Monday, March 12, 2007


Bookish tidbit of the day

Another little bit from my home library: fittingly, Cobwebs from a Library Corner, verses bookish and otherwise by John Kendrick Bangs (Harper, New York 1899). Slate blue cloth with silver lettering on the spine and both covers (front and back the same). Measures just over six by three inches - pleasingly tall and slim. Poems from the bookish section include: Bookworm Ballads, Ideas for Sale, The Bibliophile's Threat, My Treasures, My Lord the Book, The Bibliomiser, and Books vs. "Books," by a Bibliomaniac. The nonbookish section contains rather dreadful stuff such as To a Withered Rose, The Curse of Wealth, Ode to a Politician, and the like. Here's a stanza from The Edition de Looks (p.37):

...But tomes that travel on their "looks" indeed
Are only good for those who do not read;

And, like most people clad in garments grand,
Seem rather heavy for the average hand.

The poem pokes gentle fun at those dealers and collectors who love editions de luxe. Well, this little book isn't heavy at all, that's part of its charm - truly pocket-sized, smaller than an old Penguin paperback. Some of the poems aren't bad, but overall, there are far too many uses of the following: o'er, 'gainst, thy, alas!, lo, a'looking, ne'er, 'tis, e'en, and many other bits of High Poetic Language that tire me out and make me picture the poet sitting at his desk scanning syllables and tossing out perfectly good consonants because his iambs don't come out the way he'd hoped. Despite all that, here's another good bit, in its entirety - and what book lover hasn't had the following thought, I ask you - "The Bibliophile's Threat" (p.19):

If some one does not speedily indite
A volume that is worthy of my shelf,
I'll have to buy materials and write
A novel and some poetry myself.

oh wow
a john kendrick bangs i don't have!
and must get!
thanks for pointing it out.
Always glad to be of service...
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