Behind the Hedge

artist, writer, scholar of Old English poetry . . . freelance everything. I just sort of do stuff . . .

Recent Blog Posts

De gustibus . . .
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De gustibus . . .
I sat in my “office” this afternoon. A couple strolled by with their young child on their way to the public pool down the avenue in the woods. Several hours later they strolled back, wet towels on shoulders, dripping hair plastered to foreheads, smiles on faces, strung out along the s...
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Thoughts on “A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes” by Madhur Anand
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I’ve been meaning for a few years now to write down some thoughts on Madhur Anand’s 2015 collection of lyric poems A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes.  Since I was a child reading Sagan and Shklovskii’s Intelligent Life in the Universe and therein discovering the poetry of ...
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Thoughts on Burns Night: Haggis, Scotch, and Authenticity
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  The cottage leaves the palace far behind – “Cotter’s Saturday Night”, l. 168 Every January 25th unknown numbers of people around the world, for largely unknown reasons, gather to celebrate something called “Burns Night”. Usually these celebrations involve the drinking of Scotch whisk...
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Witches. In a Church. On a Winter Evening.
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Wyrd oft nereð unfaégne eorl      þonne his ellen déah. — Beowulf There’s something magical about walking through an Edmonton winter evening snowfall to live theatre.  Strathcona theatre-goers are blessed to have available to them the walking part.  But all […]
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Thoughts Arising from an Endnote in Hofstadter’s Translation of Pushkin’s “Eugene Onegin”
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I love the writings of Douglas Hofstadter. For many, many years I’ve been inspired, influenced, and provoked to unexpectedly deep thought by those writings. On many subjects, not least translation and mourning, I feel his words are essential reading. After seeing Catalyst Theatre‘s presenta...
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Of Anglo-Saxon Drink and Old-Style Philology
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Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery . . . — Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach, ll. 15-18   Part One On the Taste and Strength of Anglo-Saxon Drink: A formal effort Much ink has been spilled on the Old English […]
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Edmonton is Sacrificing Accessibility and Inclusion . . . For What?
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On September 26, 2018 the City of Edmonton will be hosting yet another “Engagement Session” about “Neighbourhood Renewal” in Strathcona, where I live.  With the ongoing construction of the 83 Avenue Bike Lane, my little bit of the neighbourhood has had an advanced taste of...
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Guenevere: A Tragedy
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A long time ago, before Netflix or Google, almost before the Internet, when I was a young man, and people read books and used typewriters, I set myself an exercise. I was on the cusp between university and the real world, steeped in Classical and Medieval Literature, wanting to write something th...
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Idle Musings on Sir Richard Francis Burton and the Arab Slave Trade
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Here again the Demon of Slavery will reign over a solitude of his own creation. Can it be, that, by some inexplicable law, where Nature has done her best for the happiness of mankind, man, doomed to misery, must work out his own unhappiness? The Lake Regions of Central Africa, Volume I,  p. 85. I...
Published at Behind the Hedge