Friday, February 18, 2011

blog-hop (The Ration Card)

Welcome to this week's Literary Blog Hop as usual  hosted by the ladies from The Blue Bookcase!. The question for this hop has been set by  Mel u from, The Reading Life -
Not long ago I read and posted on The Harp of Burma by Michio Takeyama, 1966. It is one of the very best novels about WWII, written from the point of view of a Japanese Buddhist who was drafted as a combat soldier. He had no idea how long he would be gone or if he would really ever return. He had room in his backpack for one book, so he took The Red and the Black by Stendhal. He carried it through the jungles of South Asia for 4 years. He said it helped keep him sane in the face of all the horrors he saw. This made me wonder what work of literary fiction I would take with me under similar circumstances."
If you were going off to war (or some other similarly horrific situation) and could only take one book with you, which literary book would you take and why?
Like most of my fellow bloggers, I’ve perceived this as like an extreme example of desert island discs, a kind of a wartime wish list reduced to the bare basic minimum & rationed.
So if my ration card states only one book it’s -The Rattle Bag, an anthology of poetry edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes. In the introduction, this book was described as “amassing itself like a Cairn” ( a man-made pile of stones) and a Cairn has many uses, for example
heaney_rattle-bagUsed on Trails, usually placed on junctions or places where the trail direction is not obvious.
They may mark a burial site, and may memorialize the dead.
They may mark the summit of a mountain.
Placed at regular intervals, they indicate a path across stony or barren terrain or across glaciers.
The Inuit erect human-shaped cairns, or inunnguaq as milestones or directional markers in the Canadian Arctic.
In North America, cairns may be used for astronomy.
In Norse Greenland, cairns were used as a hunting implement.
In the Canadian Maritimes cairns were used as lighthouse-like holders for fires that guided boats.
In North America, cairns are often petroforms in the shapes of turtles or other animals.
In the United Kingdom, they are often large Bronze Age structures which frequently contain burial cists.
They may have a strong aesthetic purpose, for example in the art of Andy Goldsworthy.
They may be used to commemorate events: anything from a battle site, to the place where a cart tipped over.
Some are merely places where farmers have collected stones removed from a field. These can be seen in the Catskill Mountains, North America where there is a strong Scottish heritage.
They vary from loose, small piles of stones to elaborate feats of engineering. In some places, games are regularly held to find out who can build the most beautiful cairn.
In other words this book of poetry covering writers such as -  Shakespeare,Dickinson, Plath,Blake,Holub,Eliot,Thomas,Byron,Ferlinghetti,Tennyson,Smith,Plutzik,Hardy,Larkin,Johnson,Frost,Zabolotsky,Yeats,Neruda,Ginsberg,Whitman,Joyce,Bishop,Owen,Vallejo, and even that most famous of all poets Anon -  will let me know others have been through this experience, will nourish my heart, will sustain my intellect, will make me laugh, will release tears pent up by my own pride and need to prove myself strong. This anthology is made up of Cairns each one signposting an experience,a feeling, a memory, all amounting to a large Cairn – Hope.

The Rattle Bag (earlier Post)


Mel u said...

A large collection of poetry from a diverse range of authors is a really good choice as you would want different works as your mood and needs change-thanks for responding to my question

Amy said...

Wow, thanks for talking about this--I hadn't heard of it, although I'm a fan of Hughes and Heaney. Must check it out!

Em said...

My initial thought was actually an anthology of poetry as I thought you can read poems over and over. But poetry is not my forte. Then I thought about a short story anthology, but didn't think it would be satisfying enough in a horrific situation.

This anthology seems quite varied.
By the way, will you be giving Heaney's poetry on the 5th?

Gerry/Strummed Words said...

A good anthology of poetry would be my choice too. Poetry you can read over and over again.

Laurie said...

Yes, this anthology looks outstanding. Hughes and Heaney as co-editors...I'm attempting to envision them sparring over selections.
Two modern titans, and the pickings look strong as well. Thanks for offering it up.
I'm off to to see if I can scurry up a copy to put by in case of upheaval.

@parridhlantern said...

Hi mel U, thanks for a fantastic question, this particular book has such a range of writers (about 140, over 475 + pages) that you're never going to get bored.

Hi amy please check it out, if you like variety in your verse, this is the book for you.

hello Em, it's a shame it's not your thing, but if you went for one book , this would be ideal, as for varity, check my cooment to mel U, to see how varied this is.
No didn't get heaney in the end, but will have 48 copies of Cloud atlas for distribution that day.

Hi Gerry, am in agreement with you totally, this is a book i come back to time & time again, probably helps that it's compiled by to poets i admire.

@parridhlantern said...

Hello laurie, couldn't find it it on, amazon(UK) had it for as little as a penny, so if you can avoid any flak etc. you might be able to snap up a copy.

Bellezza said...

You always bring a new book to my attention.

At first, I was going to say I'd bring the Bible. Then, I saw that it must be a work of fiction; as I don't consider that fiction (although it does use the power of story very effectively) I'm wondering what I would bring...perhaps my as yet unread colletion of stories by Raymond Carver? But, I would like a novel in which to immerse myself...something I've read already which is tried and true? Obviously, I can't answer this yet. But, you and Mel have the wheels turning in my mind.

@parridhlantern said...

@Bellezza: Ciao Bellezza, have a copy of some his poetry "In a Marine Light" that I enjoy. Will be waiting to see what your choice will be.

bibliophiliac said...

If we should happen to meet in the combat zone, let's exchange books for a while. I'll have to look for this anthology from two poets I respect. Great choice.

Em said...

Actually, I do read a bit of poetry, I even teach poetry, but I find that I often don't have the patience for it or it could be that I don't have enough time for it at the moment. It's not as if there aren't any books of poetry in my house, I have many. I even bought collections rather than anthologies the one year in college I enjoyed studying poetry. So all is not lost, I'll get there!

Cloud Atlas? Even better! I have never read it but I am not a big fan of Heaney. I much prefer Derek Mahon, for instance. I'm delighted you got chosen!

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

I admire your response and think it's a good one. Poetry is *so* not my thing and I frequently feel inferior about that, but eh, what can you do? Though I stand by my original answer of Lord of the Rings, I like your idea of taking an anthology. For me, maybe the honkin' big Norton Anthology of English Literature would be good!

James said...

Like several others I am not familiar with this anthology, but it certainly sounds like a great collection and an excellent companion no matter what cairn you may encounter.

@parridhlantern said...

Hello Lisa, If we meet in a combat zone, lets create our own library, welcoming all our fellow bookfiends & we can swap words, like the golden treasures that they are.(hmmm, sorry).

Hi Em, Thanks for your comment, you teach poetry? maybe a reason for your impatience with it. I honestly don't think I would be good at teaching it, I think having to explain, to dissect, what to me are glimpses of "heaven" in front of a class of possibly uninvolved individuals would be torture. As for getting there You're teaching future generations!, what's not there allready?.
ps. just got a free anthology of poems, via twitter arrive today.

HI, As the Crowe flies,we all have our likes & dislikes, I thoroughly agree with your stance on LOTR. also think an Anthology is the way to go.

Hello James, this has been an excellent companion, it's been all round Germany with me, through a couple of relationships, it's been quite a stalwart, just like a cairn.

gautami tripathy said...

This is very good choice.Poetry, any day!

Here is my Literary Blog Hop post!

gautami tripathy said...

You really chose a great anthology!

Here is my Literary Blog Hop post!

@parridhlantern said...

thanks,Gautami,try to do my bit to promote poetry.

Anonymous said...

Another excellent choice. I love how 'cairn' has been used and comes to mean many, many different things.

It's a metaphor for life! Wartime would entail a lot of 'finding' one's way.

Em said...

I actually don't do the dissecting, I let them do it and guide them through it, and then we discuss our reactions to the poem. I guess that it has helped me to appreciate poetry a bit more because I see other people struggling with it and we try to work it out together.

Melanie said...

great choice. I will have to look this book up!

@parridhlantern said...

Thanks for your comment Melanie, If you want a book that covers poems from around the world, from Anon, through some tribal saying & on to the likes of Wordsworth, this is the one.