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Showing posts from April, 2019

Poet writes story about canoes.

There was once a poet who won the American National Book Award in Poetry, and then got appointed Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress. After that, he was hired as poet-in-residence at the University of South Carolina. In the end he must have tired of rambling around empty halls of learning like a kept ghost, albeit a scholarly one, while stroking his beard and frowning as if trying to give birth to a sixty verse epic. So he wrote a book. He called it Deliverance . I may be exaggerating a little, but just about the entire world has seen the movie 'Deliverance'; or if they haven't, they know what it is about. But most people have never heard of James Dickey. My copy is a Pan from its tenth printing in 1976. One of the reviews on the back cover states that it ' ... achieves what it sets out to do ... ' and even the word 'brilliantly' prefixing that snippet doesn't really detract from the quote's air of faint praise. Time called it a 

The cabin.

It was a late afternoon flight – the only one available – and daylight saving had ended the day before. The plane rode cloud cover all the way across Bass Strait and in just under an hour it came down out of the clouds and banked and frail dying orange light came into the plane as the sleety runway rose up and hit the wheels. We climbed out of the rear of the plane and walked a hundred metres through light warm rain to a square terminal that seemed a lot bigger once you got inside. A trained beagle led by a uniformed customs officer greeted the passengers and pushed into someone's bag and pulled out an apple. No fruit admitted. I've seen this trick several times and every time the perpetrator looks guiltier than a terrorist. For some reason it always seems to be a well-dressed upper middle-class lady who has forgotten about the no-fruit rule. Bailed up by a beagle, hands in the air in dismay. Or just well-bred embarrassment. I had wanted light so I could see where I was goi


"Why, Rebecca, how can you call him a name like that?" Evelyn exclaimed. Rebecca laughed, "Oh, come off it, Kansas. You can't pretend you like the son of a bitch." Evelyn thought very deeply. She had to admit to herself, and then to Rebecca, that she did not. "Look," Rebecca said, "if there's racial equality, we have the right to hate bores and loud-mouths regardless of what species they are." Evelyn was a little reluctant to admit she was right. "He is an aggressive fellow, but after all, Becky, any member of a minority is bound to be ..." "Now that's real prejudice, Evelyn. If you think you have to go around loving all Jews because of what happened in Germany, then you're as guilty as Hitler is, or was . For God's sake, respect us enough to hate us when you feel like it." "I see," Evelyn said in a small voice that held an enormous new realization. "Yes. Of course I see." But i