Monday, June 19, 2017

Tulpa Max or, The Afterlife of a Resurrection (On the 150th Anniversary of the Execution of Maximilian von Habsburg)

Letras Libres, one of Mexico's finest magazines, has a special section in this month's issue which includes, I am delighted to report, my own essay on Maximilian von Habsbug, "Tulpa Max. La vida después de una resurrección".  ("Tulpa Max or, The Afterlife of a Resurrection.") 

It's a riff on writing historical fiction-- and my novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire (Unbridled Books, 2009), which was beautifully translated by Mexican writer Agustín Cadena as El último principe del Imperio mexicano (Random House Mondadori-Grijalbo, 2010). I am hoping my Spanish has continued some progress up the steep hill toward matching my English: I dared to translate this essay for Letras Libres myself.

The novel, by the way, is not about Maximilian per se, but rather the little half-American prince, Agustín de Iturbide y Green, whom Maximilian brought into his court (true story), much to the child's parents' consternation.

The English version of this essay is forthcoming in the summer issue of Catamaran Literary Review, and once that's out I will be sure to post it here.

For the occasion, a few links about Maximilian:

> On Seeing as an Artist or, Five Techniques for a Journey to Einfühlung

> Podcast of the book's presentation at the Library of Congress

> A Conversation with M.M. McAllen About Her Book, Maximilian and Carlota

> Q & A with Mexican historian Alan Rojas Orzechowski About Santiago Rebull, Maximilian's Court Painter-- Later Diego River's Professor

> Oodles more at my novel's webpage, on the Maximilian and Carlota Blog, and the research page Maximilian von Mexiko


> Your comments are always most welcome. Write to me here.





Monday, June 12, 2017

Daniel Yergin's THE PRIZE, M. King Hubbert, Medieval Smokestacks & Etc. (Plus Cyberflanerie)

Finally I finished reading Daniel Yergin's brilliant and necessary The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, a doorstopper of a tome which deservedly won the Pulitzer Prize back in 1992. I sincerely wish I had read it decades sooner. It rewired my thinking about World War II, among multitudinous other things. What prompted me to pick it up is that for the book I am writing about Far West Texas I needed a broader historical perspective for the oil industry in the Permian Basin. One oilman mentioned in The Prize whom I'll be writing about is pioneer geologist and philanthropist Wallace E. Pratt... More about him anon. 

Next on my reading list: Mason Inman's new book about M. King Hubbert, The Oracle of Oil: A Maverick Geologist's Quest for a Sustainable Future

> M. King Hubbert's 1989 obituary in the New York Times

> A lengthy and fascinating memorial to M. King Hubbert in The Geological Society of America (PDF).

An academic article that represents a parting of the seas.

An almost unknown history well worth knowing.

# # #

A few more fascinating items I've happened upon in recent surfaris:

Bob Dylan's Nobel Lecture
Strange and powerful, a highly recommended read. (But I still think I must have stepped into some parallel universe, this one where Donald Tump is President and Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize.... I am not comparing Dylan to Trump, however. And, apropos of that lecture, I will say that I'm a serious fan of Buddy Holly.) 

On Jeffrey Mishlove's "New Thinking Allowed": 
Psychedelic Experience with Stanley Krippner
I am not planning on seeking out any psychedelic experiences myself; current events seem plenty psychedelic to me. But I do find it fascinating to listen to other people's experiences and to learn some of the cultural history. For psychonauterie and psychedelia, the very articulate and matter-of-fact Professor Krippner is the elder guru. 
Check out this post on the blog of Jeff Peachy, blogging book conservator extraordinaire.

Another thoughtful post from Granola Shotgun. 

And finally, a couple of especially interesting pieces both in the New York Times:
The Hidden Radicalism of Southern Food by John T. Edge
Is there an ecological unconscious? by Daniel B. Smith

Monday, June 05, 2017

Five Video Poems to Watch

Once in a chartreuse moon I concoct a little video... (my latest is this one about the controversial statue at the El Paso airport). Mainly I have made what I call "mini-clips" to illustrate my travel writing, which are really more like GIFs-- and, in fact, I have started making the occasional GIF. So in the jiggy flow of things, I have become intrigued by video poetry...

Herewith a few examples gleaned from my recent Internet surfaris:


Sor Juana's "Green Enchantment" Video by Dave Bonta





Ann Cefola's "Velocity"




Sandra Beasley's "Inner Flamingo"





Laurie Anderson's poem "Walking and Falling" as "Step" Filmed by Pascal Rekort





> See Dave Bonta's Moving Poems website and Bonta's excellent 2012 AWP talk, "Video Poetry: What Is it? Who Makes It? And Why?"

> See also Bonta's post from 2014, "Poetry Videos on the Web: Some Preliminary Observations." 

> You can watch some of Bonta's own video poems here.


> Your comments are always very welcome. Write to me here.