Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Poetry, Civil War, Whitman, Lincoln, etc.

I read a reference to a Top Ten list of the 10 Greatest Poets, so curiosity compelled me to take a look at it.

List of The 10 Greatest Poets --
(In the opinion of Dean Rader)

Dean Rader is a Professor of English at the University of San Francisco. He has published widely in the fields of poetry, American Indian studies, and popular culture. His debut collection of poems, Works & Days, won the 2010 T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize, judged by Claudia Keelan and was published in September. In addition, he's the recipient of both the Sow's Ear Poetry Prize and the Crab Creek Poetry Prize.

I have, of course, heard of the poets on Mr. Rader's list... many, many times, but I have never before heard of Dean Rader. And I don't agree with his list. Not at all. And I don't think I'm the only one. The first comment following his article was: "God, this list is embarrassing."

It was Walt Whitman, celebrated poet and ardent admirer of Abraham Lincoln, who said:

"I would be much pleased to see some heroic, shrewd, fully-informed, healthy-bodied, middle-aged, beard-faced American blacksmith or boatman come down from the West across the Alleghanies, and walk into the Presidency, dressed in a clean suit of working attire, and with the tan all over his face, breast, and arms; I would certainly vote for that sort of man, possessing the due requirements, before any other candidate."

I'm pretty sure that Abe Lincoln fit that description.

Abraham Lincoln. Gore Vidal wrote a book, a novel, titled: Lincoln. I am reading it now, a chapter or so each night before I turn off the light and fall asleep.

Although I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a scholar or a (an?) historian, nor even a mild Civil War buff... I have been interested in reading about Abraham Lincoln for most of my life.

1861 is a new book written by Adam Goodheart and is scheduled for release by Amazon.com in April.

A Novel by Adam Goodheart

Adam Goodheart is a historian, journalist, and travel writer. His articles have appeared in National Geographic, Outside, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine, among others, and he is a regular columnist for The New York Times’s acclaimed Civil War blog, Disunion. He lives in Washington, D.C., and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he is the Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of Washington College’s C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

Adam Goodheart

Tony Horwitz said, "1861 is the best book I have ever read on the start of the Civil War. Sumter, secession, and Lincoln appear in a wonderfully fresh and illuminating light, supported by a cast of extraordinary players that few Americans know about. Penetrating, eloquent, and deeply moving, this is a classic introduction to the nation’s greatest conflict."

Yes, if all goes well I will be buying (or borrowing) this book in the near future.


I listened online yesterday to Ben Zimmer when he was a guest on NPR's Patt Morrison Show (KPCC in Southern California) -- Ben Zimmer is the man who took over for the late William Safire at the New York Times Magazine column On Language. Sadly, that column has now been discontinued. I recorded the interview with my little portable Sony recorder, so I can save it for later, for re-listening.

Space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to return to Earth for the final time on Wednesday, March 9, completing a 13-day mission to outfit the International Space Station. If Discovery lands Wednesday, it will have spent a total of 365 days in space and traveled more than 148 million miles during 39 flights. It launched on its first mission on Aug. 30, 1984.

The future is begun . . .


1. One who believes people are motivated by self-interest only.
2. A person with a negative outlook, one disposed to find fault.

Without a doubt, I am a cynic . . .


"Let us remember that the automatic machine is the precise economic equivalent of slave labor. Any labor which competes with slave labor must accept the economic consequences of slave labor."
--Norbert Weiner

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