not the beginning of a story, but ‘the cat sat on the dog’s mat’.” He knows how to hook a reader. Yesterday, on his 85th birthday, I opened his very first book, Call for the Dead, published 55 years ago, in 1961.
Reading a book of poems can be such a pleasure. There’s the thrill of discovering a poem that absolutely bowls you over, the pleasure of re-reading an old favourite and learning something about the life of the poet or poets whose poetry fills the book. I derived all three pleasures from Life Saving: Why We […]
I just read a poem by Emily Dickinson and two poems by Elizabeth Bishop which I had never read before. Emily Dickinson’s poem is about a carriage ride with Death. Elizabeth Bishop’s poems have humour and sadness. I found them in a collection of poems where the poets are introduced by the adman Maurice Saatchi’s […]
I have loved Bob Dylan from the time I heard Blowin’ in the Wind way back in the Sixties. But Bob Dylan Nobel laureate! Winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature! Call me old-fashioned. I prefer to read literature and listen to music. Dylan’s songs may be poems set to music. But I would […]
You don’t have to know Shakespeare to quote him. Every day we quote Shakespeare, without even knowing we are using his words. He has become part and parcel of our language.
I just can’t get Anne Sexton out of my head after reading her poem, For My Lover, Returning to His Wife. Written from the mistress’s point of view, it stays in your mind because of its unusual perspective.
Thank you for the music, Fats Domino, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Peter, Paul and Mary, Drifters, Everly Brothers, Mamas and Papas, and too many to name here. I love you all, but most of all I love the Beatles and Elvis Presley.
On this day, on October 5, in 1962, the Beatles’ first single, Love Me Do, was released with PS I Love You on the flip side in Britain. The rest is history. Philip Larkin summed it up most memorably in his poem, Annus Mirabilis:
Why do the most popular love stories have star-crossed lovers? Think of Romeo and Juliet. I am not ashamed to admit I was moved by Erich Segal’s Love Story. Nicholas Sparks’ handkerchief-wetting The Notebook ends with the lovers embracing, but one of them has Alzheimer’s.