Posts Tagged James Joyce

Bloomsday 2019

Bloomsday 2019 . . .

Trifolium pratense

Bloomsday on a Father’s Day Sunday, 2019 celebrates quite a packed, stacked, and weighty day for the wildflowers situated in sutu within a peak perlod of . . . bloom:


(NYC 06 2019)


(NYC 06 2019)


Wild Mustard
(NYC 06 2019)


Bittersweet Nightshade
(NYC 06 2019)


Canada Thistle
(NYC 06 2019)

ReJoyce and Enjoy!

(NYC 06 16 2019)

— rPs 06 16 2019

Postscript: Read WWV’s original Joycean odyssey here:

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Bloomsday 2018

Bloomsday 2018

Clover . . . Bloom.
(NYC 06 2018)

Today is June 16, the date immortalized in James Joyce’s novel, Ulysses, the day now come to be called . . .


– rPs 06 16 2018

Postscript: Read the full Bloomsday story from the WWV archives here:

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Bloomsday 2017

Bloomsday 2017 . . .

Trifolium Trio
(NYC 06 2017)

Today is Bloomsday.

Title Page:
Ulysses by James Joyce
(NYC 06 16 2017)


– rPs 06 16 2017

Postscript: Reconnect with the original wwv Bloomsday story here:

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Bloomsday 2013

Bloomsday 2013 . . .

Common Mullein begins to show beside the Corporal John A. Seravalli playground on Horatio Street. (photo taken 06 16 2013)

Common Mullein begins to show beside the Corporal John A. Seravalli playground on Horatio Street. (photo taken 06 16 2013)

A lot of rain has fallen on NYC, nearly 20 inches since the middle of May. The green lining is a bloom as rich as one in Dublin.

There are a multitude of wildflowers at their peak as a result of the rain. One is the massive Common Mullein photographed above on this Bloomsday.

Speaking of which . . . I have a new short story titled “Bloomsday” in the new issue 4.4 of The Flyfish Journal. There is a thrill in this, having fused a literary favorite with my love of the outdoors. The magazine is on newstands now. Perhaps you, too, can enjoy my latest attempt at pairing words with wildflowers.

rPs 06 16 2013

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Bloomsday 2011

Bloomsday 2011 . . .

Wild Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis, blooms in Central Park on . . . Bloomsday, of course. (photo taken 06 16 2011)

Today, June 16th, is Bloomsday, the date into which all the Dublin world of the character Leopold Bloom was condensed in the novel Ulysses by James Joyce.

Last year I wrote an extensive essay that ties together all the threads of meaning this literary holiday holds for me as a writer. Here is the link for further reading:

During my years in Philadelphia, I spent Bloomsday in and around the Rosenbach Museum & Library, which has the original handwritten manuscript of the novel in its extensive holdings. Every June 16th, rain or shine, the 2000 block of Delancey Place becomes a gentile gathering place for fans, and lovers, of the novel. There, on the Rosenbach’s stoop, the novel is read aloud with musical interludes culled from the text. Various celebrities, literary and otherwise, take turns reading passages from the big good book. I had the pleasure to do so on the 100th anniversary year, 2004. The placard placed in front of the microphone as I read my script listed me as:

ron P. swegman

Angler & Author

This moment in the literary limelight still makes me smile. Squeezed between Mister Mayor and Madame University President was this “Angler & Author” fellow who read the “Proteus” section of Ulysses with an ear for the complex cadence of Joyce’s prose. Who was he? Well, at that time, he was the author of the forthcoming collection of stories Philadelphia on the Fly.

This year, as a New Yorker, the “work-in-progress” is Wildflowers of the West Village. I spent this Bloomsday to that end in Central Park. I first fly fished at Harlem Meer where the purple pickerel weed was in full flower. I next hiked through the North Woods, down through the heart of the park, around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, finishing up at Columbus Circle. Seven plus hours of shoe leather in total; kind of like Joyce’s own epic wanderer.

The star bloom on this day turned out to be Wild Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis, a member of the family Ranunculaceae (Joyce would probably appreciate my generous use of the Latin). This pretty flower is a native perennial, fond of woodlands (where I found the plants I photographed), and one of the more delicate red wildflowers to be found near the cusp of spring and summer.

Happy Bloomsday . . .

Closeup view of the distinctive bell-shaped bloom of Wild Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis. (photo taken 06 16 2011)

– rPs 06 16 2011

Postscript: Visit the Rosenbach Museum & Library online here:

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Bloomsday . . .

BLOOM, close up, of a Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta) growing in Hudson River Park. (photo taken 06 16 2010).

June 16th is Bloomsday, the date immortalized in Ulysses, the novel by James Joyce.

How the following anecdote relates to wildflowers can be found within the layers of language art Joyce built into the name, Bloom: a pun, a literary device, an exercise that holds the skeleton key to the writings of James Joyce, the skeleton key all writers share in the detail. His writing, and this holiday in honor of that writing, both allowed my own writer’s life to take root, to grow, and to bloom into this latest incarnation . . . Wildflowers of the West Village.

Joyce’s Bloom is not a flower; he is a character, an Irish Jewish everyman whose day-in-the-life in Dublin on June 16th, 1904 turned into material enough to sustain an 800-page narrative that shaped the course of Modernist fiction and culture.

Joyce wrote two slim collections of poetry Chamber Music and Pomes Penyeach), a play (Exiles), a collection of short stories (Dubliners), and three novels (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, and Finnegan’s Wake), each one more ambitious in scope and scale than the last. His total published output was modest compared to some other literary giants, yet the quality and depth of his poetry and prose has more than made up for his paucity of titles.

My own relationship with the writing of James Joyce has brought me to the point I am now making. I have had several literary influences during my personal evolution as a writer, and of these Joyce remains the one at the head of the stairway: Joyce is Hemingway without the shotgun, Fitzgerald without the crack up, Ellison without the creative block, McCullers without the frail and tragic streak of burden.

I first encountered James Joyce during my ambitious AP junior year. I engaged the author in the form of a spring term paper for AP English Literature class. I spoke of “AP Eng Lit” on the phone with classmates as I was then deep into Orwell, Golding, and other dystopian worlds when the Joycean opened before me like a flower.

Bloomed, yes, a lock on the imagery of meant to be.

Ulysses was still in future when I chose to compose an essay based on A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Young man, school, alienated matched the general theme of my avocation reading during free time. I was already no stranger to the existential, and the pun and allusion. I opened my paperback where the theme of an alienated school boy’s maturation was one with which I assumed kinship with the author as a young man who could readily identify. The Jesuit elements were further from my own Marianist and secular experience. The rhythm to the prose flowed in a way musical, one great to my instinctual taste.

I enjoyed the novel and found the atmosphere of the book influencing my budding aesthetics. I began to think more broadly and started to view language as a kind of clay that I could sculpt. Adjectives, a favorite, could be colors I could blend together in sentences of description. Despite this new view, careful research, and earnest writing, I had trouble typing up the final draft of my minor piece. What a pothole for a young prose writer to encounter: technical difficulties. I possesed no electric typewriter of my own in 1984, and my grandfather carlifted to me after a help call one that was generously manual, antique, with a worn ribbon. The machine was in such a state of repair that I spent more time extracting my fingers from between keys than I did making clean copy. The ten or twelve pages of the final legible draft took me three days to complete, which was two days too late for my English teacher’s deadline. He gave me a final grade of 67 for the paper, and the term, which was three points below the minimum passing grade of 70.

I had failed . . . failed at writing.

Twenty years later, I was living, and writing, in Philadelphia, in the neighborhood shared with the Rosenbach Museum and Library. This institution happens to own the original handwritten manuscript of Ulysses and holds an annual day-long reading in front of its building along the 2000 block of Delancey Place in Center City Philadelphia. Each June 16th, various regional politicians, business leaders, and cultural figures take turns reading passages from Ulysses in chronological order. The day finishes with an intimate call-and-response performance by the blind poets and brothers, David and Daniel Simpson, who recite, by braille, Bloom’s slipping into sleep, followed by Molly’s erotic closing monologue, performed in one-of-a-kind dramatic fashion by actress Drucie McDaniel.

During 2004, the centenary year of Bloomsday, I was invited by the Rosenbach to read a passage from the “Proteus” section of Ulysses as part of the Bloomsday 100 celebration. I had just signed a contract for my first book, Philadelphia on the Fly, so I was listed on the bill as “Angler & Author” . . . a rather unique reader’s bio. How sweet this last literary laugh was for me, the English class failure, the Joycean failure; a Dedalus who was now also a Phoenix who had become a published author and a reader at the 100th anniversary of James Joyce’s high holiday, Bloomsday.

How this anecdote relates to wildflowers can be found within the layers of language art Joyce built into the name, Bloom: a pun, a literary device, an exercise that holds the skeleton key to the writings of James Joyce; a skeleton key some, perhaps all, writing writers share, there, in the specific chosen detail. His writing, and this holiday in honor of that writing, both allowed my own writer’s life to take root, to grow, and to bloom into this latest incarnation . . . Wildflowers of the West Village.

— rPs 06 16 2010

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