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

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Folie à deux

Folie à deux (/fɒˈli ə ˈd/; French pronunciation: ​[fɔli a dø]; French for "a madness shared by two"), or shared psychosis, is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are transmitted from one individual to another.[1] The same syndrome shared by more than two people may be called folie à trois, folie à quatre, folie en famille or even folie à plusieurs ("madness of many"). Recent psychiatric classifications refer to the syndrome as shared psychotic disorder (DSM-IV) (297.3) and induced delusional disorder (F.24) in the ICD-10, although the research literature largely uses the original name. The disorder was first conceptualized in 19th-century French psychiatry by Charles Lasègue and Jean-Pierre Falret and so also known as Lasègue-Falret Syndrome.

[From Wikipedia:]

Something from Late Celan: The Commentary: Ichten

Googled around before bed and ended up at a link I'd posted over a year ago on a commentary re Celan's "Todtnauberg": Forgotten (I don't believe I ever read it all the way through), or never knew?, it was by Pierre Joris. Though we can talk about "over-translating" (Joris typically picks through the universe of possibilities), I think that poem is certainly one of Celan's best "buried treasures." Seemingly not even Heidegger--the Thinker himself--fully understood all the poem's dark plantings.

Anyway, though there's tons I could relay, in reading Joris' commentaries on Celan's late poems, I've become enamored with the verb ichten:

     ichten / I'ed: Several interpretations -- per direct indication by the poet -- point to the verb ichten (in the Grimms's Worterbuch, an important helper of Celan's compositional process), used here in the preterit and defined as "ich' sagen, eine frage mit ich beantworten" (to say "I," to the answer a question with I). The extraction of ichten from the preceding word "vernichtet"/"annihilated" is not as obvious in the English "I'ed" -- though maybe the two i's of "annihilated" do point to this origin.

Default Walk

The trio was trimmed to a pair, and I have things to do and places to go (someone special has a B-day!), so the epicenter was Peet's (blood decorated the sidewalk, presumably from a late night brawl starting at Legends?) and we walked to the Peninsula (only to the end of the boardwalk) and back.

Though the labor dispute is supposedly over, we could count the floating cities until we ran out of fingers and the remnant disappeared in the morning haze.

Monday, February 16, 2015

An Overload of the Concrete...

An overload of the concrete becomes abstract. Fast-forwarding a bit (scanning all the way), I arrived at some good dirt re mom and dad. No facts, only interpretation. Sylvia's reality.


But although it makes me feel good as hell to express my hostility for my mother, frees me from the Panic Bird on my heart and my typewriter (why?), I can't go through life calling RB up from Paris, London, the wilds of Maine long-distance: "Doctor, can I still go on hating my mother?" "Of course you can: hate her hate her hate her." "Thank you, doctor. I sure do hate her."
She's had a hard life: married a man, with the pre-thirty jitters on her, who was older than her own mother, with a wife out West. Married in Reno. He got sick the minute the priest told them they could kiss. Sick and sicker. She figured he was such a brute she couldn't, didn't love him. Stood in the shower forcing herself to enjoy the hot water on her body because she hated his guts. He wouldn't go to a doctor, wouldn't believe in God and heiled Hitler in the privacy of his home. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I Was Looking For...

I posted a portion of the only Frisch questionnaire I had "at hand" some while ago: Questionnaire 1987, which appears at the very end of The German Library's volume devoted to Frisch. I was looking for some more on line (and found one text), but ran into this Paris Review interview with Frisch by Jodi Daynard (1989). I didn't read the whole thing, but Google +'ed it and snipped the ending which I found amusing (see below). I'll keep looking for more questionnaires (I think some are in his Sketchbooks, so I will dig them up).


From the Paris Review (Winter II, 1989):

Neufchâtel Cheese

Neufchâtel is a soft, slightly crumbly, mould-ripened cheese made in the French region of Normandy. One of the oldest cheeses in France, its production is believed to date back to the 6th century. It looks similar to Camembert, with a dry, white, edible rind, but the taste is saltier and sharper. It has the aroma and taste of mushrooms. Unlike other soft-white-rinded cheeses, Neufchâtel has a grainy texture.[1] It is most usually sold in heart shapes but is also produced in other forms, such as logs and boxes. It is typically matured for 8–10 weeks.

[From Wikipedia:]


We had the heart-shaped variety (via Trader Joe's) for Valentine's. Good stuff!


Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Another place I'll have to discover (been close but close only counts in ...).


Neuchâtel (French pronunciation: ​[nøʃatɛl]), Old French: neu(f) "new" + chatel "castle" (French: château); German: Neuenburg; Italian: Neocastello or Nuovocastello; Romansh: Neuchâtel or Neufchâtel)[notes 1] is the capital of the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel on Lake Neuchâtel.

The city has as of December 2013 approximately 33,600 inhabitants (80,000 in the metropolitan area).[3] The city is sometimes referred to historically by the German name About this sound Neuenburg , which has the same meaning, since it originally belonged to the Holy Roman Empire and later Prussia, which ruled the area until 1848.

The official language of Neuchâtel is French.

Neuchâtel is a pilot of the Council of Europe and the European Commission Intercultural cities programme.

[From Wikipedia:]


[Photo from Wikimedia: "Neuchatel2" by Roland Zumbühl - Transferred from de.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Common Good using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -]

Bolsa Chica: Down Bayou Road

Except for the dryness and the prickly pears, you'd swear you were in bayou country. We continued along the path, toward all the houses built on the edge of the reserve, until we came to a BIG RED RATTLESNAKE sign. Hadn't been back that way before.







Saturday, February 14, 2015

Matisse Chapel



The Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence

If I weren't hoping (planning) to revisit Venice, I might visit Vence. Never been there, though I've seen a bit of the French Riviera. Now I have at least one reason to go.


The Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence (Chapel of the Rosary), often referred to as the Matisse Chapel or the Vence Chapel, is a small chapel built for Dominican sisters in the town of Vence on the French Riviera.[1] It was built and decorated between 1949 and 1951 under a plan devised by Henri Matisse.[2] It houses a number of Matisse originals and was regarded by Matisse himself as his "masterpiece". While the simple white exterior has drawn mixed reviews from casual observers, many regard it as one of the great religious structures of the 20th century.

Matisse Crucifix

Seems to be the crucifix Sylvia is alluding to in her journal. Not certain.


California Snowballs

Personally, I'd prefer it a bit colder. Even a little rain. Where did winter go?


Mace and Shadow


Friday, February 13, 2015

Sylvia: A Refresher Course on the Concrete

Start with the mat-green fungus in the pine woods yesterday; words about it, describing it, and a poem will come. Daily, simply, and then it won't lour in the distance, an untouchable object. Write about the cow, Mrs. Spaulding's heavy eyelids, the smell of vanilla flavoring in a brown bottle. That's where the magic mountains begin.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Above and Below Ground: LIPS


The Stones of Venice

The Stones of Venice is a three-volume treatise on Venetian art and architecture by English art historian John Ruskin, first published from 1851 to 1853.

"The Stones of Venice" examines Venetian architecture in detail, describing for example over eighty churches. He discusses architecture of Venice's Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance periods, and provides a general history of the city. As well as an being an art historian, Ruskin was a social reformer. In the chapter "The Nature of Gothic" (from volume 2), Ruskin gives his views on how society should be organised.
We want one man to be always thinking, and another to be always working, and we call one a gentleman, and the other an operative; whereas the workman ought often to be thinking, and the thinker often to be working, and both should be gentlemen, in the best sense. As it is, we make both ungentle, the one envying, the other despising, his brother; and the mass of society is made up of morbid thinkers and miserable workers. Now it is only by labour that thought can be made healthy, and only by thought that labour can be made happy, and the two cannot be separated with impunity.[1]

[From Wikipedia:]

John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects ranging from geology to architecture, myth to ornithology, literature to education, and botany to political economy. His writing styles and literary forms were equally varied. Ruskin penned essays and treatises, poetry and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and even a fairy tale. The elaborate style that characterised his earliest writing on art was later superseded by a preference for plainer language designed to communicate his ideas more effectively. In all of his writing, he emphasised the connections between nature, art and society. He also made detailed sketches and paintings of rocks, plants, birds, landscapes, and architectural structures and ornamentation.

He was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century, and up to the First World War. After a period of relative decline, his reputation has steadily improved since the 1960s with the publication of numerous academic studies of his work. Today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognised as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability and craft.

Ruskin first came to widespread attention with the first volume of Modern Painters (1843), an extended essay in defence of the work of J. M. W. Turner in which he argued that the principal role of the artist is "truth to nature". From the 1850s he championed the Pre-Raphaelites who were influenced by his ideas. His work increasingly focused on social and political issues. Unto This Last (1860, 1862) marked the shift in emphasis. In 1869, Ruskin became the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford, where he established the Ruskin School of Drawing. In 1871, he began his monthly "letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain", published under the title Fors Clavigera (1871–1884). In the course of this complex and deeply personal work, he developed the principles underlying his ideal society. As a result, he founded the Guild of St George, an organisation that endures today.

[From Wikipedia:]

La Calcina (Venice) & Ruskin

Stayed there once years ago. It was in the winter and more deserted. The way I like and know Venice. I believe Ruskin once stayed there. My stay prompted me to read his Stones of Venice.
Maybe in June.

Friday, February 6, 2015

From Sylvia: Underlined

Writing breaks open the vaults of the dead and the skies behind which the prophesying angels hide.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Late Celan

Sometimes it's just a word or phrase that catches. Takes you somewhere. Off the page. Back. Forward. Nowhere. Doesn't mean you've even come close to "capturing Celan."



TO SPEAK WITH the blind
of the opposite,
of its
meaning --:

to chew
this bread, with



vom Gegenüber,

von seiner


Bedeutung --:



Brot kauen, mit


[Translation by Pierre Joris]


Sunday, February 1, 2015