From my FaceBook page: Photo, above: Ashbery and Auden at the Poetry International Festival in London in 1972: Auden’s friend the Nobel-greedy Joseph Brodsky is sucking up to them both but his image has been trimmed from the RHS of the photo. Auden cheerfully knocked back the Nobel Prize in 1964… did you know that? I didn’t. You must read this recent piece from the NYTBR by Edward Mendelson on Auden: “W.H. Auden had a secret life that his closest friends knew little or nothing about. Everything about it was generous and honorable. He kept it secret because he would have been ashamed to have been praised for it… Auden… seems to have mentioned the incident only once, when he went to dinner with his friend Lincoln Kirstein the same evening and said, “There goes the Nobel Prize.” The prize went to Jean-Paul Sartre, who refused it.” More At http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/mar/20/secret-auden/
In the past few years, the science of Internet trollology has made some strides. Last year, for instance, we learned that by hurling insults and inciting discord in online comment sections, so-called Internet trolls (who are frequently anonymous) have a polarizing effect on audiences, leading to politicization, rather than deeper understanding of scientific topics.
That’s bad, but it’s nothing compared with what a new psychology paper has to say about the personalities of trolls themselves. The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).
It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet….
Last year Popular Science did away with its comments sections completely, citing research on the deleterious effects of trolling, and YouTube also took measures to rein in trolling.
But study author Buckels actually isn’t sure that fix is a realistic one. “Because the behaviors are intrinsically motivating for sadists, comment moderators will likely have a difficult time curbing trolling with punishments (e.g., banning users),” she said by email. “Ultimately, the allure of trolling may be too strong for sadists, who presumably have limited opportunities to express their sadistic interests in a socially-desirable manner.”
The painting John Ashbery was referring to in his 1975 poem “Sef-portrait in a Convex Mirror”…
Of the origin of Francesco Parmigianino’s “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror,” 16th century painter and art historian Giorgio Vasari wrote: “He began to draw himself as he appeared in a barber’s convex glass. He had a ball of wood made at a turner’s and divided in half, and on this he set himself to paint all that he saw in the glass. Because the mirror enlarged everything that was near and diminished what was distant, he painted the hand a little large.”
Four centuries later, poet John Ashbery took up the painting in the title poem of his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror:
As Parmigianino did it, the right hand
Bigger than the head, thrust at the viewer
And swerving easily away, as though to protect
What it advertises.
Ashbery’s ecphrastic poetry is unique because, as poet David Lehman has remarked, Ashbery uses specific paintings “as points of departure that discover themselves by meditating on objets d’art, and thus displacing them. . . . Gazing at the painting, the poet comes virtually to inhabit its room, to make its quarters his own.”
- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5926
Not sure about the hair… but: Nice Jacket!!
The Coen Brothers’ movie “Inside Llewyn Davis” (late 2013) takes place mainly in the folk singing venue the Gas Light Poetry Café, Greenwich Village, New York, in 1961. In the movie, the last folkie seen to take the stage bears a suspicious resemblance to the young Bob Dylan, not long after he left his rightful name (Robert Zimmerman of Hibbing Minnesota) behind for good. Yes, Bob played the Gas Light, in 1961. Here’s the album to prove it.
Building in Berkeley, California, in January 2014, photo by John Tranter.
Is an “Olsonite” a committed follower of the poetry of the great US poet Charles Olson, 1910 to 1970, poet and literary theorist, widely credited with first using the term “postmodern” in discussing American poetry and known for his association with the Black Mountain poets and for his influence on the generation of American poets who emerged after World War II?
Or just the material used to manufacture a toilet lid in the Durant Hotel in Berkeley, California?
No offence meant to the career, work or reputation of a great American poet. He can’t help being accidentally related to the American plastics industry.
There are around 1,500 sea lions at Pier 39 in San Francisco Bay, near Fishermen’s Wharf. They migrated there from the coast after the big earthquake in 1989, and found a safe haven from predators with lots of seafood in the nearby Bay. They smell awful. What with their stentorian barking, and a life that is a mix of sleeping, loafing, shitting in the water, barking and biting each other, they reminded me of a huge poetry reading.
Photo by John Tranter, January 2014.