January 5, 2017 § 2 Comments
Bref, I read a lot of poetry translated from German and a lot of nonfiction translated from French. This is not very shocking. Much of my non-book reading happened at Asymptote: this reading (plus editing) is far more diverse and includes work by poets like Vicente Huidobro (Chile), Jan Dammu (Iraq), and writers who push at the limits of what translation means (the Special Feature in our January issue). One of my favorite pieces of this latter sort is Bronwyn Haslam’s anagrammatic translations of Nicole Brossard’s poetry (“Soft Links” becomes “Silk Fonts,” for example):
It’s nouns that gulp fire and life, one can’t tell if they’re Latin, French, Urdu, Veda, Cree, Mandarin, Aleut, Creole, Basque, English, secrete a number, deed, quorum, animal or accelerate old anxieties eddying before us in doubled somber contours full of luster and immense legends.
I also got to collaborate with my friend Michael Joseph Walsh to put together a different sort of experimental translation portfolio for Denver Quarterly 50.4 I have a few extra copies and would be happy to mail them to anyone interested (or you can subscribe). Joshua Ware’s visual translations of Celan appear as an online supplement to this portfolio here.
For some years now I’ve been obsessed with a film by Yvon Marciano called Le cri de la soie (1996), which fictionalizes the life of pioneer psychiatrist Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault. This year I read two texts relevant to this film, de Clérambault’s case studies of women who developed an unusual sexual “passion” for silk and other textiles: Passion érotique des étoffes chez la femme (1908) and its suite (1910). « Read the rest of this entry »
December 31, 2016 § 2 Comments
– speak less of other people
– watch more good cinema
– sleep well
I found a poem I wrote on 06.04.09 called “A doctoral student confesses”—it is oddly prescient:
“so sound would be plural like description is” (Giscome Road 52)
“Sentences find you, style finds you on the road out; it overtakes you effortlessly, it palavers” (69)
February 2, 2016 § 1 Comment
Truly, the most important reading I did last year was Beowulf. I got to read it in the original Old English with a group of amazingly brilliant people and to live in that super soundrich world for about two months. We also looked at a couple other translations; the Thom Meyer is really special. The next most important reading was for my comprehensive exams, which I wrote about here.
Hmm. I don’t really mean to hierarchize the value of these books. This is wrong. Maybe, since so far things have been listed chronologically (did Beowulf early last year, comps reading during the summer): a third highlight was Michael Donhauser’s Of Things (trans. Nick Hoff and Andrew Joron), which I read toward the end of the year, on my multiple flights home to Bangalore. It is a gorgeous and fierce book that reads fieldlife:
from “The Tomato”
To say once more “the tomato.”
On this autumn-saturated Sunday evening.
At the quiet of day’s end, the ringing of bells, cries of farewell.
When the fun stops and with it, the feeling of its insufficiency.
The waiting, the passing in silence, the rustling of leaves, being nowhere.
When Sunday, diminishing gradually, retires.
In sitting there, in spoiling away, in willingness.
With which we endure it: in praise of enduring.
To say it: that this has been a beautiful Sunday.
Yet the tomato takes the evening as an opportunity.
Favored by the given conditions: in all their sparseness.
By way of the light: allowing it to gently settle there.
By way of the surging traffic: in order to absorb it.
The humming, the droning, the vibrating: in order to transpose it.
Into the quieter variety of its seeds, into the juice of its fruit-flesh.
(No fruit has ever robbed me of every rebellion like this.)
The tomato appears in the shadow of language.
As moon (once again): as monad.
Darkened: a silken coal ember.
Here are the rest of my favorite books from last year: « Read the rest of this entry »
May 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
I have about ten notebooks currently in my possession. This may not sound like a lot, but they have notes in them from every class and every guest lecture I’ve attended as a graduate student. I write on every page and am very sparing with the use of paper. So it is a lot, actually.
I’m about to enter a summer of what is known as “comprehensive exam study.” It is about as bureaucratic as it sounds.
In order to prepare for it, I’ve been going through these notebooks, deciding what I need around me as I attempt to think this summer.
And the notebooks don’t want me to.
Here are some excerpts from my notebooks, at random.
why does apostrophe allow a move to the present?
thing: “a gathering of people to make law” (Saxon)
(Joy[c]e: thing mode)
the occasion for
in and what
comes out is
a new modality
but for Cecil [Taylor]
of the self
“consent not to
be a single
thing” « Read the rest of this entry »
April 30, 2014 § Leave a comment
Bit of a shame I’m doing this on the last day of the month, but I’ve had some poems in the wonderful new issue of MiPOesias, edited by Sarah Blake. I’m sharing journal space with some really exciting poets, which I’m thrilled about.
I also did a little blog post for Sarah Blake’s National Poetry Month Daily tumblr on something I love to think about: how people talk. There’s thirty poetry-related write-ups by poets on this blog, so lots to read and think about. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
As would any serious readerly person, I treat my books like real estate.
Or is it a bad thing to treat one’s books like real estate? Either way, I like to look at my shelves the way an Austen character might look on the prospect of a mansion–you know how that is.
OK, I have to say this before I forget it: I’ve been bingeing on BBC televised versions classics for the past couple of days in order to get over the trauma of yet another academic term as a doctoral student. The best thing about these shows is how all the characters say RRUHM for “room.” Apparently it’s some sort of old-fashioned British thing, like the way they used to say GUHLANT for “gallant.” Such beauties.
Onto far more important things, I only bought two books in February, but they were both so excellent, and strangely of similar sizes and colors even.
Teresa Carmody is a super talented PhD peer and co-founder of Les Figues Press. I don’t know how much you can tell this from my scan, but the book is narrow and long. It feels very different in my hands. I like.
The Claudette Sartiliot is an utterly random discovery. I looked up “discourse of flowers” in the library’s search engine, figuring that someone must have written a measly essay or two on the subject, and turns out there’s a whole book. It’s out of print and rather exquisite. Hardback with actual dead flowers in the mix. « Read the rest of this entry »
January 25, 2014 § 1 Comment
Apparently, most people make such lists at the end of the year rather than a month into the next.
Apparently, also, lots of people read what is published in the same year, whereas I merely buy those books and feel proud and then read dead people or people I’ve already read.
Generally, this means I’m taking classes over whose reading lists I have no control or that I am attempting postponement of pleasure, which is a thing some of you may know about though most of you will probably be questioning the sanity of such nefarious sacrificial tendencies.
As I have been, imaginably, awake this whole night due to self-diagnosed insomnia* caused by unnecessary thinking about life events, I have decided to give you my list of best things I read in 2013.
[*I wrote this post yesterday and saved a draft. Following writing this post, which I did in a moment of extreme alertness useful to the writing of blog posts but not to reading PhD things, I slept for sixteen hours. So clearly, no insomnia.]
things = book-length works, chapbooks included
read = read for the first time, re-reads not included
Amal al-Jubouri. Hagar Before the Occupation, Hagar After the Occupation. 2008. Translated from the Arabic by Rebecca Gayle Howell with Husam Qaisi. Alice James Books, 2011.
Jorge Carrera Andrade. Micrograms. 1940. Translated from the Spanish by Alejandro de Acosta & Joshua Beckman. Wave Books, 2011.
Inger Christensen. alphabet. 1981. Translated from the Danish by Susanna Neid. New Directions, 2001.
Eduardo C. Corral. Slow Lightning. Yale University Press, 2012.
Robert Creeley. Selected Poems, 1945-2005. Edited by Benjamin Friedlander. University of California Press, 2008. « Read the rest of this entry »