Check out the animated show Bat out of Hell on YouTube!

Oser the Proser

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If the rumors gritting the air ever settle down into hard ash on the ground and the next Korrektiv Summit is truly in the offing, I wonder if we shouldn’t all read and chew on as a group the Catholic novelist no one is reading right now…

And, in case you missed it the first time around… he’s a Wiseblood Author!

New from Angelico Press

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Friend of Korrektiv Joshua Hren’s book of short stories, This Our Exile, has just been issued by Angelico Press. Also available at Amazon and better bookstores everywhere!

And not only that, but his book on Tolkien, Middle-earth and the Return of the Common Good: J.R.R. Tolkien and Political Philosophy, will be published through Cascade Books.

Congratulations, Joshua!

Is Pope Francis a Heretic?

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Hey, I’m just asking a question. Kidding! Actually, it’s Marist priest Fr. James L. Heft, head of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California, who is asking — and presumably answering — that question as part of the Institute’s Condon Lecture series. Friends of Korrektiv will no doubt recall the mini-Summit – JOB, Angelico, yours truly — held at the Institute’s conference on the Future of the Catholic Literary Imagination a couple of years back, when Wiseblood’s Joshua “Feather Pen” Hren stood up in the middle of Tobias Wolff’s talk and said, “Me. I’m the future of the Catholic literary imagination.” Notice was, as they say, served.*

Anyway, I’m guessing Fr. Heft’s answer is going to be firmly in the negative, but I did thrill to see the word “heretic” in such a rarefied setting.

Elsewhere

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Korrektiv is gearing up for a great and productive 2018. (It’s good to let publishing start-ups lie fallow every few years, planting only word-fixing crops like JOB’s poetry to replenish the creative urge.) In the meantime, Friend of Korrektiv and Wiseblood wizard Joshua “Word Bird” Hren has a new poem up over at First Things. Read it, and then raise your hand if you had to look up “numinous” to make sure you had it right. Now raise your hand if you had to look up “logikēn latreian.” Søren says, Raise your hand.

Can you spot the Catholic sensibility in James Joyce?

Sure you can. You just need to cover one eye and squint really hard with the other! OR, you can head on over to Wiseblood Books (Korrektiv’s sober, productive, vastly more successful younger brother) and order up a copy of James Joyce’s Catholic Categories by Fr. Colum Power.

Print

Just $25! And if the literary heavyweights on the team (looking at you, JOB and Jobe) can manage to step away from the comic book rack at the local Kwik Stop for a few minutes, we might even post a review. In the meantime, after the jump, we have a KORREKTIV EXKLUSIVE sneak peek at…the table of contents!

[Read more…]

Wiseblood report: late to post about Late to Love by Sam Rocha

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On August 28, 2014, Wiseblood Records released our inaugural collection of music, Late to Love, by Sam Rocha. Late to Love is musically inspired by the genealogy of soul music that scans the genres of spirituals, folk, gospel, country, R&B, blues, funk, jazz, hip-hop, neo-soul and nu-jazz. T-Bone Walker, Ray Charles, Gil Scott Heron, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, and Curtis Mayfield—with dashes of Willie Nelson and Pat Metheny—are the old foundation for something entirely new: Augustinian soul music.

Late to Love is an original concept album that performs a reading of Augustine’s Confessions through soul music. It is not a generic ode to a saint or holy person, nor it is a neutral and uncontroversial celebration of an important ancient book. From beginning to end Rocha offers a bold and fresh reading of Augustine’s Confessions where the form is the content, where melody and verse take the place of assertions and argument.

You can order up a copy here. I bought mine, and will post again after I’ve worked the envy out of my ears and given it a good listen or two. In the meantime, ol’ Cosmos the in Lost is mighty pleased. And you can give it a preview whirl here.

Master of Wednesday Night

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Over at Wiseblood they’re bringing out yet another book this month, The Master of Wednesday Night by F J Rocca. Here’s the description:

In the tradition of Henry James, Master of Wednesday Night is the story of Eduard Vitolt-Bartholdy, an intransigent old-school European musician, devoted to his art, and Jeffreys Barthel, a brash, young, American pragmatist with a talent for self-promotion. Will youth triumph over wisdom, profession over art, money over music, so-called realpolitik over authentic genius? In probing this question, Master of Wednesday Night moves from the immediate conflict between innocence and experience back through the tragic history of Europe during the first half of the 20th Century. The young Barthel is forced to interrogate his own “success” in light of this moving meditation on the Maestro’s long life, narrated by Viktor Kaminsky, the valet who has known it all.

From excerpts (available here), it sounds to me like Vitolt-Bartholdy is my kind of conductor. Lots of Kodály and Lutoslawski, I’m sure!

aka Gerasene Northwest, aka Gerasene Guemes

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It’s on.

Potato Salad — Kickstarter

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/324283889/potato-salad

Surfing with Mel (the movie) will be Lickona’s potato salad.

Believe.

RIP OED

http://booksandpublishing.com/the-latest-news/rip-for-oed-as-worlds-finest-dictionary-goes-out-of-print

Webb has a set. Scholars will be knocking at his door when the (other) Web unravels.

Wise Blood Books Throws a Rock in the Pond

The Catholic Writer Today

Dana Gioia’s The Catholic Writer Today sets a mighty finger on the scales of literature: on the one side what matters and lasts, and on the other what’s shallow and doesn’t. This electrifying essay is a guide to the perplexed. Its arguments about Catholic literature could be applied to American writing in general. Without the complications of tradition and history—the history of meaning—what’s left?

– Cynthia Ozick

Raskolnikov – Part 1: Chapter 1, Stanzas 14-19

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One chapter down; forty to go! Today’s post concludes Part 1, Chapter 1 of my attempt to rewrite Crime and Punishment as a verse novel à la Eugene Onegin.

Click here and scroll down to review the story to date.

Thanks to all who have read along so far. As always, your comments — including, but not limited to, negative comments — would be very welcome.

Is the story bogging down at any point? Is the action or setting ever confusing? Are there any trite rhymes? Any syntactic absurdities, prosodic infelicities, or lapses of characterization?

And is there anything that ‘works’ especially well?

1.1.14
He scans the space: a table (smallish),
A sofa (tall), and chairs (a few) —
All cheap and old, yet bright with polish,
Immaculate; the floor gleams, too.
(‘Lizavéta’s work’, he thinks; ‘that’s certain.’)
Here hangs a small icon… A curtain
Hangs there, in lieu of bedroom doors;
Beyond it stands a chest of drawers,
He knows — though he has yet to enter
The shadow of that shrouded cell….
… His hostess pipes up sternly: ‘Well?’
‘I’d like to pawn…’ he says; presents her
A pocket watch (worn silver-plate).
‘Good sir, your payment’s two days late:

1.1.15
‘Your other pledge is past redemption.’
‘I know, Alyóna, ma’am — my ring….
Please give me just a month’s extension.’
‘I’ll do as I please with that thing.’
‘Well…. How much for this watch? It’s silver.’
‘Not even worth the work to pilfer
A piece of trash like that, my friend.’
‘It was my father’s…. If you’ll lend
Four roubles, ma’am, I will redeem it.’
‘I see. Before, I was too nice —
I lent you more than that ring’s price.
As for this watch, now, take or leave it:
A rouble and a half.’ ‘You might —
One and a half, good sir.’ ‘…….. All right.’

1.1.16
She takes her keys out of her pocket;
She takes his watch behind the shroud.
He strains his ears; hears her unlock it —
The top drawer, scraping high and loud….
While he had been discreetly peering
At her (right pocket’s) steely keyring,
One key’d looked larger than the rest:
(‘Not for a drawer…. A trunk? A chest?
… But this is all so nauseating!’)
‘You owe me thirty-five, all told.’
(She’s back!) ‘Here’s one-fifteen; I’ll hold
The watch.’ He stands there, hesitating —
Then speaks: ‘In one more day… or two
… I might… have another pledge… for you…

1.1.17
‘… A cigarette case… silver… fancy!’
‘All right. We’ll talk about it then.
Good night.’ ‘Your sister! Any chance she
Might sort of… sometimes… wander in?’
‘What do you want with Lizaveta?’
‘Oh, nothing, ma’am.’ ‘You want to meet her?’
‘No no, madame, I just… Good-bye.’
He turns, and goes — and starts to cry:
‘Oh God! Can I –? Can I imagine?
How could –? Is my mind capable –?
My heart, so hateful? Horrible!
A month! A month, bent to this passion –!’
His self-disgust is oceans wide….
He sinks, and chokes — and steps outside.

1.1.18
The evening sun continues bleeding
Its dying light upon the host
Of Petersburg, while, all unheeding,
Our Rodya passes like a ghost
Among them, heart and mind encumbered:
He reels, colliding like a drunkard
Along the boulevard, until
His feet and thoughts at last are still:
Up from a dingy basement tavern,
Two tipsy, cursing men emerge;
Raskolnikov now has the urge
To go spelunk that urban cavern.
A sticky table; frosty beer;
A gulp. His thoughts begin to clear!

1.1.19
‘No need to worry any longer,’
He says — and smiles! — with rising cheer.
‘A simple side-effect of hunger;
Just takes a little bread and beer!’
Smiles all around! Lighthearted, hearty,
He beams at one departing party
(Four men; a girl; accordion),
Grins at a fat Siberian.
Above the pale cucumber salads,
Black bread, and kippers past their peak
— Which emanate an evil reek —
Drone mediocre drinking ballads.
An ex-official sits aloof —
Alone, but for his eighty-proof.

“The Celebrity for Believers” – interview over at Dappled Things

surfing-with-mel-cover-upright Over at Dappled Things, Bernardo Aparicio has an interview with Old Man Lickona in support of Labora Editions’ very fine hardbound edition of Surfing with Mel.

Walker Percy eBooks Cyber Monday Special

$2.99 apiece!

Open Road Media

Also: Sherman Alexie, Michael Chabon, Andre Dubus, Ron Hansen, Erica Jong, Barry Lopez, Dorothy Sayers, Muriel Spark, William Styron, and Alice Walker.

Fill up that eReader! And then go read this.

Happy Labora Day!

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Big news. Labora Editions is going to do a print run of my very recent historical fiction Surfing with Mel. Naturally, I’d be thrilled about any kind of print run, but Labora Editions isn’t just any kind of publisher.

Not too terribly long ago books were works of craft, at least, often works of art. So it shall be again, I believe. I call Labora Editions a publishing studio, rather than a company, because I alone constitute the whole operation at present, but also because the quality to which I aspire is of a kind more native to art than to commerce.

Release date is October 1. Please spread the word. And keep checking Labora Editions for production photos!

Don’t Forget ‘Obdurate, Dipsomaniacal, Seedily Satyriastic Bad Catholic’

Concrete Poetry on Jay Street

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…in downtown La Crosse.

A Jew, a WASP, and a Catholic walk into the publishing business…

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Jonathan Galassi comments on Farrar Straus & Giroux:

It all began in 1945, when Roger W. Straus Jr., a brash young New Yorker fresh out of the Navy, decided to apply his talent for public relations to starting a publishing house. Straus was the black sheep in a powerful “Our Crowd” family with a burning desire to make good on his own. Roger was no littérateur, but he loved the glamour and excitement of books. He was destined to be the last of a string of Jewish “gentleman” publishers, including Horace Liveright, Alfred Knopf, Bennett Cerf, and Donald Klopfer, who broke into a Wasp-controlled business and ended up dominating it.

An aristocrat with powerful connections (his uncle Harry Frank Guggenheim was the publisher of Newsday; Peggy Guggenheim was a cousin), Roger was a rank newcomer to publishing and knew he needed an editor with a name to give him credibility. So he asked John Farrar, recently cashiered from the Wasp house of Farrar & Rinehart, to come in with him. But it was the arrival of Robert ­Giroux that made Farrar, Straus & ­Giroux, as it came to be called, into a significant player in the business.

So, so tickled that I got to pay a visit to those offices once. Also the offices of the Wylie agency, which is mentioned in the piece. Both on the same day! All it cost me was a couple of bottles of really good Petite Sirah and all my literary hopes and dreams. But that last part came later.