Gondwana: an ancient supercontinent long dispersed into fragments. Contemplating the ethereal blue is of Antartica, once part of it, Nathaniel Tarn writes in the opening section of his magnificent collection: "They said back then/ there was a frozen continent/ in those high latitudes encircling globe:/ are you moving toward it?"From there, the rising and falling stairs at Fez in Morocco meld into a cantata on marriage, empire, and the meditational nature of climbing. In a series of beautiful, short poems "Il Piccolo Paradiso," Tarn creates a haven of home, bird flight, and innvervating fligh. In another section, the heroic WWII fighter Pilot Lydia Litvyak is personified as Eurydice speaking to her lover captain, Orpheus. The book concludes with the powerful poems of "Exitus Generis Humani," its polyphonic lines slowly pouring over the reader in a mournful, yet often humorous, reverie that reveals allegiance to Earth as the essential divinity, while calling for radical change if we want to prevent a definitive ending.
I believe so. In its beginning, dialogue’s the easiest thing in the world to write when you have a good ear, which I think I have. But as it goes on, it’s the most difficult, because it has so many ways to function. Sometimes I needed to make a speech do three or four or five things at once—reveal what the character said but also what he thought he said, what he hid, what others were going to think he meant, and what they misunderstood, and so forth—all in his single speech. And the speech would have to keep the essence of this one character, his whole particular outlook in concentrated form. This isn’t to say I succeeded. But I guess it explains why dialogue gives me my greatest pleasure in writing. I used to laugh out loud sometimes when I wrote it—the way P. G. Wodehouse is said to do. I’d think of some things my characters would say, and even if I couldn’t use it, I would write the scene out just to let them loose on something—my private show.
Did you notice the other thing Emily did to help keep the conversation going? It’s subtle, but it can make a big difference if you want to keep someone engaged and with you when you bring new and seemingly unrelated information into a conversation. Jamie said the word, ‘downfall’, and so did Emily. This was Emily’s way of proving to William that she was listening; she respects his comment and input and she thinks he’s smart, so she’s using his contribution to springboard into the next level of the conversation. I use a phrase to similar effect that people make fun of me for: I’ll say, “to your point about ___, (something related to that).” I get some grief when I say it sometimes, because my mind tends to take leaps and the second point may not be as closely tied to the first point as I thought it would when I first started talking.