Thursday, 25 October 2012

Five Poets From Latin America

Allow me to introduce you to yet another free ebook from the World Writers series:

Translated by Ilan Stavans

These poets are:

León de Greiff, Jorge Luis Borges, Dulce María Loynáz, Darío Jaramillo Agudelo, Santiago Mutis Durán

Amongst other things, I've never had the pleasure of reading Borges' short essay, Borges and I. I was going to quote from it, but through the magic of copy and paste, I might as well quote the whole thing:

Borges and I

The other one, Borges, is to whom things happen. I walk through Buenos Aires, stop, maybe a bit mechanically, to look at the arch of an entrance way and a grillwork door; I have news from Borges by mail or when I see his name in a list of professors or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, 18th-century typography, the taste of coffee, and Stevenson's prose; the other shares those preferences but with a vanity that turns them into an actor's attributes. It would be an exaggeration to affirm that our relationship is hostile; I live, I let myself live, so that Borges can plot his literature and that literature justifies me. It doesn't cost me anything to confess he has achieved a few valid pages, but those pages can't save me, perhaps because what's good no longer belongs to anyone, not even to the other, but to language and tradition. In any case, I'm destined to be lost, definitively, and just some instant of me will survive in the other. Little by little I cede everything, even though I'm aware of his perverse tendency to falsify and pontificate. Spinoza understood that all things want to be preserved in their being: the stone eternally wants to be a stone and the tiger a tiger. I shall remain in Borges, not in myself (if I am someone), but I recognize myself less in his books than in many by others and in the laborious strumming of a guitar. Years ago I tried freeing myself from him and went from the mythologies of the arrabal to the games with time and the infinite, but those games are Borges' now and I shall come up with other things. Thus my life is a flight and I lose everything and everything belongs to oblivion, or to the other.
        I don't know which of the two writes this page. 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Coronology by Claire Bateman

This brilliant online chapbook can be read for free on the World Writers website.
It's a series of prose poems written as an alphabetised anatomical directory.
Here, for example, is the entry under H:
H.   Deep in your burrowing place under the blankets, you wake to a racket on the roof that must be announcing the descent of the hailstone crown, though who's to say for sure? The (hailstone crown - bold) is alarmingly indeterminate, subject to sudden transformations. Maybe even now it's changing into a shower of turkey gizzards, or human gallstones, or wisdom teeth. Tiny magnets shaped like Scottie dogs? Petrified little brides and grooms from abandoned wedding cakes? Silver suitcase keys? Miniature spun-glass beehives? Or marbles, like so many calcified points of no return-not the elegant Sulphites with their silver doves and swans glowing spectrally at the center, but micro-Pee Wees, coreless Lutzes with their gold sparkles searing tiny burn marks into the storm. Or maybe Irish Diamonds, which are really rock crystals, or American Rubies, which are really garnets-no less radiant than authentic gems, but so much more appropriate for this particular zip code. 
Confusingly, and interestingly, the author has written two different books, both with the title Coronogy. This is a shorter version of one of them. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast

This series of podcasts hosted by the legendary Richard Herring ("Best Podcaster Ever," according to me) is very interesting and very funny.  (This is a pretty short review, but I think that covers everything.)

Here's the link.