A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift, The Officina Athelstane (2016)

Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) has a well deserved place as one of the greatest prose satirists of all time, if not the greatest. His A Modest Proposal, in which he advocates that Ireland’s dire economic situation be solved by the poor selling their children as food for the rich, is simply astonishing in its powerful irony. His matter of fact description of the starving poor, followed by his stating “A young healthy child … Continue reading A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift, The Officina Athelstane (2016)

Moon as Bright as Water, by Qin Guan, Chester River Press (2016)

Qin Guan (1049-1100) was a Chinese poet, most famous for his love poems written within the classical Chinese tradition in a lyric poetry style known as ci (also known as t’zu) which was particularly popular during the Song Dynasty. You can think of ci as essentially a song lyric, or “words for music” used in what would today be called cabaret songs. William McNaughton mentions in the introduction to this new … Continue reading Moon as Bright as Water, by Qin Guan, Chester River Press (2016)

The Little of our Earthly Trust, by Elizabeth Bishop, Arion Press (2016)

Elizabeth Bishop (1911 – 1979) has emerged as one of the great American poets of the twentieth century. She was Poet Laureate of the United States in 1949/1950, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1956, winner of the National Book Award in 1970, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1976. Yet, outside of literary circles she is not extremely well known.  The Poetry Foundation remarks that she “was a respected yet … Continue reading The Little of our Earthly Trust, by Elizabeth Bishop, Arion Press (2016)

The Snails, by Patricia Highsmith, Foolscap Press (2016)

Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995) was an American writer whose works have often been adapted for film, most notably by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951’s Strangers on a Train and her Tom Ripley novels, such as The Talented Mr. Ripley (made into a French-language film Plein soleil in 1960 and a Hollywood movie in 1999 with Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow). She also wrote a number of short stories, including The Snails, here reviewed in a new edition by Foolscap … Continue reading The Snails, by Patricia Highsmith, Foolscap Press (2016)

The Splendour of a Morning, by C.P. Cavafy, Barbarian Press (2016)

Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933) is generally considered to be the greatest Greek poet of modern times and one of the most influential poets of the previous century. Cavafy was born in 1863 in Alexandria, Egypt, and spent most of his life there, though he did live in England for much of his adolescence, “developing a command of the English language and a preference for the writings of Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde.” … Continue reading The Splendour of a Morning, by C.P. Cavafy, Barbarian Press (2016)

A Look at Film and Classic Literature

{Ed. Note: This is an article from guest contributor Robert D. Bailey.  Mr. Bailey has had a long and successful career in the film industry, mostly in visual effects (including matte photography for Blade Runner and matte camera for Dances with Wolves, though also as a director, producer, writer and editor.} Film and literature have had a long and often contentious relationship. Many classic films … Continue reading A Look at Film and Classic Literature

It’s the 2016 Holidays — Support the Private and Fine Press Eco-System!

{Ed. Note: This is an annual article encouraging all Books and Vines readers to keep private and fine press publishers and re-sellers in mind this holiday season as your source for unique, classy and meaningful gifts. The article has been updated with current information and the latest news from private and fine press publishers, while I sheepishly admit lifting the introduction from the holiday article of last year. … Continue reading It’s the 2016 Holidays — Support the Private and Fine Press Eco-System!