The READIN Family Album
Me and Gary, brooding (September 2004)

READIN

Jeremy's journal

One never stops reading, though books come to an end, just as one never stops living, even though death is a certainty.

Roberto Bolaño


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Sunday, May 26th, 2013

La casa de la loca

Two interesting articles with regards to La casa de la loca y otros relatos por Marta Aponte Alsina: El cuento puertorriqueño a finales de los noventa: sobre casas de locas en Marta Aponte Alsina y verdaderas historias en Luis López Nieves by Dra. Rita De Maeseneer of the University of Antwerp; and "La loca de la casa" de Marta Aponte Alsina: reinvenciones románticas de un canon fundacional by Carmen M. Rivera Villejas of the University of Puerto Rico.

posted evening of May 26th, 2013: Respond
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at the MoMA

-- Compadre, usted es un bárbaro, pinta como tuviera un ojo en la luna y el otro in Marte. Su pintura no me gusta, pero me ha hecho llorar y las lágrimas son la sangre del alma.

Salvador Suárez to Jackson Pollock (from "Lavender Mist" by Marta Aponte Alsina)

posted evening of May 26th, 2013: 1 response
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Friday, May 24th, 2013

Cuentos ya no traducidos

reconozca yo
en sueños
mi tiempo sea pasado
que los jotes que me mordisquean
el hidalgo
tengan últimamente razón

reconozco
en sueños
los nenes que me
habían llamado papá
érase una vez
en sueños

reconozco
por supuesto
no sería justo

reconozco
por supuesto
debo admitir, o más bién
me corresponde a mi decir
últimamente
afirmarme que
reconozco


en sueños

posted evening of May 24th, 2013: Respond
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Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

La isla de los alcatraces

No Dress Rehearsal Rag this week, we hope to put a nice performance together Memorial Day weekend...

The READIN family went on vacation this weekend to see sister Miriam get married, congratulations, Miriam! The next day we took the ferry to Alcatraz for some exploration... I've never gone there before and was more blown away by the stark physical beauty of the place than interested in the history of the prison. Some pix at the family album:

Also took a very nice walk through North Beach, but alas no pictures, phone was dead.

posted afternoon of May 21st, 2013: Respond
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Thursday, May 16th, 2013

The Art of Resurrection

Hernán Rivera Letelier grew up in the mining towns of Humberstone and Algorta, in Chile's Norte Grande, at the tail end of the nitrate-mining era: a major stage in Chile's history and in the history of the industrialized world. He tells Ariel Dorfman (as related in Dorfman's Desert Memories, 2004) that his earliest memories are of "eavesdropping on [the] adult conversations" of the miners who ate their meals in the Letelier home; his mother padded the family budget by selling home-cooked meals to the bachelor miners. The stories he was listening to were of the last remnants of the nitrate industry, already moribund by the time of his childhood; he listened well, and has built a successful career as one of Chile's most popular novelists (although mostly overlooked, until recently, outside of Chile) telling the stories of the pampa salitrera, the mining camps built in the Atacama desert at the end of the 19th Century by British and German firms and operated until the middle of the 20th Century, and of the people who lived and worked there.

Rivera Letelier's 13 novels to date span the length of the nitrate-mining era and the breadth of the Atacama desert -- from the 1907 massacre of striking workers retold and reconstructed in Our Lady of the Dark Flowers (2002), to the 1942 mining camp strike in Providencia in the (surreal) Art of Resurrection (2010), to the later dusty remnants of Coya Sur in The Fantasist (2006), on the verge of becoming a ghost town -- somewhat reminiscent in all of Faulkner's treatment of Mississippi. (or John Ford's, of the Old West?) The Art of Resurrection won the prestigious Premio Alfaguara and has happily brought his work some well-deserved recognition. It is the story of a week in the life of Domingo Zárate Vega ("better known to all as the Christ of Elqui," sort of a Chilean Rasputin who wandered the country in the mid-20th Century preaching his gospel) -- in which he searches for, finds, and loses his own Magdalene.

My translation of a portion of Chapter 4 of the book will be up soon at The Unmuzzled Ox, under the title "Christ in the Desert".

posted evening of May 16th, 2013: 1 response
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Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Units of rhythm, units of syntax

I was complaining to a friend recently about how the New Yorker had printed its translation of "The Prefiguration of Lalo Cura" split up into paragraphs where the original was a single paragraph, and he did not really get where I was coming from -- if it was more readable in paragraphs, isn't that the way to go? As I'm reading the first sentence of Queen Isabel was singing rancheras, I'm wondering why it seems so important to me that this block be preserved as a single sentence, thinking I ought to justify that somehow. If it's more readable broken up, why not break it up?

In the flow of a book or story I do not slavishly follow the syntactic boundaries in the source text -- well perhaps I err a bit on the side of slavishly following them; still. There are certainly points where a period in English seems like the correct translation of a comma or a y in Spanish. But these long paragraphs and long sentences in Spanish seem to me to fill more than a syntactic role; they are communicating a rhythm and pacing which splitting them up has a tendency to spoil. And not only in Spanish -- being a single paragraph seems to me like a fundamental quality of (for instance) "Ein Landarzt"; it pulls the reader insistently into the driving rhythm of the story, will not let go.

posted evening of May 12th, 2013: Respond
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Mash-up

John couldn't make it over to Lonesome Nickel studios this weekend; Dress Rehearsal Rags will resume in a couple of weeks.

Seemed like it would be a good idea, this sunny Sunday morning on Meeker St., to mash up a couple of old country tunes together which don't really have that much in common. Here's the Carter Family + Ernest Tubb, for your delectation:

Thanks to Ellen for the wonderful camerawork -- thanks to Pixie for sitting and listening!

posted afternoon of May 12th, 2013: Respond
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Friday, May 10th, 2013

Translating rhythm, translating syntax

(Rivera Letelier seems really to have given my reading and translation a focus they did not have before.)

Terminan de apagarse los sones de la canción mexicana que antecede a la que él quiere escuchar, y en tanto la aguja del tocadiscos comienza a arrastrarse neurálgica por esa tierra de nadie, por esos arenosos surcos estériles que separan un tema de otro, el ilustre y muy pendejísimo Viejo Fioca, paletó a cuadritos verdes y marengo pantalón sostenido a un jeme por debajo del ombligo -- pasmoso prodigio de malabarismo pélvico --, trémulo aún de la curda del día anterior y palido hasta la transparencia, llena su tercer vaso de vino tinto arrimado espectralmente al mesón del único rancho abierto a esas horas de domingo --...

So, wow; the first sentence of Queen Isabel Was Singing Rancheras is seven pages long... I enjoyed the challenge of getting the multipage paragraphs in Resurrection across with a sense of the driving rhythm of the original, and communicating the sense of it. This is kind of ridiculous! Those paragraphs had maybe page-long sentences at some points, but 7? Gorgeous though. I'm having trouble believing he was able to do this on page one of his first novel (1994) and have it be successful -- a popular novel! It seems audacious and intimidating.

posted evening of May 10th, 2013: 2 responses
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Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Forever is ending today

If Mountain Station was from Nashville, they'd be a country act. Here's a slow jam.

A-and thanks to Mr. Peter Guralnick for hipping us to "Are they gonna make us outlaws again" and in general, to the roots of rockabilly.


Mountain Station jamming
in the living room --
May fourth, 2013

Forever is ending today

  1. Forever is ending today (Ernest Tubb -- this is a special moment for me, I have been wanting to cover Tubb for a long time.)
  2. Serpent at the gates of Wisdom (Robyn Hitchcock, to whom happy 60 years! Sorry we missed the big show in San Francisco -- and very happy to have been present at the big show in NYC.)
  3. Snake Doctor Blues (or a few bars from it anyways)
  4. Handshake Drugs (Wilco)
  5. Drunken Sailor's Hornpipe
  6. This Old Man
  7. Arms of Love (Robyn Hitchcock)
  8. Sloop John B.
  9. Praying Mantis (Don Dixon)
  10. Helpless (Neil Young)
  11. Are they gonna make us outlaws again? (James Talley -- and check out this extraordinary version by Hazel Dickens.)

posted morning of May 5th, 2013: 1 response
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Friday, May third, 2013

Let's listen to

Son Thomas.

posted evening of May third, 2013: Respond
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