The Panther (a sentimental poetic repost)

A poem by Rainer Maria Rilke translated by my father, Donald Heiney/MacDonald Harris  In 1967, Dad’s  colleague Hazard Adams was working on an anthology of literature in translation. He was after a translation from the German of Rilke’s “Der Panther” but couldn’t find a decent English version. My dad said “Let me take a look”, and took the poem home for the weekend. The next Monday he produced this, which is the one Adams used.


Jardin des Plantes, Paris

The bars go by, and watching them his sight
grows tired and fails to grasp what eyes are for.
There are a thousand bars, it seems to him;
behind the thousand bars there’s nothing more.

The supple gait of swift and powerful steps
pacing out its circle on the ground
is like a dance of strength around a center
in which a great bewildered mind is bound.
Yet now and then the curtain of the pupil
silently parts: a picture goes inside,
slips through the tightened limbs, and in the heart
ceases to be, like something that has died.



The Chancellor thought the Regents would block it, so he said, and that the fight would somehow tarnish the new law school. Chancellor Drake, that’s your job. You are supposed to argue with the Regents on behalf of UCI. What is it, exactly, that you DO here?

Also, UCI is not Orange County University. It is an internationally known research institution and member of a statewide University. It doesn’t have to have a major in John Wayne or a Disneyland Institute. And don’t let Donald Bren tell you what to do because he gave you $20 million and you named the law school after him. What’s he gonna do, take it back?

Don’t worry, Mr. Chemerinsky. We’ll visit you on Sakhalin Island.

Bonus points: Chapman says they’ll hire him in an instant. And not just Chapman, but the Chapman legal dean, who’s a rightwinger and debates Chereminsky weekly on the radio. Oddly enough he’d very much enjoy having his debate opponent working in his office. Viva Chapman!

It must be Summer Intern Time in Marketing. Everywhere.

1. Do not describe produce as brown. There is a huge library of Lands’ End colors for this exact purpose. The tomatoes themselves look fine. You could get away with calling them russet, or golden, or even tawny. Start over. Also: ew.

2. This is a university. It is, in fact, a university with a huge Asian and Asian-American presence. And this university is in a city with a large Chinese-American population; they’re a dominant presence. Using ching-chong-chinaman “Confucius Say” jokes on a package of fortune cookies isn’t just stupid or insensitive. It’s suicidal.

Chabon on MFA programs and being a little shit

This is interesting. Michael Chabon was a student of my father’s in the UCI MFA program more than 20 years ago. He’s been a family friend since, and I also admire his writing.

In his website column this week he writes about the value of the program. He’s given props to my dad before by name, many times, which was gratifying. This is more interesting. He talks about the phenomenon of being “a little shit” as he says he was, or more particularly a talented by self-absorbed young privileged man, and then being dumped into a group of peers who were talented and also different: older, more experienced, more mature, and more than half of them female.

Food for thought, especially on the topic of male literary misogyny. Oh, and I see it was published in Details, the magazine of little shits everywhere.

UCI Medical School keeps getting better and better

Latest hoot: The two docs who head up their Cardiology Division are neither board certified nor California licensed.

May require bugmenot to read. Short version:

The men who run UCI’s cardiology program, Jagat Narula and Mani Vannan, have not been certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine either in internal medicine or in cardiology. Most cardiologists meet those prerequisites before setting up a practice.

In addition, neither Narula, the division chief, nor Vannan, the associate chief, have California medical licenses. They are among a small group of doctors who practice in the state under a legal provision intended to give universities flexibility in hiring professors temporarily. They are licensed in Pennsylvania.