Saturday, December 13, 2014

Literature for the Millions (?)

Simon Loekle
On Saturday mornings, from 6:00 A.M. to 8:00 A.M., on WBAI, 99.5 FM, Simon Loekle presents readings from great literature (and recordings of classic old jazz performances). His program is titled "As I Please". Simon is a great scholar and performer of literature. He is one of the best readers you could ever hear. He is an "independent scholar", i.e., unaffiliated with any academic institution, but he is known by all of the major James Joyce scholars and has a regular scholarly cartoon addressing some aspect of Joyce studies in the James Joyce Quarterly, the premier publication devoted to Joyce scholarship. I can vouch from my own knowledge of the field, that he is also one of the most insightful experts on the poetry of Ezra Pound of our time.

If you are interested in literature, particular the more challenging masterpieces, one of the best introductions that you can have to the work of James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Basil Bunting, Dante, Villon, and other Modernists and their masters is by listening to Simon's readings. There are archived recordings of broadcasts of Simon's program at the WBAI archives page; just search for "As I Please" and play. Broadcasts are only available for a few weeks, so treat your ears and brain to what Simon Loekle can provide in the way of nourishment for the intellect and soul while they are available.

Simon has a Web page that provides a wealth of information and literary and musical delicacies. There is much to be learned there, and much enjoyment to be had: "As I Please: Simon Loekle." As Frances Steloff used to say of her now-gone bookstore, the old Gotham Book Mart, which was once the greatest book store in the Western Hemisphere: "WISE MEN FISH HERE". Simon will enrich your life to come, if you let him.

Simon also reads at Swift Hibernian Lounge on the fourth Monday of every month, February through November. Readings at Swift are presented from a pulpit imported from Dublin, from the very cathedral in which Jonathan Swift presented sermons. It is a wonderful experience to be at Swift for one of Simon's incomparable performances. Simon's commentaries on his readings are peerless. He is brilliant. Simon is a world-class scholar and a great performer of literature.


The Drunken Odyssey
An excellent podcast about "the writerly life" is the weekly orgy of literary delectation, "The Drunken Odyssey." "The Drunken Odyssey" is the brainchild of writer, boon companion, and charismatic professor John King, who teaches at Full Sail University in Florida. John has a particularly good reader in his stable of performers who record for him, so...lend John your ear and attend to words, the pleasure they can provide, and what it means to be a writer. Given my personal literary taste, I find last June's Bloomsday podcast particularly useful as an intro to the masterpiece of the master of the masters. :-)


Books in the library at Trinity College in Dublin.
If any of you are interested in attending poetry in the area, there is a Facebook page that announces many events in the area: Voices of Poetry. These events are usually, at least in part, open readings, so you might enjoy the opportunity to step up to read your own work. That can be a good experience.

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