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Me and Sylvia at the Memorial (April 2009)

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We all know where we were born, o my brothers, but not where our bones will lie buried.

el Cristo de Elqui


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Monday, October 31st, 2011

The Book of Exhortations

I was wondering a while ago, where I could find source material for O livro dos conselhos, the mediæval text from which José Saramago took several of his epigraphs. Turns out I was looking for the wrong title -- the primary title of the book is O leal conselheiro and several editions of it are available through Amazon in case you read (mediæval) Portuguese. Not finding any Spanish translation which I would have expected to be available... The text does not seem to be available online AOTW; but there is a Leal Conselheiro Project being pursued in collaboration between João Dionísio of Universidade de Lisboa and Paloma Celis-Carbajal of Madison, which aims to have a digitization of the sole extant manuscript copy of O leal conselheiro online by the end of next year.

Update: Hmm, seems I spoke too soon. Márcio Ricardo Coelho Muniz of the UEFS has a paper online on "The Faithful Advisor and the Book of Exhortations" which makes clear that the Livro dos conselhos is a separate, lesser-known work of Edward's.

posted afternoon of October 31st, 2011: 3 responses
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Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Storm damage

Man, am I glad we cut down that dogwood tree this summer! The storm last night brought down large (but ultimately insignificant to the giant tree) pieces of maple and most of the burning bush on the side of the house -- the power lines are rather miraculously none the worse for wear.

posted evening of October 30th, 2011: Respond
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Murals in Philly

We spent last night in Philadelphia -- walking around this morning I saw many lovely murals. This picture is a detail from a mural on 20th Street or so, a few blocks north of the Museum of Fine Art.

posted evening of October 30th, 2011: Respond
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Friday, October 28th, 2011

Dragi Sol

The story "Cartas para escribir una novela" is the central piece in Zupcic's book Dragi Sol -- all the stories are meditations on the narrator's relationship with his absent immigrant father, this story is likely the most successful. I think it is the heart of the work. Read the opening to get an idea of the voice he is developing and the complexity of narrative style he is achieving.

Postcards: towards a novel.

by Slavko Zupcic

The personal journal of Vojislav Didic
(Notes on the life of my father, Zlatica Didic;
his postcards and photos. His memory.)
for Leticia Z

"Huyo de mi semejante;
en todo semejante hay un doble."
-- Georges Braque
Yes -- I know what Anton said on his recent visit, I know all he said; but this will not be the day I regret having translated, having copied out fresh, written out on good white paper my father's old postcards. Quite the contrary: there is something to having saved these cards from oblivion, something enchanting, something heartening -- the marvel of seeing a new world, a new universe, just an ocean away from my own. Some -- the majority -- were written in Serbo-Croatian; others in a mix of English and French, a jargon my father picked up as he made his way through Europe during the Second World War; and a few letters, two or three, written in Spanish, a Spanish peppered liberally with Serbian idiom. Almost all were sent from my father to his brother Vinko Didic (Hrastovica, zp: Petrinja), and to his best friend in Yugoslavia, Stevo Valec (L.R. 168, Karlovac); also to Ankika Car in the United States (R.R.I. Box 118A, Hobart, Ind.), who was his first girlfriend, and Van Hecke Zimmerman (Junín 1689D, 1233 Buenos Aires), a German engineer my father had met on board the Fontainbleau -- not the legendary ship, one built in imitation of it which sailed the Atlantic Ocean for many years under an Argentine flag. The others are replies to his letters, from Vinko, Stevo, Ankiko and others my father wrote to occasionally.

Of his siblings, my uncles and aunt, Vinko was the only one he wrote to very frequently, and the only one he received letters from. He wrote a few times to Marko and to Nikolas. Never to Anna, or if he did those letters were among those that we destroyed, my sister and I, ten years ago. We know her name and where she lived (Leigh Creek, S.A., Australia), because these points are mentioned frequently in the letters, as are the corresponding data for Zlatko -- how he sings, how he pisses. And Zlatko, he never could have written to my father: dead men*, as dead as he has been for the past 40 years, do not write.

*Information in my father's letters suggests that Zlatko Didic died in 1944, fighting with partisan troops against a German convoy, drilled through by a bullet from the Nazi front.

Anton B., an old Yugoslavian diplomat in the service of the Italian government and lately a friend of our family, had no trouble confirming the date and locale of my uncle Zlatko Didic's demise. Where his skepticism lay was with the circumstances under which it took place. Indeed he appears to be taken with a complex theory which suggests that not even the address we have for my aunt Anna is accurate.

(I think "Correspondence" would actually be a better word to use in the title and header.)

posted evening of October 28th, 2011: Respond
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125

On this date in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated on Bledsoe Island in New York harbor. Talking Points Memo runs some great pictures of the statue under construction; below, her left hand.

posted evening of October 28th, 2011: Respond
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Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Reading Lovecraft

I'm happy to find a couple of new Lovecraft links this week --

  • The Fungi from Yuggoth is a sequence of 36 sonnets, the narrative of a man's encounter with the spawn of the Nameless Ones; YouTube user ChurchofTjolGtjaR has uploaded a reading of it with spacey music. Wikipædia lists 5 recordings of the sequence; I do not know which one this is.
  • Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer's H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast features weekly readings from Lovecraft and discussion. Good stuff! (Thanks for the link, Eleanore!)

(Speaking of the Elder Gods, they put in an appearance in Dorothy Gambrell's latest Very Small Array cartoon: What is Coming to Get Us?)

posted evening of October 25th, 2011: Respond
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It's just Norwegian speed

At Norway's Cafe Mono, Robyn Hitchcock reminisces on his first visit to Norway, on tour with the Egyptians in 1982, and the years since then. Morris Windsor posts a cover of "The End", live in Oslo in '82, the "culmination of one of the weirdest tours ever" -- "The closing remarks contain the seeds of 2009's Goodnight Oslo."

posted evening of October 25th, 2011: Respond
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Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Manifestation

(from Chapter 3 of Our lady of the dark flowers)

From the four points of the compass they came, the strikers on their way to Alto de San Antonio in their long, dusty caravans. The village was boiling over with excitement. As you looked into the chaos of the crowds streaming through the village's streets, you could see signs bearing the names of salitreras, La Gloria, San Pedro, Palmira, Argentina, San Pablo, Cataluña, Santa Clara, La Perla, Santa Ana, Esmeralda, San Agustín, Santa Lucía, Hanssa, San Lorenzo, others that we hadn't even heard of. And that's not all -- covered with dirt from their heads to their feet,the strikers came singing, shouting, not only the oficinas in San Antonio's district, but from every district in the Pampa del Tamarugal. The influx of people showed no signs of letting up. The strike had spread across the pampa like a duststorm -- "Good dust, the dust of righteousness, my brothers" crowed Domingo Dominguez, walking among the crowd. To the bird's eye, there were more than five thousand of us, pushing together into the streets of the village, bringing our power to the strike. Men of every race and nationality, groups which had clashed in bitter fratricidal wars, were coming together now under the sun, under a single standard -- that of the proletariate.

posted afternoon of October 23rd, 2011: Respond
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Let's Watch

"The Dark of the Moon"...

You're welcome! (Thanks for the link, Kevin!)

posted afternoon of October 23rd, 2011: Respond
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Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Three short reads

I feel like I give short shrift here at READIN to quick, intense reads, like it is mostly the books that take me a long time to read that I am moved to write about. (This is not always true, Costaguana was a pretty quick read -- but anyways.) Three books that I've devoured recently and found most satisfying, nourishing meals.

  • Feeding on Dreams by Ariel Dorfman.

    His memoir on revolution and repression in Chile and principally on the paths of exile and seeking a home (and seeking a voice) that his life has followed in the decades of the dictatorship and the decades since.

  • Golden Boy, Emerald Girl by Yiyun Li.

    Short stories about life in China and as an immigrant. Fascinating sense of dread and pointlessness. You can read the title story in the New Yorker.

  • In the sea there are crocodiles by Fabio Geda and translated from Italian by Howard Curtis.

    Telling the emigrant story of Enaiatollah Akbari, his journey in his tenth through fifteenth years from Afghanistan to Italy by way of Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Greece. Akbari's encounters -- friends and strangers who help him survive and make his way to his home in Italy, soldiers and thugs and police who make his way more difficult, the family that ultimately decides to foster him and help him seek asylum -- are gripping, moving, haunting stuff.

(It is not until after mentioning these three in the same breath that I realize they share (very loosely) a common theme of homeland and exile. Not sure what to make of this...)

posted evening of October 22nd, 2011: 1 response
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