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Books, which we mistake for consolation, only add depth to our sorrow

Orhan Pamuk

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Saturday, March 24th, 2012

🦋 At the end of our little universe

In honor of the man's birthday: here is one of my favorite Ferlinghetti poems.

The Painter's Dream

(from These are My Rivers)

I'm with Picasso and "Fernande in a Black Mantilla" looking tragic with turpentine like rain running down her shoulder
And I'm in Pontoise with Pisarro
And with Gauguin in "The Vanilla Grove"
And in the "Mountains of St. Remy" with Van Gogh
And at "The Bend in the Road through the Forest" with Cézanne
And with Vuillard in "The Place Vintimille"
And with Picasso and "El Loco" and his blue acrobats
And with Picasso shaking his fist at the sky in "Guernica"
And I'm Durer's Steeple-jack seen by Marianne Moore
And those harpies "The Demoiselles of Avignon" are glaring at me personally
And Degas' ballet dancers are dancing for Matisse and Monet and Renoir and all the Sunday painters of Paris and John Sloane and all the Sunday painters of America and most of the painters of the Hudson River School floating along so calm and holding hands with most of the West Coast Figurative painters and their Have a Nice Day cohorts
But I'm also with Malevich in his "Red Square" in the Beautiful Corner
And with Delacroix' "Liberty Leading the Masses"
And with Goya's groaning masses in "The Disasters of War"
And I'm rocking across the Atlantic with "Whistler's Mother"
And I'm crossing the Delaware with Washington standing in the boat against Navy regulations
And I'm with Bierstadt crossing the Rockies on a mule
And with Motherwell and DeKooning and Kline and Pollock and Larry Rivers in the broken light in the shaken light of the late late late twentieth century
And then I'm walking through a huge exhibition in the Whole World Museum of Art containing all the greatest paintings of the entire fine arts tradition of all the centuries of western civilization
When suddenly a wild-haired band bursts into the Museum and starts spraying paint-solvent onto all the paintings
And all the paint in all the paintings starts to run down onto the floors of all the galleries forming fantastic new and exciting images of the end of our little universe
And elite curators in Gucci shoes rush in and cut up the painted floors and hang them on the walls while picturesque bohemian painters in berets stagger through the halls weeping

posted afternoon of March 24th, 2012: 3 responses
➳ More posts about Lawrence Ferlinghetti

🦋 93

As I grow older I perceive
Life has its tail in its mouth
and other poets other painters
are no longer any kind of competition
It's the sky that's the challenge
the sky that still needs deciphering

— from "Poet as Fisherman"

Happy birthday Mr. Ferlinghetti!

posted morning of March 24th, 2012: Respond
➳ More posts about Readings

🦋 Stone Age Comix Page

Jan Magne Gjerde of the Tromsø University Museum has discovered some fascinating Stone Age art, at Lake Kanozero in northern Russia. Read about his findings at Science Nordic, with pictures of the etchings and of Gjerde's tracings.

via Orbis Quintus, where badger has been linking some great stories lately.

posted morning of March 24th, 2012: Respond
➳ More posts about Pretty Pictures

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

posted evening of March 23rd, 2012: Respond
➳ More posts about Politics

🦋 Capo 5

I'm pretty thrilled with where I'm headed with this song. (Hope John has the rest of the lyrics!)

Hmm... John does not have the other lyrics. Apparently I only hand-wrote them and now I need to figure out where the paper is, or rewrite...

posted evening of March 23rd, 2012: Respond
➳ More posts about Guitar

🦋 How To

To make your shadow dance, dance. To make your shadow talk, stand on a streambank.
Learn from your shadow. Broken glass won’t cut it, barbed wire can’t stop it, mud doesn’t stick.
Dave Bonta of Via Negativa today posted How to Cast a Shadow, the 27th and final poem in his series Manual. Go read (and if you likeby all means, listen to his recitations) -- some great stuff is present. Start from the beginning! You have to start from a position of strength. Leave a window open for cat-burglars and cats, either of whom may have a lot to teach you.

posted evening of March 23rd, 2012: 3 responses
➳ More posts about Reading aloud

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

🦋 Bárbula Copies revisited

Today I happened on another story by Zupcic, "Girasoles Funeral Home: The Autobiography of a Hearse" -- here we learn the (rather sordid) story of Bárbula Copies, after Benavides and his friends graduate and sell out to the fat lady who runs the numbers game next door.

posted evening of March 22nd, 2012: Respond
➳ More posts about Slavko Zupcic

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

🦋 Bárbula Copies, a funeral home

— Death takes us all. — That was all we would say when customers asked us how we had made the decision to go into the funeral home business here next to the medical school, when they asked us how we could have chosen such a name for our business as Bárbula Copies.

My translation of Slavko Zupcic's story, Bárbula Copies, a funeral home, is online now at The Utopian.

posted evening of March 21st, 2012: Respond
➳ More posts about Translation

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

🦋 Backstory

I had forgotten about the fifth chapter of The Art of Resurrection -- it is an extremely dense, 7-page long paragraph of a sort of context-switching stream of consciousness. Last time I read this book, I'm pretty sure I mostly skipped over it. It is valuable for the way it gets inside Zárate Vega's head, and by switching back and forth between the narrator's voice and the Christ of Elqui's, makes explicit the identification between reader and writer and character -- also we see the use of first-person plural, not used in this book anything like as much in Santa María de las flores negras, to make explicit the identification between the narrator and the workers who live in the salitreras.

posted evening of March 20th, 2012: Respond
➳ More posts about The Art of Resurrection

🦋 Shame

“War is hell,” said Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration: he said it following the killing of 16 civilians, among them children, by a deranged sergeant in the Afghan province of Kandahar. This massacre unleashed on the world a series of images that one cannot look at without being reminded of similar massacres from the Vietnam War — for instance, My Lai.

-- "Shame", by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

The Utopian's blog publishes my translation of Vásquez' latest column for El Espectador: the original is "Los Avergonzados", from last Thursday.

On the subject of shameful killings: Founderstein's Michael Austin has exactly the right take on the killing of Treyvon Martin in Florida last month. (via Russell Arben Fox)

posted evening of March 20th, 2012: Respond
➳ More posts about Juan Gabriel Vásquez

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