Saturday, August 31st, 2013
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
My reaction to J. Sáez de Ibarra's "Las Meninas" on the first few readings was one of excitement and confusion. The first section -- "Bocetos/Sketches", which makes up the body of the story -- is gripping and interesting, but has no resolution; the second section, "Las Meninas" is just a page. It appears to be the character Juan Felipe describing the positions of all the members of the household in the photo which was soon to be taken at the end of the first section, and which is reproduced very unclearly on the facing page; under which appears a subtitle listing the figures represented, but by different names. Confusing. The key, as it took me a long time to figure out, is the "photo" -- it is a print of Diego Velázquez' painting "Las Meninas" (1656), a portrait of king Juan Felipe IV's household. The painting is the centerpiece of the story -- "Bocetos" is serving to set up the characters who appear in the painting -- which is for the purposes of the story not a 1656 painting but a photograph of a contemporary celebrity's household. Accepting all this requires some pretty twisted suspension of disbelief -- eg it is kind of difficult to accept the dwarfs Nicolás Pertusso and hydrocephalic Maria Bárbola as Juan Felipe's adolescent son and the prostitute with whom he spent the night -- and adds a new dimension to the story, completes it.
Monday, August 26th, 2013
Saturday, August 24th, 2013
I cranked out a couple tunes at the NJ Fiddle Contest at Howel Farm. (to wit, Halting March and The Rd to Lisdoonvarna) -- My strategy of practicing everything a shade slower than it should be performed has really paid off.
(On the other hand, of course, I realize now that I've been recording these songs at practice speed rather than performance -- I should record a new version of the Halting tape.)
Sunday, August 18th, 2013
Occasionally in the past I've blogged about books that I come to with no idea at all in advance, what to expect. Sáez de Ibarra's Mirar al agua is one such. I first came upon the author's name and the title a few weeks ago when Marta Aponte recommended it. This is always a fun way to read, completely free of expectations.
The first couple of stories I've so far just skimmed the first lines of, not found much of anything to draw me in. "Las Meninas" (left) I find fascinating, a story told entirely in dialog, extremely fast-pased. I find it renders very nicely in English. "Una ventana en Via Spermazella" and the next few stories seem very interesting but have not been quite able to crack the code that will get me into the stories. Especially intriguing among these is "La Poesía del Objeto."
"La superstición de Narciso" is just spellbinding. More experimental than anything else thus far. "Escribir Mientras Palestina" (which I'm midway into now) is a nicely engaging piece of first-person narrative about a visit to Palestine.
the T.A.M.I. show.
Saturday, August 17th, 2013
Taped some tunes tonight...
"The Halting March"
"The Road to Lisdoonvarna" (with the "Swallowtail Jig") -- this and "Halting March" I plan to play at the fiddle contest next weekend.
"The Arkansas Traveler"
"The Devil's Dream"
"Amazing Grace" -- the quality of performance falls off a bit after this -- none of the recordings after this are something I would play for a friend. The tunes themselves though, definite keepers. (And indeed, they are much improved by the third take!)
"The Sailor's Hornpipe"
"Johnny Mceldoo" (which turns out to have exactly the same opening sequence of notes as "The Arkensas Traveler", making for some pleasant confusion)
Wow, there is some great poetry in this issue of Metamorphoses. Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Hilst, Orhan Veli, Benny Andersen (whose "Kierkegaard on a bicycle" is going to be my new favorite poem for at least a little while),...
My father's language
is my mother tongue
and the tongues of those around me
are not my own
nor their teeth
my mouth it moves
and forms the words
the moving pen has left behind
nor all your Piety and Wit
too late to say
Another Zupcic story, another Osner translation: "Tescuco, Italy" is printed in the Fall 2013 issue of Metamorphoses, the journal of the five colleges faculty seminar on literary translation.
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