‘…reading is a sort of new synthetic instinct…’

‘In a sense, reading is a sort of new synthetic instinct, input which becomes a program and which in turn crystallizes into neural hardware, and which incorporates a cultural loop into the human nervous circuit. This “new instinct” in turn profoundly changes the environment within which young human brains are programmed. In the early stages of human evolution such new instincts (speech must have been one) had to wait for their full development while sexual selection established the necessary elaborate vocal circuitry in the cortex. Later on we were able to use our technology, which required much less time to develop, as a sort of supplementary external nervous system. A book is a sort of R.O.M. chip we can plug in to our heads.’

– Frederick Turner and Ernst Poppel, ‘The Neural Lyre’

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Things We Think You’ll Like:

There are many many things that we think you’ll like. Warm summer days, for instance, or chocolate-covered strawberries. We couldn’t possibly list them all here. But here are just a few choice pieces, that we really think you ought to see.

  1. At the top of our list, a free (yes, that’s right, FREE) online course from the University of Pennsylvania, in Modern & Contemporary American Poetry.
    Information on the course here:

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  2. We also want to promote a challenge on the Young Poets Network. If you’re under 25 and a lyricist (or if you’re under 25 and fancy turning your hand to it), there’s a challenge to set some words to music. And the lovely Young Poets Network people have provided a video, too, so here’s some more information.

    To take part in the challenge, or to find out more about it (or both), go to the Young Poets Network’s page about the challenge.
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  3. Not far behind is a short story by Roald Dahl, entitled ‘The Great Automatic Grammatizator’. We don’t know what the rest of the blog is saying, or even which language it’s in, but this part is definitely worth a read.
    I know that this site is all about poetry, rather than short stories, but thematically it fits. It’s all about the art (or ‘art’ of writing).
    Read it here.
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  4. This one is another short story. We won’t say too much about it, because we don’t want to give it all away before you’ve read it, but there’s a bit of a theme running with our reading suggestions tonight. It’s called ‘Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore’, by Robin Sloan. Quite aside from our loving the idea of a 24-hour bookshop, this is an eerie and modern story, and well worth a read.
    You can do so right here.
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  5. And finally, a picture of a graffitied rabbit (taken in a graffiti lane in Melbourne, Australia). Because let’s face it, who wouldn’t enjoy that?

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Sleep tight.