Under Glass

Reviews of books, films, and other cultural artifacts.

Independent Bookshop Finds

· 3 Notes

Books of interest found at independent book stores — found, not on “featured” displays, but spine-out on the shelf. Of interest, meaning, the book was actually or very nearly purchased.

Favourite Authors and Books

A friend tagged me in a “book challenge” on Facebook, which means I am obliged to share ten books that have affected my thinking. This is not much of an obligation, of course, because I love books, and there was never any question of my being able to resist the chance to gab about them.

The Live Sparrow: Poetry and Translation

· 3 Notes

In order for poetry to survive as poetry, it is not enough to simply translate the words. You need other poets to remake the translation into an entirely new poem, often injecting it with their own creativity in the process: sacrificing the original form so as to preserve the poem’s life in the new language. Fitzgerald famously took this approach with Khayyám’s poetry, and I have great hope that Tolkien’s upcoming Beowulf will do the same.

The Grid Life

· 6 Notes

How do suburban landscapes affect the people who live there? The notes to this post will focus on “found impressions” of the suburbs by authors, artists, journalists, and architects.

Hear, Smith of the Heavens

Via Rod Dreher, a video of some Icelandic singers killing it at a German train station. The singing prompted Dreher to invoke Tolkien’s Elves, which I say is not at all inappropriate. Also: it is our express wish that oceans of public, impromptu harmonies sweep over commuters everywhere.

What Poetry Does

· 5 Notes

What is the value of poetry? How does it make itself felt? The notes to this post will focus on “found answers” to these questions from all over the web: answers which are themselves brief and poetic.

Dead Poets, Resurrected

· 1 Notes

A survey of some of the criticism generated by Apple’s ‘Your Verse’ ad and the movie ‘Dead Poets Society’, which it references.

Brandon Flowers and Jacob’s Ladder

I saw this music video more than a year ago, and the aerial dancers and a few of the lines combined in my head somehow to remind me of another story.


· 2 Notes

Wherein I draw conclusions about the role of the backlit screen in our cognitive style, and paint a vision of life without it (the backlit screen I mean).

That Hideous Strength

Some thoughts on a book by C.S. Lewis that might only make sense if you are familiar with everything else he wrote. (Double meaning intended.)

He Still Favors Fresh Walleye

While on a canoe trip in northern Minnesota, I found a classic piece of amateur prose in a small-town newspaper. I love small-town newspapers.