Thursday, May 31, 2012

After Lorca...


      para mi ave cantorita 

A single songbird is singing

but the air doubles and redoubles it:

we hear through mirrors.

Views from the Road - Nashville to Bilouxi

bridges between the barrier islands

the middle of no-where - 8 miles of gravel without a house or an intersection

salt marshes in alabama



crab po-boy

a black fin shark on the gulfport pier

at a fireworks shop in memphis

Strange Fortune V

More fickle fate from Whitmore Lake's eccentric China Garden. I particularly like the image of me as a boat's mast - I am quite tall.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Today's Reading: On the Stairs - C.P. Cavafy

As I was going down those infamous stairs
you were coming through the door, and for a second
I saw your unfamiliar face and you saw me.
Then I hid so you wouldn't see me again,
and you hurried past me, hiding your face,
and slipped inside the infamous house
where you couldn't have found pleasure any more than I did.

And yet the love you were looking for, I had to give you;
the love I was looking for - so your tired, suspect eyes implied -
you had to give me.
Our bodies sensed and sought each other;
our blood and skin understood.

But we both hid ourselves, flustered.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Guardian's 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read

Of the Guardian's 1000 novels everyone must read, I have read a somewhat depressing 53. The list is broken up by genre. No surprises: my weakest genre was comedy, my strongest love. Life is very short and the canon grows faster than one can read. Comment with how many you've read. Winner wins a book from the list.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Cakes and Ale - Or, the Skeleton in the Cupboard by W Somerset Maugham
Thank You Jeeves by PG Wodehouse
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan DoyleThe Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene
A Time to Kill by John Grisham
The King of Torts by John Grisham
Cover Her Face by PD James
A Taste for Death by PD James
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Possession by AS Byatt
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
Atonement by Ian McEwan
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski
Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Feel Good Music for a Saturday


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

An Adaptation of the Pyrrha Ode

Horace lends himself to endless reinvention. I've updated wine regions, cities, and idioms while translating his work. In his adaptation of the Pyrrha ode, Anthony Hecht brings in modern fashion slang making Pyrrha something of an uptown girl. I find this infinitely more appealing than the Milton version which reads as dated. I like how Anthony Lentin describes Pyrrha's style and grace in his preface to Horace's odes: "[her] liveliness and sophistication are purchased at cost of ephemerality and triviality." The Clairol and Gucci captures this spirit nicely. Ah, piranhas!

What well-heeled knuckle-head, straight from the unisex 
Hairstylist and bathed in "Russian Leather,"
Dallies with you these late summer days, Pyrrha,
In your expensive sublet? For whom do you
Slip into something simple by, say, Gucci?
The more fool he who has mapped out for himself
The saline latitudes of incontinent grief.
Dazzled though he be, poor dope, by the golden looks
Your locks fetched up out of a bottle of Clairol,
He will know that the wind changes, the smooth sailing
Is done for, when the breakers wallop him broadside,
When he's rudderless, dismasted, thoroughly swamped
In that mindless rip-tide that got the best of me
Once, when I ventured on your deeps, Piranha. 

Quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa
perfusus liquidis urget odoribus
grato, Pyrrha, sub antro?
cui flavam religas comam,

simplex munditiis? heu quotiens fidem
mutatosque deos flebit et aspera
nigris aequora ventis
emirabitur insolens,

qui nunc te fruitur credulus aurea,
qui semper vacuam, semper amabilem
sperat, nescius aurae
fallacis! miseri, quibus

intemptata nites! me tabula sacer
votiva paries indicat uvida
suspendisse potenti
vestimenta maris deo.

Sigh No More