Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beverly Dahlen and David Abel, 5/10/09

Spare Room presents
a poetry reading by

Beverly Dahlen
David Abel

Sunday, May 10 at 7:30 pm
Concordia Coffee House
2909 NE Alberta Street
$5 suggested donation

Monday, April 20, 2009

"The movement of the limbs may give immediate pleasure to the dancer and the body of the dancer produce in us the most exquisite joy--still, the object of the dance is to trace patterns on the ground."

--Keith Waldrop,
"Perilous Voyage: a chain"
(in Hegel's Family, 1989)

Friday, April 17, 2009

"To anyone recuperating from the benign plague of naïve realism I would recommend the following method of looking at pictures.

"Under no circumstances go in as if you were entering a chapel. Don't be thrilled or chilled, and don't get glued to the canvas. . . . 

"With the stride of a stroll on a boulevard: straight on!

"Cut through the huge heat waves of the space of oil painting.

"Calmly, with no excitement--the way little Tartars bathe their horses in Alushta--lower your eye into what will be for it a new material ambiance--and remember that the eye is a noble, but stubborn, animal.

"Standing before a picture to which the body temperature of your vision has not adjusted itself, for which the crystalline lens has not yet found the one suitable accommodation, is like singing a serenade in a fur coat behind storm windows.

"When this equilibrium has been achieved, and only then, begin the second stage of the restoration of the picture, the washing of it, the removal of its old peel, its external and late barbaric layer, which is the linking of it to sunny, solid reality.

"With its extremely acidic reactions, the eye, an organ possessed of hearing, which intensifies the value of the image, which multiplies its accomplishments by its sensual insults (which it fusses over like a child with a new toy), raises the picture to its own level; for painting is much more a matter of internal secretion than of apperception, that is, of external perceiving. 

"The material of painting is organized in such a way that it stands to lose nothing, and that is its distinction from nature. But the probability of the lottery is inversely proportional ti its feasibility.  

"And only now does the third and last stage of entering the picture begin: when one confronts the intention behind it.

"Now the traveling eye presents its ambassadorial credentials to the consciousness. Then a cold treaty is established between the viewer and the picture, something on the order of a diplomatic secret. 

"I left the embassy of painting and went out into the street.

"So soon after having left the frenchmen I found the sunlight to be a phase of some waning eclipse, and the sun to be wrapped up in foil.

"Near the entrance of the cooperative stood a mother with her son. The boy was tabetic, respectful. Both were in mourning. The woman was sticking a bunch of radishes into her reticule. 

"The end of the street, seemingly crushed by binoculars, swerved off into a squinting lump; and all of this, distant and linden-lined, was stuffed into a string bag."

--Osip Mandelstam,
Journey to Armenia 
(1933; translated by Clarence Brown
in The Noise of Time, 1986)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Yes, when I speak to somebody, I do not know with whom I speak, and I do not wish, I cannot wish to know him. There is no lyric without dialogue. Yet the only thing that pushes us into the arms of the interlocutor is the desire to be surprised by our own words, to be captivated by their novelty and unexpectedness. The logic is ineluctable. If I know to whom I speak, I know ahead of time how he will regard what I say, whatever I might say, and consequently I shall not manage to be astonished by his astonishment, to be overjoyed by his joy, or to love through his love. The distance of separation wipes away the features of the beloved person. Only then does the desire arise in me to say to him that important thing I could not have said when I had his image before me in the fulness of its reality. I permit myself to formulate this observation thus: the sense of communication is inversely proportional to our real knowledge of the interlocutor and directly proportional to the felt need to interest him in ourselves. It isn't about poetics on should concern oneself: that will come of itself. More likely, about distance. It's boring to be whispering to a neighbor. It's infinitely tedious to pressure-drill one's own soul (Nadson). But to exchange signals with Mars--without fantasizing, of course--that us a task worthy of a lyric poet."

--Osip Mandelstam
"About an Interlocutor"
(1913; translated by Sidney Monas in
Osip Mandelstam: Selected Essays, 1977)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"The soul is not, as the common image would have it, in the body. His soul, at any rate, goes along with him, as companion. Together, they think apart the most inseparable things, breaking the lines they think along, leaving, as a lord might, every wall breached and every barrier in fragments. The very bricks of the street they unpattern, to consider the ground's lay, and the wall of the sky, too, they penetrate.

"What English novels call a sycamore is a maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), with helicopter seeds, like other maples. These (the bladed seeds), if properly pulled open, in the right sticky season, will stick to a child's nose, forming a false nose--insect-like, or like a mask from the Commedia dell'Arte. Near the end of most biographies, the subject's life work 'was now complete,' as if there were a plan from the beginning, a form needing only to be filled out, a kit. But my head. We might hope, without too much hope, that a life may be improvised."

--Keith Waldrop
"The Master of the Providence Crucifixion"
(in Hegel's Family, 1989)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"Whatever I see can only be what there is to see. And I remember how the frog's eye tells the frog's brain, not even of all flies—let alone the surrounding manifold—but only of those in flight: catchable, fresh, eatable flies. What the frog's belly needs. And I, too, I must suppose, see no farther than my own necessities.

"And must, by the same token, need everything I see."

--Keith Waldrop 
"Characteristic Peices" 
(in Hegel's Family, 1989)