Friday, January 19, 2007


Poe's birthday

I heard on The Writer's Almanac this morning that today is Poe's birthday. Incidentally, Garrison Keillor noted that Poe despised Longfellow. I guess I can still love poetry by both of them. Keillor read Poe's "The Haunted Palace," and standing alone in the kitchen listening, I got chills. I'm blogging later than usual today because I've been working on a large painting and I think I'm finally done. Only a few customers in today because of the snowstorm, and I'm getting ready to bundle up and head out into the night, homeward. But first, from The Reader's Encyclopedia:

Nasby, Petroleum V. The pseudonym under which David Ross Locke published his humorous sketches. First created in 1861, the character of Nasby became immensely popular:

A type of the backwoods preacher, reformer, workingman, postmaster, and chronic office seeker, remarkable for his unswerving fidelity to the simple principles of personal and political selfishness. To him the luxuries of life are a place under the government, a glass of whiskey, a clean shirt and a dollar bill. No writer ever achieved popularity more quickly. The letters were published in all the Northern papers. ...and universally read by the Federal soldiers.
- Cambridge History of American Literature, Ch. xix

Newbery, John (1713-1767). English publisher of newspapers and children's books. Among the contributors to his newspapers were Goldsmith and Dr. Johnson. Goldsmith described him in The Vicar of Wakefield. The "Newbery Medal," established by Frederic Melcher, is awarded annually (since 1921) for the best children's book written by an American. (p.766)

Norumbega. Early map-makers' name for a region and its chief city vaguely situated on the east coast of North America. On the map of Hieronimus da Verrazano (1592) it reads Aranbega, and coincides more or less with Nova Scotia. It was sought in vain in the region of the Penobscot River by Champlain in 1604. Whittier wrote a poem Norumbega dealing with the search for this fabulous city. The word Norumbega is possibly of Indian origin. (p.781) (From my shop I can see both the Norumbega parkway and Norumbega Hall. A few blocks away, the wide Penobscot River flows by. Draw what conclusions you will about the city of Bangor, Maine.)

Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent's Narrow Room. A sonnet by William Wordsworth (1806), celebrating the strict limits and the discipline of the sonnet form in developing the style of a poet, (p.784)

A few longer entries worth chasing after, if one had the inclination, and a copy of this fine book: national anthem (very interesting stuff about who sings what and why) and The New Yorker. If the snow isn't bad tonight, I'm headed to a small library sale in the morning. If it is, I sleep in and open up the shop late. It's tough choosing between two of my favorite things, this time of year. (Books and sleep.)

I am really enjoying going back through older posts and reading the Readers Encylopedia inserts. I must
buy one of those myself. My website
for the old illustrated fairy book was not correct. I am hoping to go back to England this year to look up some distant cousins. I hope I have time to check out some old and rare
books shops.

I was up in Maine in 1995 but we only got as far as KIttery. Then we headed over to Vermont, and Champlain and up into Canada. I fell in love with New England and Birch trees. I hate Florida. We have had not winter at all this year.
Poe does top my list of favorite spooky writers. Happy Birthday to the great writer,
Drop into my blog for some unique birthday gift and party ideas.
Thanks sparroweye, the whole RE thing started on a whim, on a dark day in early January - it's a book I use constantly, and I've always wanted to read it through, so...

Kittery is the tiniest tip of Maine, but hey, better than never being here at all! Come back, sometime, and help reverse the disturbing trend of Mainers moving to Florida.

Hi Kate - I like Poe's poetry, but his tales are a bit grim, aren't they. Still, a master. Thanks for stopping in.
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