sábado, 30 de noviembre de 2013


It's not very often that a film is made on the life of a poet, but here's one: 'Tar', based on poems by C K Williams, opens in the US on Dec 1. The movie is an independent production directed by 12 film students with an impressive lineup of stars: James Franco, Mila Kunis and Jessica Chastain, among them. Williams is considered one of the most distinguished poets of his generation. Born in 1936, he has won a long list of awards and honors, including the Pulitzer, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

'Tar', the poem, gave title to the book published in 1983. These are the first lines:
The first morning of Three Mile Island: those first disquieting, uncertain, mystifying hours.
All morning a crew of workmen have been tearing the old decrepit roof off our building,
and all morning, trying to distract myself, I’ve been wandering out to watch them
as they hack away the leaden layers of asbestos paper and disassemble the disintegrating drains.
Read the whole poem at the Poetry Foundation.

Click here to learn more about C K Williams.

Click here to learn more about the movie in the Los Angeles Times.

viernes, 29 de noviembre de 2013

The most expensive book ever

Last Tuesday 26 November a book became the most expensive ever sold at auction. The Bay Psalm Book, published in 1640, went for $14,165,000. Why is it so special? It was the first book to be printed in the US, and there are only 11 known copies. The book contains psalms translated by the Puritans directly from Hebrew, as they weren't satisfied with the existing edition at the time.

Watch this video by Sotheby's about the Bay Psalm Book.

Click here to read more at the New York Times.

You can see what The Whole Book of Psalmes looks like at the Word Digital Library.


domingo, 17 de noviembre de 2013

Doris Lessing dies at 94

Nobel-prize winning author Doris Lessing died today at the age of 94. Lessing had an impressive collection of literary awards. At 87, she was the oldest winner of the Nobel prize. She welcomed the news with a simple "Oh, Christ", as seen below. "I've won all the prizes in Europe, every bloody one, so I'm delighted to win them all. It's a royal flush." 

Best known for 'The Golden Notebook' (1962), she said this about what is considered her masterpiece:

(Visit Web of Stories for the transcript and more videos)

For an interesting video on her life and work, visit this BBC page.

jueves, 7 de noviembre de 2013

30 great one-liners

Who said this?
I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.
Or this?
Life is full of mysery, loneliness, and suffering - and it's all over much too soon.
Click on the Remembrance Day poppy to check out other pearls of wisdom from The Telegraph.

(More on Remembrance Day: click here)

viernes, 1 de noviembre de 2013

The Luminaries, Man Booker Prize 2013

New Zealander Eleanor Catton, 28, is the youngest writer to win the Man Booker Prize, with the longest novel too (832 pages).

The Luminaries, set in 1866 during the New Zealand gold rush, contains a group of 12 men gathered for a meeting in a hotel and a traveller who stumbles upon their midst; the story involves a missing rich man, a dead hermit, a huge sum in gold, and a beaten-up whore. There are sex and seances, opium and lawsuits in the mystery too. The multiple voices take turns to tell their own stories and gradually what happened in the small town of Hotikita on New Zealand's South Island is revealed. 

The Guardian ran a series of videos explaining why each shortlisted contender should win. Here's what they had to say about The Luminaries.