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READIN

Jeremy's journal

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

John Stuart Mill


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Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Happy Hallowe'en!

posted evening of October 31st, 2010: Respond
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Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Varda in Contexts

I'm playing the role of a little old woman, pleasantly plump and talkative, telling her life story. And yet it's others I'm interested in, others I like to film.

-- Àgnes Varda

posted evening of October 30th, 2010: Respond
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Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Composición y traducción

Versos sin sentido

por Jeremy Osner

Esas palabras se dicen a mí mismo
Como los ecos que vibranse entre las nubes
Pero también debéis escuchar, escuchad
al voz de vuestra Diosa propia.
Cuando vos sentís familiar me decid.
Vamos mañana tal vez al paisaje de nuestras ilusiones
o a una ruina postapocalíptica similar, nos
desaparezcase la iglesia, la iglesia de los padres, la iglesia de ayer.

from Criminal

by José Cárdenas Peña

If only it were just the scream
the water's scream,
the rolling stone
abandoned, with no place to lay its head
against the storm.
If only it were just
the wound, corrosive wound,
the nameless passage,
flow of dead time:
the soft procession of the hours,
sentinels of fear.
If only it were the handful of herb
the herb which mates with blood
winnowed through memory
now it can say:
it is over,
the statue, the labyrinth,
angel's shadow, world which never is.

But behind this silent
anguished nostalgia,
behind you yourself
o wounded shadow who calls me,
swells the violence
the destruction over cliffs
over conquered ragged armies, ashes, dust.
And still I know the damage,
in this moment of my hapless lineage;
this ghost or god who from my birthplace
from my rubble rises up
this dove of the final flood,
and around me your words
your tongues of fire
baptismal conch
pouring out on your mirror of drunkenness
handful of naked salt
of biblical questions:
the mud, the signal, seed of man
your voice, your name, your sorrow;
the shape of just one tear
wept out for the dead
for fallen moorish idols
blood which teaches me to feel,
who cannot catch it, fend it off
as the sky fends off his luminous abyss,
the sea her piscene stigmata.
...

posted evening of October 28th, 2010: Respond
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Me, Elsewhere

Mellow out your end of the week with the TGW 201010 mix tape I posted at The Great Whatsit. Read up on your Canadian history with the Battle for Québec post I wrote at It is time for history. Generally have a good end of the week and weekend.

posted morning of October 28th, 2010: Respond
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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Liberty

Today's post at Saramago's Other Notebooks quotes one of his oldest novels.

La libertad no es mujer que ande por los caminos, no se sienta en una piedra esperando que la inviten a cenar o a dormir en nuestra cama el resto de la vida.

-- Levantado del suelo, Alfaguara, 2003, p. 422

Liberty is not a woman walking the streets, she is not sitting on a bench outside waiting for an invitation to dinner, to come sleep in our bed for the rest of her life.

-- Raised up from the soil, 1980

posted evening of October 26th, 2010: Respond
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Walls

Time for another entry in the grafitti blog: My dad sends along a link to Internesni Kazki, which documents the murals of Ukrainian artists AEC and WAONE in various cities of Europe. I love this piece from Kiev, posted last month:

(Also, here is an image that works very well as desktop wallpaper.)

posted afternoon of October 26th, 2010: Respond
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Monday, October 25th, 2010

Memento homo

Another poem from Los contados días.

At times I bear
as an enormous cross, love
mounted on this coffin, my corpse.
Shipwrecked and alone,
I crash like a thunderbolt, like a star.
Reborn from my anterior dyings,
to go on dying all around,
dying in a tree's ear
or at the hand of a dream.
I fell from void, just
like oblivion falls among the ruins,
I was thrust
into the beauty of the earth:
was clay before the brightness and the joy.

...
I pass from the bird to the rose,
by blood and by fæces,
between forgetfulness and dust.
My soul cries out for its species of pride,
its desolate labyrinth,
its universe of shadow.

But my mind won't stop
measuring out the ashes from my eye
...

And that the world remains the world
and that the land is bathed
in the purple of blood;
the flood's diluted in another flood,
the Gods break away from our grasp
our prayer is trapped
trapped in our throats
a nail, a catastrophe.

And still it's beautiful
raising up this cathedral of sighs
...

posted evening of October 25th, 2010: Respond
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Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

photo: Joe del Tufo, Mobius New Media
I got a totally unexpected chance to go to Richard Thompson's show in Montclair last night. An amazing concert! Joe del Tufo captures nicely the visual experience of the concert, which he saw in Delaware -- you ought to buy the record Dream Attic to get an aural sense of it. I can't get over Joel Zifka's gorgeous fiddle solo in "The Gorse and the Gray".

posted afternoon of October 23rd, 2010: Respond
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Pilgrim and Stranger

Stranger Here Below is a little devious in its rendering of characters in the shifts of focus, Hinnefeld likes to lull you in to thinking of the other characters as fitting comfortably into the background of whatever character's story is currently in focus. Here is a switch of focus reminding the reader suddenly that Maze is still in the foreground, when you've gotten used to tracking Mary Elizabeth's story:

The bus ride up from Lexington had been miserable. Endless and miserable. By the time she got to Indianapolis, she had a sharp, stabbing pain that ran up her right side, from her ankle to her armpit, and no matter how she shifted in the crowded seat, she couldn't get comfortable. Sciatica. Vista'd had it, too, she'd said, when she was pregnant. But Maze wouldn't touch any of the herbal remedies Vista or Georgia tried to get down her. She didn't trust either of those disappointed women.
That reminder of the complexities in her relationships with her mother and Georgia brings her suddenly into focus -- this is the beginning of one of the most dramatic confrontations of the novel (in which much of the conflict has been repressed or sub rosa), between the Pilgrim and the Stranger.

posted afternoon of October 23rd, 2010: Respond
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Friday, October 22nd, 2010

These Precious Evenings

Here is a poem by a Mexican poet named José Cárdenas Peña, "Los contados días".

This wandering groping
like I'm walking into ruins:
this turning my face to the wind
without expecting a response from the wind;
instinctive phrasing, to live and to hope
without contact:
this clamour to God,
this doubt and this love, this blasphemy;

this dread of being lonely,
of the death that is not death;
it hurts me, hurts like a wound,
like my own native land,
like an angel's wing --
like my crime, like her bleak silence...

And when at last I scream Here! Here I am!,
so cleaves in two my naked, naked heart.
I really like the rhythm of the poem in Spanish and am trying to get a similar rhythmic thing going in the translation.

(I posted the original of this poem in the comments to a LanguageHat entry about free verse and memorization.)

posted evening of October 22nd, 2010: Respond
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