Sunday, June 13, 2004

These past two weeks have been rather crazy but I have managed to do some interesting reading. The new Teilhard de Chardin is working out well. I have reached Part 2 and I have just finished reading about 'pre-life'. It is rather fascinating to read about the existence of particles with the psychic potential for life that covered the earth like a blanket before life began. I am not sure what evidence Teilhard has to suggest this but I think he might be referring to the time on earth before the start of photosynthesis when there was no oxygen. The new translation helps to illuminate the mind processes of Teilhard. Whereas before his writings were simply a procession of paragraphs, this leads on to this ... to this ... now you get a sense of the whole situation.

On Friday I went to a reading by Ian McDonald. He has just released a science fiction / crime novel about India in 2047. I normally have a problem with science fiction the jargon bores me and I find the science ridiculous but this book seems different. The situation isn't too far in the future so you can take a lot of what India is like today and just add the facts that robots are taking over mundane jobs, that robots are turning bad and starting to attack humans because they have cut costs and been treated very badly. I will try with this one, we'll see ...

I just happened to be skipping through my Portable Sixties anthology and I found some poetry by Michael McLure. He invented his own kind of crazy 'beast language' a bit like sound poetry where he roars and make noises like animals. It must have sounded fantastic. Apparently his first reading was at the zoo in front of the lions. McLure mentions that he was influenced by Anacreon - a Greek poet I haven't heard of.

I was fascinated to read that Anacreon was a Greek poet known as the 'poet of joy'. He wrote poems about love, joy and alcohol. In the 1800s there was a famous drinking son 'To Anacreon in heaven' it had a rather catchy tune and when Francis Scott Key was writing 'The Start Spangled Banner' soon to become the American anthem he used the tune - from an English drinking song!