March 25th, 2009


"a world apart"

I'm sorry for being so quiet of late. I've been dealing with some health issues that affect my vision, doing the whole hospital test thing, and that's slowed me down considerably. I'll do my best not to be absent long, but I'm not yet on the mend, so I apologize in advance if I'm slow at catching up with everyone.

That said, I had a wonderful time giving my keynote address ("Pushing the Boundaries of English Studies: From Middle-earth to Hogwarts") at the English Studies Symposium this past Saturday, and I'd like to thank everyone at Tennessee Tech University for their terrific hospitality!

In addition, I'd like to wish a happy early birthday to bellatook and thepirateship. I hope you both have fantastic days and fabulous years to come!

I also have some links to share:

Re: Audio

* has added a new unabridged reading of the remarkable The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson, a classic work of weird fiction and a significant influence on H.P. Lovecraft.

* I am a great fan of the music put out by the Prikosnovenie label. Now Prikosnovenie has a sampler called "The Four Winds of Prikosnovenie" for free download here featuring artists such as Artesia and Aythis, among others. Give it a listen!

Re: Reading

* The list of finalists for this year's Hugo Awards includes links to many of the works available online.

* Among the finalists for this year's Bram Stoker Awards is the short story "Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment" by M. Rickert, which I narrated for StarShipSofa here.

* The finalists for this year's Prometheus Awards from the Libertarian Futurist Society have been announced.

* And, in non-awards news, Abebooks has a nifty list of post-apocalyptic fiction here.

"You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care.
As the peach-blossom flows down stream and is gone into the unknown,
I have a world apart that is not among men."
- Li Bai
LOTR/Road Goes Ever

Happy Tolkien Reading Day!

Happy Tolkien Reading Day!

In honor of this day, I offer my reading of one of my favorite poems by Tolkien, "The Sea-Bell" (also known as "Frodo's Dreme") from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. W.H. Auden, a contemporary of Tolkien's and a great poet in his own right, said that this was Tolkien's best poem, and I certainly understand why. Download the reading here.

Here is "The Sea-Bell (Frodo's Dreme)." I find the final stanza to be especially haunting.

"The Sea-Bell (Frodo's Dreme)"
by J.R.R. Tolkien

I walked by the sea, and there came to me,
as a star-beam on the wet sand,
a white shell like a sea-bell;
trembling it lay in my wet hand.
In my fingers shaken I heard waken
a ding within, by a harbour bar
a buoy swinging, a call ringing
over endless seas, faint now and far.

Then I saw a boat silently float
On the night-tide, empty and grey.
‘It is later than late! Why do we wait?'
I lept in and cried: ‘Bear me away!'

It bore me away, wetted with spray,
wrapped in a mist, wound in a sleep,
to a forgotten strand in a strange land.
In the twilight beyond the deep
I heard a sea-bell swing in the swell,
dinging, dinging, and the breakers roar
on the hidden teeth of a perilous reef;
and at last I came to a long shore.
White it glimmered, and the sea simmered
with star-mirrors in a silver net;
cliffs of stone pale as ruel-bone
in the moon-foam were gleaming wet.
Glittering sand slid through my hand,
Dust of pearl and jewel-grist,
Trumpets of opal, roses of coral,
Flutes of green and amethyst.
But under cliff-eaves there were glooming caves,
weed-curtained, dark and grey'
a cold air stirred in my hair,
and the light waned, as I hurried away.

Collapse )