Mark Holan and I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by reading our favorite Irish poetry aloud. Here’s are selections from what we read:
Easter 1916, by William Butler Yeats
I write it out in a verse —
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
Digging, by Seamus Heaney
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Whatever you say, say nothing, by Seamus Heaney
Smoke-signals are loud-mouthed compared with us:
Manoeuvrings to find out name and school,
Subtle discrimination by addresses
With hardly an exception to the rule
That Norman, Ken and Sidney signalled Prod
And Seamus (call me Sean) was sure-fire Pape.
O land of password, handgrip, wink and nod,
Of open minds as open as a trap
On the First Day of June, by Paul Durcan
I was walking behind Junior Daly’s coffin
Up a narrow winding terraced street
In Cork city in the rain on the first day of June
When my mobile phone went off in my pocket
And of course, a poem from himself:
The Deer’s Cry, by St. Patrick
I arise today, through the strength of Heaven:
light of Sun,
brilliance of Moon,
splendour of Fire,
speed of Lightning,
swiftness of Wind,
depth of Sea,
stability of Earth,
firmness of Rock.
I loved getting to know Teddy Roosevelt through Ken Burns’ documentary, The Roosevelts. His advice for staving off depression by staving off boredom was this: “Get action, be sane … .” Another great TR quote is chiseled on the monument I viewed today at Theodore Roosevelt Island: “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
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We woke up early and drove out to Shenandoah National Park today … and a good thing we left early, because the traffic into the park was fierce later. It was well worth the trip, it was a lovely day.
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We’ve been exploring Washington D.C., mostly by bike, ever since we moved here earlier this year. I like to snap photos of the monuments on my iPhone and post them to Instagram; it’s an amateur endeavor and totally fun. Here … Continue reading
In June, I attended the Global Fact-Checking Summit in London. About 50 fact-checkers from Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Australia attended. The conference was hosted by the Poynter Institute, organized by Duke University’s Bill Adair (PolitiFact’s founding editor), and funded by the Omidyar Network, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Ford Foundation, craigconnects, the Duke Reporters’ Lab and Full Fact.
The conference was fantastic, and seeing London for the first time was a real treat. Here are a few photos and comments from my trip. Click on the first photo to launch the gallery.
The Poynter Institute hosted the meeting in London, June 9-10, 2014.
This group photo was taken outside our meeting space at the London School of Economics.
I presented on best practices in fact-checking and how to use Twitter to fact-check live events.
Will Moy of U.K.’s Full Fact and Bill Adair of Duke University debate the use of ratings in fact-checking.
The London Eye at night! We had fantastic weather for the conference.
“Twelve Angry Men” was a London play I saw while I was there.
At Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, I saw “Antony and Cleopatra,” starring the phenomenal Eve Best.
Blue skies greeted me at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition.
At the British Library, I saw the Magna Carta, Shakespeare’s First Folio, Jane Austen’s writing desk, and a final draft of Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre.” Outside the library, this statue of Isaac Newton measures the universe.
Last weekend we made a charming visit to the Folger Shakespeare Library, just a stone’s throw from the U.S. Capitol. The library is renowned for having more than 70 First Folios of Shakespeare’s plays (and depending on how you count, as many as 82), including one on view under glass with a neat interactive display.
Founders Henry Clay Folger and his wife Emily Jordan Folger were obsessed with collecting the folios in the early 1900s, and today the library focuses its collection on all materials related to Shakespeare, as well as materials from 1450 to the early 1700s.
We signed up for a tour of the Reading Room, which includes the marvelous stained glass window depicting scenes from the “seven ages of man” speech in As You Like It:
All the world ’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His Acts being seven ages. …
See Morgan Freeman deliver the full speech here (3 minutes). My photo of the library window doesn’t really do it justice.
I was also fond of the statue of Puck; the base of the statue has an inscription from the character in A Midsummer-Night’s Dream, “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” Here’s its context from the play:
Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand,
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover’s fee.
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
Finally, I include this marvelous bust of the Bard himself. I know there’s raging debate over which likenesses of Shakespeare are historically accurate. This one, I think, captures his artistic spirit.
We’re going to Ireland again, so it’s time for another Irish reading list.
So what’s on my reading list? I don’t have all that much time, so it’s fairly short.
Modern Ireland: A Very Short Introduction. You won’t find anything here about the Celtic tiger or the financial crisis. By “modern,” they mean from about1800 to 1992, with a heavy emphasis on before 1922. Got that? Instead, this is mostly a history of how Ireland won its independence from Great Britain. If you’ve watched “Downton Abbey,” this is the kind of book that would give you great insight into the world of Tom Branson, the “very political” driver.
The Forgotten Waltz, by Anne Enright. This is a contemporary novel, the story of an affair. Enright won the Booker Prize for a novel about a family confronting the suicide of an adult son. Her writing is supposed to be fabulous.
Mothers and Sons, by Colm Toibin. This choice is much more difficult, I’ve been wanting to read something by Toibin for years. “The Master“— probably his best-known work — is a fictionalized portrait of the American novelist Henry James. Toibin’s novel “Brooklyn,” is about an Irish girl arriving in the States in the 1950s; it also got excellent reviews. His newest work is a set of essays called “New Ways to Kill your Mother,” in which he contemplates literature and family. But I will probably go with “Mothers and Sons” because it’s about (relatively) contemporary Ireland and also for a more mundane reason — I have it on my bookshelf.
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