Commentaries - June 2016

Sawako Nakayasu on many topics

New at PennSound

Owing to the precise efforts of Hannah Judd, a member of the PennSound staff, Sawako Nakayasu’s PennSound author page now includes topic-by-topic segmentation of her “LA-Lit” session recorded on December 10, 2006. The direct link to the segments is here:

http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Nakayasu.php#LA-Lit

Linh Dinh interviews Eirikur Orn Norddahl

Eirikur Orn Norddahl

Linh Dinh has interviewed poet Eirikur Orn Norddahl, and I’m pleased to make the text of the wide-ranging interview available HERE in my J2 commentary series.

Born in Reykjavík in 1978, Norðdahl was raised in Ísafjörður, a fishing village of just 2,623 people in northwest Iceland. Its population has been shrinking for several decades. Norðdahl’s father was a fisherman, and his mother a school teacher. With six books of poems, five novels, two collections of essays and even a cook book with short, meditative essays on food, Norðdahl is in fact one of Iceland’s brightest literary stars. His 2012 novel, Illska, was awarded The Icelandic Literary Prize and The Book Merchant’s Prize, and its French version shortlisted for the Prix Médicis Étranger and the Prix Meilleur Livre Étranger. Norðdahl’s translation credits include a selection of Allen Ginsberg’s poetry, Michael Moore, crime fiction and Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn.  As an organizer of the ReykjavikInternational Literary Festival, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl brought me to Iceland in 2007, and we’ve stayed in touch over the years. This interview was conducted via email over eight days.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America.

Amish Trivedi: From 'FuturePanic': 'What We Remembered Before'

What We Remembered Before

 

A face climbing

atop an old       

starter motor,    

buried down

and spit-taken

ahead of slender

 

white ether gloves and

Barbara Guest in C: A journal of poetry

'Looking at Flowers Through Tears' and 'Sturm Nacht'

Barbara Guest's note to Ted Berrigan
Barbara Guest's Note to Ted Berrigan, Courtesy of Fales Library Archive and Hadley Guest

“Dear Ted,” Barbara Guest writes in the note above, “Would they were writ in gold. Affection--though--Barbara.” This was the cover note Guest included with her submission of two poems, “Looking at Flowers Through Tears” and “Sturm Nacht,” for the summer 1964 issue of C: A Journal of Poetry. Guest's poems appeared alongside work by John Ashbery, John Wieners, James Schuyler, Ted Berrigan, Kenward Elmslie, Ron Padgett, and others; she was the lone woman writer in this and the other two issues in which her work appeared: Volume 1, Number 5 (October/November 1963) and Volume 2, Number 11 (Summer 1965). For a more complete catalogue of the Table of Contents for this and other issues of C, I recommend visiting the RealityStudio site, “Index to the Contents of C: A Journal of Poetry.” Below are the images of the manuscript versions of the two poems from Volume 1, Number 9 (summer 1964) as they appear in the Fales Library archive.

Strange orchestrations: Mira Rosenthal & the translation of silence

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Man Ray, "Le Violon d'Ingres,"1924.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Man Ray, "Le Violon d'Ingres,"1924.

 It was a place I might have dreamed if it hadn’t been real, this building slated for demolition located in a country far from home. The former site of an art college, the structure itself no longer stands, but one June evening in the early years of the twenty-first century, it hosted a party for the ages.

 

Each classroom transformed into an all-night gallery, filled with art by generations of students who had learned there how to see, how to listen, how to make. Studio after studio of imagination translated into reality. Outside, on the lawn: wine, feasting, revelry. The sharing of decades of memory. If you look closely, you can see gargoyles keeping watch over the festivities.