blog,personal commentary,reflections on the human condition,ephemera,notes from the underbelly
http://web.ncf.ca/ek867/wood_s_lot.html - Aug 20, 2014 11:47:07 AM - Nov 28, 2004 7:34:47 AM
August 20, 2014
Alfred Kubin d. August 20, 1959
Quiz: Which Siglum From Finnegans Wake Are You? Eric Jettfull stoopSo? Who do you no tonigh, lazy and gentleman? The echo is where in the back of the wodes; callhim forth! (Shaun Mac Irewick, briefdragger, for the concern of Messrs Jhon Jhamieson and Song, rated one hundrick and thin per storehundred on this nightly quisquiquock of the twelve apostrophes, set by Jockit Mic Ereweak. He misunderstruck and aim for am ollo of number three of them and left his free natural ripostes to four of them in their own fine artful disorder.)
“Howl” in Italian Evan FleischerElectric LiteratureThe Page
... (Fernanda) Pivano’s correspondence with Allen Ginsberg in relation to the poem’s translation is instructive. In their letters, Ginsburg answers Pivano’s questions about “Kaddish” and other poems, describing his mother’s “paranoiac complains … used as surreal fragments”; defining cultural references (“Woody Woodpecker is an allied cartoon character, hero of a series of cartoon disasters in technicolor”); explaining how “the LSD poem” was “written at Stanford’s Mental Health Experimental Lab and I’d asked the doctor to bring me various things to look at while under state of drug — Gertrude Stein on phonograph, some Wagner records.” This is all part of the inquiry that French poet and translator Yves Bonnefoy identified as essential to capturing the spirit or essence of a work in translation: You don’t want your car to take you to the supermarket and back; you want it to sail from the woods to a farm to a city to a beach clogged with kites and back again. So it is with language.
Basket of berriesS. Fisher Corliesca. 1879-1885
I think Bernhard has become too familiar as the turncoat of Austria, as the scourge of fascism and Catholicism, as the enemy of the middle class, and so on. He’s become a little too easy to accommodate as a pricker of pomposity and an exposer of hypocrisy. Bernhard is more than a satirist. Satire relies on certainties and norms, on the sureness of values, for its effect. So thinking of Bernhard merely as a satirist allows us to contain his work, to make sense of his wildness. It allows us to suppose that he is one of us, on our side... There is something devilish in Bernhard. ‘I will not serve’: that’s what his novels say. This, for me, is what is marked about his comedy. Black comedy, goes the definition, refuses to treat tragic materials tragically. It makes us laugh at tragic things. But I would go further, and say that black comedy refuses to treat comic materials solely comically, or satirical materials solely satirically. Black comedy flourishes in a time when certainty and norms are in question; when there is a lack of confidence about values. It’s wild. It’s not a safety valve. It goes too far. It is indiscriminate. One minute we might nod our heads at its targets, the next minute we might find ourselves the butt of the joke. Above all, black comedy permits no comic catharsis – no return to what is good and valuable about the world... Did Bernhard influence me? Roger Blin: 'I know Antonin Artaud only through his trajectory in me which is endless'. I would say the same of Bernhard.
August 19, 2014
d. August 19, 1957
In the Noon of Contradictions
excerpted from Terre et poésie, 1956
Translated from the French by Marci Vogel, 2013
There is no wave more fatal than the sea; no tree more illustrious than the forest.
Neither silt nor star; we take after one & the other, both at once.
Opposites overrun our paths; our way is made by the slow pace of choice.
Breath short, we walk by stopping places; the gaze impatient, we know not how to stay.
Move forward, recover joy, brave obstacles, perhaps defeat, then begin afresh: such present our possibilities.
Let us love the rays of a threatened sun; precious for us is the pond that retains its share of sky.
May we shield those who failed us the whole mystery of their face. Injured and at fault, we are thereby judges, donning the bitter mask.
The weaknesses of others, when they scratch our tender skins, press us to deny all past accord. Turned toward possession, we are without vision and without pardon.
Sometimes absent — the other side of notice — , we leave as guaranteed bonds our ancestral features, reassuring as habits.
But the journey is not measured by distances; and the look back barters neither uncultivated regions nor impassioned lands.
In his 1996 address, “Translation as Challenge and Source of Happiness,” Ricoeur linked the complexities of translation to the title of Antoine Berman’s 1984 work, L’Épreuve de l’étranger: “These difficulties are accurately summarized in the term ‘test’ [épreuve], in the double sense of ‘ordeal’ [peine endurée] and ‘probation’: testing period, as we say, of a plan, of a desire or perhaps even of an urge, the urge to translate.”
And so Christine begins to laugh her happiness in section 1, but she does not drop the challenge of happiness’ charge before arriving at its source. The poem must still be written, the effort endured. So too in translation, in which not only the translator is tested, but also the translated.
Chedid claimed épreuve as a “touchstone” word and translated it not as test but as proof, something more elastic, contingent, and enduring. She explains her choice of the word as the title of her 1983 collection Épreuves du vivant: “The resources of the word ‘proofs’ are infinite. How can we not be reminded of photography, of images being inverted? How can we fail to delve into this word so rich in exhortations, risks, pathways to be explored? Poetry reveals itself in our destinies by repeatedly making appeals to life; poetry is all at once the spur, the hope, and the proof of the Living.”
As a member of the Living, the étrangère may share the desires, hopes, and tests of the native-born, but she is not to be entirely trusted, nor are any kin under the stranger’s purview. As Jane Hirshfield points out: “Translated works are Trojan horses, carriers of secret invasion. They open the imagination to new images and beliefs, new modes of thought, new sounds. Mistrust of translation is part of the instinctive immune reaction by which every community attempts to preserve its particular heritage and flavor: to control language is to control thought.”
If one were in Rome, Hirshfield notes, she might very well be thus accused: “Traduttore, traditore (translator, traitor).”
For the potential betrayal that resides in translation, Ricoeur proposes linguistic hospitality as a remedy: “I am inclined to favor entry through the foreign door, that is for sure … [W]ithout the test of the foreign, would we be sensitive to the strangeness of our own language? … [W]ithout that test, would we not be in danger of shutting ourselves away in the sourness of a monologue, alone with our books?”
The mathematical symbol that resembles an 11 is used to indicate both parallel relationship and incomparability. It is by way of this symbol that a host might become both parallel to and incomparable with a traitor:
And it is in this very way of seeing oddness doubled that makes possible both the offering of an invitation and its acceptance: “Linguistic hospitality, therefore, is the act of inhabiting the word of the Other paralleled by the act of receiving the word of the Other into one’s own home, one’s own dwelling.”
1920 - 2011
First Image of Revolt
Translated from the French by Judy Cochran
The woman without memories
Has left for the high lands
The ancestors' withered field
In the mornings of wrath
She runs dressed in black
Among the scattered flocks
Nothing is there
But a star village
Resting heavily on a hill.
Gianni Berengo Gardin
Signs and Machines – Maurizio Lazzarato
reviewed by Patrick Lyons
full stopTracking down texts that gracefully bridge theory and praxis can be a thankless quest. In most cases we’re caught on one side or the other: tackling either sprawling philosophical abstractions or over-specific studies trapped in a singular historical moment. One never touches ground while the other never sees the sky. Yet every so often we stumble upon a remarkable book which somehow manages to toe the line between these two camps, if not balancing their influences, at least drawing clear lines of contact. Such a book is not necessarily one which flawlessly and meticulously transposes the philosophical onto the everyday, but rather one which points out their preexisting intimacies, provoking speculation and connecting ground and sky rather than struggling to collapse their distance.
Maurizio Lazzarato’s recently translated Signs and Machines: Capitalism and the Production of Subjectivity falls somewhere in this sphere, effectively balancing and joining critiques of contemporary capitalism, complex philosophies of subjection (or the complex social production of individual subjectivities), and everyday existence, touching current western politics, yet preserving a general openness and applicability. While in essence a theoretical text, Signs and Machines manages to translate abstract systems of micro-politics and semiotics into clear contact with a more grounded reading of affect, the body, and the political potential of any and every given subject, retaining a broad scope of accessible praxis.
Translated from the French by Lynne Goodheart and Jon Wagner
The Truth is nothing but a lie
Tenacious lmirage of the living
It mocks our vigilance
And petrifies time
Truth is armed
Its spur the forbidden
Its bronze laws segregate us
Its words have walls and ceilings
Its single target a delusion
Harvests are legion
Rather let us salue our fugitive suns
Words freed from symbols
Our paths on the move
Our multiple horizons
August 18, 2014
Heinz Trökes1913 - 1997
The poet and the dictionary Alan Wallfortnightly review
Geoffrey Hill’s poetic career has been mediated through his engagement with the dictionary. And that dictionary is first and foremost the OED. There is no greater dictionary in the world, and its making constitutes one of the great intellectual events of the twentieth century, though it started life in the nineteenth. There had never been anything like this before. Now the language itself has become the documented labyrinth of its own manifold meanings. Now history can be traced uttering itself thus and thus in one mutating word after another. The thought of a poet writing in English who would not grow excited turning the pages of the OED, or clicking on the electronic version, is so dismal that one wishes such a personage an even smaller readership than modern poets normally manage to acquire. The anti-self to our word-blind, purblind poet is undoubtedly Geoffrey Hill. His verse uses lexicography and philology as heuristic principles. Where Robert Graves leapt out of the window after Laura Riding (even if he did go down a storey first), one suspects it would require the defenestration of Hill’s beloved bound set of the OED to elicit any such voluntary lapsus from him. The White Goddess, being no better than she should be, might have had a slightly harder time of it, had she been strutting her stuff in Worcestershire. With A. E. Housman to the left of her, and Geoffrey Hill to the right, she would have received some very old-fashioned looks indeed; chilly gazes from fellows not so easily beguiled. And acerbity is a necessary part of our theme. Acerbity is integral to Hill’s achievements in both verse and prose. Sentimentality is anathema. There are no flies on this fellow. The constable’s son is nothing if not forensic. Every emotion is likely to be treated as the scene of a crime, past, present, or to come.
The Alphabet of Old Friends1874 Walter Crane1845 - 1915
I Didn't Come Here To Make Friends: An Exchange With Michael Lista By Jason Gurielmaisonneuve
Michael Lista Don’t think your subject, whatever it may be, imparts any fascination or nobility to your poem. A poem about a personal tragedy doesn’t get any more of a pass than a poem about The Real Housewives of New Jersey—it’s all in how it’s written. Poems are also bad places to do advocacy, inefficient places to politic. A poem’s town square is mostly empty, its bullhorn out of batteries, its soapbox too short. Even a poet as great as Seamus Heaney fell victim to the impulse, when in a moment of nationalist zeal he wrote his worst poem, “Open Letter,” a perspicuously partisan bit of doggerel that whipped the government of his tongue mum. Don’t make writing choices that make your work easier, and then blame them on the world. Don’t write in sentence fragments because you think the world is fragmentary. Don’t rely on elision and then say the world is discontinuous. Don’t write facile absurdism on account of the world being absurd. It isn’t just fragmentary and discontinuous and absurd; as Siri keeps reminding you, it’s also whole and contiguous and intelligible.
The poetry world is so like the fashion world that way, isn’t it? Trend-driven and often emptily stylish. The only difference is that at least fashion recognizes and makes the distinction between prêt-à-porter and haute couture, a line that for all intents and purposes is the bottom line. People buy and wear and live in the former, and only marvel curiously at the latter.
Settings of the writings of US Objectivist poet Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), scored for soprano and cello in 1998 and 2000, begin and close the album. As Bayan Northcott writes in the booklet, “These concentrated songs demand the utmost of their performers in precision, expression and timing. As in Webern’s settings, the few words and notes on the page can seem to imply whole worlds of thought and feeling”. player.ecmrecords.com/harrison-birtwistle--chamber-musicFlowervilleSpeculative realism has, over the course of its rapid and controversial emergence in the past decade, been frequently criticized from the perspective of historical materialism, for its putative reliance on abstraction and eschewal of a sufficiently rigorous ideological alignment. This paper takes such critiques as a starting point for an examination of the contributions recent thought in the area of speculative realism has to offer the study of the humanities – specifically, the study of literature and literary history. In particular, contemporary realist thought has the potential to enable scholars of literature to move beyond the anthropocentric and specialized notions of history as an exclusively cultural entity, which have dominated the discipline since the twentieth century. Paying especially close attention to the work of Graham Harman and Manuel DeLanda, it is my argument that emergent realist philosophy offers literary scholars a set of powerful conceptual tools which can be put toward the work of accounting for the hitherto neglected ontological status of the literary text – illuminating the status of the text as a particular variety of real and physical object that participates in a system of real and physical history and memory.21st Century Speculative Philosophy:Reflections on the “New Metaphysics” and its Realism and Materialism Leon NiemoczynskiAbstract Regarding the state of contemporary metaphysics, as it has been said, “There’s something in the air.” My goal in this essay is to offer some brief reflections on the state of contemporary metaphysics, otherwise called contemporary “speculative” philosophy – the “something in the air” – that has resurfaced within the early part of the 21st century. In order to clarify the nature of the new metaphysics in question I proceed by isolating geographically and topically two main tendencies of thought which appear to constitute it: namely continental realism and continental materialism. I argue that clarifying the nature of these tendencies better characterizes what metaphysics means today. With respect to the possible ambiguity of “continental realism” or “continental materialism” in the 21st century, a consideration of “speculative realism” seems necessary if only to position my analysis upon a specific conceptual map. From there I offer thoughts as to how contemporary continental realism and materialism (the “new metaphysics”) may be said to be defined first and foremost by its engagement with a concept identified as “correlationism,” a central feature of the new metaphysics’ rejection of the sort of philosophy that has come before it.
[ship]c.1937-50WolsEndless recordingNietzsche And The Burbs Lars IyerThe video archive. The photo archive. Endless recording. Endless photography. Too many recordings. Too many shoots. When will we ever watch these things? Look at these things? Who has the time? But that’s not the point. It’s enough that’s it was recorded done. That the gesture was made. Enough that we’ve backed up reality. That the event has been stored. The event, lived in the mode of what it will have been. Real things, experienced as more or less perfect opportunities to produce this ‘will have happened’. And what happens now is entirely displaced by a planned future time in which it will be to be experienced. And the present is entirely displaced by a planned future present in which we will watch it again. The present does not count. The past is archived. The future is the time in which we’ll live through the past… Experience is deferred, as events are deferred. Experience is not experienced. Not lived through. What happens no longer happens. And time is calling out. The present is crying for help. And we are calling out. We are crying out for help...
August 17, 2014
Beehives, Approaching Storm
d. August 16, 1963
I used to notice everything, and spoke
A language full of details that I’d seen,
And people were amused; but now I see
Only a little way. What can they mean,
My phrases? They come drifting like the mist
I look through if someone appears to be
Smiling in my direction. Have they been?
This was the time when I most liked to smoke.
My watch-band feels too loose around my wrist.
My body, sensitive in every way
Save one, can still proceed from chair to chair,
But in my mind the fires are dying fast.
Breathe through a scarf. Steer clear of the cold air.
Think less of love and all that you have lost.
You have no future so forget the past.
Let this be no occasion for despair.
Cherish the prison of your waning day.
Remember liberty, and what it cost.
tr. Christina MacSweeney
brooklyn quarterly(....)hat tip to Riley Dog
A group of architects from the National University (UNAM), headed by Carlos González Lobo, have christened these spaces “relingos.” I’m not sure where the term comes from, but I imagine it could be related to the realengas of old Castilian, a term that refers to pieces of land not belonging to the Crown, abandoned to disuse. (The strange ups and downs of words: in certain Latin American countries, realenga is now used to talk about an animal with no owner; in others, the word is synonymous with “layabout.”)
I’m also pretty certain that relingo is derived from another similar concept: the terraines vagues of the Catalan architect Ignasi de Solà-Morales. Just like a relingo, the terraine vague is an ambiguous space, a piece of waste ground without defined borders or limiting fences, a species of plot on the margins of metropolitan life, even if it is physically to be found in the very center of a city, at the junction of two main avenues, or under a newly built bridge.
Spaces survive the passage of time in the same way a person survives his death: in the close alliance between the memory and the imagination that others forge around it. They exist as long as we keep thinking of them, imagining in them; as long as we remember them, remember ourselves there, and, above all, as long as we remember what we imagined in them. A relingo—an emptiness, an absence—is a sort of depository for possibilities, a place that can be seized by the imagination and inhabited by our phantom-follies. Cities need those vacant lots, those silent gaps where the mind can wander freely.
Field of Barley by the Sea
Rounded with a Sleep
A new poem by Clive James
The sun seems in control, the tide is out:
Out to the sandbar shimmers the lagoon.
The little children sprint, squat, squeal and shout.
These shallows will be here until the moon
Contrives to reassert its influence,
And anyway, by then it will be dark.
Old now and sick, I ponder the immense
Ocean upon which I will soon embark:
As if held in abeyance by dry land
It waits for me beyond that strip of sand.
Clive James on death, dragons and writing in the home stretch
Corn Feverfew III
The Country North of Belleville Al Purdy Bush land scrub land - Cashel Township and Wollaston Elzevir McClure and Dungannon green lands of Weslemkoon Lake where a man might have some opinion of what beauty is and none deny him for miles — Yet this is the country of defeat where Sisyphus rolls a big stone year after year up the ancient hills picknicking glaciers have left strewn with centuries' rubble backbreaking days in the sun and rain when realization seeps slow in the mind without grandeur or self deception in noble struggle of being a fool – (....) And this is a country where the young leave quickly unwilling to know what their fathers know or think the words their mothers do not say – Herschel Monteagle and Faraday lakeland rockland and hill country a little adjacent to where the world is a little north of where the cities are an sometime we may go back there to the country of our defeat Wollaston Elzevir and Dungannon and Weslemkoon lake land where the high townships of Cashel McClure and Marmora once were — But it's been a long time since and we must enquire the way of strangers – ...(more)
Looking For Al Purdy
The poetry of a land left behind.
There are only two chairs on the deck at the Purdy A-Frame, but what chairs they are: having once cushioned hundreds of illustrious Canadian rumps, the Muskoka loungers are the furniture of the nation’s artistic history. Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Lynn Crosbie, Milton Acorn, Dennis Lee, Stephen Heighton, George Bowering. Writers who were just becoming writers, writers who weren’t yet writers and writers who had stopped being writers, all passing wild grape wine and words between the chairs. They fought over ideas, laughed and swore, and, by almost all accounts, kept on drinking.
Eurithe leans back in the sun and I ask her question after question about Al, whom I never got to know. That is to say, whom I never met. These are failings of mine: having been born a little too late or having learned to drive a little too late to visit him here, having not read good Canadian poetry, and his poetry in particular, while he was still alive. He died in 2000, quite far from where his wife and I sit in Ameliasburgh. Eurithe is patient and funny as she gives me his advice on writing (“you’ve gotta chase the money”; “write for anyone who will send you around the world”) and on what life at the A-Frame was like—cold at first, then warmer; always full of voices, Ondaatje’s leonine purr or Atwood’s cantering drawl.
This year marks Eurithe’s last chance to fight with the land to make it fit the image in her mind. It occurs to me, as we finish off the cinnamon buns, that I’ll be the last writer to visit Purdy here. Then I realize he’s not.
For years, I’ve been looking for Al Purdy. But not before I spent years avoiding him, in the same way I avoided everything from the place where I grew up. I had the firm conviction that when you leave home—especially if home is a farm that doesn’t work as a farm, where the power is sometimes shut off because the electricity bill hasn’t been paid, on a laneway populated with tarot card readers, glass-blowers, playwrights and a woman firmly believed to be a witch, near a small town with no industry other than tourism and barely that anymore—you want to stay gone. You scorn home when it peeks its head into the new life you’ve built: during a casual run-in with an elementary school classmate on the streets of your new city, or when a poem about it appears on a third-year university syllabus.
A Field of Oats
August 14, 2014
Painter on the Road to Tarascon
Vincent, Homesick for the Land of Pictures
Is this what you intended, Vincent
that we take our rest at the end of the grove
nestled into our portion beneath the bird's migration
saying, who and how am I made better through struggle.
Or why am I I inside this empty arboretum
this inward spiral of whoop ass and vision
the leafy vine twisting and choking the tree.
O, dear heaven, if you are indeed that
or if you can indeed hear what I might say
heal me and grant me laughter's bounty
of eyes and smiles, of eyes and affection.
These starry nights alone and connected alive at the edge
the sky, the moon, the many heavenly forms
the sheer vertical act of feeling caught up in it.
To be held tight, wound tighter in the act of seeing
the gemstone brushstrokes in rays and shimmers.
The night sky, the deep sense of space, actual bodies of light
and the toil and worry and animal fear always with us
wondrous and strange companion to all our days.
To wonder and to dream and to look up at it
to go out underneath it all above and sparkling
to step into it as into a large surf in late August.
Peter Gizzi at PennSound,the Poetry Foundation and Poetry International
A Thousand Labyrinths
Ange Mlinko reviews Peter Gizzi's In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987-2011
The Starry Night
Vincent van Gogh
Beginning With A Phrase From Simone Weil
There is no better time than the present when we have lost
everything. It doesn't mean rain falling
at a certain declension, at a variable speed is without
purpose or design.
The present everything is lost in time, according to laws
of physics things shift
when we lose sight of a present,
when there is no more everything. No more presence in
In the expanding model things slowly drift and
everything better than the present is lost in no time.
A day mulches according to gravity
and the sow bug marches. Gone, the hinge cracks, the
gate swings a breeze,
breeze contingent upon a grace opening to air,
velocity tied to winging clay. Every anything in its
Wheatfield with Crows
Q&A with Peter Gizzi
by Levi Rubeck
... song has always been essential to this quest, a language being set to a music, or more specifically, for me, a sound that is an environment.
And that environment is always a negotiation between the accident of selfhood and tradition. Which is to say, that my reading, my bibliography, is a large part of my "autobiography." I am interested in how what I read-and what I write-performs and reveals to me my selfhood. In the past decade, 19th century America has been my foundation and my ground. What I've learned from that particular moment, going back to a "stance," as I mentioned above, is that poetry, American poetry in particular, is absolutely new and absolutely wide open. When I think that the first proper edition of Emily Dickinson's poems appeared just a few years before I was born, and that it was primarily in the 1980s, when I was in my 20s, that the NYU Press started producing variorum editions from Whitman's archive, it allows me to imagine that this information is still profoundly contemporary. The signal is still opening. And those 19th century authors, who were writing into the hegemony or the totalizing effect of British canonical literature, were discovering my language, the American language, with its promise, its failures, its homely motor, and its homespun condition of a developing literature. I'm not waving a flag, I'm just stating a condition of discovery. For instance, I can hear Dickinson's spiky, haunted, rebellious, and eerie tunes as punk. Poetry has become so highly populated by trenchant positions that we forget, or I can sometimes forget, that it's still open and that I too am free to become myself and to discover my voice outside of the narrowing and fracturing of micro-positioning. What's "punk" in all this is the DIY reality of the homemade, the raw voice, with its asymmetries, its reaching, and its limits.
Starry Night over the Rhone
The utter insufficiency of anti-suicide activism
What's missing from all of these efforts by mainstream culture to address the issue of suicide is any capacity to grapple with the ambivalence of life in this society. What I mean by this is the recognition that life does not automatically provide us with a reason to carry on, that the world is not waiting to shower us with pleasures if only we would embrace it. Uncertainty and vulnerability are fundamental to the human condition, and thus too are anxiety, despair, and pain. The possibility of boredom is proof enough that mere experience is insufficient. If we find a reason to persist with life, a possibility for enjoyment, it is the result of a process of struggle, an active creation - the product of an act of will, or perhaps faith, not of reason. There is always the possibility of hope, perhaps, but it is pure fantasy to suggest that it is always immediately available to us in all circumstances.
In my experience, a good psychotherapist understands this, and is willing to engage with the validity of negativity. But as a culture we do not permit such things to be expressed and acknowledged. Instead all we can muster is the absurd moralising insistence that life is always worth living - an axiom that cannot be questioned - and the corollary pathologisation of the real lived experience of those who feel otherwise. Perhaps it is because existential questions are painful that such things are confined to the therapeutic situation and the backrooms of philosophy departments. Perhaps it is because those of us who are "healthy" recognise on some level the precariousness of that position. I don't know. But I do know that socially-enforced positivity, the social ethic that commands that life must be enjoyed, consigns the reality of negativity to a grim and dangerous silence.
"Undergrowth with a Couple"
August 13, 2014
George LuksNervous Flowers Chandramohan.ScounterpunchTwo poems by Chandramohan SThe Shared Mirror Poems By Chandramohan SContemporary Literary Review India 3 Poems on Mythology by Chandramohan SThe Naked KaaliOccupied Language Chandramohan SThe New Verse News The adjectives were abandoned Suffixes and prefixes scrambled Vowels lynched and hung upside down Epithets beheaded Remnants from shattered strings Conjoined for a synthetic memory The unoccupied portions on the Map of alphabets resemble A Hieroglyphic of colonial logic symbols, The refugees flee through edited check-points And seek asylum in an alien tongue Bleaching through barbed wire fences of apartheid Abbreviating their surnames and Dislocating their punctuations Silencing their phonetics in sound bytes Stripping bare the sterile meat of An evacuated language
My Short Career in the Internet Outrage Business Dale Eisingerthe awlThe target demographic: white males, Rust Belt, fifty-plus. We came in early; I saw the sunrise every morning. We worked in New York City, but I don't think a single coworker lived there. They commuted from Long Island and Jersey and Philly, daily, to be in the office. I lived alone in Brooklyn and it was a straight shot on the M to Bryant Park. I could see the lawn and the library from my desk—the gold and yellow and green filtered light. I went home in the afternoon and got ready for bed before my friends clocked off, so I drank alone. I wasn’t alienated from the labor; the labor alienated me from everything else.
We made up the New York office of a conservative media company based in the South. In hindsight, the politics seem both hyper-specific and nebulous; the one constant is that they orbited around white-hot outrage and fear. This was not obvious to me when I replied to the "Digital Reporter" listing. I’d been in the business for a few years by then, writing candidly about art and music and related topics, and my track record wasn’t hard to come by: it would have been clear to anyone checking that I stood on the liberal side of things. But the earnest man conducting my interview assured me that my politics had nothing to do with the scope of the work I’d be doing. For the most part, he was correct. We’re all actors on the internet, right?
“Fuck it,” I said to myself, “You’ll have a job writing news.” Which is not to be confused with breaking news (getting a tip, making the wire) or reporting news (collecting a first-hand account) or making news happen (punching someone at a wedding). I was writing the news, over and over and over again. Some people call this aggregating or blogging; I called it a job. My necessary skillset was narrow.
On the Road to Ypres 1916Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson b. August 13, 1889
Pushback: Expressions of resistance to the “evertime” of constant online connectivity Stacey L Morrison, Ricardo Gomezfirst mondayAbstract As a result of the widespread connectivity provided by smartphones, laptops, and tablets, technology users can and often are continuously connected to the Internet and its communication services, a phenomenon some start to call “evertime.” However, many users who first embraced constant connectivity are now pushing back, looking for ways to resist being permanently connected and contactable. This pushback behavior is increasingly visible in the popular press, in personal blogs, and in a small number of academic studies. “Pushback” is a growing phenomenon among frequent technology users seeking to regain control, establish boundaries, resist information overload, and establish greater personal life balance. This study examines a growing body of both academic and non–academic literature, and identifies five primary motivations and five primary behaviors related to pushback. Primary pushback motivations include emotional dissatisfaction, external values, taking control, addiction, and privacy. Primary pushback behaviors are behavior adaptation, social agreement, no problem, tech control, and back to the woods. The implications these pushback motivations and behaviors pose to communication technology are discussed.
On Global CitizenshipJames Tullyin dialogue‘Global citizenship’ has emerged as the locus of struggles on the ground and of reflection and contestation in theory. This is scarcely surprising. Many of the central and most enduring struggles in the history of politics have taken place in and over the language of citizenship and the activities and institutions into which it is woven. One could say that the hopes and dreams and fears and xenophobia of centuries of individual and collective political actors are expressed in the overlapping and conflicting histories of the uses of the language of citizenship, the forms of life in which they have been employed and the locales in which they take place. This motley ensemble of contested languages, activities and institutions constitutes the inherited field of citizenship today.the anthropo.scene making up the 'world' with what we have on hand—synthetic_zero
When ‘globalization’ and ‘citizenship’ are combined they not only bring their contested histories of meanings with them, their conjunction brings into being a complex new field that raises new questions and elicits new answers concerning the meaning of, and relationship between, global governance and global citizenship. When we enquire into global citizenship, therefore, we are already thrown into this remarkably complex inherited field of contested languages, activities, institutions, processes and the environs in which they take place. This conjoint field is the problematization of global citizenship: The way that formerly disparate activities, institutions, processes and languages have been gathered together under the rubric of ‘global citizenship’, becomes the site of contestation in practice, and formulated as a problem in research, policy and theory, to which diverse solutions are presented and debated.
Holiday on the Hudsonc. 1912George Luksb. August 13, 1867
Translation Questionnaire We survey the ferrymen and women who battle the tide to bring literature to foreign shores.full stop
Walt Whitman, Democracy, and the New PoetryCraig Hickmandark ecologies - love and death in time's ruinsMore and more as I begin thinking through many of the aspects of poetic theory, history, narrative, aesthetic, and tropic poetics whether of the metonymic middle-voice, or of the metaphoric splendors of old and new lyric empowerments I begin to see a specific shape taking place between – what, for lack of a better term, the science fictionalization of the modern mind in its quest for both a posthuman and transhumanist narrative. We seem upon the cusp of a great divide in humanity, one that will bring us either toward complete extinction, or toward other stranger possibilities. There are philosophers around the planet who even now are thinking deeply on these things. From the New Materialists as Iris van der Tuin and Rick Dolphijn explain,“New materialism is then “new” in the sense that it is an attempt to ‘leap into the future without adequate preparation in the present, through becoming, a movement of becoming-more and becoming-other, which involves the orientation to the creation of the new, to an unknown future, what is no longer recognizable in terms of the present.’ In art this analysis could be the study of matter and meaning”.What does this mean for poetry?
August 12, 2014
River in Forest
1879 - 1935
Dreams Photographers Appear ToNew translations
Translated by Bela Shayevich“We are dying.” Does this mean that flowers are wilting, how.a silkscreen for Anatoly Barzakh’s leg cast
Does it mean they are crumbling with the prattle of ash —
while we are in other countries, without passports,
no transportation, some Casablanca, a station.
Touch anything and then, much later,
“in the meanwhile” will stratify afterwards.
Just “merely.” Does it mean that the gesture shimmers
like a draft in a passage, where a point
can never surpass the measure of ripples,
when you equal the sum of your pupil and moisture;
the sunset curled into it like a pledge. The air is dark —
who breathes it? Clenched and stale.
Dry. Like a beach, untroubled. You’re just a thistle,
an assimilation matrix for the stoma of color,
a grainy film on the tongue, acid amusement
of a free afternoon. A glass print
of a brass key on a wax string.
Ice or thaw — either one being
habitual to doves on the amethyst —
In any case, words give no work. With us are: “slopes,” “heel,”
“numbering” of bowstring co-oscillations. Also out of tune
song. Yet no … there’s the window
half a meter away, within reach — enormous,
like chewing croutons with your gums.
Besides, it’s long been open … No hemorrhaging,
immortality in rusty quicklime. Nothing
darkens the hand, no ink falls on the white field.
House in the wall
What We Talk About When We Talk About Poetry: A Recent View from St. Petersburg
A Translation of Arkadii Dragomoshchenko's "On the Superfluous"
It is not particularly appropriate to speak of poetry these days (today it is something unnecessary, superfluous; something that has become the lot of either poetologists trying to extract some ontological root from ephemeral quadratures, or of sentimental ignoramuses who at some point should have gone to police school). Yet it is difficult to say accurately how popular it was in the times that in turn shifted "poetic conversations" into a class of partially unidentifiable phenomena. Having gone through a series of procedures in which it was simplified by aesthetics and pneumatology, poetry found itself at a place where "everything is understood" or, on the contrary, is not worth understanding. This is at best; at worst, poetry has arrived at a certain ideological space that represents it as an instrumental practice of language.
Despite attempts at decolonizing and excluding poetry from the sphere of Great Literature, and subsequently introducing it into the conventional bounds of writing, it was gradually barred from naively questioning its own nature as well as the limits of the actual scene, that is, its book, one of the totalizing forms that offer the world existence beyond any "picture."
Trans. Lyn Hejinian and Elena Balashova
Habits of mind result from a redistribution of the places on which the eyes fall. Yes, I'm probably right about this. What I'm thinking about at this particular moment allows me to assume so. A rusty rat crossing the street. A soft, interminable twilight, and above it the night lights burning. The room in which we lived was almost eighteen meters long. In the mornings, on streets billowing steam, I went around the corner, bare foot but for sandals, to drink a cup of hot milk and eat cheese pastry. Liteiny Prospekt was blinding. I shuffled along in unbuckled sandals. Amid mocking seagulls and love cries. Through a courtyard to the Fontanka, passing the library, toward the circus, the bridge. This is about many things. It's about emigration. About T.S. Eliot and Turgenev. But what are you thinking about? What did or what does your life consist of? I like your question. In the kitchen in a glass jar she kept demons (warring with cockroaches) which she fed with poppyseeds. Your question comes at absolutely the right moment, although it makes me slightly nauseous, the way roses or moldy dolls might--vertigo. By evening my skin stung from the sun. It happened the first time on an anthill. They rushed frantically toward the river. As if through a magnifying glass. In the future, if he's to recount a couple of the plots that interest him (let's suppose), he will have to get rid of her. But of whom, one wants to know! History? Geometry? Mental habits? One of these plots begins with a murder.
An Englishman in Moscow
Russian poetic counterpublics
Kevin M. F. PlattSome use difficult and challenging language. Others write about difficult topics. The writing of some may not correspond to common expectations among readers. Some are simply ornery. For a poet writing in English for American audiences, or a Russian writing for Russian audiences, being difficult might result in a more modestly scaled audience and publication in small journals and small presses — circumscribed circulation in poetic counterpublics. Yet when it comes to translations from one language to another, the consequence of difficulty often is simply neglect.
Translation (which in any case accounts for a tiny portion of poetry published in the US) depends on the tastes and knowledge of the small community of adepts possessed of the necessary linguistic skills, time, passion, and purpose. In the case of Russian poetry over the course of the twentieth century, the situation was rendered more challenging by constraints on access to underground, unpublished, or self-published poetry (samizdat, as it was called), and by Cold War literary politics that dictated which poets were worthy of translation. To reach an Anglophone audience, Russian poetry had to pass through a complex system of filters, baffles, valves, and grates — crossing not only linguistic barriers, but also material, social, and ideological ones. Of course, the same may be said of any act of translation. My point is that these conditions were intensified to an extreme in the case of Russian poetry for much of the twentieth century. Russian poetic counterpublics were rendered remote, unknown enclaves of writing.
Metamorphoses of Reality: An Introduction to New Ukrainian Writing
Translation by Iryna Shuvalova
words without borders(....)
Resisting the temptation to introduce stories born out of protest, I decided to bring together work that would remain interesting and effective regardless of the political situation in the country and the media craze. My aim was to present the work of writers of approximately the same generation from different parts of the country. They might well be the ones whose writing will define what Ukrainian literature will look like in the decades ahead, and their best work might well be yet unwritten.
The short stories you read here are part of broader narrative clusters—fragments of conceptual collections. They work as stand-alone pieces, but when viewed as parts of these collections, they acquire new shades of meaning. This selection serves to emphasize several characteristic features of contemporary Ukrainian literature. Among the most important of these is its connection with the baroque tradition, which has remained of utmost importance in Ukrainian culture for centuries. In our three stories, this connection is especially evident in the baroque concept of the memento mori, which, in turn, is seen in a new light through the idea of metamorphosis—a person’s surreal transformation, or transition into a new body.
A characteristic feature of Ukrainian writing in the past decade has been its depiction and exploration of reality not directly through the realistic narrative, but rather through the surreal and fantastical, the false mirrors of reality. Possibly, it is only such mirrors that are capable of adequately displaying the fragmented reality inhabited by Ukrainian authors and readers. Over the past twenty years that reality has swung from Soviet ruin to wild capitalism, to oligarchy and VIP life in a glamorous setting (still Soviet in its essence). Values have eroded and ideals have been reformed, all of it creating cracks in people’s minds, as well as in reality itself.
_______________________It is said that a translator is like a spy: if everything is fine, the author of the original is praised and the translator is barely noticed; if not, the translator is blamed. Having that in mind, I am going to discuss several translations of Osip Mandelstam's "Stalin's Epigram", which cost him two exiles and eventually, life.plus three more _______________________
b. August 12, 1928
August 11, 2014
d. August 11, 1965
Histories of Lived Experience: Intertwining Ethology, Ecology, And AestheticsAdam RobbertKnowledge Ecology...the focus of my talk is that an understanding of meaning is necessary for an understanding of evolution at its most fundamental level. A central claim of my talk is that we have to understand that which is meaningful to organisms if ever we hope to comprehend the history of evolution on Earth. My talk thus offers a non-anthropocentric and aesthetic account of meaning in the context of geological history. Ecology from this view is an ongoing entanglement of meanings, concerns, and decisions, and it marks the space where the division between matter and meaning breaks down.via Synthetic_zero
... ecology is necessarily about transactions of meaning, translations of value, and transformations of significance, and it is in principle irreducible to mechanical description alone. By placing the qualitative sphere of meaning, value, and decision as simultaneous with—or even as the other side of—the quantitative sphere of number, extension, and motion, von Uexküll effectively overcomes what Whitehead calls the bifurcation of nature into primary and secondary qualities.
If ecology is to become a new ground for philosophy, then the transcendental and the empirical need to be re-thought as relational and evolving categories: What is transcendental structure for one organism is empirical datum for another, and what is given as a structure that affords certain appearances is neither fixed nor universal; it is rather developed, multispecies, and plastic. In other words, if lived experience is grounded in a certain kind of cognitive structure that allows empirical content to emerge in a certain way, then it is also the case that the structure of the transcendental is itself grounded in an external ecology of actuality and circumstance. Thus if we can speak of an upwelling of a stream of consciousness within the empty, form-giving space of the mind, then we can also speaking of an inwelling stream of external activity, that, over historical and evolutionary time periods, gives shape to the organizing structure itself.
In the view of a philosophical ecology, then, the transcendental is not an empty, universal space within which phenomena can emerge in a particular way but is instead a historically saturated medium, a medium filled with the tributaries of achieved conceptual understanding along which flows of thought constellate themselves as partial organizers of experience and which allow the growth of new kinds of experience. Mind is just such an intersection of rivers and tributaries; not a dialogic of easily opposed terms (e.g., “empirical” and “transcendental”) but an ecologic, a creative multiplicity of convergent events preserved over time.
Critical Theory After the AnthropoceneMcKenzie WarkPublic Seminar Commons(....)
2. Even to understand the Anthropocene in its own terms calls for a certain ‘vulgarity’ of thought. The Anthropocene is about the consequences of the production and reproduction of the means of existence of social life on a planetary scale. The Anthropocene calls for the definitive abandonment of the privileging of the superstructures, as the sole object of critique. The primary object of thought is something very basic now: the means of production of social life as a whole.
3. It seems likely that the Anthropocene as a kind of periodization more or less corresponds to the rise of capitalism. But it is no longer helpful, even if that is the case, to tarry among critical theories that only address capitalism and have nothing to say about other periods, other modes of production. The Anthropocene may be brief, but the Holocene is long. A much long(er) temporality is called for. It is ironic that critical theory, so immune in other ways to ‘anthropocentrism’, nevertheless insists on thinking in merely human time scales.
Russian Landscape with Sun (1919)Karl Schmidt-Rottluff d. August 10, 1976
Better Angels: On Rilke in Translation Drew Calvertthe american reader(....)
The heavens aren’t impressed with our cities, music, rockets, stadiums, search engines, or particle colliders. What can we offer that will give them a sense of what it means to be of the earth? William Gass, author of Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problems of Translation, has a clever idea:A billfold. Show the Angel a billfold that has ridden in a rear pocket on someone’s rump, the creases it now contains, where money and credit cards once slid in and out, as oiled and stained as a fielder’s glove; or a boy’s pocketknife, worn short and thin from all those days he’s whittled away; or a mohair sofa, shiny where the man wearing that billfold sat, or the cat curled, or love was made.Gass is a resourceful guide to Rilke because he takes the poet seriously—his work, Gass writes, is proof that art can “matter through a lifetime”—without forgetting that German Romanticism (“the magical movement of matter into mind”) sounds rather precious to the uninitiated. For Gass, the Elegies are a prime example of just how transgressive art can be:When one of us turns aside from living in order to admire life; when a rose petal is allowed to cool an eyelid, when a line of charcoal depicts the inviting length of a thigh; we are no longer going in nature’s direction but contrary to it. What was never meant for us becomes ours entirely; what never had a use is suddenly all we need.Just as an interest in poetry is really an interest in the universe, “the problems of translations” are really the problems of how to describe the world—not to mention the greater problem of how to characterize the angels. Gass takes issue with a version that reads: “Every angel is terrible” (“Angels can’t be terrible,” he writes. “Pot-holed roads are terrible.”). His own choice, though, is hardly better: “Every angel is awesome.” (Angels can’t be awesome, either. Half-priced tequila is awesome.) But Gass is remarkably sensitive when it comes to Rilke’s religious allusions (“graceshaped swans” is hard to beat), and he makes a uniquely serious attempt to sketch out Rilke’s vision:Raum. If there were one word it would be Raum. The space of things. The space of outer space. The space of the night which comes through porous windows to feed on our faces. The mystical carpet where lovers wrestle. The womb of the mother. Weltraum....(more)
Ask Andrew W.K
village voice(....)via Dennis G. Jerz
The world isn't being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist -- the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they're truly better people than the others who think differently. The world officially ends when we let our beliefs conquer love. We must not let this happen.
When we lump people into groups, quickly label them, and assume we know everything about them and their life based on a perceived world view, how they look, where they come from, etc., we are not behaving as full human beings. When we truly believe that some people are monsters, that they fundamentally are less human than we are, and that they deserve to have less than we do, we ourselves become the monsters. When we allow our emotions to be hypnotized by the excitement of petty bickering about seemingly important topics, we drift further and further away from the fragile and crucial human bond holding everything together. When we anticipate with ferocious glee the next chance we have to prove someone "wrong" and ourselves "right," all the while disregarding the vast complexity of almost every subject -- not to mention the universe as a whole -- we are reducing the beauty and magic of life to a "side" or a "type," or worst of all, an "answer." This is the power of politics at it's most sinister.
August 08, 2014
Cape CodHarry Callahan1972At The Water's Edge Robert Mann Gallery
Two men in a boat Juha Hurme Extracts from the novel Nyljetyt ajatukset (Fleeced thoughts) Translated by Hildi Hawkinsbooks from Finland
To read a good book is a work of art,’ said Köpi, ‘A good book turns its reader into an artist. If you can’t read well, enthusiastically and fearlessly even when the text happens to be strange, you will never learn to write, in other words to live. Without readers there would be no literary texts. The text itself is a bunch of clues offered to the reader, enticing him or her to form a chain of black marks into meaning. ‘Modern physics shows us that the world is empty. ‘Modern aesthetics shows us that literature consists of gaps. ‘The masterworks of world literature are really strange, shapeless, uneven, scabby and feral: Don Quijote, Oblomov, Huckleberry Finn, Pride and Prejudice! A good reader and citizen trains over the course of his lifetime in the capacity to encounter strangeness fearlessly. ‘In Finnish, the root of the most important doing word of our lives, tietää, to know, is tie, road. The word entered the Finnish language at a time when the road was not a four-lane asphalt canyon dug out of the ground, signposted and lit, but a route through virgin forest and swamp that you had to know in order to follow. True knowledge, tietäminen, is independent wandering, route-finding, rambling, continual travelling to new, often unknown destinations. ‘Everyone is a traveller, a writer, an eternal student, an eternal writer, an eternal sceptic. ‘The terrain is difficult.
The Poems of Ossip Mandelstam tr. Ilya Bernstein (free pdf)EPC Digital EditionsE P C digital libraryI know not since when This little song began – Who scrapes against it, what thief? What tinkling mosquito-prince? I would like to talk About nothing once more, To scrape a match, to push The night awake with my shoulder; To throw haystacks and haystacks apart, And that heavy hat of air; To rend, to tear the sack Where the caraway is packed. So that the pink blood’s link – The tinkle of these dried herbs – May be discovered, purloined Across lifetime, hayloft, and sleep. - 1922
El Port1928Joaquín Torres Garcíad. August 8, 1949
Did Somebody Say ... George Orwell? Owen Holland
The tolerability of transparency depends, for the most part, on who’s doing the watching (or looking, or seeing) as well as the material interests that motivate such ocular fascinations. Winston Smith, Orwell’s already dead last man, knows that he is watched and he knows, too, blessed as he is with an uncanny degree of foreknowledge, precisely where his narrative will end. We had provided Orwell with a proto-narrative, so behind Winston’s dark premonitions lurked the fate of Zamyatin’s nameless protagonist, D-503, who had already been lobotomised. All that remains of the optimistic vision of the Bauhaus in Nineteen Eighty-Four is an antique glass paperweight, or, in the recent stage production, a snow-globe, which looks remarkably like a microcosm of Zamyatin’s glass-world (or, say, the internet, now that we know it is also a vast Panopticon).Abstract: The ancient Stoics had an uneven track record with regard to women’s standing. On the one hand, they recognized women as fully capable of rationality and virtue. On the other hand, they continued to hold that women’s roles were in the home. These views are consistent, given Stoic value theory, but are unacceptable on liberal feminist grounds. Stoic value theory, given different emphasis on the ethical role of choice, is shown to be capable of satisfying the liberal feminist requirement that autonomy must be respected. In turn, a model for Stoic feminism is proposed.Daily Nous
as/peers 7 (2014)emerging voices in american studies special issue on American anxieties
M: And Paul Celan, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. With these writers we are in the company of language that has been met with potential erasure; what happens in that kind of collaboration between the impossibility of utterance and finding the means by which to utter? That space is never a decided, resolved, fixed point, and part of the exquisiteness is that it is constantly i
August 07, 2014
Child and big bird
b. August 7, 1867
The Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection [pdf]
Translated by Leon S. RoudiezThere looms, within abjection, one of those violent, dark revolts of being, directed against a threat that seems to emanate from an exorbitant outside or inside, ejected beyond the scope of the possible, the tolerable, the thinkable. It lies there, quite close, but it cannot be assimilated. It beseeches, worries, and fascinates desire, which, nevertheless, does not let itself be seduced. Apprehensive, desire turns aside; sickened, it rejects. A certainty protects it from the shameful—a certainty of which it is proud holds on to it. But simultaneously, just the same, that impetus, that spasm, that leap is drawn toward an elsewhere as tempting as it is condemned. Unflaggingly, like an inescapable boomerang, a vortex of summons and repulsion places the one haunted by it literally beside himself.
When I am beset by abjection, the twisted braid of affects and thoughts I call by such a name does not have, properly speaking, a definable object. The abject is not an ob-ject facing me, which I name or imagine. Nor is it an ob-jest, an otherness ceaselessly fleeing in a systematic quest of desire. What is abject is not my correlative, which, providing me with someone or something else as support, would allow me to be more or less detached and autonomous. The abject has only one quality of the object—that of being opposed to I. If the object, however, through its opposition, settles me within the fragile texture of a desire for meaning, which, as a matter of fact, makes me ceaselessly and infinitely homologous to it, what is abject, on the contrary, the jettisoned object, is radically excluded and draws me toward the place_where meaning collapses. A certain "ego" that merged with its master, a superego, has flatly driven it away. It lies outside, beyond the set, and does not seem to agree to the latter's rules of the game. And yet, from its place of banishment, the abject does not cease challenging its master. Without a sign (for him), it beseeches a discharge, a convulsion, a crying out. To each ego its object, to each superego its abject. It is not the white expanse or slack boredom of repression, not the translations and transformations of desire that wrench bodies, nights, and discourse; rather it is a brutish suffering that, "I" puts up with, sublime and devastated, for "I" deposits it to the father's account [verse au pere—pere-uersion]: I endure it, for I imagine that such is the desire of the other. A massive and sudden emergence of uncanniness, which, familiar as it might have been in an opaque and forgotten life, now harries me as radically separate, loathsome. Not me. Not that. But not nothing, either. A "something" that I do not recognize as a thing. A weight of meaninglessness, about which there is nothing insignificant, and which crushes me. On the edge of nonexistence and hallucination, of a reality that, if I acknowledge it, annihilates me. There, abject and abjection are my safeguards.The primers of my culture.
Poems by Maxim AmelinResisting the art of entropy triumphant
Translated by Derek Mong & Anne O. FisherWhy Repeat Ourselves?...(more)
Why repeat ourselves? More than was called
for has been said, done, or rescued
from breakdown and downfall —
the ripe seed sleeps beneath the earth.
Shoots peep from soil into sunbeams;
neither heat nor hoarfrost crack
them. God guards each one from
the brigands — insect throngs, the wild flock.
Let foe follow foe, for all are earthly
vanity. The foliage that’s fallen
down won’t wither, it will redouble.
The sad vigil ends with morning’s adulation!
A flame forced the water to run,
and moisture fanned the fire’s spark,
but for the grand constellation now spun
there’s no harrier or stumbling block.
On the penny-wise all pound words
are wasted. The buried cities they insist
will be reborn simply confirm
what we already know: Pompeii existed.
An interview with Maxim Amelin
jacket2As a loving collector of eighteenth-century neologisms (coined by his models, the Russian classicists) and a devoted student of Revolutionary word-smithing (à la Mayakovsky), Amelin keeps his poetry in suspension through the tension of opposites. He is among the last generation of Russian poets to grow up in the Soviet Union and saw his culture and language change rapidly under the influx of Western words and ideas. The poet Alexei Tsvetkov, writing about Amelin’s generation, the so-called tridtsatiletnye (“The Thirty-Year-Olds”), called them “the children of perestroika — or one should say the orphans, since their alleged mother went missing long ago.”
Henri Eugène Augustin Le Sidaner
b. Aug. 7, 1862
translated, from the Danish, by Martin Aitken(....)
Things are contagious. Things want to get in through the cracks. That’s the way they are, and I know from a former colleague of mine that the woman was killed and dismembered in an apartment in the Vesterbro district and that the girl who lived in the apartment downstairs and who was studying veterinary science moved out not long afterward, even though her upstairs neighbor had been apprehended and sentenced for the murder. Who could blame her? She probably kept thinking about all the times she had passed him on the stairs. Most likely she felt the building was contaminated and even the slightest sound reminded her of the night she heard something going on upstairs. But something is always going on in the night, there are always the smells and the sounds: pigeons rustling in the attic, creatures on the move, and the herons of Frederiksberg Gardens can sometimes be seen, looking like gray poultry shears in the sky over Valby. The heron is an awkward bird in flight, and the Heron Man on the path leading to the Chinese Pavilion would do well to tell the herons so, seeing as how he’s always babbling away at them like that.
Sea with Yellow Sun
conjunctionsAbove the pine trees leaning into the wet black bank, a zip moved up and down in the sky, as the treeline moved up and down, controlled by two eyes looking up and looking down through the window. The bank fell away. The train passed mounds of red slag. The eyes unzipped the canvas on which the mounds were painted, and the canvas curled forward under its own weight. Thin reeds with LED tips curled forward and so did yellow freight carriages, below the curved wings of two red kites, then four kites, then ten.Caleb Klaces is founding editor of Likestarlings
The carriage doors pished open and through them a conductor fell. His walk was a kind of fall. He held his ticket machine to his hip, as if it was a bad hip, and peered down, falling left and right, to count passengers. Each number was breathed in. A man who, boarding at Warwick Parkway, had placed his tickets on his table before sitting down to accompany them, turned at the sound of the doors, then looked with contempt at the back of the lax conductor’s head. Seeing the conductor pass, the two women on the same table each moved a hand from the gold clasp of a handbag to rest on its black patent leather. When the conductor pished out of the carriage, the man straightened his tickets. The women stared ahead, which happened to mean that they stared at one another. One woman laughed and the other didn’t laugh.