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Saramago says if you don't have time to read his novels, just read the epigraphs... These are some posts I have written considering books' epigraphs -- what I think about them, where they are drawn from, how they influence my reading.
READIN started out as a place for me
to keep track of what I am reading, and to learn (slowly, slowly)
how to design a web site.
There has been some mission drift
here and there, but in general that's still what it is. Some of
the main things I write about here are
listening to (and playing) music, and
watching the movies. Also I write about the
work I do with my hands and with my head; and of course about bringing up Sylvia.
The site is a bit of a work in progress. New features will come on-line now and then; and you will occasionally get error messages in place of the blog, for the forseeable future. Cut me some slack, I'm just doing it for fun! And if you see an error message you think I should know about, please drop me a line. READIN source code is PHP and CSS, and available on request, in case you want to see how it works.
"Be quiet the doctor's wife said gently, let's all keep quiet, there are times when words serve no purpose, if only I, too, could weep, say everything with tears, not have to speak in order to be understood."
-- Blindness, Jose Saramago
"Doc tried calling her name but of course words out here were only words."
-- Inherent Vice, Thomas Pynchon
What I'm looking for is that the spectator, too, that he take the time to reflect. I bid him place himself before some images that demand he look at them from within. ... that he make the effort to wonder what's coming; or better, how to perceive what has come. Look, you see nothing. It's completely abstract: an image composing itself.
The world gives you of itself in chips, in fragments: At bifucaria bifurcata, Rise reports that Wave Press will be publishing Mario Santiago's Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic in translation. You can read the original (which is dedicated to Bolaño and to Kyra Galván) at infrarrealismo.com -- it is 2000 words which seems a bit short for the description "book-length poem" but I imagine the book will have some supplementary material in it as well, and/or the material online is not the complete poem.
The poem has a nicely Tractatus-y quote from Auden as its epigraph: "We must remember here, too, that nothing is beautiful, not even in Poetry, which is not the case." (Back-translated -- I don't know the source of the quotation.)
The first of Bolaño's novels to reach the silver screen will be (the as-yet unpublished in translation) Una novela lumpen; Chilean director Alicia Scherson has filmed it as Il Futuro, currently screening at Sundance. The trailer: Thanks for the link, Jorge!
Possibly premature (heh) but I have a title page totally thought out for This Silent House... I had been thinking a snippet from "Lullaby for Laura" would be the epigraph, but I just found a Joaquín Pasos poem that makes me think of Ávala: it is the one.
Canción para morir
¡Qué oscuro mar
¡Qué lejano recuerdo
posted afternoon of January 19th, 2013: Respond ➳ More posts about Readings
Here is the utterly beguiling epigraph Saramago chose for his short stories:
If man is shaped by his environment, his environment must be made human.
It is from Chapter 6 of Marx and Engels' The Holy Family, a critique of the Young Hegelians which was their first collaborative effort. Saramago's method of carrying out this transformation of the environment, while I cannot imagine it to be just what Marx and Engels had in mind, is somehow exactly the right thing.
That rare treasure arrived in today's mail, a book towards which I have no predjudices one way or the other... All I know about Michael Stutz' Circuits of the Wind is that its protagonist is roughly my coeval and vaguely that he grows up with computers and hacking and such.* A wonderful epigraph from Ecclesiastes sheds a little light on the title:
The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north ; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
I'm sort of sniffing around the edges of the book trying to figure out how to approach it now, looking at the epigraphs and the dedication and acknowledgements (to among others, "the gurus, Daniel Frank Kirk [this Daniel F Kirk? this Daniel Kirk?] and Irwin Allen Ginsberg" and "Bill Burroughs for the blessing")... Some fun stuff.
*(Well and that its author considers READIN a worthy target for a review copy, which I'll grant is a big prejudicial point in his favor.)
¿Qué fuego de tiniebla, qué círculo de trueno,
cayó sobre tu frente cuando viste esta tierra?
What fire of darkness, what circle of thunder,
Fell over your visage when you beheld this land?
(making no claims for the quality of that translation/transliteration; I have not read the rest of the poem yet so I don't have any context) -- Gerbasi, a key figure of Venezuelan poetry in the 20th Century, was a son of Italian immigrants; Zupcic's father is an immigrant from Croatia. Several of the stories in this collection are told from the point of view of a Venezuelan named Vinko Spolovtiva, concerning his (absent) Croatian father.
* Dragi is Croatian for "Dear", the salutation at the top of a letter. The story "Letters toward writing a novel" consists in part of letters written by Zlatica Didic to his siblings, and his son, narrating, comments, "There is a word which opens most of the letters: Dragi. According to Bozidar, who translated them, this means something like "dearest". I decided not to translate it: it has a sweet sound, a nice sound. Nigmar thinks it looks like a sunstone -- that seems right to me."
In the first chapter of Tor Nørretranders' User Illusion (an engrossing and highly interesting read which I am starting on the recommendation of the Julian Jaynes Society) I find a quotation from James Clerk Maxwell which I think will serve very nicely as an epigraph for READIN (and for the phenomenon of blogging in general):
A memorandum-book does not, provided it is neatly written, appear confused to an illiterate person, or to the owner who understands it thoroughly, but to any other person able to read it appears to be inextricably confused.
I don't really see yet how Nørretranders is planning to move from thermodynamics and information systems to consciousness and perception; but his enlightening summary of the history of physics in the 19th and 20th Centuries is delicious reading even without the frisson provided by wondering where he is headed with it.
He dreamt of his distributed weight
lying hair's-breadth by hair's-breadth this side of collapse
on the springs of his mattress; his linen-clad pillow,
the thousands of hairs on the nape of his neck; dreamt of
covers and sheets and the million thread count, the
mechanics of sleep, of the pale thunder moon, of the
gasp from his lungs as his body escapes
this cold matrix of wakefulness, bitterness, playfulness:
memories of nuzzling close in the arms of the
black grinning spectre of night.
Woke up this morning without much memory of the dream but with the strong impression that I had been dreaming about being asleep. Within a few minutes the poem had assembled itself in rough outline; over the next hour or so it came into a nice sharp focus.
The epigraph is from a villanelle by Roethke: one I did not know of until today. I like its sense and its sound. "I learn by going where I have to go."
Here is a link to several pieces I've posted over the last few months that I've been particularly happy with: Memories and Dreaming -- 7 original pieces plus 2 translations. Maybe if I get a couple more together, I will make a chapbook.
posted evening of July 15th, 2011: Respond ➳ More posts about Dreams