Monthly Archives: May 2010

On May 31st, 1819…

…poet Walt Whitman was born. 

From “Song of Myself“:

I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their
parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

He’s considered to be one of the greatest American poets of all time, and is referred to by some as the father of free verse.  He revised his most famous work, the collection Leaves of Grass, several times over the course of his life.  The poems in Leaves of Grass take delight in and praise the senses, which led to much controversy when it was first published, as that sensibility was not considered decent at the time.  We have Leaves of Grass and a few other collections in our poetry section, and we have at least three biographies of Whitman in the library, as well as Robert Roper’s Now the Drum of War: Walt Whitman and His Brothers in the Civil War:

The Civil War is seen anew, and a great American family is brought to life, in Robert Roper’s brilliant evocation of the family Whitman.

Walt Whitman’s work as a nurse to the wounded soldiers of the Civil War had a profound effect on the way he saw the world. Much less well known is the extraordinary record of his younger brother George Washington Whitman, who led his men in twenty-one major battles almost to die in a Confederate prison camp as the fighting ended. Drawing on the searing letters that Walt, George, their mother Louisa, and their other brothers wrote to each other during the conflict, Now the Drum of War chronicles the experience of an archetypal American family enduring its own long crisis alongside the anguish of the nation. Robert Roper has constructed a powerful narrative about America’s greatest crucible, and a compelling, braided story of our most original poet and one of our bravest soldiers.

As always, if you would like to place a hold, please call the library at 985-2173 or visit our website.

New DVD.

New to our nonfiction section is Afghan Star, a documentary about an American Idol-like competition in Afghanistan. 

The publisher’s description is:

In Afghanistan you risk your life to sing. After thirty years of war and five devastating years of Taliban rule, pop culture is beginning to return to the country. Since 2005, millions have been tuning in to Tolo TV’s wildly popular “American Idol”-style series “Afghan Star.” Like its Western predecessors, people compete for a cash prize and record deal. More surprisingly, the contest is open to everyone across the country despite gender, ethnicity or age. Two thousand people audition, including three extremely brave women. And when viewers vote for their favorites via cell phone, it is, for many, their first encounter with the democratic process. Winner of the Directing and Audience Awards in Sundance’s 2009 World Documentary competition, Havana Marking’s timely and moving film follows the dramatic stories of four young finalists–two men and two women–as they hazard everything to become the nation’s favorite performer. By observing the Afghani people’s relationship to its pop culture, Afghan Star is the perfect window into a country’s tenuous, ongoing struggle for modernity. What Americans consider frivolous entertainment is downright revolutionary–and more human–in this troubled part of the world.

As always, if you would like to place a hold, please call the library at 985-2173 or visit our website.

This week at the KFL.

Other than our regular children’s and teen programming, it’ll be pretty quiet at the KFL this week (other than our skyrocketing circulation numbers and internet usage due to the return of our summer residents, that is!):

  • We’ll be closed on Monday, May 31st, in observance of Memorial Day.
  • On Thursday, June 3rd at noon, our Lifewise at Lunch series with psychologist and life coach Amy Wood will continue.  This month’s subject is Getting Unstuck, and the program begins at noon.

If you’d like to receive email reminders about this or any other program, hop on over to our website to sign up — and please, do feel free to call the library at 985.2173 with any questions!

David Foster Wallace’s undergraduate thesis…

to be published in 2011.

Jeffrey Deaver has been given the go-ahead…

to write the next James Bond novel.

On May 30th, 1593…

…Christopher Marlowe, playwright and poet, died.  Despite the passage of time, the story behind his death continues to be argued by historians and scholars:  some still believe it to have simply been due to an argument about a bar bill, some believe it to have been an assassination in response to his atheism, others believe that it was an assassination related to his work as a spy.

His most widely known work is The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, which we have in a collection of English drama.  The publisher’s description is:

If you make a deal with the Devil, are you then damned for all eternity? This is the situation Doctor Faustus must face when his ambitions as a scholar and magician take an ominous turn. Having sold his soul to Lucifer in exchange for twenty-four years of power and pleasure, can Faustus repent and be saved-or is it too late? This play, critically acclaimed as Christopher Marlowe’s greatest work, boldly and imaginatively explores the age-old question: “What profits a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul?” Marlowe gives life to this concept in Faustus-a single man in whom Heaven and Hell do battle. Using both broad humor and deadly seriousness in this daring work, Marlowe addresses the essence of the human soul. Investigating the liability of knowledge, the interplay of free will and fate, and the perversion of power, Faustus’s story has as much relevance to us today as it did to audiences in the sixteenth century.

In our fiction section, we have Louise Welsh’s Tamburlaine Must Die, which is a novella about the lead-up to Marlowe’s death (description from the publisher):

Following on the heels of her provocative and heavily lauded debut novel of psychological suspense, The Cutting Room, Louise Welsh’s much-anticipated follow up delivers another stunning thriller. It’s 1593 and London is a city on edge. Under threat from plague and war, it’s a desperate place where strangers are unwelcome and severed heads grin from spikes on Tower Bridge. Paranoia and fear grip this great city’s streets. Playwright, poet, spy, and man of prodigious appetites, Christopher Marlowe is working on his latest literary effort and enjoying the English countryside at his patron’s estate. But this idyll is soon cut short by a message from the Queen. He must return immediately to London, for a killer has escaped from between the pages of Marlowe’s most violent play and is scandalizing the city. In the ensuing three days, Marlowe confronts dangerous government factions, double agents, necromancy, betrayal, and revenge in his search for the murderous Tamburlaine. Tamburlaine Must Die is the suspenseful adventure story of a man who dares to defy both God and his Queen—and discovers that there are worse fates than damnation.

As always, if you would like to place a hold, please call the library at 985-2173 or visit our website.

The author of Drugstore Cowboy…

has been arrested after trying to rob a drugstore.