For a preview, read the Introduction here.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Thus, while having great food at Chiosco dello Zoo, in quietude, I was thinking about connections. Harold Pinter came to my mind. He was 44 when he met Antonia Fraser, a 42 year-old aristocratic woman, married to an important politician, and with 6 children. He was also married. But what the heck, when lightning strikes, it strikes. He assaulted the poor woman with love poetry, writing that is even embarrassing, and flowers, so many flowers that it's impossible to imagine. She ditched everything, moved in with him, and when both their spouses finally gave them their divorces, they married in 1980. When they first met, however, he told her that he wanted to marry her when he would be 80. “I'll be 78,” she replied. But he didn't care. They married long before that, though, and they lived happily ever after, until Pinter's death. They thus had 33 years of love. As can be read in Fraser's memoir, Must you Go? in all Pinter's love letters to her there's one idea that prevails: the power of connection between them. As he put it: “everything we do, connects the space between death and me, and you.” Antonia's favorite poem is, however, the one titled: It is Here. The last lines read:
What did we hear?
It was the breath we took when we first met.
Listen. It is here.
On the way back to the hotel I was trying to listen to the sounds in the street. On Saturday evenings, the Italians like to drink, order the wrong things—she, the ice cream, he, the tiramisu, then she eats his tiramisu and he eats her ice cream, an ad hoc solution which they both agree on by sealing the pact with a kiss—and inspire. I entered a bookstore that was still open at 10 pm. I picked up the book entitled Le Più Belle Poesie d'Amore, and found myself agreeing with the Austrian poet Erich Fried, that love is what is it, nothing more, nothing less. In love, if “yes” is said, it is not said as a favor, but rather as a manifestation of the acknowledgement that love is what it is. Here, in Italian rendition:
QUEL CHE È
dice la ragione
È quel che è
dice il calcolo
Non è altro che dolore
dice la paura
dice il giudizio
È quel che è
dice la prudenza
È quel che è
Friday, August 27, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
So, while uploading files here and there, Mark asked me what I thought of the letter E in Bembo italics. Well, I've been swooning already over his good taste in the layout, so I let him know that, yes, not only have I noticed the Es, but also that I got carried away in fantasy by the letter R and its connotations of regal feet—the Regina allowing graciously for the next letter to appear, but not so fast, not so fast. Her garment must unfold, so obviously, and necessarily, there's a lagging distance between R and whatever other letter that follows it. The cover, of course, suggests such royal preoccupations, which Mark did just for me.
"In this volume, Mark Daniel Cohen offers, in the first part, a fresh and intelligent look at Sophocles, re-writing Antigone almost as a Beckettian version of Tristan and Isolde. The modern-day domestic drama is continued in the second part of the volume, in which selected poems aptly combine the trivial and the sublime, the mark and measure of every great classic. Camelia Elias writes the introduction under a contaminated spell."
DATE OF RELEASE: AUGUST 25, 2010 from EYECORNER PRESS
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Vincent closed Controversy today with a talk about people in their 40s. What he wanted to know was one thing rather than ten, namely: do people in their 40s live authentic lives, or are they a bunch or hypocrites? Although this is a singular and straightforward question, the invited guests were all over the place in answering it, and had a hard time staying on topic. Quite unusually also, in the middle of the show, one of the guests got replaced with another of Vincent's and my former colleagues, Pelle Guldborg Hansen. That was a good move, as the person who left the show was only interested in talking about himself and his 15 years of cocaine abuse, which he now kind of regreted as it didn't get him any closer to what he imagined he would get out of it.
In fact, one of the problems with people not staying on topic was also due to the fact that they all talked about what 40-year olds imagine, or what we learn to imagine, and then consequently desire. There was no consensus on what we supposedly want. The discussion took a turn towards gardening, with the conservative retards insisting on the value of minding their own pots and plants, rather than those of the entire world, and the more idealistically oriented ones insisting on the idea that what one calls one's own garden is an illusion. Here Pelle was right to talk about what he calls the fiasco generation, and insist that where we go wrong is in not being able to keep up the pace with the way in which morality codes change. As some ideals simply become irrelevant, they need to be replaced with new ones. Yet, in our search for new ideals, it is not sure that we realize that we have to exhibit basic empathy towards each other all the time. Implicitly he was also going against the nonsense formulated by the others on the show that hypocrisy comes in different forms; some types are better than others, and some types are downright good or at least pragmatic. The argument for the latter was that, in principle, we don't want to alienate our mothers in law by telling them that their food is crap, when we can be nice about it, take their bad cooking in stride, and say instead that it is heaven. As far as I'm concerned, last I've checked hypocrisy was still hypocrisy. It is never good, and it is certainly not a sign of either good manners, good behavior, or authentic living.
Vincent's last question on what we pass on to our children was relevant in light of the missing consensus on where we have them now or on where we want them to get to. Here everyone went back to the garden, and it was clear again that context means different things to different people. The conservatives were adamant in their belief that as they have access to full agency and free will, they can thus also do whatever the heck they want to their kids, among other things, instill in them good values, however indeterminate these may be. The ones on the show with pluralistic inclinations insisted on the fact that our kids are not really ours, as many others contribute to their upbringing each in their different ways, some better than others.
For all the divided opinions, and towards the end of the show, no one wanted to see themselves as fucked up, which is perhaps a good thing all together. Feelings about one's own worth may be what they are, but it is still ideas that have more potential. This being said, I'm happy to say that as long as we value ideas more than we value time, or even the time it takes to get us where we want to be ideally, then we're all safe. After the age of 40, there is basically only one question to pose. I'll leave it to Patrick Kavanagh to enlighten us all, while also expressing the usual gratitude to all those who want to bother making TV summer programs that rescue us from disappearing entirely in our thoughts or dreams of winter. Vincent, thank you.
AFTER FORTY YEARS OF AGE
There was a time when a mood recaptured was enough
Just to be able to hold momentarily November in the woods
Or a street we once made our own through being in love.
But that is not enough now. The job is to answer questions
Experience. Tell us what life has taught you. Not just about
Which is futile anyway in the long run—but a concrete, as it were, essence.
The role is that of prophet and savior. To smelt in passion
The commonplaces of life. To take over the functions of a god
in a new fashion.
Ah! there is the question to speculate upon in lieu of an answer.