What Seamus Heaney Taught Me by Christopher Benfey | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books
For help with the “other part,” the un-teachable part, he recommended a book called something like The Poet’s Work, but the only time I heard him refer to it was to summon Lorca’s notion of duende, a mysterious dark fire of inspiration, a demonic rage, which, as I remember, Lorca associated with bullfighting and flamenco. When Seamus heard that I was working on Emily Dickinson he said, “Well, she had duende, didn’t she?”
1:03 am • 5 September 2013
Seamus Heaney 1939-2013 « LRB blog
[…] Two years ago Andrew O’Hagan wrote about travelling through England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales with Heaney and Karl Miller:
Karl always imagines, in the Edinburgh style, that a beer means a half pint, but Seamus is a proper drinker and you see pints when he’s around. We took our drinks into the garden at the front and I showed Seamus a gap in the trees and the beauty of Ailsa Craig, the rock that stands between Ireland and Scotland. ‘When Keats walked this coast he felt it followed him,’ I said. But our plans involved Robert Burns. Karl, since he first began publishing Seamus in the New Statesman in the 1960s, always felt there was a clear affinity between Burns and Heaney. They were both the sons of farmers and they both allowed nature to oxygenate the mind and inflect the morals. Seamus was keeping his counsel on that, but he’d always loved Burns too, and appreciated the way the Ayrshire poet had brought the force of country wisdom to the modern mind. Burns’s ‘birl and rhythm’, as Seamus put it in a poem to the ploughman, ‘was in my ear’ from the start.
12:26 am • 5 September 2013
That closing line from Fonda—exquisite.
4:37 am • 3 September 2013
$1.7 billion Utah Data Center: NSA's largest storage center in US - $1.7 billion Utah Data Center: NSA's largest storage center in US | The Economic Times
The new billion-dollar epicenter for fighting global cyberthreats sits just south of Salt Lake City, tucked away on a militia base at the foot of snow-capped mountains.
The long, squat buildings are filled with super-powered computers designed to store massive amounts of information gathered secretly from phone calls and emails.
1:54 am • 3 September 2013
Listening in: Though the National Security Agency can't target Americans, it can -- and does -- listen to everyone from senators to lovers - Baltimore Sun
"We listened to all the calls in and out of Washington," says one former NSA linguist, recalling a class at the Warrenton Training Center, a CIA communications school on a Virginia hilltop. "We’d listen to senators, representatives, government agencies, housewives talking to their lovers."
As the students prepared for overseas assignments in the mid-1980s class, the linguist recalls, they tuned their receivers to a nearby AT&T microwave tower, scanning for calls and punching in phone numbers.
Is NSA Big Brother? Absolutely not, its officials say. In public appearances, NSA Director John M. “Mike” McConnell declares flatly that the agency “does not spy on Americans.”
But as the little-known legal loophole for training intelligence agents suggests, the story of NSA and the privacy of Americans is not quite so simple.
True, NSA’s mission is to spy on foreigners. And employees attest to a law-abiding culture in recent years that strongly discourages illegal excursions into domestic eavesdropping.
But in its first two decades, NSA routinely scanned every telegram entering or leaving this country and targeted the communications of anti-Vietnam War and civil rights activists, accumulating files on 75,000 Americans.
2:49 am • 31 August 2013
Spy Kids - By Charles Stross | Foreign Policy
Generation Z will arrive brutalized and atomized by three generations of diminished expectations and dog-eat-dog economic liberalism. Most of them will be so deracinated that they identify with their peers and the global Internet culture more than their great-grandparents’ post-Westphalian nation-state. The machineries of the security state may well find them unemployable, their values too alien to assimilate into a model still rooted in the early 20th century. But if you turn the Internet into a panopticon prison and put everyone inside it, where else are you going to be able to recruit the jailers? And how do you ensure their loyalty?
11:13 pm • 30 August 2013
Teaser for Errol Morris' THE UNKNOWN KNOWN Showcases Obsession And Nuance | Twitch
A sort of follow up to Morris’ Fog Of War - the Oscar winning documentary on Robert McNamara, another US Secretary of State - and appearing as slickly edited and scored as always, the trailer establishes the setting of the two Gulf Wars and Saddam Hussein’s position of power, before highlighting the twin constants of Morris’ filmmaking: obsession and nuance. Rumsfeld actually calls the filmmaker out on a possible obsession with capturing Rumsfeld’s obsession, while also declaring, “I’m cool and measured.”
The Fog of War is a brilliant piece of work and I’m eager to see this new film.
11:10 pm • 30 August 2013
Seamus Heaney: The Tollund Man @ The Internet Poetry Archive
In the flat country near by
Where they dug him out,
His last gruel of winter seeds
Caked in his stomach,
Naked except for
The cap, noose and girdle,
I will stand a long time.
Bridegroom to the goddess,
10:05 pm • 30 August 2013
Act of Union by Seamus Heaney
To-night, a first movement, a pulse,
As if the rain in bogland gathered head
To slip and flood: a bog-burst,
A gash breaking open the ferny bed.
Your back is a firm line of eastern coast
And arms and legs are thrown
Beyond your gradual hills. I caress
The heaving province where our past has grown.
I am the tall kingdom over your shoulder
That you would neither cajole nor ignore.
Conquest is a lie. I grow older
Conceding your half-independant shore
Within whose borders now my legacy
And I am still imperially
Male, leaving you with pain,
The rending process in the colony,
The battering ram, the boom burst from within.
The act sprouted an obsinate fifth column
Whose stance is growing unilateral.
His heart beneath your heart is a wardrum
Mustering force. His parasitical
And ignmorant little fists already
Beat at your borders and I know they’re cocked
At me across the water. No treaty
I foresee will salve completely your tracked
And stretchmarked body, the big pain
That leaves you raw, like opened ground, again
10:04 pm • 30 August 2013
BBC News - Poet Seamus Heaney dies aged 74
Seamus Heaney, acclaimed by many as the best Irish poet since WB Yeats, has died aged 74.
Such a great poet. I remember reading his poems about the “bog men”—it was around the time I was applying to university, I think—and being totally entranced by the imagery.
9:58 pm • 30 August 2013
Syria crisis: David Cameron still wants 'robust response' to chemical weapons | Politics | theguardian.com
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he acknowledged it could place a strain on the “special relationship” between Britain and the US. “I think there will be a national soul-searching about our role in the world and whether Britain wants to play a big part in upholding the international system, be that a big open and trading nation that I’d like us to be or whether we turn our back on that,” he said.
"I understand the deep scepticism that my colleagues in parliament and many members of the public have about British involvement in Syria. I hope this doesn’t become the moment where we turn our back on the world’s problems," he added.
A turning point, indeed.
9:42 pm • 30 August 2013