Aleister Crowley: My wife dies

Jeremy Lipking – Adrift (2013) – from Art Renewal Center

A strange love poem by the famous debauched occultist. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…


Victor Hugo : Le Trouble-Fête

Todd Webb – LaSalle Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Harlem (1946) – Museum of the City of New York / Todd Webb Archive

Il y a deux ans, j’ai reproduit un poème de Victor Hugo, provenant de son recueil L’art d’être grand-père (1877). Intitulé “Chanson de grand-père”, il exalte la beauté et la séduction de petites filles en train de danser. En voici un autre, également extrait du même livre, qui oppose la beauté des filles à la laideur du clergé. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Samuel Ullman: Youth

Dick Whittington – Churchill and Meglin Kiddie’s, Southern California (1927) – from

The American businessman, poet and humanitarian Samuel Ullman was born in 1840 in Germany, in a Jewish family which emigrated to the USA in 1851. After a brief service in the Confederate Army, he married, started a business, served as a city alderman, and was a member of the local board of education. He also became president and then lay rabbi in a Jewish congregation. After retirement, he found more time for writing letters, essays and poetry. He died in 1924.

He is famous for his poem “Youth,” which he wrote at the age of 78. This poem is better known in Japan than in the USA, because General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander in Japan, hung a framed copy of it on the wall of his office in Tokyo and often quoted from it in his speeches. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Nathalia Crane: The First Reformer

Janet Weight Reed – magical hummingbird – from (reduced)

The fourth part of Lava Lane, and Other Poems (1925), titled Saints and Reformers, contains six poems. Three of them explicitly mock religion. “Sunday Morning” tells of God’s activities at that moment, such as “Counting the Yiddish babies” or “Waving the popcorn scepter,” and finally “God, on a Sunday morning, / Reaching the dotage stage.” In “The Making of a Saint,” a woman dies in a garret, so “The lords of the rafters were sorry— / The spider, the moth, and the mouse,” and they manage to obtain some advantages for themselves and their garret by making her a saint. In “The Edict,” an editor advises a saint on how to write his story, so that it will be widely read. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Nathalia Crane at twelve

Nathalia Crane (c.1925) – from Wikimedia Commons

In 1925, Nathalia Crane published her second volume of poetry, Lava Lane, and Other Poems, just one year after her first one, The Janitor’s boy, and Other Poems. In it she airs her sophistication, mastering poetical language, as well as scientific and technical vocabulary from several disciplines, such as botany, geology and even embryology (using the word “blastoderm” about a boy she seems to despise); she also refers to various religions and to characters from Greek mythology. Furthermore, she shows her understanding of human relations, including in some of their intimate aspects. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Nathalia Crane: Jealousy

Chinese schoolchildren give a demonstration of their military skills in Hanking, where lessons include pre-military exercises using wooden weapons. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images, 1st April 1974)

In this humorous little piece, Nathalia imagines organizing a brigade of little girls in charge of watching their fathers and preventing their seduction by beautiful young women. Here Flatbush is a neighbourhood of Brooklyn in New York City. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…