Preserving ancient teachings in Timbuktu
Boubacar Sadeck, the youngest of Timbuktu’s scribes at 38, is a master of an ancient art - one that ties him closely to the historical writings that he spends his days transcribing and preserving.
“My weakness, my love, is calligraphy,” said the scribe, who fled Timbuktu, famed for its collection of centuries-old manuscripts, when Islamist militias invaded last year. “If I go a day without writing, I feel as if something is missing or strange. When I sit down with my paper and my pen, I feel wonderful. I feel at ease.”
Many of Timbuktu’s ancient scripts are now refugees separated from their former home in Ahmed Baba Institute after Islamist militias invaded. The rest have been either lost or destroyed in the chaos caused by the successful fight to drive the militias out of the city. Now, the future of these artifacts from the past is up in the air.
Read more in reporter Robyn Dixon’s story here
Photos: Evan Schneide / UN, Eric Feferberg / AFP/Getty Images
The intersections between Los Angeles and literature
Yesterday marked the debut of our Literary L.A. feature, which highlights literary hotspots across the city. Want to go where Ray Bradbury wrote “Fahrenheit 451” on a type writer fueled by dimes? We have you covered.
And of course, the tool’s a work-in-progress, so send over your feedback on authors, works or mentions you’d like to see included!
Check out the tool here, or get psyched for this weekend’s Festival of Books, running from April 20-21 at the USC Campus.
Happy birthday, Robert Frost: Asked at his 80th birthday party (in 1954) about the most important thing he had learned about life, Robert Frost had this to say: “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on. In all the confusions of today, with all our troubles … with politicians and people slinging the word fear around, all of us become discouraged … tempted to say this is the end, the finish. But life — it goes on. It always has. It always will. Don’t forget that.”
Frost’s comments were published in the L.A. Times on Sept. 5, 1954. You can read them in full here (the slider at the top right of the page allows you to zoom).
Remembering Sylvia Plath: Fifty years ago today, Plath, now a titan of literature, killed herself in a tragic end to a talent appreciated far too belatedly.
Just a month earlier, Plath’s now-classic novel “The Bell Jar,” had been published under a pseudonym in England, but it wasn’t until the 1965 posthumous publication of her poetry collection “Ariel,” and the 1971 U.S. release of “The Bell Jar,” that a wide audience realized what had been lost when the 30-year-old Plath resigned from her tumultuous life.
Read our own Carolyn Kellogg’s reflection on Plath’s legacy, or
read more of Plath’s work over at the Poetry Foundation.
(Photo via Faber and Faber / Los Angeles Times)
A totally Californian poet laureate: Juan Felipe Herrera, 63, is the son of migrant farmworkers and plugged in to modern culture. He’d like to make the entire state a democratic, virtual poetry workshop.
Photo: Professor Juan Felipe Herrera, recently appointed California’s poet laureate by Gov. Jerry Brown, leads a poetry workshop at UC Riverside. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times