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

Palais Royale's last night

So we went out late last night to pay homage to the final evening in one of Albany’s oldest watering holes, the Palais Royale — there used to be poetry readings here in the seventies & eighties, both townie & gownie ones, Don Byrd told me when I first arrived in town in the early 90s, & even after the readings stopped it was a good place to hang … Read more Palais Royale's last night

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

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

Don't know where to spend 4th July? Try London!

Launch of Place by Allen Fisher This major work, long out of print, has been republished in a fine edition by Reality Street. Allen Fisher will read from Place On Monday 4th July at 7.30 pm in Room 629, Birkbeck College, Malet St, London WC1. Robert Hampson and William Rowe.