Archive for July 15, 2016

Last Day of MaxEnt2016

Posted in Biographical, History, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on July 15, 2016 by telescoper

This week has gone very quickly. It is already the last day of MaxEnt2016. Tomorrow I’m returning by train to the UK. Last night was a very nice conference dinner at a place called Parnassus (which is actually a deconsecrated church). That was after a very enjoyable afternoon of sightseeing through two guided tours, one on foot and the other by boat.

This morning is the last session in the conference venue Oude Vismijn. Here is a snap taken in between talks this morning:

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MaxEnt2016

In olden days this hall looked more like this:

vismijn3

Given the location it’s a pity I didn’t think to put a joke in my talk about the Poisson distribution. Geddit?

Over the last few days the City of Ghent has been preparing for the annual Ghent Festival (Gentse Feesten) which has involved the construction of dozens of temporary structures including stages for the bands to play on, and many tents of various sizes for beer consumption). The Festival goes on for 10 days and the first night is tonight. I’m told it’s very noisy in the city centre, which is where my hotel is, so I’m not sure I’ll get much sleep tonight as the festivities go on round the clock!

 

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Emily Dickinson’s Desk

Posted in History, Poetry with tags , on July 15, 2016 by telescoper

Here’s a fascinating post about the poet Emily Dickinson. Apparently she wrote all her poems sitting at that little square table!

Malcolm Guite

Emily's desk Emily’s Desk

Whilst I was speaking at a CS Lewis conference in Amherst I had the opportunity to visit Emily Dickinson’s house, now beautifully preserved as the Emily Dickinson Museum. And so I came to stand in that ‘mighty room’ where all the poems were written, and there, plain and simple and strangely, paradoxically, small was her little desk: a small square writing table.  I was filled with wonder at how much had flowed from so small a space, but then I thought about Dickinson’s characteristically concentrated and terse verse forms; those compact and concentrated little quatrains with the emphatic dashes linking and yet binding in the energy of her phrases, and it seemed to me the smallness of the desk was itself part of the form of the poetry, part of her gift.

Anyway the whole experience stirred me on to this: (as always you can hear…

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