Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Reader's Diary #147- Tom Lowenstein (translator): Eskimo Poems from Canada and Greenland (FINISHED)

If Othello brought me down, Eskimo Poems has brought me right back up again.

Towards the end I started thinking about how unlikely a book of Inuit poems from the early 1900s should be. They didn't even have paper for goodness sakes! And yet, it wasn't surprising. What aboriginal group doesn't have a repertoire of songs and poems and so forth that have been passed down through generations?

It's encouraging.

With all of the cutbacks in the arts, especially music education, people often panic. It'll be the death of the arts! We'll be living in a bland world of calculator wielding accountants!

Not true. If the Inuit could have a rich tradition of poetry without paper, if rap could arise from impoverished inner-city ghettos, if... you get the picture. As long as there are people, there'll be art.

I'm not for cutbacks. It would be nice if a kid in outport Newfoundland had the opportunity to pick up a trombone rather than an accordion, if they were so inclined. But Eskimo Poems has made me realize, things aren't as bleak as we often make them out to be.

(No accountants were harmed in the writing of this blogpost.)


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Those are heartening thoughts. Makes me wonder if I really do need all this fancy gadgetry to express myself, when a pencil and some paper would do.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Tracked your link through the profile on Book forums. This is a really nice blog. There's trenchant and witty thoughts and groovy fonts.

It's refreshing to stumble across someone who is really into thinking about what books mean.


Ron Yamauchi

John Mutford said...

Hi Barbara,
Then again without the fancy gadgetry, I'd certainly miss the blogging. Let's not turn Amish just yet.

Hi Ron,
Welcome. I appreciate the comments. I hope you visit again. What are you reading right now?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Good point John, and speaking strictly from a personal point of view, I think I'd look like crap in those caps.