Saturday, November 5, 2011

Yesterday, November 4th, Read at the Henry Gallery

Part One

At the Henry Gallery SkySpace yesterday I introduced my reading of Folk Songs with comments. 2011 has been the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible. I linked the KJV of the Bible to Pogo, the comic strip by Walt Kelly and The Anxiety of Influence by Harold Bloom.

In the wonderfully funny comic strip Pogo, by Walt Kelly, the character Deacon Mushrat speaks, in his dialogue boxes, in Old English. This could only be to me, a child reading and re-reading Pogo, the voice of the King James Version of the Bible. When Walt Kelly drew Deacon Mushrat with a large book in his hand, Kelly must have made the recognition described in The Anxiety of Influence, by Harold Bloom. Because of the great influence Kelly felt from the Bible, he needed to search along some mental bookshelf for a different title for the large book. So, The Anxiety of Influence, by Harold Bloom, suggests how, when Walt Kelly swerved, Cap'n Wimby's Bird Atlas came to be.

It was very interesting to see one or two of the events at the Translation Festival Wave Books yesterday. The festival continues today and Sunday.

Part Two

One or two copies of Cap'n Wimby's Bird Atlas exist in the swamp, another copy was featured as one-half of the library of a large bird who was training a smaller bird in bird skills.

One memorable strip involving Mole ends with this comment, one familiar to Kelly enthusiasts - "There's Nothing Quite So Lovely As A Brightly Burning Book". The book that was burning was indeed Cap'n Wimby's Bird Atlas.

In the first box, when asked by Howland Owl, "Where's Cap'n Wimby's Bird Atlas?" -

Mole declares - "Discredited." In the next box - "It didn't agree with our observations, did it, men?"

"No, sir, it's out of date."

"And on fire."

Howland Owl's expression progresses from outrage to shock from the first to the last boxes. This is wonderful work by Walt Kelly, it is nice to remember the reading and re-reading of the Pogo books both recently and long ago.

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