more from "The Gift of Emptyness"

Here are a few more translations from Mohammed Bennis’s collection Le Don du Vide: RINGS Anchor the air to the rings of the doorsor to the ruins of the praisesThe sea fulfills youYour depth is blueYour hand wetis desireor elseyou do not exist * * * IMPURITY This is my body I meet itit emerges wet from the pure thingand from the hollow of the wordsI see myself doing … Read more more from "The Gift of Emptyness"

Ernst Jandl

Ernst Jandl (1925-2000), the great Austrian (sound/concrete, etc.) poet, would have been eighty today. The German daily, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, reminds of us the occasion and brings some unpublished poems, the following among them: “diese gedichte können, da es vorzüglichgedichte zur bewältigung des Lebens sind,in jeder beliebigen reihenfolge von Ihnengelesen werden, verehrte lederriemenund leser.” FAZ also published a moving piece by his life-companion, the poet Friederike Mayröcker: “This morning … Read more Ernst Jandl

State of Siege

It is, I believe, worth reminding us every so often of the scandal the major lack of translations of poetry (& other literary writing) in the US represents. This lack, I have noticed over the years, is especially glaring when it comes to contemporary Arab literature. So one of the first things I do when I get to Europe is to hit my favorite bookstore (Toulouse’s Ombres Blanches, better … Read more State of Siege

Artaud & Rodez, Proposal for a Monument

For me Rodez has always been linked to Antonin Artaud — & his stay in the mental institution down in the plain around the hilltop city from 1943 to 1946. Nicole remembered that a few years back there had been an exhibition of Artaud material in connection with his stay in the town, so I thought it would be easy enough to locate something — even if only some … Read more Artaud & Rodez, Proposal for a Monument

The Last Occitan Butcher Stall

The core of the Estivada 2005 in Rodez was the music, but the other arts were also represented — the visual arts in a wonderfully funny & yet disturbing fasion via Claude Merle’s very realistic yet always slightly twisted life-size polyester resin figures & installations he refers to as “Les Voisins,” “The Neighbors.” The butcher stall above was wedged between two actual booths & so it was always an … Read more The Last Occitan Butcher Stall

Pass a Brother some Hot Sauce

Always had a certain admiration for Robert Duncan’s roving eye — sort of wished I too had the possibility of keeping the gaze fixed on at least two places at the same time — & though still focusing here on Occitania, can’t help sending you to a recent blog entry by friend, ex-colleague & commentator Mark Anthony Neal, on the most recent development on the Black Panther Party front: … Read more Pass a Brother some Hot Sauce

Occitan Festival in Rodez

The various cultural irridentisms that have marked Europe since the sixties have always made me feel uneasy. The enemy was (& remains) the nation-state, so what’s the point of creating more nation-statelet subunits based on the same perceived unification points: sameness of language & supposed historical-cultural experience. Sameness as core identity can of course only be percieved against a (to be loathed & excluded) difference. If the nation-states of … Read more Occitan Festival in Rodez

Nomadizing again

The Joris-Peyrafitte smala is preparing to travel again in order to rejoin their summer pasturing grounds in Bourg d’Oueil, in the Pyrenees, via a few days at the Occitan culture festival in Rodez. This means that the blog will be slowed down momentarily, though I should start posting again by Sunday 24 July.