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If there is a scheme,
perhaps this too is in the scheme,

Charles Reznikoff


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Saturday, September 18th, 2010

🦋 Busy, fun, weekend

Lots of stuff going on this weekend! Sylvia (a child of the millenium, a dragon baby) is as of today, no longer able to write her age with a single digit (assuming of course that she is writing in decimal notation). We are having a birthday dinner with some friends this evening, and tomorrow afternoon her party will be at the Raptor Trust in the Great Swamp.

The other big activity for me, outside of celebrating Sylvia's birthday, is fiddling. Barbara Lamb is in town this weekend, she's giving a concert at Menzel Violins tomorrow afternoon -- I can't make it because of the party, alas, but I've arranged for a fiddle lesson this morning. Really looking forward to it! I've learned her jig "Twisty Girl", I'm hoping she'll teach me "Älgen på taket". And the fiddling continues this afternoon, when Mountain Station (i.e. me and John) will have its first gig, at John's neighborhood block party. I'm pretty shocked at the amount of music we are comfortable playing -- we didn't work out a set list exactly, but we have enough songs to play for an hour set easily, and the order of the songs will determine itself...

posted morning of September 18th, 2010: 4 responses
➳ More posts about Sylvia

Friday, September 17th, 2010

🦋 Romped romped tantas cadenas

Each Canto of Altazor gets a little faster, a little more frantic. In Canto III (which Weinberger says in his preface, is where the fireworks really start), the rhythm is getting insistent, begging you to follow along:

Break all one's ligaments and veins
The loops of breathing and the chains

Of our eyes, our paths to the horizon
Flower projected on uniform skies

The soul paved with memories
Like stars, emblazoned by the wind

The sea, a rooftop shingled with bottles
Dreams in the sailor's memory
Sebastian Ramirez and Tomislav Definis of V Producciones have filmed a spell-binding reading of this Canto, paired with Bach's piano concerto #9. (Be sure to keep watching til the end!)

posted evening of September 17th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Altazor: The Journey by Parachute

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

🦋 Bad Gods

I haven't read Lore Sjöberg's Bad Gods in a while now... I think he had stopped updating a year or two ago, and I forgot about it. Today he does a (hilarous) guest strip at Dinosaur Comics, inspiring me to take a look again at his home page -- turns out he's back in business! His two current features are Apocrypha ("things that aren't part of other things") and Speak with Monsters, comics about the Cockatrice, the Purple Worm, the Troglodyte, etc. I don't know how frequently he updates but for now, there are a lot of archives to go through...

(Also, the site seems to occasionally crash Firefox, which seems like a lousy feature if it is by design.)

posted evening of September 16th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Comix

🦋 Rohonc

LanguageHat posted the other day about the Hungarian Rohonc Codex -- and at Nick Pelling's Cipher Mysteries site I find a recent interview with Benedek Lang regarding the codex and attempts to decipher it. Another good article on the codex is at Passing Strangeness, Paul Drye's blog on "the odd bits of the world."

posted evening of September 16th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Logograms

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

🦋 Altazor's manifesto

I'm feeling on a bit of a roll with reading and translating the prologue to Altazor. Here is another section, in which Huidobro/Altazor lays out the manifesto of the poem. There is some tricky pronoun-switching here; but I think the way I'm reading it makes sense.

Oh: how beautiful... how beautiful.

I see the mountains, the rivers, the jungles, the sea, the ships, the flowers, the seashells.

I see the night and the day, the axis where they converge.

Oh, oh,-- I am Altazor, great poet, without a horse who eats birdseed, nor who warms his throat in the moonlight; with my little parachute, like a parasol above the planets.

From each drop of sweat on my forehead are born stars; I will leave you the task of baptizing them, like so many bottles of wine.

I see it all, my brain was forged in tongues of prophecy.

See the mountain as the breath of God, climbing its swollen thermometer until it touch the feet of my beloved.

Am that one who has seen all things, who knows all the secrets, without being Walt Whitman -- I have never had a white beard, white like lovely nurses, like frozen streams.

That one who hears at night the counterfeiters' hammers, just busy astronomers.

That one who drinks from the warm glass of wisdom after the flood, paying heed to the doves, who knows the path of fatigue, the seething wake behind the ships.

That one who knows the storehouses of memory, of lovely forgotten seasons.

He: he, shepherd of airplanes, who conducts lost nights and masterful winds to the matchless poles.

His moan is like a blinking web of unseen meteors.

The day rises in his heart; he lowers his eyelids to make night, the farmer's respite.

He washes his hands under the gaze of God, he combs his hair like light, like he's harvesting slender raindrops, satisfied.

The screams are more distant now, like a flock across the hills, when the stars are sleeping afer a night of continuous labor.

The beautiful hunter, looking at the heavenly watering-hole where the heartless birds drink.

(The as-yet-nameless stars will make another very satisfying appearance early in Canto I.)

posted evening of September 14th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Readings

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

🦋 For your consideration:

A nice mash-up of The Big Lebowski and The Matrix, from Three Finch Lynch.



(Thanks for the link, Henry!)

posted evening of September 12th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about The Movies

🦋 The atmosphere of the final sigh

Let's look at the next bit of Altazor's prologue. So far there have been two brief, pointed soliloquies, by God and by Altazor; the next to speak will be the Virgin. I am dying to know whether the Spanish word "aureola" is a pun for "aureola/halo" -- as an English speaker reading the Virgin saying "look at my aureola" has a different meaning from "look at my halo"... [...argh, never mind, this was based on a confusion on my part between "aureola" and "areola".]

I take my parachute; running off the edge of my star I launch myself into the atmosphere of the final sigh.

I circle endlessly above the cliffs of dream, I circle among the clouds of death.

I meet the Virgin, seated on a rose; she says to me:

"Look at my hands: they are transparent, like electric bulbs. Do you see the filaments where the blood of my pure light is running?

"Look at my halo. Cracks run through it, proving my antiquity.

"I am the Virgin, the Virgin with no taint of human ink, the only one who is not only halfway there; I am the captain of the other eleven thousand, who have been to tell the truth overmuch restored.

"I speak a language which fills the heart, according to the law of clouds in communion.

"I am always saying goodbye, and I remain.

"Love me, my child, for I adore your poetry. I will teach you aerial prowess.

"I need, so strongly do I need your tenderness; kiss my locks, I have washed them this morning in the clouds of the dawn. I want to lie down and sleep, on my mattress, the intermittent mist.

"My glances are a wire on the horizon, where the swallows can rest.

"Love me."

I knelt in that circular space. The Virgin rose up and seated herself on my parachute.

I slept; I recited my most beautiful poems.

The flames of my poetry dried out the Virgin's hair; she thanked me and then slipped away, seated on her soft rose.

"The flames of my poetry"! -- remember, true song is arson.

I am not able to make much sense of the third paragraph of the Virgin's speech -- who are the other 11,000? Who has been restoring them? What is everyone else only halfway? [Jorge López supplies some good ideas toward an answer in comments.]

Spanish below the fold.

posted morning of September 12th, 2010: 4 responses
➳ More posts about Translation

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

🦋 Work in Progress

So a few weeks ago I had an idea for the beginning of a story... I've been working on it for a little while and am still not totally sure where it's going; if any of you would like to take a look at it and tell me your thoughts about it, I'd be glad to have your feedback on where to go with it. I'm not sure what it means that I am revising and reworking this piece more heavily than I have worked with any other writing I've done that I can think of, besides maybe the review of Death with Interruptions; this is already the third or fourth revision of the story's beginning. The story is going to be called "Silent Rain" -- I'm trying to capture the psychological/linguistic conditions and sensations created by absence and by the perception of absence. Comments welcome.

posted morning of September 11th, 2010: 3 responses
➳ More posts about Writing Projects

🦋 The Rock

Jorge López has been posting a lot of beautiful photography lately. Take a look at his latest:

"I'm writing you this card..."

Lots more at his blog.

posted morning of September 11th, 2010: Respond
➳ More posts about Pretty Pictures

Friday, September 10th, 2010

🦋 The Journey by Parachute

There’s a thin line between what you are and what you aren't.
I'm afraid of loving you, and you're afraid I can't.
I’m falling now, I’m falling.
I’m falling now, I'm falling.
Take it away.

Robyn Hitchcock, "I'm Falling"

Nearly every line of Altazor that I have read so far is just screaming for me to quote it -- I am going to go ahead and lay out some blocks of quotation; my idea here is to be doing a parallel translation of the poem (based loosely on Eliot Weinberger's) and (in the other direction, at the same time) of my own writing. Here is a section that immediately follows the speech by God that I quoted in the previous post -- a second great soliloquy, this time by Altazor (and/or by the author, there is a great deal of confusion between his voice and his character's): Con casi cada uno de los líneas que yo acabo de leer del poema Altazor, sentía el deseo de citarlo, repetirlo, traducirlo. Adelante, voy poner unos palabras citadas; tengo aquí la idea de traducir simultaneamente el poema (siguiendo vagamente la traducción de Eliot Weinberger) y mi propia escritura. Con esto, una pasaje que sigue directo el discurso de Dios citado en mi post anterior: es un segundo grande soliloquio, por Altazor mismo (o quizás por el autor, hay una gran confusión entre los dos).

read the rest...

posted evening of September 10th, 2010: 7 responses
➳ More posts about Projects

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