Jean-François Millet

Keats on Sudafed

John Keats was in his early twenties when he wrote the sad, prescient sonnet that begins, When I have fears that I may cease to be Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain, Before high-piled books, in charact’ry, Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain…

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Vox humana

Instrumentalists imitate the human voice more often than human singers imitate instruments. Evidence for the rule includes Louis Armstrong’s duets with Ella, Bach’s obbligato parts to sacred arias (I am thinking especially of oboe and cello), some styles of African drumming, and even some didgeridoo music. 

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Your name is what?

I first met my son in a Guatemala City hotel room. Surrounded by his foster family, all of whom were weeping, I held that little eight-months’ old miracle in my big clumsy hands—these hands!—and, gazing into his eyes, murmured “Me llamo pappa”: My name is Potato. I had been studying Spanish, you see.

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