Monday, 7 May 2012

A strange purple scroll

I am starting to prepare for my M. Litt on 'Environment, Culture and Communication' with David Borthwick at the University of Glasgow's Crichton campus in Sept . A lead appeared this morning courtesy of the Writers Almanac, as follows: today is the birthday (b.1937) of Gary Snyder, a member of the US 'Beat' generation of poets, and is the one among them unexpectedly - to me -  known as the heir of Thoreau because of his interest in nature. The particular nature he celebrates in his poems is that of his native Washington State on the northwest Pacific coast of America, hence of the Sitka spruce the tree I grow in south Lanarkshire in Scotland. Who would have thought it? The 'Beats' and the Forestry Commission? Up to now, I had  the 'Beats' pegged as a pretty urban group. The  only 'Beat' I have had contact with to date was Allan Ginsberg, when he was staying on a barge in Oxford in the early 1960's. My friend Oenone spent that term, as was the custom of the time, with a strange purple scroll painted across half her face. Now a grandmother, it is thanks to her and her husband Roger that Anna The Tulip Pavord is coming to Moffat Book Events Beyond the Garden Gate May 25-27.

I have tracked down my doppelganger, another Elizabeth Roberts, author of Realm of The Black Mountain - a history of Montenegro, thanks to Amelia Wise of Cornell University Press, who sent me Elizabeth's email address at Trinity College, Oxford. I have contacted my namesake and await her reply.

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