Although I have almost no time for reading at the moment, I’m still chipping away at four books: Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce; The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel, by Nikos Kazantzakis; Specimen Days & Collect, by Walt Whitman; and Spoon River Anthology, by Edgar Lee Masters.

I’m almost finished with Finnegans Wake — in fact, I have only about ten pages to go. As strange and challenging as the book is, I truly hate to see it end. During the six months I’ve spent bathing in its rich linguistic waters, reading Joyce has become a way of life.

Kazantzakis, meanwhile, is a powerful poet, ample evidence of which is also shown in his earthy-eloquent novel, Zorba the Greek.

Walt Whitman’s notes and observations are full of vivid detail, and some written during the Civil War are heartbreaking. Through it all, his faith in humanity remains unshaken, his attitude generous, his voice optimistic.

I am well along into Spoon River Anthology. It is literally a graveyard of images, the poems written as epitaphs delivered one by one by the dead in a small town cemetery. In this collection, Masters allows the dead to have the final say about their time on earth, and their messages usually contradict those engraved on their markers. In the process, the poet’s own vision and outlook are artfully revealed.

*   *   *

Our youngest son is playing his acoustic guitar. I marvel at his rapid development, and his ability to learn songs and pick new ones out of thin air. Most of all, I take delight in the way he plays: with spirit, imagination, generosity, compassion, and intelligence. In his hands, even the familiar songs of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie are given new life. He is true to the music, but he is expressing himself.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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