Dispatches from London: “London Calling”

Laura Stiers is a third year English major studying abroad in London this quarter. In Dispatches from London, she blogs about books, curious Anglicisms, and literary culture in one of Europe’s most literary cities.

We flew in over the Thames as the sun was rising. The effect was pretty much the opposite of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: a thin, shining thread of water wound across the landscape under us, widening into an immense sea of brightness. Unearthly.

I’m in London because of books. In one way or another, it all comes back to books. I’m here as an English major, studying King Arthur and Virginia Woolf (among others). Books took up at least half of my suitcase when packing for my three-month stay here. As for why I wanted to come here in the first place . . . most of the books I read as a child were set in London. It always seemed like a magical place: chimney sweeps, mysterious fogs, books of magic, gateways to other worlds. Modern London, I suppose, can’t help but dim in comparison. Continue reading


Book Review: It Is Daylight by Arda Collins (Reviewed by Andrew Chen)

It Is Daylight by Arda Collins
Yale University Press, April 2009
Review by Andrew Chen

This past May, Arda Collins, winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, came to the University of Chicago as part of the Poem Present series, reading from It Is Daylight, her first collection of poems. Tall and thin, with an almost adolescent lankiness, she possessed the gentle incertitude of an awkward teenage girl. Her soft, charming monotone matched her appearance and demeanor as well as her poetry of timid surveillance and meek action, at times ironic and at others strikingly emotional. Her poetry is a result of much craft and control; the anxiety and animation in the poet’s voice carefully ebbs and flows, coupled with an irony that manages to remain connected and personal as part of a crafted persona. This was evident as much in her voice as it is on the pages of her collection. Continue reading