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🦋 A filthy bird is a happy bird

A mix tape (is mix tape the right term here? Something like a playlist but including readings and videos as well as music...) (and whew! there is something unfamiliar about blogging in English!): The ordering of the playlist is my own chain of memory (with proddings from others) starting from chapter 7, "More than love", of The ground beneath her feet.

  1. Ormus speaks. I have been liking this novel while being rubbed a little the wrong way by the narrator's voice -- Rai seems a little off to me, a little cynical and annoyingly, smugly verbose. I found quite striking the short piece in the middle of this chapter that shifts into Ormus' voice, and into him quoting his father's voice. His mention of vultures and of Attar, and of Prometheus, got me into a "classical birds" frame of mind. Ormus speaks, read by The Modesto Kid
  2. Martha McCollough's splendid video, One eats the sweet fruit, the other watches.
  3. Attar's poem in Fitzgerald's stellar translation, The Bird Parliament. (This would be an amazing poem for reading out loud -- I tried that earlier and got about a ¼ of the way into it... I may have to upload a recording of this to SoundCloud.)
  4. Dave Holland's Conference of the Birds. (thanks for the link, John!)
  5. I'm also put in mind a little of Borges' mysticism, in a way I have not been by this novel so far -- the bits of magic in Rai's narration have been undone by his glibness. Specifically The Theologians I guess, though I don't recall there being birds in that.
More in comments.

posted morning of Saturday, October 13th, 2012
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Extending the playlist with some other references that come to mind while reading from the FitzGerald translation...


  • (of course) The Rubaiyat. That is an old favorite. I believe the "Parliament of Birds" is a far better poem than Khayyam's (a high bar indeed!) -- though still have not been able to get all the way through such a long story, one which feels like it should be read all in one sitting...
  • My name is red by Pamuk (which I str is where I first heard about the Parliament of the birds)

posted morning of October 13th, 2012 by The Modesto Kid

(again "of course" a little) Poe's "The Raven" and Borges' thoughts on it. The FitzGerald translation has a bit of the singsong metric rhythm that I love (that Borges disdains) in "The Raven". More sustained and more complex than Poe I reckon.

posted morning of October 13th, 2012 by the Modesto kid

Caprichosos son los dioses
a nos lo castigan lo crimen de ser nosotros
nos vuelven en piedras, en escarabajos, nos dejan mudos-
al buey inmortal Prometeo lo desatan
y lo olvidan (y igualmente Isaac)
que deba eternamente sufrir
sin que a él ningún caso se haga.

posted morning of October 14th, 2012 by the Modesto kid

"caprichos son los dioses" is flowing very naturally into English. I was happy to recognize the Rushdie ref, I really think of tmk as being in approximately the same ballpark as my own, in terms of his influences. There's also a ref to bd Napier, who I don't really know at all, should probably check it. And wrote, I would never have made the Prometheus-Samsa connection.

Whimsical The Gods by The Modesto Kid/tr. Peter Conlay

posted afternoon of October 14th, 2012 by peter

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