One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day 2012

Of course I woke a little later than usual. Peets (wasn't sure they'd be open but they were). Finished "Siena" with Herbert and moved north to Paris. Siena for Herbert is the Siena of art, especially Siennese painters. Though painting leads to reflections on history and poetry. Toward the close he quotes T. S. Eliot on the importance of tradition. Also, what a poet must ultimately be measured against:

No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone, . . .  you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead.
Though Herbert's focus in "Siena" is the sphere of art, toward the end of the essay, sipping a local Chianti, he mentions the famous Palio:

The name comes from a piece of painted silk, the annual prize for the horse race around the Campo. Every year on June 2nd and August 16th the town turns into a great historical theater which would have delighted Chesterton. Three city districts, the so-called terzi--Citta, San Martino, and Camollia--delegate their own riders. It is a relic of a medieval military organization which divided the city into seventeen contrade, . . .
Other than discussing the proper way to approach a glass of Chianti--"One has to swirl the glass gently to see how the wine flows down its walls, if it leaves any traces"--Herbert drops very few gastronomic breadcrumbs. For instance, he refuses to give the reader even the thinnest slice of panforte.
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