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Notes


Eugene Mirabelli, who writes the posts on Critical Pages, has been busy completing another novel and, he says, "Doing all the things the publisher keeps asking me to do." So the frequency of new posts had fallen off. However, he's back writing posts again, despite his age.

Please feel free to wander back through what's here or click on one of the subjects in the tag cloud over there. We think you'll find something of interest. Information about Gene Mirabelli's distinguished novel, Renato, the Painter, is available at www.mirabelli.net


Stamp Out Starving Writers! Buy their books! Start by patronizing your local independent bookstore. Bookstores have lots of books and they'll be glad to help you find whatever you want. We mean books. They'll match you with a book. Or just wander amid the stacks of books and you're sure to find something interesting.
Bookstore kissing 210
Sadly, the couple pictured here aren't taking advantage of the amazing number and variety of books at hand. But we hope you will.

Shelley and Late Autumn Weather

Now that a hard November wind is whirling the leaves about, it’s time for Shelley and his Ode to the West Wind. Percy Bysshe Shelley had a brief life, but it was so vivid with poetry, so politically radical, so sexually unrestrained, so romantic and Romantic, that he still arouses controversy among readers who know even a little about him.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley

He was born in England on August 4, 1892 and drowned in a stormy sea  off the coast of Italy on July 8, 1822, not having quite reached age 30. Shelley ran afoul of law and convention a number of times. He  wrote some great poems, many political and social pamphlets, and a number of papers which advocated atheism.  He also indulged in  sexual shenanigans, inspired loyal friendships,  and left a few ruined lives in his wake.

Technically, Ode to the West Wind is composed of five cantos in iambic pentameter and the overall rhyme scheme is terza rima – a beautiful method of linking three-line stanzas with aba, bcb, cdc, and so forth. Terza rima had been rarely used in English. It was most famously used by Dante in his Divine Comedy, that poem of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, where the number three recurs in a multitude of ways. Terza rima isn’t easy to work, and nobody has succeeded in doing a good job of translating Dante into English using his rhyme scheme. As for the meaning of Shelley’s Ode, that’s impossible to cram into a brief paragraph — yes, it’s about the weather, but much, much more as well.  Don’t sweat it. You can read a bit now and come back to it later.  OK, here’s the poem:

                      Ode to the West Wind

O WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being
Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes! O thou             5
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill      10
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill;

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, O hear!     (more…)

A Change of Scene


If you've been here before you'll notice that we've made a few changes. Or maybe we should avoid responsibility and say that changes have occurred. We're not experts in HTML code and as we "improve" this website odd things happen, and if we begin to improve things at 8:00 in the evening we find ourselves still working and trying to undo our
improvements at 3:00 AM.