April 18, 2014
Gabriel García Márquez
March 6, 1927 - April 17, 2014
Read 10 Short Stories by Gabriel García Márquez Free Online
(Plus More Essays & Interviews)
The April issue of Asymptote
The Space between Languages
translated from the German by Julia Sherwood
Radka Denemarková on translating Herta Müller
There is not a single Romanian sentence in any of my books. But Romanian is always with me when I write because it has grown into my way of seeing the world.
It is from the space between languages that images emerge. Each sentence is a way of looking at things, crafted by its speakers in a very particular way. Each language sees the world differently, inventing its entire vocabulary from its own perspective and weaving it into the web of its grammar in its own way. Each language has different eyes sitting inside its words.
translated from the Czech by Julia Sherwood
Her sentences are like the incisions of a scalpel. She keeps writing one book that runs like endlessly long hair; it sticks in the reader's gullet and can't be vomited up. The father she can no longer seek out, the mother she no longer wants. You can swallow a mulberry or a plum.
I did swallow it. I translated The Passport and The Hunger Angel after finishing my own novel, Kobold. For over two years, while I worked on my book, the difficult themes kept swelling up, infiltrating the language, cementing the banks of the story. When the time of intense brooding was over I was happy to shed the text, like skin. The exhausted writer in me was in dire need of a rest. I had never dreamt of translating. But the translator in me hastened to my rescue, deflecting my thoughts.
"My Head is a Garden"
Space Teriyaki 7
Visions of space and the future
in Japan in the 70s and 80s
Samuel R. Delany on Close Listening
Samual R. Delany talks with Charles Bernstein about genres, sex, and dyslexia in this wide-ranging conversation with the polymathic author. Delany addresses the role of fantasy and the bounds of imagination in his works and rebuts assumptions about the nature of genre writing.
The Un-X-able Y-ness of Z-ing (Q): A List with Notes
Milan Kundera opposed using "the unbearable lightness of being" to title the English translation of his Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí, even though it is relatively close to the Czech original. “I realize that for you Americans the title will be a bit hard-going," Kundera states in Michael Heim's account,
“so we can try something else,” and he suggested one of the chapter titles: “Karenin’s Smile.” I protested. “We’re not children,” I told the editor. “If The Unbearable Lightness of Being is the title, so be it.” And so it stayed. [Adriana Babeti, "A Happy Babel," Iowa Review]
Heim's translation, like a spot of dye, dropped into the flow of culture and altered the hue of English as it diffused downstream. A meme before memes, the breadth of this title's reach lets us see something we know is true but can rarely prove: translation choices transform our language and our experience of the world. The list in this essay is drawn from internet and library catalog searches of article, chapter, blog, and book titles for variations on the translation.
the unbearable lightness of meaning
the unbearable lightness of acting
the unbearable lightness of community
the unbearable lightness of exodus
the unbearable lightness of sight
the unbearable lightness of games
the unbearable lightness of the climate change industrial complex
the unbearable lightness of anthropology
Heim's gallant defense of American intellectual pride has been seconded, and thirded, and thousandthed, by writers who fit their own titles into the algebra of these abstract words. It has become an English given, a linguistic formula like Raymond Carver's "what we talk about when we talk about [x]" or R. F. C. Hull's "zen and the art of [x]." The English words that Heim poured into the Czech original have become the form where other authors cast their words.
the unbearable wine-ness of being a light
the unbearable busy-ness of being
the unbearable rambo-ness of being
the unbearable sade-ness of being
the unbearable panda-ness of being
the unbearable stuff-ness of being
the unbearable khaki-ness of being
the unbearable bro-ness of being
the unbearable wasp-ness of being
the unbearable clown-ness of being
the unbearable madness of being
Falling somewhere between pun and prayer, each repetition explores a possible application of the translated title to a new topic. En masse, they offer a visual, graphic testament to Heim's intuition of American culture and literary value.
b. April 18, 1884
Matthew Zapruder: Two Poems_______________________
What Can Poetry Do
In Africa people are angry.
They are climbing embassy walls
and burning whatever is there.
Each time I click on some words
and read what we call news
although it is always too old
I feel certain some people
while I was reading have died.
I know I am here merely reading.
I just sit in my room and worry.
As always I can do nothing
So I close all the portals and go
deep in my mind to discover
something about Tunisia.
Civil disobedience for an age of total surveillance
The case of Edward Snowden
William E. Scheuerman
... Sadly, one of our most eloquent critics of state surveillance now finds himself, partly because of the Obama's administration's draconian response, at the whim of a former KGB spymaster. Recently, in Brazil, Germany and elsewhere, a lively debate has erupted about the possibility that Snowden – who only gained temporary asylum from the Russians – might now be granted asylum there.
Even though media sources have reported extensively both on his quest for asylum and his travails in Putin's Russia, they have failed to impart a satisfactory sense of the weighty moral and political reflections which apparently induced the then 29-year Snowden to give up his six-figure salary and comfortable life in Hawaii. As I hope to show, Snowden's public declarations – and especially an illuminating yet neglected statement he made at the Moscow Airport on 12 July 2013 when reluctantly accepting Russia's offer of asylum – show that Snowden has thought long and hard about the fundamental question of when and how citizens of a liberal democratic state are morally and politically obliged to violate the law.
April 17, 2014
(3 May 1933 - 17 April 1970)
I stand in the dark with drooping eyes by the worst-suffering and the most restless,
I pass my hands soothingly to and fro a few inches from them,
The restless sink in their beds—they fitfully sleep.
Now I pierce the darkness—new beings appear,
The earth recedes from me into the night,
I saw that it was beautiful, and I see that what is not the earth is beautiful.
I go from bedside to bedside—I sleep close with the other sleepers, each in turn,
I dream in my dream all the dreams of the other dreamers,
And I become the other dreamers.
The homeward bound, and the outward bound,
The beautiful lost swimmer, the ennuyé, the onanist, the female that loves unrequited, the money-maker,
The actor and actress, those through with their parts, and those waiting to commence,
The affectionate boy, the husband and wife, the voter, the nominee that is chosen, and the nominee that has fail’d,
The great already known, and the great any time after to-day,
The stammerer, the sick, the perfect-form’d, the homely,
The criminal that stood in the box, the judge that sat and sentenced him, the fluent lawyers, the jury, the audience,
The laugher and weeper, the dancer, the midnight widow, the red squaw,
The consumptive, the erysipelite, the idiot, he that is wrong’d,
The antipodes, and every one between this and them in the dark,
I swear they are averaged now—one is no better than the other,
The night and sleep have liken’d them and restored them.
I swear they are all beautiful;
Every one that sleeps is beautiful—everything in the dim light is beautiful,
The wildest and bloodiest is over, and all is peace.
Sleep as Resistance
Hejinian, Whitman, and more on the politics of sleep.
Sleep is strange—“[s]tranger than habit and than obsession,” Lyn Hejinian writes in The Book of a Thousand Eyes.
She could be talking about poetry. It’s an old connection, of course, older than the Romantics—who seem prescient, in the light of contemporary science, when they propose the jump-cuts of dreaming as a model not just for poetry but also for knowing, full stop. (“He awoke and found it truth,” Keats writes, comparing the imagination to “Adam’s dream.”) In The Book of a Thousand Eyes, published in 2012, Hejinian reconsiders. She wants to figure out what sleep can do for the chance of cognition. She also wants to test what sleep means for the promise of politics.
Another recent book, this one in prose, suggests an answer. Published last year, Jonathan Crary’s : Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep begins with the effect of digital culture on our sense of time. A world that is always “on”—the irony of “sleep” mode is that it avoids turning off a device—entices or requires humans to be the same. Gradually, we comply: we get less and less rest every night, we rise to check phones or tablets in the wee hours, we pretend work is leisure as we run the hamster wheel of social-media clicks. For Crary, a professor of art history, the life of digital timelessness manifests the most basic and inexorable drive of capitalism, which would shrink whatever is not producing or consuming. Sleep occupies that vanishing margin. Sleep does not want to be productive. “Sleep,” Crary writes, “poses the idea of a human need and interval of time that cannot be colonized and harnessed to a massive engine of profitability.”
Nomenclatura of signs
Nietzsche and the Burbs
How deeply we are lost! So deep that we do not know we are lost. How derelict we are! So great that we do not know our dereliction._______________________
Boredom, deeper than anything even a Zen Buddhist would know. There are revelations here. Things to be seen. The absence of revelation. The absence of things to be seen.
Waiting – for what? Waiting for nothing. Waiting, become intransitive. Waiting, detached from all object.
The real drama is elsewhere. Everything is happening somewhere else. The suburbs: offstage. The suburbs: diversion. A kind of decoy.
The half-life of disaster
... It is not so much that the horror is replaced by human warmth and its accompaniments. It is rather that it "decays" in the media. The horror transmutes into a different affective element, its intensity halved, then halved again, eventually reducing to trace levels. Globally, the event settles back into a more stable range of the periodic table of collective emotion.
Natural disaster and terrorism define the poles of disaster. In between stretches a continuum of disaster, a plenum of frightful events of infinite variety, at every scale, coming one after the other in an endless series. The media plays its role of affective conversion with a regularity that is as predictable as each event in the series, taken separately, is shockingly unforeseen. First the affective strike of the event is instantaneously transmitted, cutting a shocked-and-awed hole of horror into the fabric of the everyday. The ability to make sense of events is suspended in a momentary hiatus of humanly unbearable, unspeakable horror. Then comes the zoom-in to the human detail. Stories get human traction. The horror is alloyed, its impact archived. Another event has been affectively conveyed with irruptive, interruptive force, only to subside into the background of everyday life. What remains is a continuous, low-level fear. This fear doesn't stand out clearly as an emotion. It is more like a habitual posture, an almost bodily bracing for the next unforeseen blow, a tensing infusing every move and every moment with a vague foreboding. This trace-form anticipation – this post-shock pre-posturing – becomes the very medium of everyday life. The environment of life is increasingly lived as a diffuse and foreboding "threat environment". It is almost a relief when the next hit comes. It is only another bout of disaster that will enable the narrative balm to calm again the collective nerves of a humanity permanently on low-level boil.
AdamThe Drunken Boat Fall 2013/Winter 2014
Federico García Lorca
Translated by Robert Friend
A tree of blood has stained the early dawn
where the new mother groans;
her voice has left sharp crystals in the wound
and on the window pane a print of bones.
While ever faithful, the arriving light
hushes to white boundaries of fable
the quiver of the veins in their flight
towards the opaque coolness of the apple.
And Adam dreams in the fever of his clay
of a child who galloping draws nearer
in the double throbbing of his cheek, towards day.
But a darker Adam in his dream is turning
towards a moon of stone, seedless and neuter,
where the child of light will be burning.
1913 - 1998
illustration for the first edition of
The Baron in the Trees
by Italo Calvino
(Il Barone rampante, 1957)
6 Small Magazines You Need To Start Reading Right Now
April 15, 2014
view looking southwest
November 28, 1910
Eugene de Salignac
Three Berlin Essays
translated by Brian Henry
When someone’s presence on the street becomes imperceptible as the presence of the street becomes imperceptible in this person. Mommsenstraße, Kastanienallee, Akazienstraße have moved to the shady side, to the side of obvious everyday life, going from admiration of exceptional things to inventory. Within the least expected lurks alienation, which demonstrates that it is only for the illusion of tradition, the illusion, that keeps my attention on a short leash. Sometimes it is enough that some bored dog barks. Midflinch I see at the intersection an excursion bus. A tourist guide with microphone in hand eagerly explains. I cannot hear the words, but I have a feeling I know everything she relates. Facing forward alongside the driver, with a gaze firmly directed through the front pane. This guide is me. Since I left the apartment, this continuous speech is performed in me. I speak and speak, without a dictionary and a map, aimlessly loafing. Only when the bus moves forward do I notice that it’s empty, except for the driver and guide in the bus there is no one the relating would be intended for, no one in this city of three and a half million who would hear what I speak and speak, only my footsteps and my monologue.
b. April 15, 1904
Since I must hold to the gradual in
this, as no revolution but a slow change
like the image of snow. The challenge is
not a moral excitement, but the expanse,
the continuing patience
dilating into forms so
much more than compact.
I would probably not even choose to inhabit the
wish as delay: it really is dark and the knowledge
of the unseen is a warmth which spreads into
the level ceremony of diffusion. The quiet
suggests that the act taken
extends so much further, there
is this insurgence of form:
we are more pliant than the mercantile notion
of choice will determine-we go in this way
on and on and the unceasing image of hope
is our place in the world. ...
Prynne week: Biting the Air
And this is the final three stanzas of the sixth poem:
told to you, root and branch slope management
There’s gloriously complex things that appear to be going on here. Starting with the obvious ‘medical’ words: pharmaceutical, flatline, infirm, generic, rib, lips, vaccine and life exemption- I’m taking this to indicate that the poem is making direct comment on the issues that beset modern medicine rather than using this particular malaise to talk about something else. Of course, he may be doing both but I’m going to stick with medicine as medicine for the moment.
at onrush unpaired and less compact, generic death
as possession on nil return. Which way the novice
points trail off, they say the same on the block
new level rib, spit your lips. Be quick, be
long to pump anger revivalism, percolate thick
forest scarps dug yet deeper. Get a vaccine on
shipment perish thread your face why yours
if told more, stable on a tilted capital feed
suspected more often. Give out a version amplified
with strings to obligate a boundary check, felt
damp echo ethic manipulate its life exemption.
Little Neck Bridge
Eugene de Salignac
Mental Ears and Poetic Work [pdf]
J. H. Prynne
The poet works with mental ears. Via this specialized audition the real-time sounds of speech and vocalized utterance are disintegrated into sub-lexical acoustic noise by analogy with the striking clatter of real work in the material world. Plus also bird-song, weather sounds, and the cognates. From this first reduction the array of voice-sounds can then be transposed into a textual constellation in which composi- tional purpose begins to remake the anecdotal variety of actual speech. By this means the sociology of utterance-occasions is part-replaced by the textuality of a language domain.^ All human speech performance operates by hybridizing the components of possible word narratives; but the textual domain is an intermediary condition very specific to poetic work."* This domain is constructed from the realized human sounds of words in voluble sequence, utterance as carried through to expression by the apportionment of phrase and sentence and the paragraph or strophic boundaries of their profession, the mental span of serial completions.' Written discourse projects into a representa- tional text-composure the altered acoustics of speech events, real and conjectural. But the discourse of poetry installs a variable set of yet further dimensions.
Jeremy Prynne lectures on Maximus IV, V, VI 1 2
Simon Fraser University, July 27, 1971
Transcribed by Tom McGauley
An Introduction to the Poetry of J.H.Prynne
by Rod Mengham and John Kinsella
J. H. Prynne's POEMS
The Right to be Unidentified with This Work
"Scheming for the possible world":
J.H. Prynne's The White Stones and The English Intelligencer
Reactualising the Unfigurable:
Difficulty and Resistance in Translating J. H. Prynne
This paper explores aspects of translating J. H. Prynne's poetry into Chinese in relation to notions of difficulty and resistance. Through juxtaposing two poems by Prynne and the Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu, the paper argues that translating Prynne alerts the reader-translator to the very nature of poetic figuration. Poetic writing and translating have to do with (re)imagining the actual as contingent possibilities of the real, which is in principle not fully accessible or figurable. The in-betweenness of the two languages in translation constitutes an outside to both. The relative autonomy of this non-place encourages intercultural translation as a potentialisation of the actual.
Good Hope Road
We Are All Very Anxious
Theses on Anxiety and Why It is Effectively Preventing Militancy, and One Possible Strategy for Overcoming It
Reposted with the kind permission of the Institute for Precarious Consciousness
The nervousness of politics
Precarity is a machine for anxiety; austerity is a machine for making-vulnerable; psychopathology is the machinery of alienation.
The article links anxiety to precarity, correctly pointing out that anxiety is the obvious affective response to a systemic uncertainty and fears that lack concrete objects. It also links it to securitisation, but I think we should also link it to the related militarisation of urban spaces and, beyond that, to the climate of catastrophe in which we live. There are how many impending disasters on the horizon? Not one we can respond to as bodies that experience a collective threat as individual.
I've written about TMT (Terror Management Theory) elsewhere and I intend to return to it on here, as I think it is invaluable to understanding our ontological vulnerability and to the development of an anarchist theory of psychology. Consider what the TMT researchers found in the wake of 9/11, a moment of "mortality salience" and death anxiety on a cultural and national scale. In response to the greatest trauma on the American psyche in recent history the response was an increase in a fervent nationalism, increased intolerance of dissent, more hostility and violence towards people who are different, a desire for revenge and a need to find heroes (whether they be American soldiers going out for revenege, or the firefighters at the scene of the devastation), as well as a desire to help in the cause. In a chapter for a (hopefully) forthcoming book I've written on how capital and governments like to expose us to anxiogenic conditions, to expose us to our vulnerability, in order to illicit precisely these effects. This is the necropolitical side of biopolitics and to my mind it is this that current strategies of the decomposition of labour aim at: the capture, intensification and even production of anxiety.
A popular unconscious admission today: keep calm and carry on. Keep calm: This is how the open secret of anxiety, of nerves, and the injunction to destimulate is expressed today. Even our despair is sold back to us; even the recovery of our nervous systems. Carry on: stay in the holding pattern of your safety behaviours, don't go too far, don't go astray. The denial of anxiety and the denial of communism displaced and compressed into one compact knotted slogan.At the moment I'm working with others to create an online space for a new militant mental health movement, and to set up something similar to the Institute for Precarious Consciousness.
Anarchism’s Other Scene: Materializing the Ideal and Idealizing the Material
Duane Rousselle, Jason Adams
Ontological Anarché: Beyond Materialism and Idealism
Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies
No 2 (2013)
April 14, 2014
“The Tuesday scowls, the Wednesday growls, the Thursday curses, the Friday howls, the Saturday snores, the Sunday yawns, the Monday morns, the Monday morns. The whacks, the moans, the cracks, the groans, the welts, the squeaks, the belts, the shrieks, the pricks, the prayers, the kicks, the tears, the skelps, and the yelps.”
- Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
b. April 13, 1906
“Unfortunately I am afraid, as always, of going on. For to go on means going from here, means finding me, losing me, vanishing and beginning again, a stranger first, then little by little the same as always, in another place, where I shall say I have always been, of which I shall know nothing, being incapable of seeing, moving, thinking, speaking, but of which little by little, in spite of these handicaps, I shall begin to know something, just enough for it to turn out to be the same place as always, the same which seems made for me and does not want me, which I seem to want and do not want, take your choice, which spews me out or swallows me up, I’ll never know, which is perhaps merely the inside of my distant skull where once I wandered, now am fixed, lost for tininess, or straining against the walls, with my head, my hands, my feet, my back, and ever murmuring my old stories, my old story, as if it were the first time.”
Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable
b. April 12, 1885
Levi R. Bryant: First Impressions on Onto-Cartography
Onto-Cartography: An Ontology of Machines and Media
Realizing that the basic stuff of reality impacts not only our relations but all relations human or inhuman he opened his materialist eyes toward new ways of relating things. Over the years Levi has used several sliding terms to describe what things are, what the basic stuff of materialism is. But he was never truly satisfied so he came to the conclusion that he’d get out of the business of naming this object and leave our actual understanding of the basic units of matter to the appropriate domain of knowledge: science, and physics in particular. Instead he would deal with both the corporeal and incorporeal modes or forms within which matter structured or coupled itself. This is where his notions of machines comes in. He incorporates Ian Bogost’s notions of an alien phenomenology in which machines engage and interact with each other and ecologies within a milieu, and environment. There is not just one type of machine but a myriad, and because of this machines exist at different levels of reality and have an ontology that both constrains and affords these machines certain paths of possible interaction or movement. Because of this machine ontology is best understood as discovering the different ways these machines not only interact coupling and decoupling with each other, but also describing their operations, their input/outputs of flows of information, matter, and material incorporated within their activities.
The major thrust of his work is to provide a mapping (Onto-Cartography) of these machine assemblages or ecologies across a spectrum of geophilosophical notions: cartography, deconstruction, and terraformation. Under cartography he provides four distinct types of map: cartographical maps, genetic maps, vector maps, and modal maps. Under deconstruction he offers traditional reading with an emphasis on the politics of oppression. And, under terraformation he offers a vision of worlds or ecologies or heterotopias: “alternatives that would allow people to escape the oppressive circumstances in which they live”.
Levi R. Bryant
For a Renewal of
Introduction to Onto-Cartography
The Gravity of Things: [pdf]_______________________
Levi R. Bryant
b. April 13, 1860
Climate change and post-politics: [pdf]
Repoliticizing the present by imagining the future?
Anneleen Kenis and Erik Mathijs
...to create a space for imagining alternative futures, one must first fight post-political representations of the present. However, when politicization becomes an end in itself, the outreach of the movement, and therefore its capacity to repoliticize and stimulate the imagination of alternative futures, is constrained.
Climate Crisis, Ideology, and Collective Action
... given the imminent prospect of severe climate disruption, why
as yet has there occurred relatively little collective action in response?
Psychologist Daniel Gilbert thought he had the answer. In an opinion
piece provocatively titled “If Only Gay Sex Caused Global Warming”
that the real psychological obstacle to effective action on
climate change is that human brains have evolved to deal most effectively
with threats that:
• are intentional and personal; Unfortunately, as Greg Craven has noted, climate change has none
of these properties; “[i]t is impersonal, morally neutral, in the future, and
gradual, and we’re just not wired to watch out for stuff like that.”
• violate our moral sensibilities;
• are a clear and present danger; and
• involve quick changes rather than gradual changes
Call climate change what it is: violence
If you're poor, the only way you're likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it – by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car._______________________
But if you're tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part. You can, say, build a sweatshop factory that will collapse in Bangladesh and kill more people than any hands-on mass murderer ever did, or you can calculate risk and benefit about putting poisons or unsafe machines into the world, as manufacturers do every day. If you're the leader of a country, you can declare war and kill by the hundreds of thousands or millions. And the nuclear superpowers – the US and Russia – still hold the option of destroying quite a lot of life on Earth.
So do the carbon barons. But when we talk about violence, we almost always talk about violence from below, not above.
... if we want to talk about violence and climate change – and we are talking about it, after last week's horrifying report from the world's top climate scientists – then let's talk about climate change as violence. Rather than worrying about whether ordinary human beings will react turbulently to the destruction of the very means of their survival, let's worry about that destruction – and their survival. Of course water failure, crop failure, flooding and more will lead to mass migration and climate refugees – they already have – and this will lead to conflict. Those conflicts are being set in motion now.
The Beach of Le Havre
Emilio Grau Sala
There was something more than a principle I abandoned, when I abandoned the equal distribution, it was a bodily need. But to suck the stones in the way I have described, not haphazard, but with method, was also I think a bodily need. Here then were two incompatible bodily needs, at loggerheads. Such things happen. But deep down I didn't give a tinker's curse about being off my balance, dragged to the right hand and the left, backwards and forewards. And deep down it was all the same to me whether I sucked a different stone each time or always the same stone, until the end of time. For they all tasted exactly the same. And if I had collected sixteen, it was not in order to ballast myself in such and such a way, or to suck them turn about, but simply to have a little store, so as never to be without. But deep down I didn't give a fiddler's curse about being without, when they were all gone they would be all gone, I wouldn't be any the worse off, or hardly any. And the solution to which I rallied in the end was to throw away all the stones but one, which I kept now in one pocket, now in another, and which of course I soon lost, or threw away, or gave away, or swallowed ...