Thursday, April 15, 2004

Tidbits: Sphallolalia, Somalia, and the Greatest Bengali Ever

From the BBC -- the greatest Bengali ever! (Hint: It's not Rabindranath Tagore, Satayajit Ray, Raja Rammohun Roy, Amartya Sen, Subhas Chandra Bose, Bankimchandra Chatterjee, or Saratchandra Chatterjee).

#3 is a Bengali poet named Kazi Nazrul Islam. I'm embarrassed to say that until now I had not heard of him. But "The Rebel" is a wonderful poem -- I'll give him #3. (But then, how many Bengalis have heard of Shiv Kumar Batalvi?)

Other tidbits:

Green -- the coolest obscure words. My favorites include "petrichor" and "sphallolalia"

Guardian News Haiku. ("Did Bush bin Laden's / memo? Why no straight answers,/ just White House white lies?")

Michael Berube's impressive tirade against Ralph Nader and his misguided supporters.

New York Times Review of Nuruddin Farah's new novel Links, which has been translated by Farah himself. Farah is one of the few world-class novelists from Somalia; this is the first novel of his that I know of that deals directly with the events of 1991-1993.

A good critique in Crooked Timber of Bush's agreement with Sharon over the planned unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and part of the West Bank. (Hint: in some ways, the discussion that follows is even better)

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