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Showing posts from 2010

Revision of "After Adrienne Rich's 'Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law'"

I have changed Sections 6 and 10 drastically, and made what I hope are improvements to the other sections. I am too close to the poem right now to judge its worth, but I need to give it a tentatively finished form before I can leave it alone and go on to other things. The change in the title should clarify the form and approach of the poem.


An Essay after Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law"

1. "You, once a belle in Shreveport"

One of the tallest boys of Class 1A,
you posed against the older scouts, front
double biceps, back lat spread, side chest,
taut postures you studied in muscle mags
while night coaching your little flared dick.

You were only half surprised when you won.
Though the other boys had more to show,
you threw your hardest punch into the hand
you raised. You crushed your abdominals
as if jumping on a soda can you tossed.

Your heart was still flushed the day after
when a patrol leader, with strawberry for lips,
grabbed and congratulated…

Phil Grabsky's "In Search of Beethoven"

A feature-length documentary on Ludwig van Beethoven, with rather more biography than music commentary, more panegyric than analysis. Van, which means the family came originally from Belgium, and not the aristocratic von. The son and grandson of court musicians, Beethoven was constantly wooing noblewomen who could not or would not marry beneath them. Although reputed to be a misanthrope in his later deaf years, he could also be generous, giving an English visitor a ten-bar composition, which was only discovered in Cornwall in the 1980's. I was surprised to learn that he prayed twice a day, according to the testimony of his nephew, to a God not of the established Church, but of his own interpretation.

I would have loved to be at the 1808 concert that he gave, entirely of his own music. The documentary mentioned only the Fourth Piano Concerto and the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, but this blog gives the entire program for that cold Vienna night. It included the Gloria and Sanctus from…

Pasolini's "The Hawks and the Sparrows" (1966)

Uccellacci e uccellini (original title) is a comical, picaresque political allegory. A father and his son walking on a road meet a talking raven who tells them the story of how Saint Francis sent a pair of monks very like them to preach to the hawks and then the sparrows. Though the monks finally found a way to preach to the birds in their own languages, the gospel did not prevent the hawks from eating the sparrows.

After that digression, the film reveals that the father is on his way to collect rent. His impoverished tenants are so poor that they eat boiled bird's nest (like the Chinese do, the wife said, in an allusion to the Chinese Communist Revolution) and keep their children in bed so that they don't have to be fed. Having to leave empty-handed, the father in turn is set upon by dogs when he cannot turn over any money to his rich landlord.

Other episodes on the road enrich this otherwise deliberately simple tale. Father and son meet a group of circus folks at one point, …

Andrew Jarecki's "All Good Things" (2010)

It could have been a superb movie but it was merely good. Inspired by the story of Robert Durst, the scion of a New York real estate dynasty, "All Good Things" was about the mystery of childhood trauma. At seven David Marks saw his mother throw herself off the roof of their house and kill herself. The film revealed later that his father did not carry him away from the scene because he wanted to use David to dissuade his wife from jumping. So, added to the horror of seeing one's mother braining herself at one's feet, was the knowledge that one was useless in preventing it. The literal life-and-death struggle between a couple broke a child in its middle. Ryan Gosling was compelling as that broken child in the adult.

Or was the child broken to begin with? According to Sanford, the patriarch (Frank Langella), David had always been "weak," in contrast with his younger brother who took over the family business. Sanford's dismissal could, of course, be explain…

Poem: "After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law" 1-11"

After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law"

1. "You, once a belle in Shreveport"

One of the tallest boys of Class 1A,
you posed against the older scouts, front
double biceps, back lat spread, side chest,
taut postures you studied in muscle mags
while stroking your little flared dick.

You were only half surprised when you won.
Though the other boys had more to show,
you threw your hardest punch into the hand
you raised. You crushed your abdominals
as if jumping on a soda can you tossed.

Your heart still flushed the next morning
when an older boy, the one with strawberry lips,
grabbed and congratulated you, Mr. 01 Scout!
Your arm jerked back before you could smile,
quicker, stronger, than you could catch.


2. "she hears the angels chiding, and looks out"

The angels fell silent after you left the church,
the boxy Baptist church converted from a cinema,
where you learned the parts of sinner and saint
with a cast of ten thousand. The drama was ep…

Poem: "After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law" 1-10"

After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law"

1. "You, once a belle in Shreveport"

One of the tallest boys of Class 1A,
you posed against the older scouts, front
double biceps, back lat spread, side chest,
professional postures you studied in Flex
while stroking your little flared dick.

You were only half surprised when you won.
Though the other boys had more to show,
you threw your hardest punch into the hand
you raised. You crushed your abdominals
as if jumping on a soda can you tossed.

Your heart was still flushed the next morning
when an older boy, the one with strawberry lips,
grabbed and congratulated you, Muscleman!
Your arm jerked back before you could smile,
quicker, stronger, than you could catch.


2. "she hears the angels chiding, and looks out"

The angels fell silent after you left the church,
the boxy Baptist church converted from a cinema,
where you learned the parts of sinner and saint
with a cast of ten thousand. The drama was …

Poem: "After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law" 1-9"

After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law"

1. "You, once a belle in Shreveport"

One of the tallest boys of Class 1A,
you posed against the older scouts, front
double biceps, back lat spread, side chest,
taut postures you studied in magazines
while stroking your little flared dick.

You were only half surprised when you won.
Though the other boys had more to show,
you threw your hardest punch into the hand
you raised. You crushed your abdominals
as if jumping on a soda can you tossed.

Your heart was still flushed the next morning
when an older boy, the one with strawberry lips,
grabbed and congratulated you, Muscleman!
Your arm jerked back before you could smile,
quicker, stronger, than you could catch.


2. "she hears the angels chiding, and looks out"

The angels fell silent after you left the church,
the boxy Baptist church converted from a cinema,
where you learned the parts of sinner and saint
with a cast of ten thousand. The drama was epi…

Edna O'Brien's "Haunted"

Watched this Brits off Broadway offering with TH at 59E59 Theater last Thursday. Strong acting by Brenda Blethyn and Niall Buggy as possessive, domineering wife, and straying husband. Beth Cooke as Hazel, an elocution teacher, was good too; her lack of beauty and personality made clear how much of Mr Berry's desire was generated from within. I am not sure however what the play, directed by Braham Murray, was going for, besides a gritty picture of marital unhappiness. The picture was a relatively familiar one. The dialogue was laden with literary references. O'Brien rewrote the play from a TV drama she had written decades ago, when she met Blethyn. So the play was, at least in part, a star vehicle, though a playwright would hate to have her work called this. If the vehicle went somewhere, it would have seemed less so.

Poem: "After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law" 1-8"

After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law"

1. "You, once a belle in Shreveport"

One of the tallest boys of Class 1A,
you posed against the older scouts, front
double biceps, back lat spread, side chest,
taut postures you studied in magazines
while stroking your little flared dick.

You were only half surprised when you won.
Though the other boys had more to show,
you threw your hardest punch into the hand
you raised. You crushed your abdominals
as if jumping on a soda can you tossed.

You were still flushed the next morning
when an older boy, the one with strawberry lips,
grabbed and congratulated you, Muscleman!
Your arm jerked back before you could smile,
quicker, stronger, than you could catch.


2. "she hears the angels chiding, and looks out"

The angels fell silent after you left the church,
the boxy Baptist church converted from a cinema,
where you learned the parts of sinner and saint
with a cast of ten thousand. The drama was epic.
The…

Poem: "After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law" 1-7"

After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law"

1. "You, once a belle in Shreveport"

One of the tallest boys of Class 1A,
you posed against the older scouts, front
double biceps, back lat spread, side chest,
taut postures you studied in magazines
while stroking your little flared dick.

You were only half surprised when you won.
Though the other boys had more to show,
you threw your hardest punch into the hand
you raised. You crushed your abdominals
as if jumping on a soda can you tossed.

You were still flushed the next morning
when an older boy, the one with strawberry lips,
grabbed and congratulated you, Muscleman!
Your arm jerked back before you could smile,
quicker, stronger, than you could catch.


2. "she hears the angels chiding, and looks out"

The angels fell silent after you left the church,
the boxy Baptist church converted from a cinema,
where you learned the parts of sinner and saint
with a cast of ten thousand. The drama was epic.
The…

Weekend in Washington DC

Just returned from a good weekend in DC. Walked down the Mall to Capitol Hill, where we saw three senators enter the building where they would vote to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Ate a delicious lunch of Spanish tapas at Bodega in Georgetown before doing a spot of shopping and taking the bus to Dupoint Circle. Watched the Senate vote on C-Span at, appropriately, the Human Rights Campaign shop. Browsed at Kramerbooks where GH showed me Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space. Had drinks at 30 Degrees, above Cobalt, and then at JR Grill and Bar, where I embarrassed GH by singing to The Sound of Music.

Back in R and SW's house, we ate a delicious lobster dinner, and admired her fiber art. I especially liked the "Blue Bamboo" series. "Permission to fly," the expressionistic quilt in the dining room, was also very beautiful. During dinner GH and SW argued over their father's art. GH had shown me "Granny," a wooden bust. He described anoth…

Poem: "After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law" 1-6"

After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law"

1. "You, once a belle in Shreveport"

The tallest of your secondary one class,
you posed against the older boys, front
double biceps, back lat spread, side chest,
taut postures you studied in magazines
while stroking your little flared cock.

You were only half surprised when you won.
Though the other boys had more to show,
you threw your hardest punch into the hand
you raised. You crushed your abdominals
as if jumping on a soda can you tossed.

You were still flushed the next morning
when an older boy, the one with strawberry lips,
grabbed and congratulated you, Muscleman!
Your arm jerked back before you could smile,
quicker, stronger, than you could catch.


2. "she hears the angels chiding, and looks out"

The angels fell silent after you left the church,
the boxy Baptist church converted from a cinema,
where you learned the parts of sinner and saint
with a cast of ten thousand. The drama was epic.
T…

Nikolaj Znaider plays Elgar's Violin Concerto

Last Saturday GH and I heard Nikolaj Znaider play Elgar's Violin Concerto in B minor. The Copenhagen native was tall and square-shouldered, and walked on with an easy grace. From where we sat, in the middle of the orchestra, I could see his strong jaw. Without trying to, he commanded the stage.

His performance of Elgar was dignified, passionate and dynamic. The orchestra was so responsive to him that he almost seemed to be co-conducting it with Sir Colin Davis. I also enjoyed Elgar's Introduction and Allegro for Strings (Quartet and Orchestra) and Mozart's Symphony No. 36 in C major, Linz, but Znaider was a revelation.

Yesterday morning, during my commute to school, I listened to his recording of the same violin concerto, with Sir Colin Davis and the Dresden Staatskapelle. The third movement was so grand that I had to halt in wintry Carl Schurz Park to hear it to the end. Hearing the music and watching the sunrise at the same time was an incredible feeling. I felt I could …

Poem: "After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law" 1-5"

After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law"

1. "You, once a belle in Shreveport"

The tallest of your secondary one class,
you posed against the older boys, front
double biceps, back lat spread, side chest,
taut postures you studied in magazines
while stroking your little flared cock.

You were only half surprised when you won.
Though the other boys had more to show,
you threw your hardest punch into the hand
you raised. You crushed your abdominals
as if jumping on a soda can you tossed.

You were still flushed the next morning
when an older boy, the one with strawberry lips,
grabbed and congratulated you, Muscleman!
Your arm jerked back before you could smile,
quicker, stronger, than you could catch.


2. "she hears the angels chiding, and looks out"

The angels fell silent after you left the church,
the boxy Baptist church converted from a cinema,
where you learned the parts of sinner and saint
with a cast of ten thousand. The drama was epic.
T…

Poem: "After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law" 1-4"

After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law"

1. "You, once a belle in Shreveport"

The tallest of your secondary one class,
you posed against the older boys, front
double biceps, back lat spread, side chest,
taut postures you studied in magazines
while stroking your little flared cock.

You were only half surprised when you won.
Though the other boys had more to show,
you threw your hardest punch into the hand
you raised. You crushed your abdominals
as if jumping on a soda can you tossed.

You were still flushed the next morning
when an older boy, the one with strawberry lips,
grabbed and congratulated you, Muscleman!
Your arm jerked back before you could smile,
quicker, stronger, than you could catch.


2. "she hears the angels chiding, and looks out"

The angels fell silent after you left the church,
the boxy Baptist church converted from a cinema,
where you learned the parts of sinner and saint
with a cast of ten thousand. The drama was epic.
T…

Not for the Faint-hearted

Been watching a slew of gay movies from Netflix or Blockbuster lately. For the record:

"Denied" (2004) has hunky jock fall in love with loser best friend who denies he is gay by sleeping around with women. Lee Rumohr was a dishy Troy.

In "Defying Gravity" (1997), frat boy Griff (Daniel Chilson) keeps his brothers in the dark about his relationship with Pete, but a gay bashing forces him out of his closet.

Gay robbers, armed and dangerous, in "Burnt Money" (2000). Eduardo Noriega and Leonardo Sbaraglia burn up the screen, but the action tails off, and I nearly fell asleep.

"Sebastiane" (1976), directed by Derek Jarman, tries to be decadent, but turns out to be dull, dull, dull.

There is somewhat more psychological subtlety in "Mulligans" (2008). At the family's summer house, Dad falls for straight son's best bud. Dan Payne as the father was watchable. Pity Charlie David was a cipher as a gay college boy.

"Unfabulous Social …

Poem: "After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law" 1, 2 and 3"

After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law"

1. "You, once a belle in Shreveport"

The tallest of your secondary one class,
you posed against the older boys, front
double biceps, back lat spread, side chest,
taut postures you studied in magazines
while stroking your little flared cock.

You were only half surprised when you won.
Though the other boys had more to show,
you threw your hardest punch into the hand
you raised. You crushed your abdominals
as if jumping on a soda can you tossed.

You were still flushed the next morning
when an older boy, the one with strawberry lips,
grabbed and congratulated you, Muscleman!
Your arm jerked back before you could smile,
quicker, stronger, than you could catch.


2. "she hears the angels chiding, and looks out"

The angels fell silent after you left the church,
the boxy Baptist church converted from a cinema,
where you learned the parts of sinner and saint
with a cast of ten thousand. The drama was epic.
T…

Poem: "After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law" 1 and 2"

After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law"

1. "You, once a belle in Shreveport"

The tallest of your secondary one class,
you posed against the older boys, front
double biceps, back lat spread, side chest,
taut postures you studied in magazines
while stroking your little flared cock.

You were only half surprised when you won.
Though the other boys had more to show,
you threw your hardest punch into the hand
you raised. You crushed your abdominals
as if jumping on a soda can you tossed.

You were still flushed the next morning
when an older boy, the one with strawberry lips,
grabbed and congratulated you, Muscleman!
Your arm jerked back before you could smile,
quicker, stronger, than you could catch.


2. "she hears the angels chiding, and looks out"

The angels fell silent after you left the church,
the boxy Baptist church converted from a cinema,
where you learned the parts of sinner and saint
with a cast of ten thousand. The drama was epic.

Poem: "After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law""

After Adrienne Rich's "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law"

1. "You, once a belle in Shreveport"

The tallest of your secondary one class,
you posed against the older boys, front
double biceps, back lat spread, side chest,
taut postures you studied in magazines
while stroking your little flared cock.

You were only half surprised when you won.
Though the other boys had more to show,
you threw your hardest punch into the hand
you raised. You crushed your abdominals
as if jumping on a soda can you tossed.

You were still flushed the next morning
when an older boy, the one with big lips,
grabbed and congratulated you, Muscleman!
Your arm jerked back before you could smile,
quicker, stronger, than you could catch.

Poem: "That's What Comes From Being"

That’s What Comes From Being
Whenever I write you it blends & morphs into so many others. That’s what comes from being informal, I guess. Or not cool. Or erotic. —Emily Critchley, “When I say I believe women…”

Or historical. Or wayward. Or a river. Or The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Or an all-boys school. Or not possible.
Or lucky to be taken up by women without children. Or with children. Or stricken by the chicken pox at 17.
Or a big fan of Hainanese chicken rice, tender white meat or roasted drumstick, dipped in a hot chilli sauce with garlic.
Or fanatic. Or unable to speak in tongues. Or a coward who reads Nietzsche for fun. Or a gay teacher at an all-girls school.
Or listening to Bach on the bus this week. Or a demilitarized zone. Or a poet. Fill in the blank. Or circle. Or formal.

The Boy's Magic Horn

With LW, I heard Sir Colin Davis conduct the New York Philharmonic on Tuesday. The performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 in D major was suave. I found it boring. Much more interesting were Mahler's Twelve Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy's Magic Horn). Compiled and published by Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim, the book pretended to be a collection of authentic folk poems, but comprised free renderings of texts and original compositions of the authors.

Mahler put to music "The Sentinel's Nightsong," the tongue-in-cheek "St. Anthony of Padua's Sermon to the Fishes," the pathetic "The Earthly Life," "Solace in Misfortune," the heroic and sweet "Song of the Persecuted in the Tower," the spring-like "Who Thought Up This Little Song?" the tragic "Reveille," the charming "Little Rhine Legend," the satirical "Praise from an Advanced Intellect," the insulting "La…

Poem: "After Elisabeth Bletsoe’s “Birds from the Sherborne Missal” "

After Elisabeth Bletsoe’s “Birds from the Sherborne Missal”
Pigeon, identified as Rock Pigeon (Columba livia domestica)
In the liturgical city, in the agora, gospel and gregarious. The fleshy cere on the short slender beak protects the nostrils. Deepthroated chuckling. You drew me to the gate of the Marble Cemetery and kissed me. The drag queen, passing by, simpered, “Ooh, boys kissing.” Purple iridescence on the gray neck. Two black bars on the wing. Crop milk. Toasting s’mores over a wood fire in the garden wedged between two apartment buildings. Granivorous and frugivorous. Some eat trash. It was alleged that they have no gall bladder, which accounts for their reputation for sweetness, but they have gall. Aristotle knew that. Don’t forget. The Columba livia is kosher and korban. The parents of Jesus sacrificed a pair after his circumcision. Loss, a sign of the covenant. Domesticated for centuries, they still live in the urban wilds. Homers. Carriers. Release doves.
strong chest muscle…

Poem: "After Rose Kelleher's "Kink""

After Rose Kelleher's "Kink"

The dead painter is looking for a place to paint: a tree, some water.

Gritty Poetry

Having a boyfriend is not good for blogging. But a blog cannot hug you at night.

Last night, Bob Heman's 12th Big Clwn Wr Event took place in the Community Room of the Westbeth housing for artists, in the far west of the Village. A number of Pink Pony regulars or ex-regulars read, but also a couple of exciting discoveries.

Adriana Scorpino had a strong long poem about the Williamsburg Bridge that spiritualizes it far more convincingly than Hart Crane did with the Brooklyn one. Liza Wolsky read a terrific poem about her father trying to revive a drowned man. George Spencer read sexy poems sauced with learned references. Thomas Fucaloro is getting better and better: he read a very funny poem about a TV nature show that mounted a camera on a lizard. Judy Kamilhor entertained with her short pieces inspired by haiku and senryu. I read two poems from Equal to the Earth, a poem by Bob Hart ("From a Winslow Homer Painting"), and a poem from my next book Seven Studies for a Self …

Fascist Art

Most art shows stroke the museum-goer to a climax. Chaos & Classicism, at the Guggenheim, ends differently. Not in an anti-climax, but rather in a depressing one. After displaying beautiful classicizing works by the likes of Dix, Picasso, Balthus and Léger, the show leaves the rotunda and enters a room titled "The Dark Side of Classicism."  It is filled with paintings, murals and sculpture inspired by Fascism, depicting muscular warriors and heroic horsemen. At the end of the room plays the film of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, in which the Discus Thrower comes alive as a German triathlete.

The art is bad, but therein lies my dissatisfaction with an otherwise enlightening show. The equation of bad art and bad idea is too easy. It would have been far more interesting, far more complicating, to show beautiful art done by bona fide Fascists. Do such works exist? Can they?

Also saw two small sculptures by Spanish sculptor Pablo Gargallo, who appears in Marianne Moore's …

The Persian Book of Kings

Finally finished reading Shahnameh today, the Persian Book of Kings, translated by Dick Davis. Arranged like a royal chronicle, the book falls into two parts, the first legendary half, teeming with hero-kings and demons, and the second more "realistic" half, closer as the history is to Ferdowsi's own time. The turning point lies in the reign of Sekandar (Alexander the Great), who is depicted initially as a world conqueror, but later, more importantly, as a seeker of knowledge.

I like the legends better. They have more colorful characters, and livelier adventures.The defeat of Zahhak the Demon King by Feraydun, the Simorgh (magical bird) that raised Sam and helped him in his distress, the riddles posed to Zal by Manuchehr's priests, the seven trials of Rostam, the duel between Rostam and his son Sohrab, which I first read as a poem by Matthew Arnold. The characters in the second half may be more complex, less easy to pin down, but the struggle between hero and king is…

Seduced by the Manganiyars

LW and I watched the U.S. premiere of The Manganiyar Seduction last Tuesday at the Rose Theater. Conceptualized and directed by Roysten Abel, conducted by Daevo Khan, the production was mesmerizing in its music and fabulous in its theatricality. In red-curtained boxes outlined by pulsing lightbulbs, which recalled both the red-light district of Amsterdam and the garish festival lights in India, thirty-six musicians sang and played the kamancheh (string), dholak (drum), murli (flute), kartal (wooden clappers), sarangi (string), morchang (percussion), bapang (string-percussion), algoza (woodwind) and dhol (drum).

A caste of Muslim musicians from the Indian state of Rajasthan, the Manganiyars are mainly settled in the districts of Jaisalmer, Barmer and Jodhpur, the heart of the Thar Desert. They played for kings, though nowadays they are far more likely to play for wealthy patrons, at births, marriages and feasts. Their repertoire encompasses secular ballads and Sufi poems. As their instr…

"Ganymede Unfinished" Reviewed and "Asymptote" Launched

Gregory Woods reviewsGanymede Unfinished, edited by Bryan Borland as a tribute to the late John Stahle.
... It is an apt tribute to Stahle, serious and stylish; even if it is, perhaps, less selective than he might have been with some of its weaker material. The creative content gets off to a reassuringly solid start, with fine poems by Jee Leong Koh and Matthew Hittinger....
***

Yew Leong Lee launches a new journal dedicated to literary translations. Conceived in Singapore, but edited from different parts of the world, Asymptote is now calling for submissions of translations of fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry. From the website:

Already in the lineup for our quarterly online magazine, slated for a Jan 2011 launch, are a despatch from Afghanistan, translated from the Farsi, about the plight of women in the context of the ongoing war, an essay from Japan by a noted mathematician cum essayist entitled “Literature and Mathematics”, a group of poems from Melih Cevdet Anday, writing in …

Enjoying "The Weekend" with Peter Cameron

I read Peter Cameron's 1994 novel The Weekend in two short afternoons. It was that absorbing and delightful. From the back cover: "On a midsummer weekend, in a country house in upstate New York, three friends gather on the anniversary of the death of a man related to them all by blood or love. Their idyll is disturbed by the presence of two outsiders: a faux Italian dinner guest and a young gay man now involved with the dead man's lover." The premise may appear somewhat thin, but the novel spins gold out of straw.

The Weekend is clearly indebted to modern Masters; in fact it extends their tradition of acute social observation by incorporating into the novel's ambit the matter of gay relationships and HIV. Keenly aware of time passing, and of the complicated significance of social rituals, The Weekend reminds me of Virginia Woolf. The S-shaped stone wall in the woods, built by John, who keeps to the garden and so is associated with the spirit of the earth, is that …