Thursday, January 18, 2007

Smile of the Buddha AND The Paris Review

Smile of the Buddha
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.

Three days old! She was still sleeping most of the time. A quite remarkably tranquil baby. And pretty cute. We sure enjoyed spending a week with her.

Tonight a show based on color movies filmed during World War II is on TV. Justice Frankfurter does not believe a personally-delivered report about the killling of the Jews. I hadn't remembered that. And Eleanor (I love Eleanor, the more I learn about her, the more I love her!) talking about training women for work.

Yesterday the Paris Review came. After George Plimpton died I was quite cross about the changes in the magazine. I liked the old paperback sized format, and just the familiarity of it. No color, nothing fancy. Lots of poems, usually only one from each author. Everything just top rank and guaranteed to be interesting. And the interviews! I loved the interviews! Well, with this issue, I am almost reconciled. There is an interview, an excellent one, with Javier Marias from Spain. There is less poetry, but portfolios from the poets included, which can give a better sense of the poet. The poetry in this issue is a little disappointing, though I like the idea of groups of poems from each poet. The portfolio from Dean Young does not seem like his best work. Translations from a 14th century French poet have a certain antiquarian interest, but are not compelling. Matthew Thorburn seems too young somehow, for his poems to have the requisite depth. But the translations from the Chinese on interviews about "The Corpse Walker" and "The Leper" and wonderful stories by Joseph Heller, Gish Jen and T. C. Boyle made up for that this time. And the spectacular, beautiful and terrifying portfolio of color photographs, including foldouts of interiors with paragraphs spoken by the inhabitants, of the huge slum outside Nairobi is completely unlike anything I could have expected from the classic Paris Review. Images re still echoing around inside my head. Now that I have raved about it, I should tell you that it is Issue 179, Winter, 2006. Should be available at a bookstore now. Good night.

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