inessential by Brent Simmons


We've had such great weather. Until today.

If I were writing a book about Seattle weather, I might call it a A New Refutation of Daylight or A Critique of Warmth.

On the other hand it's cozy.


NY Times reviews The Strength of Poetry, Oxford lectures by James Fenton.

Fenton is skeptical of the ''handy teleologies'' of much recent criticism, in which poems are seen as the product of large historical forces rather than the personal idiosyncrasies of poets.


''There is no such thing as the artistic personality,'' Fenton says in his opening pages, ''not in poetry, not in the visual arts.'' His theme throughout the book is the way in which art is inseparable from personal uniqueness.

Sven Birkerts on Raymond Carver:

The ground, the cultural soil -- that element that our writers represent and from which they draw -- has been completely spaded up and turned since Carver's day. The writer who now picks up his pen -- or, as is more likely, turns on his laptop -- tunes in to a very different frequency. Understatement, once very nearly reflexive, sounds suddenly wrong. The held-back sentence looks almost funny on the page; there is a perceptible pressure to open out, annex, pull some of that overwhelming ambient complexity into the circuitry of the sentence.

Something about Birkerts' position doesn't seem right to me. Or maybe it's that I can't deal with the loss.

Either way, I don't believe, definitely not, that the anti-lyrical styles of Carver and Hemingway and so on are invalid even in the days of cell phones and the Internet.

I wish I could explain why, because Birkerts makes good points.


Have you ever heard of social spiders? I just learned about them only a week ago, and I've been scared ever since.

Most spiders are total loners, right? Not these guys -- hundreds or thousands of them will band together and form hugely giant webs and prey on creatures solitary spiders could never catch alone.


And, I can't help thinking -- what a great band name. Or domain name -- isn't taken. Hop to it.

Are webloggers social spiders?