Sunday, May 06, 2007

The 49th State and books to read

This week I’m late, mostly to recovering from a brewery tour of Portland and environs. Twelve breweries in 3 days will do that to you. Our favorites – Alameda, New Old Lompac and Laurelwood on the east side, Old Market in the southwest, and Hood River, Karlsson and Main Street along H26. (We did our first tour last year with Racoon Lodge, Tug Boat, Bridgeport, Full Sail and Roots among the highlights.)

This summer, we will do two or three days in the Puget Sound area. Silverdale’s Silver City about five miles away is and will be a favorite.


A couple of books to consider:

Roma by Steven Saylor, a fictional account of ancient Rome to Augustus. The volume is written in the style of Russka or Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd. I haven’t read that latter, but did enjoy the early chapters of the former.

Next, the Path between the Seas, David McCullough’s great book about building the Panama Canal although about half of the book is about not building the Canal. McCullough also wrote the brilliant The Great Bridge, the story of building the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the best “construction books written.

By the way, last week I mentioned John Grisham’s The Innocent Man. Sadly, we left it in a Portland hotel room, so I had to order another.


I’ve finally made it through the Poetic States – Connecticut in this post and Alaska in workshop. I will also do three more for DC, the Caribbean territories and the Pacific.

On to the Nutmeg State.

Poetic States XLIX – Connecticut


He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
--Wallace Stevens,
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

We can only speculate what made him turn -
an alcoholic father
loss of opportunity
a family succumbed to yellow jack
his mother’s death

the slights of army regulars
and the congress

Betsy’s rebuff
court martial for malfeasance
marriage to Loyalist daughter

All the signs were there
for this Yankee son
to take the wrong path

as they were for Burr
and many others
famous and more than ordinary

nothing left for Mr. Arnold
but an entry
in Mr. Webster’s dictionary

Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds. – WS

The states are indexed at

Until next week, when we will go to Alaska.



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