Archive for ‘Best of 2010’


“To keep on keeping on, like a bird that flew…”

As another year sighs and sinks in its grave, it’s worth asking: Why blog? For me, the answer is easy: If you like to write stuff that’s too big for social media and too odd for traditional media, a blog is still the way to go—as long as you understand it’s a long-haul medium that demands that you keep finding new things to say.

Thanks for visiting “Quid Plura?” during 2010! I don’t know who most of you are, but in an age of infinite diversions, I’m deeply grateful to you for reading what I write.

Below is a rundown of the better posts from the year that was. If you like what you see, come back in 2011; I’m here all year.

A year can’t pass without at least one post about the medieval Balkans. The 2010 entry was a review of a book about the Albanian take on Battle of Kosovo.

This blog also wouldn’t be anything without Iceland. When Eyjafjallajökull erupted, I explained why the volcano’s name was less cryptic than it seemed.

And Charlemagne! Yes, Charlemagne lingers here yet. Enjoy a review of Christopher Lee’s concept album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross.

Stop and notice Northwest D.C.’s most medieval-inspired apartment building.

I got atypically personal and did a meme: the ten books that most influenced you.

Consider why a novel retelling The Odyssey deserved better coverage than it got.

In June, finding a “medieval blue” shirt gave me the opportunity to crack myself up with a ridiculous opening paragraph.

Many medievalists don’t know that Thomas Jefferson loved the Anglo-Saxons, or that the Great Seal almost had Germanic heroes on it.

“Quid Plura?” readers met two interesting, interconnected figures: the late Beowulf translator Alan Sullivan and Danish polymath and Beowulf scholar N.S.F. Grundtvig.

I cheered the return of “Green,” Adam Golaski’s wonderful, idiomatic translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

in September, local Oxbridge alumni rekindled a medieval riparian rivalry.

I published a neat little book, and some of you bought it: a translation of the Middle Scots romance The Tale of Charlemagne and Ralph the Collier.

For Thanksgiving, we made medieval Islamic carrot jam, and then my seven-year-old nephew and I found Beowulf in the bayou.

Christmas brought the return of the medieval gift guide and a squeaky, cartoonish rerun.

When you make the modern pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral, who goes there with you?

When you visit the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, what aren’t you seeing?

Here’s a serious post about something I find rather obvious: why we should speak out when writers and artists are threatened with death.

The National Cathedral looms large on this blog. In 2010, it revealed a trace of Arthuriana during Snowpocalypse and inspired an ode to lavender, and to songs about it.

Visit the cathedral garden, for this is what it looks like when butterflies mate.

Of course, 2010 also saw the first half of “Looking Up,” an ongoing series of poems from the National Cathedral gargoyles. For a refresher, read the gargoyle FAQ or check out individual poems:

A bitter but alliterative Anglo-Saxon mother.
A Gollum-like monster on All Hallows’ Eve.
A creepy dragon with an Arthurian autumn elegy.
A bird who celebrates Sukkot.
Medusa,
with angels.
A unicorn with Easter dreams.
A scholarly owl with stories to tell.
A smiling dragon.
A tradition-minded frog.
An indefatigable fish.
A mouse with his eyes on circling skies.
A restless, bookish elephant.
An insecure, artsy deer.
The anecdotal basenji.
A lovelorn, molar-clutching monster.
A medieval-minded birdwatcher.
Pan,
not even mostly dead.
Baby Pan,
undaunted by snow.
A rooster, resigned to vicissitude.
The bishop, recalling Chaucer.
A fallen angel, who knows his Chaucer, too.
A ghazal by a cicada…
…and a cockroach’s reply.

(For the sake of completism, here are the gargoyle poems from 2009: the wild boar, the monster on the rooftop, and the octopus reappraising her lobster.)

Thanks for reading! Here’s to a prosperous and prolific 2011.