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Jeremy's journal

To write is to translate. It will always be, even when we're writing in our own language.

José Saramago

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Thursday, September 9th, 2010

🦋 What I'm Reading

Currently pretty involved with two books, both of which I can't figure out quite where to start writing about... I'm having a lot of immediate reactions to what I'm reading but nothing developing into a good blog post.

Gunfighter Nation: the myth of the frontier in 20th-Century America is a really eloquent historical analysis by Richard Slotkin, whose Regeneration through Violence I was reading previously and not writing much about either. A lot of fascinating, chilling quotations from Theodore Roosevelt and Buffalo Bill and so forth, a sort of self-styled macho elite.

Altazor: o el viaje en paracaídas is a book-length poem about falling into space. Much that I'm not sure what to make of, plus some belly laughs and fun imagery. I got interested in this poem when I saw it mentioned in the movie Dictadura. I'm reading Eliot Weinberger's parallel translation, and finding it very helpful (but am going to massage slightly below). You can read the Spanish online at the Universidad de Chile's Vicente Huidobro page. Check out this speech by God, from the preface*:

Then I heard the voice of the Creator, who is nameless, who is a simple hollow in space, lonely, umbilical.

"I made a great noise and this noise was the ocean and the waves of the ocean.

"This noise will be stuck to the waves of the ocean forever, and the waves of the ocean will be stuck to it forever, like stamps onto postcards.

"Afterwards, I braided a great cord of luminous rays to stitch each day to the next: the days, with their dawns either authentic or synthetic, but undeniable.

"Afterwards, I etched geography on the land, lines onto the hand.

"Then I drank a little cognac -- for purposes of hydrography.

"And I created the mouth and the lips of the mouth, to imprison ambiguous smiles; and the teeth of the mouth to keep watch on the absurdities that enter our mouths.

"I created the tongue of the mouth, the tongue which man tore from her proper role, making her learn to speak... She, she, the gorgeous bather, torn forever from her proper role, aquatic, purely sensual."

Huidobro is a very interesting cat, I'm tempted to call this work surrealistic though I don't rightly know how closely he worked with that school... The wikipædia article indicates that his school was Creationism, but also that he was the sole member of that movement. Picasso drew his portrait and Arp shot a great photo of him. There is a great reading of the first Canto up at Google videos, with subtitles.

* (Which I would put in the same class of greatness as the preface to Also Sprach Zarathustra)

posted evening of September 9th, 2010: 2 responses
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Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

🦋 Public health advisory

At Pink Tentacle, a plethora of Japanese posters from the 1800's with public health themes. Above is a sign from the 1860's by Utagawa Yoshimori, showing what foods can safely be eaten by a measles patient. (Thanks for the link, SEK.)

(And cool, I just found out that the genre of woodcut printing of which these are examples is called ukiyo-e, which translates as "Pictures of the Floating World".)

posted evening of September 8th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Pretty Pictures

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

🦋 Starving, hysterical, naked

Coming the last week of September, a movie of Howl -- the trailer looks very promising. And available right now, a graphic novel of the poem, by Eric Drooker -- Drooker worked on an animated sequence for the film, and had previously collaborated with Ginsberg on the book Illuminated Poems.

posted evening of September 7th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Readings

Monday, September 6th, 2010

🦋 Mountain Station on the radio

John and I have our first track playing on the radio! Tune in to Henry Musikar's always-great music rotation at KCUF and you will (every so often) hear our cover of Gillian Welch's "Revelator." Here is the track if you don't want to wait:

posted afternoon of September 6th, 2010: Respond
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Sunday, September 5th, 2010

🦋 Beat

53 years ago, on September 5th, 1957, Jack Kerouac published On the Road -- by the time I came along to get my bit of inspiration from it, the book had become a key piece of history and of national consciousness already; imagine what a thing it must have been in 1957! Here is Jack on the Steve Allen Show in 1959, answering some questions, speaking about Dean, reading the final paragraph of his book:

posted afternoon of September 5th, 2010: 2 responses

🦋 Sweet Virginia

Armaments in Alexandria
We spent a few days in Virginia this past week, our end-of-summer vacation. Some pictures from our travels are at the Family Album.

posted morning of September 5th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about the Family Album

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

🦋 The experience of deafness and blindness: 3 takes

Fini Straubinger:

Saramago (in Pontiero's translation):

The blind man had categorically stated that he could see, if you'll excuse that verb again, a thick, uniform white color, as if he had plunged his eyes into a milky sea. A white amaurosis, apart from being etymologically a contradiction, would also be a neurological possibility, since the brain, which would be unable to perceive the images, forms, and colors of reality, would likewise be incapable, in a manner of speaking, of being covered in white, a continuous white, like a white painting without tonalities, the colors, forms and images which reality itself might present to someone with normal vision, however difficult it may be to speak, with any accuracy, of normal vision.
Borges (and guess how excited I am to find the Seven Nights lectures online! At least one of them...):

posted evening of August 31st, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Land of Silence and Darkness

🦋 Life is...

At Cat and Girl, Dorothy offers some Metaphors, Cheap! Plus, for only slightly more money than the metaphors, you can purchase Volume III of Cat and Girl's (and Grrl's, and Boy's, and Bad Decision Dinosaur's) insights. Order now and get your copy personalized.

(And on the webcomix tip, today's Scenes from a Multiverse is hilarious and a bit Borgesian, if you read it the right way.)

posted morning of August 31st, 2010: Respond
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Sunday, August 29th, 2010

🦋 Trespass

Marc at the Wooster Collective announces a new collaborative book on urban art, Trespass: a History of Uncommissioned Urban Art. You can leaf through a sample of the book at Taschen.

Update: The launch party is Tuesday evening, September 28th, in Soho.

posted evening of August 29th, 2010: Respond
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🦋 The Hard Way

This is not to say that the point of the hard way is that we must be heroic. The attitude of "heroism" is based upon the assumption that we are bad, impure, that we are not worthy, are not ready for spiritual understanding. We must reform ourselves, be different from what we are. For instance, if we are middle class Americans, we must give up our jobs or drop our of college, move out of our suburban homes, let our hair grow, perhaps try drugs. If we are hippies, we must give up drugs, cut our hair short, throw away our torn jeans. We think that we are special, that we are turning away from temptation. We become vegetarians and we become this and that. There are so many things to become. We think our path is spiritual because it is literally against the flow of what we used to be, but it is merely the way of false heroism, and the only one who is heroic in this way is ego.

-- Chögyam Trungpa,
Cutting through Spiritual Materialism

posted afternoon of August 29th, 2010: Respond
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