Archive for the ‘English Fiction’ Category

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lilith, translated by R J Dent

June 26, 2016

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Lilith

 

I died. The sycamores gave shade;

shutters were shut upon the dust

of the hot streets steamily teased

by the torrid Aeolus.

 

I slowly walked, and the fauns walked;

It seemed as though I recognised

the great god Pan in every faun.

Good. I must be in Paradise.

 

Shielding her face against the sun,

there stood a naked, slender girl;

her honeyed skin attracted me;

lilies were threaded in her curls.

 

She had the grace of a woman.

I watched her small nipples harden

and I recalled a sweet springtime

in another new-grown garden,

 

when through the trees by the river,

I had one time watched, emboldened,

the miller’s youngest daughter step

out of the water, lithe, golden,

 

with a damp wisp between her legs.

And now, still wearing the coat

I had on when murdered last night,

with a rake’s predatory gloat,

 

I advanced upon my Lilith.

She stared at me with her green eyes,

until my clothes burst into flame

and burnt to ashes in a trice.

 

In the room behind her I saw

a Greek divan, a spread-out shawl,

a table, pomegranates, wine;

some erotic art covering the wall.

 

With two fingers she shamelessly

took hold of my hot member’s head

with unselfconscious, childish glee.

“Now come along with me,” she said.

 

Without inducement or effort,

but slowly to extend delight,

like wings, she gradually opened

her soft sweet brown thighs to my sight.

 

How enticing, how inviting,

her moist pink rose! And with a wild

cry, she fell on my throbbing length,

slicker than that remembered child.

 

Snake in snake, vessel in vessel,

smooth-fitting parts, I moved in her

through ascending rhythms, feeling

unendurable pleasure stir.

 

But suddenly she flinched, and pushed

me off her, moved fast, stood over

me, grasped the shawl and twisted it

around her waist and up, covered

 

and strong again; with me about

to come, to spend, for me, nothing

left. A strange wind made me stagger.

I ran to the door. “Let me in!”

 

I shouted, noticing with horror,

that I stood outside in the dust

where loudly-yelling youngsters

were staring at my engorged lust.

 

“Let me come in!” And the goat-hoofed

crowd increased. “Quick, let me come in!”

“I am about to come…” I yelled.

 

The door stayed shut, the crowd watched, quiet,

as I spurted out my semen.

I knew then that I was in hell.

 

 

 

Lilith

by Vladimir Nabokov

 

Young-Nabokov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translated into English by R J Dent

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

 

 

 

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A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed

June 22, 2016

OUT NOW! A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed: National Flash Fiction Day 2016 Anthology.

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A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed is an anthology of flash-fictions, published to celebrate National Flash-Fiction Day (UK), and showcasing the very best talents to have written in this challenging miniature literary form. The stories in A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed are in a variety of genres, styles and forms, ranging from horror to romance, from fantasy to dark reality, from urban terror to comedy. Many of the stories in A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed will resonate with readers long after reading.

 

A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed

Contents

Foreword: The Editors

Before the Sun Comes Up: Tim Stevenson

Miss Scarlet in the Shed: Tracy Fells           

Cold Hands: Rhoda Greaves

Ambush: Richard Holt       

Outsider: Laura Huntley     

Theseus in Belleville: Anne Elizabeth Weisgerber

Bocca Baciata: Ruth McKee        

Health and Pleasure, Glorious Sea!: Sharon Telfer      

Gingerbread: Virginia Moffat

A Marionettist’s Musings While on a Park Bench: Charley Karchin

Bubblegum Barbie: Emily Devane      

Lifer: Adam Trodd       

Shirts – A Fable: R J Dent

Sam, 29: Martha Gleeson

Three Kids, Two Balloons: KM Elkes            

Who? What?: Ashley Chantler

Pub Quiz: Alison Wassell

Sushi and Kitty Cats: Kaitlyn Johnson

Desert Blossom: Annie Mitchell

Premiums: Ian Shine             

Misunderstanding: Vivien Jones        

Wakes Week: David Hartley      

Burning Faith: Frankie McMillan

Pigeon English: David Cook         

Kittiwakes: Catherine Edmunds

The Door Closes: Kevlin Henney

Clippers: Debbi Voisey      

I Go on the Morrow to Murder the King: Joy Myserscough

Special Delivery: Calum Kerr         

Grains: Joanna Campbell

Panda: Fat Roland          

Fish Supper: Laura Tickle         

The Vineyard: Catherine McNamara

What We Threw Into the Lake: Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

The Pleasure Principle: Rob Walton         

Onion: Damhnait Monaghan

My Aunt Aggie: Paul McVeigh      

A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed: Jon Stubbington

A Collection: Diane Simmons

Kelly Loves Traffic Light Jelly: Jeanette Sheppard

Yellow: Nuala Ní Chonchúir

424 Likes: Jennifer Harvey

Manspreading: Marie Gethins 

Wake Up: Oli Morriss          

When Dreams are Large and Tusked: Ingrid Jendrzejewski

Ten Things that Happened After My Funeral: Santino Prinzi     

What the Therapist Said: Jude Higgins        

Gregor Samsa Quits the Track Team: Beverly C. Lucey

Honesty’s Not the Best Policy: Brendan Way       

Orphans: Chris Stanley       

And the Red Flower: Nina Lindmark Lie

One Last Pickup: Sarah Hilary         

Sunday Morning: John Holland      

About Unemployment and Rats: Bernard O’Rourke

Captain Strix: Zoe Gilbert         

Latchkey: Fiona J. Mackintosh

Lips: Nik Perring         

Map Reading: Jane Roberts        

How to Make Lolo: Michelle Elvy       

Family Values: Jonathan Pinnock

Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night: Claire Fuller         

Hornet’s Nest: Sally Burnette      

The Taste of Sock and Rubber: Cathy Bryant       

In the Café: Sherri Turner       

On the Invisibility of the Deaf: Debbie Young

Flying Ant Day: Judy Darley          

Marzipan Bride and Groom: Sal Page

I Believe in You: Meg Pokrass        

When She Was Good: Safia Moore         

Injuries in Dust: Poppy O’Neill     

We Can Be Asteroids: FJ Morris             

Purple with a Purpose: Amanda Saint      

Little Ghosts: Jan Carson           

The Night Life of Wives: Angela Readman

The Jumper: Anne Patterson

A One-Word Yet…: Ingrid Jendrzejewski

Storm: Gemma Govier

Jessie Learns How to Keep A Secret: Alison Wassell

Illumination: Judi Walsh           

When Words Aren’t Enough: Lucy Welch          

Christmas: James Watkins

Always One: Tracy Fells           

Notes: Elaine Marie McKay

Energy Efficient, Extremely Slim, Easy to Install: Ed Broom

 

A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed: National Flash Fiction Day 2016 Anthology is out now!

To purchase the paperback edition of the anthology, please follow this link here: A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed. (paperback)

To purchase the e-book edition of the anthology, please follow this link here: A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed. (e-book)

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

Blog: https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

twitter: https://twitter.com/RJDent

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69

 

My Father’s Garden: Incinerator by R J Dent

May 7, 2016

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One evening, about a week after the plum tree/creosote/bomb incident, my father rolled a very large empty oil drum down to the bottom of the garden. He rolled it noisily down the path, right to the end of the garden, rolled it in a sharp left turn, then stopped and stood it up so that it was screened by the lilac bushes.

I got up and wandered down the garden, followed by my brother. As I got nearer, I could see that my father was putting some bricks on the ground, arranging them in a roughly square symmetrical pattern. Intrigued, I stood back and watched, not sure what was going on. I didn’t really know what I was seeing – was it some obscure pagan ritual; a valiant attempt to contact alien life forms; my dad’s workaday version of Stonehenge, or something so obscure that it hadn’t been heard of by anyone other than my father? As my dad stood up – all of the bricks now obviously in their rightful positions – I had a feeling that I was about to find out.

– What’s he doing? my brother whispered.

– I don’t know yet, I answered. Let’s wait and see.

– Okay, my brother said, cheerfully enough.

And so we waited, watching carefully and quietly as our dad stood the empty oil drum on the bricks. Then he knelt down on the ground, picked up a hammer and a metal chisel and proceeded to knock holes in the side of the oil drum, about four inches up from the bottom. He made a hole, then moved the chisel a few inches to the left and made another hole, then repeated the process and made another hole, working his way around the oil drum until there were several holes all the way around its base.

– He’s making air-holes.

– What for?

– So an animal can breathe in there.

– What animal?

– Whatever animals like oil.

– Penguins.

– Petrels.

– Sardines.

– Oil lamps.

– Oil lamps aren’t animals.

– No, but they like oil and they need air-holes.

– You’re an air-hole.

We would have started trading insults at that point, but our father stood up abruptly, looked over at us, and asked what we were doing. Read more…

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Incinerator

Copyright © R J Dent 2014

 

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My Father’s Garden: Wasp Nest by R J Dent

May 6, 2016

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1: Location

There was considerable excitement in our family when my father cautiously mentioned that there might be a wasp nest in the garden.

          – Where?

          – I just said: in the garden.

          – Any chance you could be a tiny bit more specific, father? my brother asked. The garden’s ninety feet long and thirty feet wide. There are twenty trees, several unidentifiable objet d’art, three buildings, two tall hedges and a partially cut down pear tree. It’s not going to be possible to pinpoint a carefully disguised wasp nest without a clue as to its location.

          – I’m not telling you where it is, my father said. Wasp nests are dangerous.

          – I thought wasp nests were just harmless wood pulp structures and that it was the wasps themselves that were dangerous, my brother said.

          – There’s no need to try and be clever, my father said. Wasps will attack and sting humans, particularly if they or their nests are threatened, so care should be taken around wasps and their nests.

          – I’ll take the risk, my brother said. I want to see what a wasp nest looks like at close quarters.

          – Well, don’t come crying to me if you get stung, my father said, as my brother dashed out into the garden.

          I followed my brother outside. He was dashing around the garden, peering in every corner, diligently searching for any sign of the new garden interlopers.

          – Where do wasps like to nest? I asked. Read more…

More stories from My Father’s Garden by R J Dent are available at:

https://rjdent.wordpress.com/category/my-fathers-garden/

Information on R J Dent’s books, stories, poems, essays, talks, videos, and latest news is at:

http://www.rjdent.com

https://rjdent.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/RJDent

https://www.facebook.com/rjdentwriter

http://www.youtube.com/user/rjdent69?feature=mhee

http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2

 

 

A Collaboration of Unlike Minds: William Blake’s and Robert Graves’ The Tyger by R J Dent

April 15, 2016

 

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The Tiger

 

Tiger tiger burning bright

In the forests of the night

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry

 

In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes

On what wings dared he aspire

What the hand dared seize the fire

 

And what shoulder and what art

Could twist the sinews of thy heart

Did he smile his work to see

Did he who made the lamb make thee

 

Tiger tiger burning bright

In the forests of the night

What immortal hand or eye

Dared frame thy fearful symmetry

 

Robert Graves

 

Even the most cursory glance will reveal some fundamental differences between the above two poems. Graves’ rewrite came about due to a number of flaws he felt existed in Blake’s poem. He writes of these in ‘Tyger, Tyger’, an essay collected in The Crane Bag and Other Disputed Subjects. In the essay, Graves is particularly scathing of Blake’s tendency to mix his tenses, remain ‘imprecise and ambiguous’, ‘grammatically incoherent’ and to not care about the rhetorical focus of the poem.

More importantly, however, Graves neglects at any time to mention that he has ‘made his own arrangement of The Tyger’. After interviewing Graves, Christopher Burstall claims that Graves’ ‘arrangement’ includes ‘cutting out two verses and putting the whole poem in the past tense’, so that it is grammatically correct and more structurally cohesive. Read more…

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A Collaboration of Unlike Minds: Robert Graves’ and William Blake’s The Tyger

Copyright © R J Dent (2007 & 2016)

 

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Echoes by R J Dent

April 11, 2016

echoes r j dent

It made the national news.

          For a year after, the residents of the picturesque seaside town talked of little else. Friends of Robert’s family kept copies of the newspapers his disappearance had provided headlines for. The headlines ranged from shrieking alliterative tabloid sensationalism at its worst, to a slightly calmer, more informative recounting of events. Some included an appeal for information. However, in all reports, the details were the same, for despite their different political biases, newspapers always treated an inexplicably missing child in the same way.

          Such a thing is an outrage and all newspapers sell outrage.

          Robert Taylor, an intelligent and reasonably popular twelve year old, had left his house one sunny Easter holiday morning and met up with four friends at a pre-arranged meeting place. From there they had gone to the beach of Carbis Bay to play amongst the rocks and the rock pools and in and out of the small caves dotted along the cliffs. After a while the five children had decided to play hide and seek. Robert had asked to hide first – in fact, according to the other children, he’d been very insistent about this one particular detail. His fervent insistence had unnerved them and their acquiescence had been nervous and hurried. Robert had promptly run off into the afternoon air to hide as his friends counted to two hundred. Then they searched for him.

          They have not found him yet. Read more…

echoes r j dent

R J Dent says: ‘ I wrote Echoes for a number of reasons. As I walked along a cliff path in Cornwall I saw some children throwing shells at a boy. He was laughing. Later on that same day, someone threw a rock at the cliff and when it hit, it made a very distinctive ‘tok’ sound, which I wanted to incorporate into  a story. I also wanted to name a story Echoes, after my favourite Pink Floyd song. After my walk, I hand-wrote the first draft of Echoes in about three hours. It’s one of my stories I like best.’

Echoes

Copyright © R J Dent (2010 & 2016)

 

Follow R J Dent’s work on:

 

Website: http://www.rjdent.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/R.-J.-Dent/e/B0034Q3RD4

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An Untitled Piece of Writing by R J Dent

April 4, 2016

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Text:

 

Huh nee… mm mm… ow ryu…hrn ee… yeh… mm hm… mtu… ths gd… wzs tht thn… bh cs… mmm… i fl lk… mm mm… skn… lkn… fkn… yr ck… yd oo dyr… ys iyd oo… wl i fl lk lkn… skn… fkn… yr cn t… du yu rly… yr id oo… mm… ino… hm hm… yu wn tha… ym mm… oh… an tha… mmm… ye ye… oka… thn dw tha… ohh… fme… yeh… mmm… thas fkn byu tfl… oh… oh oh… ye… ye… yeh… jee sus… yr fkn lv lee… ah… nd yr fkn lv lee tu… ah… tk dty tu me… hwd ym een… kmon y no… dty wds… tht srt oth ng… oka… bnd ovr bch… oh… oka… nw gwon… sprd m wd… oh… f me… mm mm… gw on bby… pt yr fce thr… mm mm… thas t… stk yr tng rt upt… ths t… o yh… gwon… lkit… hrd… ye ye… o… ye… dwit fm ee… sy mr dty wds… whl i sk yu… yu va lvl ee cnt… a byu tfl… lv lee… tst ee cnt… o… ar… yss… sy mr… cll m… nms… y slt… ah yss… mr… y byu tfl fkn lvl ee chp sl te hr… o yss… ths it… n ow… rm tn… yra… byu tfl… fkn bch… hhh… ng… gg… cl me a byu tfl hr gn… yu byu tfl fkn hr… lv lee… lv yu… lv yr boh dee… suh byu tfl… hr… oh ye… oh yeh… k moh vrm ee… k minm ee… ths it…. yeh o… ah… oh… ah… oh… yss… ll vu… gv… it… t… me… hrd… slm tn… aa… aa… ys… fk… fk… ah… fk hrd rr… ys… ys… fk m… fk m… ohh hhh… yssss… hg gh… hh hg gh… yaa… yaa… hg… gh… fr… haaa… huhu… hu… yehh… mmm hmm… hmm mmm… yu ka ym… mm… me tu…

 

 

Commentary:

 

And so, if you should happen to find writing of the type that is taking up the space above these expositional lines, examine it carefully for what sort of text it might be – and what it might be doing. Does it have a purpose? A meaning? Are there any messages in it? Is it of any practical use? Do we learn anything from it? Is it English (Standard, I mean)? Does it conform to the grammatical and lexical rules we all know so well? If not, why not? Read more…

An Untitled Piece of Writing

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

 

 

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My Father’s Garden: Fireworks by R J Dent

January 25, 2016

 

Sparklers_Pack_Night_by_2bgr8STOCK

 

 

Bonfire Night was always fun.

Bonfires are great and fireworks are even greater.

My father never bought lots of fireworks on Bonfire Night – there were never more than eight to ten in a box, but there were Catherine Wheels, Roman Candles, Fountains, Jumping Jacks, Bottle Rockets, Fire Crackers – and we always had Sparklers.

I don’t mean to sound churlish, but sparklers are not the most exciting type of firework in existence. You light them, wave them around, they fizz and sparkle for a minute, then they die. They’re the firework world’s equivalent to the mayfly. One great (or in the mayfly’s case, not-so-great) aerial incendiary burst, and then gone, done, nothing left but the inevitable fall… Read more…

 

 

 

Pauline Baynes and J.R.R. Tolkien

January 25, 2016

Pauline Diana Baynes (9 September 1922 – 1 August 2008) was an English illustrator whose work can be found in more than one hundred books, notably several by J. R. R. Tolkien.

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Pauline Baynes was born in Hove, East Sussex. She spent much of her childhood in Farnham, studying at the Farnham School of Art (now the University for the Creative Arts) and eventually attended the Slade School of Fine Art.

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She worked for the Ministry of Defence, where she was soon transferred to a map-making department, and where she acquired skills that she later employed when she drew maps of Middle-Earth for J. R. R. Tolkien.

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In her obituary for The Daily Telegraph, Charlotte Cory described how Baynes and Tolkien came to be associated:

‘In 1948 Tolkien was visiting his publishers, George Allen & Unwin, to discuss some disappointing artwork that they had commissioned for his novella Farmer Giles of Ham, when he spotted, lying on a desk, some witty reinterpretations of medieval marginalia from the Luttrell Psalter that greatly appealed to him. These, it turned out, had been sent to the publishers ‘on spec’ by the then-unknown Pauline Baynes. Tolkien demanded that the creator of these drawings be set to work illustrating Farmer Giles of Ham and was delighted with the subsequent results, declaring that ‘Pauline Baynes has reduced my text to a commentary on her drawings’. Further collaboration between Tolkien and his Farmer Giles illustrator followed, and a lifelong friendship developed…’

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Tolkien wanted Pauline Baynes to illustrate The Lord of the Rings, but the book grew into a huge project that made that particular plan impractical. Nevertheless, Baynes created immaculately drawn and exquisitely coloured versions of the author’s maps of the lands travelled by Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

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Baynes’ also designed a slipcase for the three volumes of Tolkien’s epic:

lotr3 slipcase

The slipcase illustrations were later adapted for the cover for the original one-volume 1973 paperback edition – an indispensable prop of the seventies generation – with its evocative landscape of Middle-Earth viewed through a doorway of yellow, over-arching trees.

lotr1 front

lotr2 back

The same designs were used for the 1981 three volumes edition.

lotr123 1981

Eventually, a drawing by Pauline Baynes was used to illustrate Tolkien’s final hobbit piece, the poem, Bilbo’s Last Song:

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which appeared as a poster in 1974:

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and then as a book in 1990:

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Pauline Baynes was for a long while the only Tolkien illustrator of note.

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Her work was approved by Tolkien himself, but faded from view as the Tolkien industry began to expand in the late seventies and other artists quickly crowded the field, many of whom lacked Pauline Baynes’ subtlety and sympathy for the material.

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Pauline Baynes and J.R.R. Tolkien

© R J Dent 2016

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Feed the Need by Amanda Hodgson

June 14, 2015

 A review by R J Dent

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Feed The Need

by Amanda Hodgson

 

Amanda Hodgson’s Feed The Need is a book of seven stories that focus on eating disorders, food cravings, hunger, comfort eating, and the psychological and the physical need to feed.

 

The stories in Feed The Need are one-word titles. With the exceptions of ‘Perfection’ and ‘Succour’, the titles are the names of each story’s protagonist. In this collection we meet ‘Cathy’, ‘Meryl’, ‘Lily’, ‘Shemla’, and ‘Gemma’. Ms Hodgson introduces us to their complicated lives and shows us their food-related strategies for coping with a harsh and complex world.

 

The best stories in this moving collection shake themselves free of traditional endings and give the protagonists the expansiveness of the interior life, the poetry of feeling, and the blurred edges of personality.

 

There are cautionary tales here; there are celebratory stories here; there are horror stories here. The stories in Feed The Need are not kind or friendly. They are not escapist fictions. They are, according to the author, ‘Seven sour stories about eating’. It’s an apt description, because these stories will sink their teeth into you and continue to hold on long after you’ve finished reading.

 

Be warned.

 

Feed The Need is available at:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00ZARMJMA?%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0

and at:

http://www.amazon.com/FEED-NEED-Amanda-Hodgson-ebook/dp/B00ZARMJMA/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1434321844&sr=8-6&keywords=FEED+THE+NEED

Feed The Need

by Amanda Hodgson

A review by R J Dent

Copyright © R J Dent (2015)

www.rjdent.com