The Singapore judicial system's shameful recourse to using torture - in the form of caning - to punish crimes that should be misdemeanors is indicative of a blatant disregard for international human rights standards, one of the defendants said that sentencing day was the darkest day of his life, but in reality every day that Singapore keeps caning on its books is a dark day for the country's international reputation.
One day I shall write a little book of conduct myself, and I shall call it Social Problems of the Unsociable. And the root problem, beneath a hundred varying manifestions, is How to Escape. How to escape, that is, at those times, be they few or frequent, when you want to keep yourself to yourself.
Because I have conducted my own operas and love sheep-dogs; because I generally dress in tweeds, and sometimes, at winter afternoon concerts, have even conducted in them; because I was a militant suffragette and seized a chance of beating time to The March of the Women from the window of my cell in Holloway Prison with a tooth-brush; because I have written books, spoken speeches, broadcast, and don't always make sure that my hat is on straight; for these and other equally pertinent reasons, in a certain sense I am well known.
I remember wanting to write a book with someone, the someone being Kate [DiCamillo], and we decided to write about two friends. We had no idea how to begin this project - neither of us had ever collaborated with another writer - and I'm pretty sure that we began by giving our two friends a sock, just to see what they'd do with it. And it went from there.
George W. Bush was passionate about AIDS. And we had a 10-minute talk at the interval of a concert at the Kennedy Center about AIDS. And I was astonished about how well-informed he was and his commitment to AIDS. And so it's the typical thing of don't judge a book by its cover until you have read the book.
With a 660-page book, you don't read every sentence aloud. I am terrified for the poor guy doing the audio book. But I do because I think we hear them aloud even if it's not an audio book. The other goofy thing I do is I examine the shape of the words but not the words themselves. Then I ask myself, "Does it look like what it is?" If it's a sequence where I want to grab the reader and not let the reader go then it needs to look dense. But at times I want the reader to focus on a certain word or a certain image and pause there.
To walk into Bill Olsen's poems is to enter a mind so weirdly curious, you can't be released to sadness, not yet: it's just too surprising. But this book-half microscope, half telescope-shadows grief, our shared and ordinary life where an old neighbor obsessively gathers twigs to wish back the tree, where the moon is regularly ‘sawn in half,’ where sprinklers give off ‘little wet speeches. ’ What else? It's brilliantly instead and odd.