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COLENSO BOOKS: A selection of titles

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Sunday, 31 May 2020

Cecil Gant and Memphis Slim - Really Rocking!

Some seminal recordings often overlooked.
The lyrics may be basic,
but the boogie piano hits the mark!

Cecil Gant:

Memphis Slim:

Jules Holland, The Times, May 16, 2020

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Portland, Dorset: around the coastal path

Walking clockwise round the island from Portland Heights.
The day before yesterday.
 Photos by Mark Allen

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Thomas Hardy's Burial (The London Mercury, February, 1928)

From The London Mercury, Vol. XVII, No. 100, February, 1928


Greece: The Modern Gaze of Foreign Architects Travelling to Interwar Greece


"This paper reflects on the embrace of the Ancient world in modernity and the journey to Greece as a vehicle for their reciprocal reshaping. In the interwar period, new visual narratives emerged in Western accounts, proposing alternative contexts for Greek cultural heritage and associating regional culture with the emergence of modernism. The article investigates the mobility of modern travellers in Greece as an essential factor for the new contextualization of the country’s dominant cultural paradigm -Antiquity- as well as for the emergence of parallel narrations of the Mediterranean genius loci that examine the spatial imprint of heritage and tourism on the Greek urban, archaeological and natural environment. Western intellectuals, engineers, architects and urban planners, supported by a highly mobile network of editors, travel agencies, tourist cruises, architectural or archaeological conferences and congresses, contributed to the promotion of modern architecture and urban infrastructure in Greece. Their yet to become tourist gaze embraced the Aegean tradition, the Greek landscape and the ancient ruins as equal collocutors, initiating at the same time Greece itself into modernity. This paper traces the encounters between foreign travellers and the divergent manifestations of the country’s cultural identity in the pages of printed articles, books, travel accounts, photographic material and films. Following these documentations, the paper argues that tourism mobility gave rise to an alternative, southern modernism, whose emergence and development deviates significantly from mainstream narratives propounded by the continental historiography of modernity. Vice versa, the modern mobility networks of the South promoted the development of urban infrastructure and welfare facilities in Greece, as well as the establishment of early tourism policies, thus articulating the new national narrative of interwar Greece, based equally on classical heritage, regional culture and modern progress. The present paper is part of the research program Voyage to Greece: Mobility and modern architecture in the interwar period, where E. Athanassiou, V. Dima, V.; Karali, K. contribute as post-doctoral researchers, with P. Tournikiotis, Professor NTUA as scientific supervisor. The research is co-financed by the Greek State and the European Union"

Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Fall of Constantinople, May 29th, 1453

No sooner do Ionian Islanders mark the anniversary of the (peaceful) Union of the Seven Islands with Greece (May 21st, 1864), than Greeks around the world remember the violent fall of Constantinople on May 29th, 1453.

“Πήραν την Πόλη, πήραν την, πήραν τη Σαλονίκη…”  (C. Fauriel, Chants populaires de la Grece moderne, Paris 1825, p. 340;

The following lines are from The Last Weekend in May, by Nicholas Samaras, a poem which, I assume, refers to the annual  patriotic parade which was, and perhaps still is, held by the Greeks of New York. It happens to be about a march to honour the dead, which the poet recalls from his school and scouting days in the 1950's.

I had another look at Sir Steven Runciman's book, The Fall of Constantinople:


I listened to the traditional Greek lamentation-

 -and I made note of the last three lines of Nicholas Samaras' poem:

"In silence, burn
 every flag that separates
one soul from one soul".

Nicholas Samaras was born in England in 1954. From there he went to Woburn, Massachusetts 
and to New York. His father was a Greek Orthodox priest. 

Some patriotic Greek websites/blogs on the Fall of Constantinople

Πήραν την Πόλη, πήρανε, μωρέ πήραν τη Σαλονίκη
πήραν κι την- πήραν κι την Αγια-Σοφιά.

Πήραν κι την Αγια-Σοφιά, το μέγα μαναστήρι,
μι τιτρακόσια σήμαντρα, μ’ ιξήντα δυο καμπάνις
πάσα καμπάνα κι παπάς, πάσα παπάς κι διάκος.
Να κι η κυρά η Παναγιά, στην πόρτα πάει και στάθη
και στους μαστόρους έλεγε και στους μαστόρους λέει.
Μαστόροι μη δουλεύετε, μη χάνετε τον κόπο
κι εδώ ’κκλησιά δε γίνεται κι μέγα μαναστήρι,
θα γίνει τούρκικο τζαμί να προσκυνούν οι κλέφτις
να προσκυνάει Αλή πασάς με τους σκλάβους δεμένους.


C.M. Woodhouse, from Something Ventured (Autobiography)

Union of the Ionian Islands with Greece, May 21 Anniversary, 1864-2020

A suitable poem for May 21

Kostis Palamas, translated by Ian Scott-Kilvert,
from Arthur Foss, The Ionian Islands, Zakynthos to Corfu (1969)

A book from my library

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Prose Poems, Flash Fiction?

In search of a satisfactory definition of prose poems, I turned to the introduction to The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem.

Jeremy Noel-Todd writes:

"The prose poem, however, is the wittiest theorist of its own liminality, inviting us to see the ambivalence of identity as the way of the world".

Having got that cleared up (!), I've  decided to avoid such terms, and to keep to descriptions like "very short story" or "a short piece of prose".

I have just written a couple of short pieces, and some of the stories in my published collection, "This spinning world" are sufficiently short to be categorized any way one might choose.

"A story" or "prose piece" is ok by me.

Still blogging!

Just had an email from a friend in California to ask why I hadn't blogged for a few days.

All is well!

I have been tweeting (and retweeting) more often: Jim Potts@DorsetWriter

I've also been busy working on some contributions (photographs and poems) to a volume of "Pandemic Poems" for Colenso Books (in support of NHS charities), which includes the work of fifteen others, from under 8 years-old to over 80.

Watch this space!

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Weymouth, Overcombe Bay: Cruise Ships in Lockdown Light

Walk with an old friend, a few days later:

Baudelaire, Les Fenêtres. Windows and Social Isolation

Les Fenêtres

Charles Baudelaire, Petits poèmes en prose, 1869

"Celui qui regarde du dehors à travers une fenêtre ouverte, ne voit jamais autant de choses que celui qui regarde une fenêtre fermée. Il n’est pas d’objet plus profond, plus mystérieux, plus fécond, plus ténébreux, plus éblouissant qu’une fenêtre éclairée d’une chandelle. Ce qu’on peut voir au soleil est toujours moins intéressant que ce qui se passe derrière une vitre. Dans ce trou noir ou lumineux vit la vie, rêve la vie, souffre la vie.

Par delà des vagues de toits, j’aperçois une femme mûre, ridée déjà, pauvre, toujours penchée sur quelque chose, et qui ne sort jamais. Avec son visage, avec son vêtement, avec son geste, avec presque rien, j’ai refait l’histoire de cette femme, ou plutôt sa légende, et quelquefois je me la raconte à moi-même en pleurant.

Si c’eût été un pauvre vieux homme, j’aurais refait la sienne tout aussi aisément.

Et je me couche, fier d’avoir vécu et souffert dans d’autres que moi-même.

Peut-être me direz-vous: «Es-tu sûr que cette légende soit la vraie ?» Qu’importe ce que peut être la réalité placée hors de moi, si elle m’a aidé à vivre, à sentir que je suis et ce que je suis?"


YouTube Video

Translation by Emily Leithauser, Literary Matters


A man who looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye,
Or if he pleaseth through it pass,
And then the heavens espy.

George Herbert

Coloured glass windows, Monodendri, Zagori: