March 11th, 2012 § § permalink
RELIGION. I have taken to reading the Bible again, and by that I mean Pessoa‘s The Book of Disquiet. It is a monumental work and, in Richard Zenith‘s curation, rather a mammoth one too. So I read it on and off, though I ideally I tell myself I should read a passage every day as one does, if devout, a Bible. But maybe I am more devout in spirit than in practice, and therefore a true Catholic towards this book.
Pessoa: So why do I keep writing?
Pessoa: Because I still haven’t learned to practise completely the renunciation that I preach.
(A Factless Autobiography 231)
DIVERS. For three years I have written monthly posts about the books and movies I read and watched in that time. I’ve become more and more lax about the writing of these, being both late and unhelpfully brief about them. The point was to force myself to think carefully about what gives me pleasure and what doesn’t. Laziness is bad for thinking.
Now that I’ve become less invested in writing a blog that is read and more interested in having a place that keeps track of my interests and complaints and confusion, I’ve decided to switch to this format for my blog writing: a (hopefully) fortnightly gathering of my thoughts and readings. This first divers post of 2012 will have to summarise two months instead of just two weeks, so bear with me.
Street art in Prague: Kafka's Metamorphosis (via Flavorwire)
MUSIC. I don’t ‘follow’ music. » Read the rest of this entry «
August 15th, 2011 § § permalink
Pedro Almodóvar: Labyrinth of Passion (1982, Spain)
Yes, that’s a young, gay Antonio Banderas shirtless in a movie called Labyrinth of Passion which is not, strictly speaking, porn.
This was a fun movie that I watched by accident with a friend of mine in London. We were wandering around South Bank wondering what to do and we walked into BFI to see this. It was a romp.
Made just six years after Franco’s death, the film seems clearly to want to break loose of sexual and political restraints. One of the main characters’ name is Sexilia, for god’s sake. And someone please count the number of crotch shots in the first sequence, because I could not.
Anyway, I don’t remember the story so well. Did I mention it’s a romp? There’s some great drag and the brilliant song, ‘Suck it to me,’ written by Almodóvar himself. Three stars out of five?
Darren Aronofsky: Black Swan (2010, USA)
Every time I watch a Darren Aronofsky movie, I promise myself I will never again. Then he makes a new movie that makes everyone talk about how brilliant he is. I have to witness these conversations and I’m not allowed to make faces because I haven’t watched this particular movie. Out of utter frustration I watch the goddamn new Aronofsky and regret every second of it: I’d rather listen to a lot of shitty talk about bad cinema than have to watch the bad cinema.
But what can I say: Black Swan was an in-flight movie and I was curious. » Read the rest of this entry «
May 24th, 2011 § § permalink
. . . an interview I read a few years ago in the New York Times Magazine with the writer Mario Vargos Llosa about his novel The Bad Girl. In the interview, Vargos Llosa explains that he made his main character a translator to explain the man’s lack of personality and why he’d need to go groveling after the Bad Girl. A translator, according to Vargos Llosa, is an inhibited “intermediary” whose life is “curtailed” and “mediocre.”
My question after reading this was how many translators does Vargas Llosa actually know?
In the poetry world, I’ve found translators usually are the bad girls—the poets most likely to put themselves in dodgy situations in other languages and enjoy it. To disappear for years into other cultures and live in situations that would make their parents cringe but that also leaves them aware of the world in a way that makes them live, think, and take risks they never would have otherwise.
That’s from a short piece Idra Novey (amazing poet and translator) posted on the BOA blog. It’s a short, but fierce piece, and I rather like it.
As for putting oneself in dodgy situations, I’ve been translating a book by Marguerite Duras. » Read the rest of this entry «
April 19th, 2011 § § permalink
Lately, I’ve fallen in love with so many women — utterly in love — with who they are, how they are, what they do. These women are all of a certain age, and it makes me excited; it makes me wonder what it would be like to be that age and to have something and to live a life of — I suppose I could only call it a life of poetry, and to live it fully. It almost makes me want to skip all of the in-between, which I know is unwise.
Most recently, my excitement has been for Susan Howe, whose work I never expected to like much at all, having read individual poems. But then I read a whole book (Souls of the Labadie Tract, 2007), which I liked quite a bit, and I heard her read from her latest (THAT THIS, 2010), which seems even more fascinating. She also gave a talk on Emily Dickinson, a favourite poet of hers. She spoke so passionately of her — it seems weak to use the word ‘passion’ even. Howe believes strongly that if you love a writer, you must go after the original manuscripts, as she has done with Dickinson. Find the library or estate that owns them and do what you can to see them for yourself, not just digitally. The experience, she says, is radically different. And she’s right; there’s a material significance to it. » Read the rest of this entry «
November 5th, 2010 § § permalink
1. I sometimes take things personally.
I just wrote 800 words explaining that statement, exposing myself in a brutal and personal fashion. Then I felt embarrassed and deleted it. » Read the rest of this entry «
September 1st, 2010 § § permalink
but I also want to say that I’ve also been thinking of becoming a librarian and thinking on library cultures in general. » Read the rest of this entry «
June 4th, 2010 § § permalink
Simon Turner interrogates the criticism of war and Holocaust literature
[The] treatment of Holocaust literature with such critical kid gloves tends to place a value upon it solely in terms of its usefulness as historical documentation, whilst the question of literary merit is relegated to a secondary status. As Perec notes, “it’s clear that a careful distinction is being drawn between books like these and ‘real’ literature,” » Read the rest of this entry «