Critical Linking: May 25, 2013

After recent revelations that British poet Christian Ward had been found passing off other people’s poems as his own, this new story seems merely to confirm that poets can be as unscrupulous as Canadian senators.

Those Canadians and their scandals.

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Shakespeare wrote his finest work while living in Southwark, and he enjoyed the local beer – his work is full of fond references of the virtues of a pint of ale, and there are written records of him visiting pubs with contemporaries like Edward Alleyn or Christopher Marlowe. The trouble is, no one ever specifies which pub.

It’s always interesting to read about the spaces writers work in – or that they might have worked in. Maybe.

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The remaining whiff of Orwell, whose five years at various stations in Burma as an officer of the Imperial Police Force ended here in 1927, is a spacious two-story wooden house with fireplaces and a once-elegant staircase. Paint peels off the walls, and dust coats the interior. The outdoor kitchen where Orwell’s servants cooked his meals lies in ruin, the roof missing and dead leaves piled on the floor. The family members of a government official squat in an annex, and hang their laundry outside the front door.

This means that the lives of the Burmese people have changed little since the days of “Shooting an Elephant.”

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One of the most surprising and endearing moments in raising a child is the joy of sharing an amazing book. With a good book, you can see each character, joke and exchange seep into your child, the words bonding to them like skin and shaping their humour and thoughts on life.

Anyone want to guess which book brought this writer and her daughter together? Here’s a hint: 42.
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