On opacity

Two days ago, Ron Silliman noted on his blog, in a piece on a poem by Geoffrey Brock: While there is nothing here that could be called opaque, as such, the scandal of opacity – representation’s ultimate failure-from-within – lurks everywhere. I’ve been trying to think through that sentence, but am having a hard time. Maybe because I’ve been thinking about opacity from a diffferent angle all together. But … Read more On opacity

4 July is my father’s death day — 13 years ago — and now also that of Lorenzo Thomas, a wonderful poet, & a sweet & lovely man with a sharp intelleto. Here is the link to an obit in the Houston Chronicle. And here is his poem “Tirade” — on old age, something he didn’t get to appreciate, he died at 60, much too young — taken from … Read more

Summer Reading: The Ten Most Harmful Books

Here, on the day before the big yucky displays of patriotic schmalz, are the ten most harmful books, according to the deep right wing — should you not have read one or the other of them, put it or them on your summer reading list immediately! (Well, Mein Kampf may not be good summer reading, though for a serious understanding of fascist ideology — & that’s right now a … Read more Summer Reading: The Ten Most Harmful Books

Abdelwahab Meddeb on Arabic

This morning, for the sheer pleasure of it, I translated two pages by the Tunisian writer Abdelwahab Meddeb, taken from his 1886 book Phantasia, & representing the beginning of a longer meditation on language, especially on his own multilinguism (Arabic & French) and on writing in Arabic. from PHANTASIA, chapter 2. In the flux of thought, the fragment imposes itself. Between silence and the pause, the verse speaks the … Read more Abdelwahab Meddeb on Arabic

Philippe Jaccottet at 80

The poet Philippe Jaccottet turns 80 today. Born in Western Switzerland, he has lived in the town of Grignan in Southern France for close to 50 years now. Very productive bothas poet and prose writer, his work has been published mainly by Gallimard & a range of excellent smaller presses in France & elsewhwre — while being widely translated into other languages, though with very little available in English. … Read more Philippe Jaccottet at 80

PJ's Reading & Interview on PennSound

PennSound has just posted my Close Listening reading; here is the playbill: Close Listening — readings and conversations at WPS1.OrgClocktower Studio, New York, June 21, 2005 Pierre Joris in conversation with Charles Bernstein (29:21) WPSI ReadingEntire Program (28:13) Singles:1. Returning to These States after a 6 Months Absence (unpublished) (0:22)2. This Afternoon Dante (from Permanent Diaspora, duration press, 2003) (0:45)3. The Word, The Mâwqif (from Permanent Diaspora) (1:50)4. A … Read more PJ's Reading & Interview on PennSound

Scheherazade's French translators

The first translation into French of the 1001 Arabian Nights — that great, scary tale of a woman holding off a power-crazed serial-killer of women with night-long strings of words — came out in 1704. It was done by Antoine Galland — who did, however, more than translate. He put togetehr the book (or at least parts thereof) himself, by inserting a number of stories that had not been … Read more Scheherazade's French translators

DoomsDayDiary

My old comrade in arms, I mean bars, the sculptor, wise-crack artiste & website designer John Maas has an excellent visual site, sort of his doomsdaydiary (another incarnation of dadada or now dodadi) of montaged & massaged visuals. Worth checking out.

Handke & Milošević

What drives as serious & excellent a writer as the Austrian Peter Handke to take — & persist in — political stances that seem so absurdly inept & perverse? For ten years now, Handke has been a staunch defender of the Slobodan Milošević, the Serbian leader now jailed in Scheveningen, Holland, and in the process of being tried at the De Haag Court of Justice for crimes against humanity … Read more Handke & Milošević