February 7, 2021

Posted by orrinj at 6:47 PM


Keeping Poets Alive: Why You Should Know About Jack Clemo (LUCY, JUNE 4, 2014, Tolstoy Therapy)

When first exploring Clemo's work, you'll notice that the rugged Cornish landscape is often at its forefront. Clemo's father was a clay-kiln worker, and his scenes of the Clay Country frequently symbolise mystical and religious experiences (a factor no doubt influenced by his religious upbringing). We witness scenes of the expanding clay industry overcoming nature, yet, Clemo reminds us, surely nature will eventually fight back.

These white crags
Cup waves that rub more greedily
Now half-way up the chasm; you see
Doomed foliage hang like rags;
The whole clay-belly sags.
- The Flooded Clay-Pit

One of the poems which stood out to me, largely for its intertextuality, is "William Blake Notes a Demonstration". Putting a frightening spin on Blake's "Jerusalum", and slightly mirroring modern apocalyptic fears, Clemo illustrates Blake as witness of a hellish 20th century London:

Where's my Jerusalem? That future London
I see in visions now I am near death,
Is not the Holy city: harlots abound
In street, school and pulpit,And the winding-sheet seems made of protest banners.

In the poem, these "protest banners" are held by anti-nuclear demonstrators, which prompts Blake - as speaker - to build on what Heather R. Martin calls Clemo's "raw and unapologetically religious" writing (109):

If men can't die praising God
They're not ripe for life, not fit
To protest against the means of exit.

After reading this, you may well see how Clemo's Evangelical non-conformist views placed him at the margins, away from Britain's general readership.

Rick Stein discusses him on his latest series.

Posted by orrinj at 12:39 PM


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Strict COVID Orders Effective in Driving Down Cases: Analysis (EMILY CZACHOR, 2/7/21, Newsweek)

Last week's Free Press report indicated that Michigan saw fewer COVID-19 cases per capita than adjacent states--including Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana--at the height of the winter's outbreak resurgence, and connected this pattern to Whitmer's mitigation mandates.

More recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which tracks COVID-19 trends by state, showed that Michigan recorded 15.6 new infections per 100,000 residents between January 30 and February 6. Meanwhile, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois recorded rates between 23.3 and 31.7 new infections per 100,000 people over the same time period.

Additional figures published by Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center showed Michigan's test-positivity ratio was lower than those four states on Sunday.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Biden Administration Suspends Trump Asylum Deals with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras (Reuters, February 07, 2021)

The Biden administration said on Saturday it was immediately suspending Trump-era asylum agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, part of a bid to undo his Republican predecessor's hard-line immigration policies.

In a statement, State Department Secretary Antony Blinken said the United States had "suspended and initiated the process to terminate the Asylum Cooperative Agreements with the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as the first concrete steps on the path to greater partnership and collaboration in the region laid out by President Biden."