Favorite Quotes

"For my totem, the alley cat. We share the situation of small predators who easily become prey. I have my equivalent of claws and teeth, and indeed my arched back and loud hiss are my best defenses. When I need to hide my size and weakness, I can look fiercer than I am, but when I cannot talk or threaten or argue my way out of trouble, then I am in a lot of trouble. We are scavengers in the alleys and streets of a society we do not control and scarcely influence. We survive and perish both by taking lovers. Freedom is a daily necessity like water, and we love most loyally and longest those who allow us at least occasionally to vanish and wander the curious night. To them we always return from the eight deaths before the last."

from Braided Lives by Marge Piercy

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Reflections from the Land of Fire and Ice

The Windows of Brimnes: An American in Iceland

Title: The Windows of Brimnes: An American in Iceland
By: Bill Holm

Perhaps because I have never been there, I have always had a strange fascination with Iceland: the medieval sagas, the stark yet beautiful landscape, those small horses.... So when I heard poet and essayist Bill Holm being interviewed on NPR about this book, I immediately added it to my list.

Brimnes, as it turns out, is a small, spartan fisherman's cottage on a fjord in northern Iceland. Through its windows, Holm sees not only an exotic, ever-changing landscape, but also himself, his own country, his past. The quiet and isolation give the author the time and perspective he needs to reflect on everything from his Icelandic heritage (old family photos stir memories) to the state of American politics (he despairs) to the inevitability of his own death (made all the more poignant by the fact that he died only weeks after the NPR interview). It is a reflection on society and religion, on language and life--all of it interwoven with interesting Icelandic facts, passages of poetry, and, yes, even an Icelandic joke or two.

View similarly tagged posts: non-fiction, poetry, travel

Posted by fatorangecat on Aug. 17, 2009 at 8:37 a.m.


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