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La Piccioletta Barca - Issue 17

Issue 17 · March 2020

Stimulus: Photograph of beekeepers in Mexico, taken by National Geographic’s Nadia Shira Cohen.

In the current issue:

The Thread

The Thread is LPB’s bi-weekly column, publishing sequences of linked pieces, which explore the various intricacies of human thought.

Both the Prickles and the Cold – By Daniel Olivieri

My friend Armaan used to mention an allegory which compared humans to hedgehogs in winter. The hedgehogs don’t want to get near each other because they each want to avoid getting pricked by one another’s prickles. However, if they stay apart…

Past Issues

Issue 1 - November 2018

Stimulus: An extract from Dante’s address to the reader in Paradiso: II: 1-7

Issue 2 - December 2018

Stimulus: A letter by Bertrand Russell to Lady Ottoline Morrel describing his recent encounter with Wittgenstein.

Issue 3 - January 2019

Stimulus: The opening scene to A Clockwork Orange, written by Anthony Burgess, and directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Issue 4 - February 2019

Stimulus: A folk Polish tune, as drawn up by Mira Zimińska-Sygietyńska and Tadeusz Sygietyński.

Issue 5 - March 2019

Stimulus: The triumph of a ‘degenerate’, a painting based on Paul Klee’s ‘Park Bei Lu’.

Issue 6 - April 2019

Stimulus: An extract on the aesthetics of Japanese toilets from Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s In Praise of Shadows.

Issue 7 - May 2019

Stimulus: A page of T.S. Eliot’s manuscript of ‘The Waste Land’, with comments and edits by Ezra Pound.

Issue 8 - June 2019

Stimulus: A sheet of Tibetan music written using the ‘Yang-Yig’ system of notation.

Issue 9 - July 2019

Stimulus: The poem ‘A worker reads history’, by Bertolt Brecht.

Issue 10 - August 2019

Stimulus: A series of panels from Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor.

Issue 11 - September 2019

Stimulus: A short scene from Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden.

Issue 12 - October 2019

Stimulus: The floor plan of the Sagrada Familia designed by Antoni Gaudi.

Issue 13 - November 2019

Stimulus: Extract from Ezra Pound’s Canto VIII.

Issue 14 - December 2019

Stimulus: The napkin on which the ‘Percentages Agreement’ between Churchill and Stalin was drafted.

Prose & Verse

The Phoenix

I have been pleading for the fire to come For a long time now; it springs up from the ground In a shining, shifting arabesque […]

The Burnt

I burn in a twirl of words, O, voice of Fire, voice of Love, voice of a language of Destruction, O, voice of a Seal […]

Review of the letters of Adolph Törneros

Adolph Törneros was one of the most prominent members of the new school of romanticism which developed at the university in Uppsala in the early 1800s. During his lifetime he published very little, his oeuvre amounting to nothing more than some texts on Cicero and ancient Rome. What makes him a remembered and still cherished part of the Swedish literary panthéon are his letters.

Boredom and Excitement

Chapter 4, from his The Conquest of Happiness, 1930   Boredom as a factor in human behaviour has received, in my opinion, far less attention than […]


Visual Arts

A Craftsman Weaves History

A small comic strip satirising the 17th century Franco-Dutch war.


Paper cut and acrylics on paper.

Improvisation in D minor

A piano composition on the spur of the moment.

A Discussion Between Two Pianos

Six pieces performed on the spur of the moment.



Hidden in the thread

Thread on fabric [200 x 200cm]
& A conversation on the piece with Vasiliki Poula

Refreezing the Arctic – In discussion with Hugh Hunt

In this interview, I speak with Dr Hugh Hunt (Reader in Engineering Dynamics and Vibration at Cambridge University, and Fellow of Trinity College) about the unravelling arctic climate, why he believes the world needs geoengineering (and a scale-back on globalization) and the role of science and individual decision-making in policy.

About the journal

Our piccioletta barca, or ‘little boat’, aims to embark upon a journey without a destination; a platform from which we can explore interests and passions from a diverse group of disciplines. Ranging from music to art, philosophy and literature, we have attempted to delve into the intricacies of thought, without allowing content or form to constrain us.

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