One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sunset @ the Belmont Pier (1.30.15)

Couldn't get a good parking spot so I could walk to the pier, but it was beautiful from just about any spot and any angle. Had to.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Something from Sylvia

This passage made me smile. Mixing domestic with literary concerns. Had one good writer thinking about (and reading) a great writer.


I was getting worried about becoming too happily stodgily practical: instead of studying Locke, for instance, or writing - - - I go make an apple pie, or study the Joy of Cooking, reading it like a rare novel. Whoa, I said to myself. You will escape into domesticity & stifle yourself by falling headfirst into a bowl of cookie batter. And just now I pick up the blessed diary of Virginia Woolf which I bought with a battery of her novels Saturday with Ted. And she works off her depression over rejections from Harper's (no less - - - and I hardly believe that the Big Ones get rejected, too!) by cleaning out the kitchen. And cooks haddock & sausage. Bless her. I feel my life linked to her, somehow. I love her - - - from reading Mrs. Dalloway for Mr. Crockett - - - and I can still hear Elizabeth Drew's voice sending a shiver down my back in the huge Smith class-room, reading from To The Lighthouse. But her suicide, I felt I was reduplicating in that black summer of 1953. Only I couldn't drown. I suppose I'll always be over-vulnerable, slightly paranoid. But I'm also so damn healthy & resilient. And apple-pie happy. Only I've got to write. I feel sick, this week, of having written nothing lately. The Novel got to be such a big idea, I got panicked.

Bolsa Chica: Sunrise (1.25.15)

Sunrise: definitely the time to go. Though I'm sure sunset and other times of the day have their attractions too.

Did Bucks and Sylvia in Sunset Beach. Did the same walk I did last Sunday (inspiration, preparation for the week ahead), though there were enough differences (sights, sounds, thoughts) to make it new.

The little walk also brought me a "new line" (one that's been bothering for some while). Think I got the fix.








Monday, January 19, 2015

Who Is This Masked Man?

Stumbled on this pic in looking for remnants of Kavka. Looks like it should be someone BIG (looks a touch like Lenin but I don't think so), but all I can find (remember) via the Net is that it's on the side of the Youth Hostel in Bern (yes, I was there: reading Demian if memory serves). I guess I just took it for an I-was-there and I forgot. The comblike treeshadow is a nice touch. If you know the name of the face and/or artist, please call 1-999-999-9999. Otherwise, I'll let you know if I come up with anymore info.


Kavka: The Real Thing

Corvus monedula vs. Corvus brachyrhychos (I guess). Though I only have mind-pics (the breadcrumbs below are just pics of pics) to prove it. I'd taken a train from Prague to Poprad-Tatry. At the train station (the narrow-gauge took me up) I ate breakfast soup with the "day troopers" but passed on the breakfast beer. I stayed at a pretty much deserted hotel (in the last days of the peacefully dissolved Czechoslovakia). I took a good hike in the mountain forest. From a pine bough (the snow fell when he spoke), I swear I heard: Evermore.





Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pausanias (c. AD 110 - c. 180)

Pausanias (/pɔːˈsniəs/; Greek: Παυσανίας Pausanías; c. AD 110 – c. 180)[1] was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece (Ἑλλάδος περιήγησις Hellados Periegesis)[2] a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical literature and modern archaeology. This is how Andrew Stewart assesses him:[3]
A careful, pedestrian writer, he is interested not only in the grandiose or the exquisite but in unusual sights and obscure ritual. He is occasionally careless, or makes unwarranted inferences, and his guides or even his own notes sometimes mislead him; yet his honesty is unquestionable, and his value without par.

[From Wikipedia:]

The Three Graces (Charites) in Art

Looks like the answer I was seeking is lost in oblivion...


On the representation of the Graces, Pausanias wrote,
"Who it was who first represented the Graces naked, whether in sculpture or in painting, I could not discover. During the earlier period, certainly, sculptors and painters alike represented them draped. At Smyrna, for instance, in the sanctuary of the Nemeses, above the images have been dedicated Graces of gold, the work of Bupalus; and in the Music Hall in the same city there is a portrait of a Grace, painted by Apelles. At Pergamus likewise, in the chamber of Attalus, are other images of Graces made by Bupalus; and near what is called the Pythium there is a portrait of Graces, painted by Pythagoras the Parian. Socrates too, son of Sophroniscus, made images of Graces for the Athenians, which are before the entrance to the Acropolis. Also, Socrates was known to have destroyed his own work as he progressed deeper into his life of philosophy and search of the conscious due to his iconoclastic attitude towards art and the like. All these are alike draped; but later artists, I do not know the reason, have changed the way of portraying them. Certainly to-day sculptors and painters represent Graces naked."
[From Wikipedia:]


[1st Century Fresco from Pompeii]
[From Wikipedia]

From Sylvia Plath's Journals

Read mostly from Sylvia's journals this morning. On and on about Richard Sassoon (letters that were never sent?). Anger at being fatherless. Translating Ronsard. Etc.



... I am inclined to babies and bed and brilliant friends and a magnificent stimulating home where geniuses drink gin in the kitchen after a delectable dinner and read their own novels and tell about why the stock market is the way it will be and discuss scientific mysticism...
I read his letter and walked the wet pine-dark path tonight, with the warm rain dripping and shiny on the black leaves in the humid blurred starlight, crying and crying with this terrible pain; it hurts, father, it hurts, oh father I have never known; a father, even, they took from me.
I would like a life of conflict, of balancing children, sonnets, love and dirty dishes; and banging banging an affirmation of life out on pianos and ski slopes and in bed in bed in bed.

Morning (1.18.15): Bucks, Bolsa, Gym

Checked out the other side, where the lime green bungalow stands (almost a perfect match with the portapotty), across the street from Huntington Harbor. Not as picturesque (IMHO) but still a nice walk. Morning, wet and green. Birds and quiet.












Saturday, January 17, 2015

Rilke's "Widening Circles"

I've got Bly's translation somewhere (I won't dig), and Mitchell didn't seem to include it (it's from Rilke's Book of Hours). I'm 99% certain I've looked at the translation myself at one time or another (I was never quite satisfied with capturing the end of strophe one). Anyway, found myself thinking of it twice today: in reference to human possibilities (I had a certain someone in mind here) and also a friend who doesn't know Rilke.


I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

[Translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows]

Paul Celan's "Once,..."

Bouncing between Sylvia and "late" Celan (Breathturn and beyond, translations by Pierre Joris), leaning more toward Celan to help me through the week. Many of his poems are short and can be read in snatches. Grasped is another question.

This is the last one in Breathturn.


Celan's German:


da hörte ich ihn,

da wusch er die Welt,

ungesehen, nachtlang,


Eins und Unendlich,



Licht war. Rettung.
Pierre Joris' Translation:
I did hear him,
he did wash the world,
unseen, nightlong,
One and unending,
Light was. Salvation.

Augenrund (1.16.15)

Olga's Version: Four Witches

Riff on Durer's piece by the artist Olga Grichanok.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Paul Celan and Gisele Celan-Lestrange

One of my few foci: Celan. Been looking for a bilingual edition of his "Kindlized" poems and I finally got one: Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry, translated from the German, with commentary, by Pierre Joris. "Peeking at" (jumping ahead of myself, as I'm still with Sylvia) a bit of the Intro by Joris.

Learned (I don't recall Felstiner covering it) a bit more re Celan's psychological problems, especially toward the end. His break with his wife Gisele (he had tried to kill her with a knife). From the little I've gandered on the Net, she was a great artist herself.

Tomorrow: back to school.


Sylvia Meets Ted

Here's Sylvia's take anyway...

Then the worst happened, that big, dark, hunky boy, the only one there huge enough for me, who had been hunching around over women, and whose name I had asked the minute I had come into the room, but no one told me, came over and was looking hard in my eyes and it was Ted Hughes. I started yelling again about his poems and quoting: "most dear unscratchable diamond" and he yelled back, colossal, in a voice that should have come from a Pole, "You like?" and asking me if I wanted brandy, and me yelling yes and backing into the next room past the smug shining blub face of dear Bert, looking as if he had delivered at least nine or ten babies, and bang the door was shut and he was sloshing brandy into a glass and I was sloshing it at the place where my mouth was when I last knew about it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus"

Lady Lazarus

I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it----

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?----

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot
The big strip tease.
Gentlemen, ladies

These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Is an art, like everything else,
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

'A miracle!'
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart----
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash ---
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there----

A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

Sylvia Plath: A Morbid Fear

Journal Excerpt:

A morbid fear: that protests too much. To the doctor. I am going to the psychiatrist this week, just to meet him, to know he's there. And, ironically, I feel I need him. I need a father. I need a mother. I need some older, wiser being to cry to. I talk to God, but the sky is empty, and Orion walks by and doesn't speak. I feel like Lazarus: that story has such a fascination. Being dead, I rose up again, and even resort to the mere sensation value of being suicidal, of getting so close, of coming out of the grave with the scars and the marring mark on my cheek which (is it my imagination) grows more prominent: paling like a death-spot in the red, wind-blown skin, browning darkly in photographs, against my grave winter-pallor.