September 20, 2013
I’m reviewed by James Schuller in Annexe Magazine, as part of a rather excellent article on modern Beowulf translations.
I’m not just saying that because he likes me, incidentally; the article has an absolutely fantastic opener that includes a nineteenth-century Beowulf translation that has to be read to be believed. (It’s AMAZING and I regret not doing the entirety of mine the same way.) Very much worth a read—Schuller just gets Beowulf, as noodley an endorsement as that may be, and it’s a joy to see the poem through his eyes for a bit.
September 17, 2013
Posted by meghanpurvis under Article link
| Tags: advice
Normally I am not a fan of pithy nugget-sized pieces of writing advice, because really, there are only two: write well, write often. So when I saw people linking to this article, 14 writers handwrite their writing advice on their hands, I was not expecting much. More fool me!—it’s great. Some of the photos actually manage to capture a piece of concretely useful advice (Karen Lord), some manage to in a palmful of scribbling encapsulate why I love their writing in the first place (Garth Nix, eeee), and some are genius (N.K. Jemisin’s fist! Why did no one else think of the fist!). And in my opinion, on a fundamental level, Patrick Rothfuss’s hand-advice is all you need.
Anyway, it’s taken you longer to read this blog post than it would to go read the original. Go check it out, it’s lovely.
August 30, 2013
Posted by meghanpurvis under Uncategorized
| Tags: poetry
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I’ve spent the last several months working relatively flat-out on a novel. Suddenly my thoughts are centered around things like plot and dialogue and character development—it’s new territory, but stuff I’ve really enjoyed; writing has felt very large again, all unexplored territory.
Today I have come home. Today I feel like a poet, for exactly the sort of reason people do come home. Seamus Heaney has died. And it shouldn’t be a tragedy, not on paper: he was 74 years old and had struggled with ill health, I never met the man, people die every day. But this one. I don’t know any poet who didn’t love, or at least greatly respect, the man. His ability is beyond question in a way unmatched by any other living poet. And every anecdote I’ve ever heard about him indicates he wasn’t just a great poet, but a good and generous person.
Back when my supervisory team was discussing who the examiners would be for my viva, one of them briefly floated asking Heaney to do it (it was, after all, Beowulf). The idea was dismissed pretty quickly—he was already limiting engagements because of his health, so it was unlikely I’d make the grade. And while I would have chewed off my right arm to meet him, I was also glad. Your viva is supposed to be where you defend your argument against all comers (well, or something vaguely similar), but Heaney sharing his thoughts on my poetry? They might as well have been carved on stone tablets and popping out of a bush on fire.
Today my Twitter feed and my Facebook timeline and my email inbox are full of people memorialising—mostly with his own poetry, which feels right. Today the word-hoard feels smaller. But oh, what words he left us.
May 7, 2013
Just a quick link today–this article details 23 words identified by a research team at the University of Reading that have lasted largely unchanged across 15,000 years. I’ve read a few comments saying how nice it is that words like “thou” and “give” and “mother” are in there…but obviously, I went in scanning for anything with axes. Very gratified to see that both “fire” and “worm” are on the list. Now all we do is combine them, and things are getting very pleasingly Viking-y…
March 19, 2013
A bit of an odd post, but this is my blog so I do what I want: if you are not already reading Anne Helen Peterson’s Scandals of Classic Hollywood over on The Hairpin, read this article on Barbara Stanwyck.
If you need something to make it blog-worthy aside from the article’s inherent brilliance, it is: Barbara Stanwyck’s real name was Ruby Stevens. So when I was starting work on my novel-in-progress and needed a name for a feisty, slightly rough around the edges heroine in 1932, I couldn’t resist. Stanwyck is anything but rough around the edges, but in terms of her on-screen personality and sass, well, we should all be so lucky.
February 10, 2013
Posted by meghanpurvis under News
| Tags: escalator
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And at least without too much spinning out of the antici(…say it!)pation, I can now safely reveal my other piece of good news: I’m one of the Escalator Literature 2012/13 winners.
The Escalator is a yearlong literary development scheme, where the winners are helped through applying for an arts grant, get the assistance of a mentor over the course of the program, and have their work showcased at a few events. This year the focus is on genre fiction, and I entered with the novel I’ve been noodling around with periodically and mentioned a few times on this blog. In my brain’s perhaps most impressive attempt at dissertation avoidance, I had what I thought was a pretty irresistible idea for a novel…right in the middle of the final crunch of writing up my thesis. So while I’ve been working on it in bursts, they’ve been interspersed with much longer periods of working on, you know, what I was actually supposed to be working on at the time. Thankfully, I’m free and clear of my Ph.D. just in time to leap into this program.
Oh, and the genre fiction aspect? It’s…erm, vampires. I can at least promise no sparkles: my main guy is a rather embittered Civil War veteran. And historical as well, as the novel’s set in the final years of Prohibition. One reaction to my Facebook page’s link to my profile, complete with short extract, was “True Blood meets Boardwalk Empire?!”, which is actually not that far off.
I’ve got quite a bit of writing ahead of me for 2013, and while it’s a challenge, it’s one I am very excited about.
February 6, 2013
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? And that’s all I’m saying about that, because the only thing more annoying than an extended blogging silence is a returning blogger making a huge production out of his or her return.
Instead, I come bearing news! My translation of Beowulf, light of my life and/or bane of my existence, is being published this May by Penned in the Margins. I couldn’t be happier about it.
Also, Beowulf has been chosen by the Poetry Book Society as their recommended translation for summer 2013. Penned in the Margins has put up a blog post announcing it, featuring an entirely too close to life-sized photo of my enormous noggin.
If I avoided an infuriating beginning, I’ll make up for it with this ending: I have another writing-related piece of news, but as it hasn’t been officially announced yet I’m being forced to sit on it. So more anon…