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Sunday 4 January 2009

Links, links, links

Happy new year, dear readers--I hope 2009 is treating you well so far. After my year-end break, I'll gradually ease myself back into regular posting here over the next few days. A handful of literary links, to start.

- Weekend America spoke to Derek Walcott recently about politics and poetry--specifically, about Barack Obama's interest in poetry. Walcott described the process of writing "Forty Acres", his poem in honour of the American president-elect:

"The way I knew [the poem] was going to perhaps finish itself was finding the rhyme which sometimes happens in a poem, like crowd and plowed. Once that happened, I saw the furrow that the plow had made. Same thing as if say a limousine were going through a crowd it would make a furrow of a kind and the turnover of the dirt would be the separation of people before the president's car, which of course becomes a plow, so the idea of the design of the whole endeavor of the plowing becomes the endeavor of shaping the flag, with all the states, confederate and union together, led by this plowman who is the young president."

- More Walcottiana: in today's Stabroek News, Al Creighton reports on a recent BBC programme in which Walcott answered questions from a studio audience and discussed his masterwork Omeros.

- A couple of months ago I linked to Ian Buruma's review of The World Is What It Is in the New York Review of Books. The latest edition of the NYRB includes two letters responding to the piece, from V.S. Naipaul's onetime lover Margaret Murray and his onetime friend Paul Theroux.

- In his column in today's Newsday, Andre Bagoo laments the fact that--at least in Trinidad and Tobago--"boys don't read":

... for some boys it is almost an indictment against their masculinity. Books, of any kind, are alien objects. They contain information, maybe some pictures, but they dare not been seen to contain that most catholic of qualities: pleasure.

- And Marlon James--whose second novel The Book of Night Women is one of the titles I'm most eagerly anticipating this year--returns to blogging with some new-year thoughts.