Serializing Robert Kelly on Brooklyn

Bay Ridge: lovely 1890s summer day on Third Avenue and 75th Street
Bay Ridge: lovely 1890s summer day on Third Avenue and 75th Street

It is just five months now that I call Brooklyn home, though given the nomadicity of teaching at Albany & traveling nearly weekly elsewhere for readings or conferences, I’ve barely had the time to savor living in Yellow Hook, aka Bay Ridge — except of course for the long walks along the Narrows from the 69th street pier to the Verrazano Bridge (2.4 miles, one-way) with Nicole when we have the time, and  shopping along third and fifth avenues twixt Bay Ridge Avenue and the 96th Street farmer’s market (now in hibernation).

A few days ago a book edited by our friend Pauline Peretz arrived from France: a big 1300-page “bouquin” published by Robert Laffont and called NEW YORK Histoire, Promenade, Anthologie & Dictionnaire. I had been asked to contribute, but given my crazy necklace, no: noose of deadlines, I didn’t get my piece — on the East Village in the late sixties/early seventies — done in time (it is still in the works & will, hopefully, come out someday). I had suggested to Pauline that she contact Robert Kelly for a piece on Brooklyn — which she did, and Robert responded with a long meditation on cities and specifically his birth-place, Brooklyn. For the last few days I’ve been committing  a very pleasurable minor act of dépayisement (or repayisement?) as I’d call the Verfremdungseffekt of reading Kelly on Brooklyn in French.  And then thought: why not reprint the original English version on Nomadics over these holidays in several installments (visions of Eugène Sue or Balzac on Paris serialized in French newspapers 150 years ago…) RK agreed, and I am now getting his text ready for this blog. First installment tomorrow, for Christmas Eve…

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