Erick Piller- “A Normal Feeling Comes”

Lately I have always felt so happy about my feelings.

My mental life resembles an impressive tower

and below it a thicket and a bulging knoll. Every

tragedy of late seems only half wrought. I tell myself,

Dear Diary, I have many important feelings

and would like to express them. Then a gnome

appears on the grassy knoll and waves to me.

The wind literally kisses my hair. I say, Yes, gnome?

Which artifacts, it asks, from your mental life

would you like placed in the September

11th Memorial Museum? Before I can answer,

the wind rushes through the thicket. Papers

loosened from the branches blow over

my vast domain. The sun has begun to go down.

The princess upon her mattresses cannot sleep

because the sleeping pill lodged several mattresses

below disturbs her delicate back.

 

 

Molly Weigel- Translations of Oliverio Girondo

Oliverio Girondo has to be one of the most baffling poets of twentieth-century Latin American modernism. Among English readers, his works do not have the name recognition of Neruda, Borges, Vallejo, Paz, or Martí. Yet this Argentine word-slinger
provides some intoxicating abstractions in a language that resembles an alien life-form bursting out of vaguely Spanish words. This is especially the case in his 1957 collection  En la masmédula where his Frankensteinian practice of lexical vivisection reaches it apex. So contorted are some of these poems that the book was long left untouched by translators even after decades of Americans “discovering” Latino@ writers. Recently, however, there has been glimmers of interest in this neglected poet. Two years ago, translator Joseph Mulligan and myself had a dialogue on one of the poems from En la masmédula and what kinds of possibilites it offers translation: https://jwmulligan.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/plexilioplexile-a-translation-dialogue/.

However, neither Mulligan (who is currently working on a collection of Vallejo’s non-poetry corpus) nor myself has delved further into the mysteries of Girondo. That work has been bravely done by Molly Weigel who will be publishing In the Moremarrow, her translations of En la masmédula, this April: http://www.actionbooks.org/. Weigel generously offers the Bug a sampler of her translations:

 

At the gravitating turning

In the begging

in the being

in the psyches

in the xes

in the exquisiphthisical replies

in the enmoonments

in the erect for the abcessed excesses of erofriction et cetera

or in the exhausted dreamencore of the “gimme take it give in all the way to the very

nape of your so desire”

in the unfaith that ruminates

in the vivisecond the dry psychic prospecting the metaphyserrata in elfabridgements

of the cosmic egogorgo

in each gesture graft

in any sunken polidented brrokenpurrpose flush with facing subrrubble exother

pidgipleonasm

hearthless houndless coveless diveless headless storyless

fobsorbengluted

by the mobile embryos of the gravitating turning under the starry itch

next to the lianamuses pulpy poresuckers and the no less polyp children of swamp

longing

volunteers of the miasma

so violated

trampled among bad eggs nevers and admonitory hooks

one pit at a time nongoing swimming in the face of only too wandering fodders of final

flood-gates that inundate hope

with my graymite the sporious

the leopard yawns the daft babble

on the sore spot

at the deployment of the blood without midget introits in the ample plicoitus with each

sleepless dream and each wagered specter

joyciferating

I would lace

in the offspawned spring

 


Morepleonasm

More boorish daily threshold

soresoul

masturbid

lunatic fate

mobile carnivores’ driest thirst

and magic rapt cajolery of alb albatross aurora

most sacred flesh lay of hyperhoneyed vibratile pubescents order of sextomb gondola

in the gullet of the gully out of the fertile mother of godcome

although postedium stretches its crayfish beds out to eunuch oblivion

more mute limp psalms

hands lunar roads beauty marks

drinks of wings

more bitch of a blind hunt after truth volatile ineternal extraharlotree

more jaguars longing

prolix terraqueous liquidations in collapse extreme pansurrender from the bony fide

boughs to the panicky cornea

to each lodger dream of pre-not-to-be waning

to each stony hope

love-lorn gaudy born

taut swoon meeting over tibias oboes with sidekick spasms

since even the grease interulcerates the dry masticuline mammaries

and the very floor spilled is a preverse fetus foretold if mused in flight

most sacred sick bellyful pregnant with pap rich rhyme so much featherless

parrotgibbonish vaticrap

but truncated hyperhours unthought acephalous dubifetuses and impacts of total disgust

although the quotedium sugarsulphurs its packs of hounds absorbent airholes of yawns

Art on the Airwaves: Ryan King and Handsome, Well-Dressed Radio

Driving around the wilds of Storrs, Connecticut on Thursday mornings from 9-10 can yield unexpected pleasures. Tired of the endless commercial breaks on corporate radio, you fiddle with the radio dial and suddenly your ears perk up at the sounds of Cab Calloway cascading into poems or short stories finally eddying into interviews with artists. It’s intellectually stimulating radio, but not the NPR soul-deadening variety.

What you’re hearing is Ryan King’s Handsome, Well-Dressed Radio on WHUS 91.7 (also available around this earth on web stream). It’s an exciting new venture that will explore all kinds of creative writing percolating in the Connecticut region. After taking part in one of Ryan’s shows, I was curious about how it came into being and the challenges and rewards of transmitting creative writing from the page to airwaves. If you’re interesting vist the show’s blog where you can read Ryan’s thoughts on art and listen to podcasts of previous episodes:   http://handsomewelldressedradio.wordpress.com/

 Jared: How long have you been doing Handsome, Well Dressed Radio?

Ryan: Handsome, Well-Dressed Radio has existed as a radio show for a mere four weeks and as an idea in my mind for an even shorter period because I didn’t really process what was going on until around week two.

Jared: What inspired you to do the show?

Ryan: It was birthed by accident, as a roughly 40% of things in the world are: it was partially a desire to bring the surrounding arts into the radio format. The other part of inspiration is of unknown origin, possibly conceived in a daydream or overheard in passing conversation.

Jared: A related question: what are your ultimate goals for the program?

Ryan: I’d like to see the program become well produced and increasingly alluring in nature, offering topics that would be more insightful than every-day conversation but less mind-consuming that your standard lecture.

Jared: How did you come up with the name?

Ryan: I was in a folk band in high school called “Handsome, Well-Dressed Folk” or something like that, which died a terrible death as most high school folk bands do, and all I was left with was a name and an unexplained urge to do radio.

Jared: I know we talked about this, but could you explain how swing music got to be a part of the show?

Ryan: It gives a classy vibe to even the grittiest of subjects, but furthermore, it captures the audience’s atttention at the start and then leaves things off on a good note when the show closes. Also, most of the music I play on the show is within the public domain, so I won’t find a cease and desist on my doorstep after I release a podcast or two.

Jared: What are some of the rewards/challenges of bringing creative writing to the radio format? Does radio change how we perceive the writings?

Ryan: As for rewards, there’s no cash flow, so it immediately eliminates any capitalist incentives, putting us at a pretty honest place to start. Challenges include producing a show concurrent to being a full-time student, intern, and having a part-time job, arranging content so it’s captivating to an audience that is either used to a more refined product or not accustomed to radio-literature in the slightest. I think that while paying close attention to something being read to you might prove challenging to one’s attention span, if presented in an engaging manner using sound and editing to the producer’s advantage, it can be an effective way of garnering an audience.

Jared: How long does it take to plan a show?

Ryan: Planning a show is a constant process of writing ideas down, losing the paper where you wrote those ideas, salvaging what you remember in your brain, using those salvaged memories to ask questions based off an overarching theme, scrapping that overarching theme when the answers take a different departure than expected, and then crafting it into a semi-functioning radio show.

Jared: Do you have a sense of how many listeners are out there?

Ryan: As for those listening on the FM band, we’ll never know, though in theory, anyone living soul within 60 miles could be listening. The weekly online streaming average ranges between 20-30 listeners, which will probably fluctuate as people either become disenchanted or enraptured by the show.

Jared: How do you find out about your featured writers?

Ryan: I am fortunate to have many references given to my lowly intern self by my supervisors in the Creative Writing Department.

Jared: Any big plans for the future?

Ryan: Survival is among the top priorities. Other lofty goals include finding out what exactly poetry is and kicking the habitual coffee breaks.

Iain Britton- “blue on black”

they live in walls

announce their intentions

set themselves up as domestic servants

movie-star       rejects

sickness beneficiaries

they infiltrate my loosely-veined philosophy

hands       hang from the ceiling

smooth /          calloused

manipulative

##

an oiliness

softens the touch

to protect the archival value

of two people moving in unison

##

seagulls shit            dump froth

bamboozle onlookers  with their frolicking

they pull back  heads               your head

to a sky       rotating

blue on black

##

variety is in a conurbation

pouring concrete /       solidifying us in motion

and from it

small voices have their say

guess?     I ask / I stammer

someone is hammering /          breaking us up

we have our uses

we cooperate for one session only

and hands wipe hands

and then comes the signal for me to speak

“Empty Drawings”- A Collaboration Betwixt Linda Lynch and Heller Levinson

   

1

tantamounts                talk

committee

[bracket orphans

hesitancies

lush audibility

11

plus              flush

subtraction

r   e   m   a   i   n   s

111

drawing empty:    drawing out, withdrawal

, extrude

empty drawing:   a pull in(halation),   an invitation

pulley-in(g)

muffled lace

Joseph Mulligan: “One Sentence of Tungsten: Translating Vallejo’s Prose”

The opening sentence of César Vallejo’s social realist novel El tungsteno reads: “Dueña, por fin, la empresa norteamericana “Mining Society”, de las minas de tungsteno de Quivilca, en el departamento del Cuzco, la gerencia de Nueva York dispuso dar comienzo inmediatamente a la extracción del mineral.” The precariousness of rendering these lines in English may not be immediately apparent to a reader of the Spanish or a translation thereof. I would argue, however, that the translation problem here is at least twofold, in the syntax and semantics, and is revealing of the author’s agenda in this, his only complete novel. In the following, I want to complicate one line of Tungsten in an attempt to shed light on Vallejo’s idiosyncrasy.

The reader first comes up again a gnarly convolution and is required to parse out the clauses, the clusters, work out the syntactical relations, identify the agency of the elements and aspect of the action. A more or less literal rendering could be: “Owner, finally, the North American enterprise “Mining Society”, of the tungsten mines of Quivilca, in the department of Cuzco, the New York management ordered the immediate commencement of the extraction of the mineral.” So as a translator, one wants to undo this syntactical knot, but this desire is then met by the question: can the end result be a loose thread? Isn’t the clarification of syntactical relations on an interpretative register just as essential as the replication of the entanglement on a creative register? As we look closely at the phrasing of the Spanish, the word order takes on a specific importance. It is by no accident that the word “dueña” (owner) inaugurates this book that unabashedly wields a socialist critique of capitalism during the high tide of 20th century revolution. This story is the tragedy of the highland miner, the innocent “indio” who gets exploited by the capitalist system, and this tragedy transforms one petty merchant, Leónides Benites, a bourgeois mestizo who prefers to think of himself as more Spanish than indigenous – the contrary is true – whose personal ambition, social pursuits and avarice lead to his moral downfall, a terrible reckoning, and search for redemption. To begin the sentence, begin the chapter, to begin the book, without the immediate image of the owner, the proprietor, the overlord, the master, is to pull a punch precisely where Vallejo goes for an uppercut.

The second problem is raised by the company name – it is “la empresa norteamericana ‘Mining Society’” – where we find an egregious mistranslation already in the original. There is little evidence to sustain that the author knew much English, whereas he spoke and wrote in French, made use of Russian sporadically through his later writings, and was comfortable enough in Quechua to pepper it through Hacia el reino de los sciris and proliferate that usage in La piedra cansada. The name “Mining Society” is a transliteration of “sociedad minera”, where “sociedad” means company (e.g. a “sociedad anónima”, often abbreviated as S.A., is a public corporation). The supposition of the transliteration is confirmed if we look at Vallejo’s farce Colacho hermanos – a play created out of Tungsten – where he has renamed “Mining Society” as the “Quivilca Corporation” in an early draft and then the “Cotarca Corporation” in a later. This leads one to believe that his attention had been drawn to the mistranslation after the novel had already been published, and that he saw fit to make the change. Therefore, one must decide whether the name should be “corrected” in Tungsten or should be altered. Yet there is another problem here too, since “norteamericana” is probably not intended to refer to Mexico or Canada, but to the U.S.A. Vallejo could have used the explicit “estadounidense”, but preferred the generalization.

Robert Mezey’s 1988 translation offers the following: “Having finally gained control of the tungsten mines in Quivilca, in the state of Cuzco, the New York management of a North American corporation called Mining Society ordered extraction of the mineral to begin immediately.” When I read these lines I am pleased to have in my hands what is, to my knowledge, the one existing complete English translation of César Vallejo’s only full length novel, but I am also disconcerted by the ease with which it reads. I’m afraid there is no knot, but only loose thread. Even though Vallejo’s language in prose does not usually present the same complexity as does his poetry, it is still remarkably idiosyncratic. Mezey’s rendering also makes me wonder why he preferred “state” over the very literal “department”, which is what the administrative divisions of Peru are typically called. And I share my confusion not to belabor apothegms on what gets lost in translation, but to show that, when we do translate Vallejo, what we find is not as simple as we might expect, that we are not through reading his work, and that – unless U.S. readers decide to read the Spanish – only when his idiosyncrasy (in poetry, in fiction, in drama, in journalism) is available to us in English will we be able to evaluate his literary project with a fair and discerning eye. And so, going on the supposition that there has not yet been some mass acquisition of the Spanish language among English speakers, and with a first draft of chapter one of Tungsten still on my desk, the first line, to my ear, to my eye, for now, goes like this:

“Owner, at last, of the Quivilca tungsten mines in the department of Cuzco, the American company, Mining Incorporated, had its New York management give the go-ahead for immediate extraction of the mineral.”

So Much Depends on the Hinge, Part 3: Heller Levinson Interview

Jared: I’ve noticed for some time that you have been proposing Hinge as an antidote to what you dub, “rampant and pernicious commercialism.” How could Hinge help move us beyond capitalist modes of life?

 Heller:  The simplistic answer is:  By providing more enriching (i.e., Nutritious) options.

First we need to identify the problem before we can understand “moving beyond.” The Human Community has to reach an agreement that unbridled capitalism has reached the end of its tether.  This really shouldn’t require much convincing:  the planet is overheating, the glaciers are melting, the polar bears are dying, vegetation & wildlife are being destroyed, the global economic structure is one giant synthetic Ponzi scheme[1], our resources (oil, water) are ending or being contaminated, the gap between the haves & have-nots is growing, hunger is growing, rage is growing, fear is growing, & there exist over 55, 000 nuclear warheads that we know about.  The list of horrors could continue, but we all get the message.

This external damage is mirrored in the internal damage.  In 1985, Neil Postman published the now-classic Amusing Ourselves To Death.  Today, with all the gadgetry & digital devices campaigning for our attentions, this Self-Demolitioning can be ratcheted up manyfold.  The human animal is now something of a hybrid:  Part Human/Part Gadget (i.e. BlackBerry, iPad, iPhone, etc.)  The whole notion of “Prolongation” which I discuss in our first interview appears to be more & more an exotic curiosity.

Our external landscape is befouling while our internal landscapes are besmirched & shrivelizing.

We are at the End Game.

Hinge Theory to the Rescue (read as the tune “Jim Dandy to the rescue.”).

I’ll include a quote of mine I rediscovered this morning when Felino Soriano sent me his new e-book (Divaricated, Spatial Aggregates):

“Hinge Theory is not a philosophy; it is a guideline to enable entrance to the Hinge Universe, which is a continuing construct of perpetually interconnecting, profusely propagating, contagiously enlivening multiuniverses of multi-complementary extensions.  We have identified language as alive . . . .” – HL

Hinge, then, can help us move beyond capitalist modes of life by providing a Richer Paradigm.  If one explores the Fecundating Plangency Rotational Cluster (in from stone this running, BWP, 2011), one can be initiated into Inner Landscape E(nrichment)xpansionism.  Or, for the more concrete minded, there is the Fecundating Stone Rotational Cluster (also in fstr).  If a person partakes in the Fecundating Stone Rotational Cluster, deeply inhales/imbibes, broods & meditates upon, mulls over, the belief is that the participant will never see a stone, or anything else, in the same way.  His/her “idea” of the stone will be newly-offered, a Perceptual InviGorAtion, an element of the universe will become achingly ALive for them, running/coursing through/with their being, their lives will become more highly sensitized, delightf(illed)ull, spilling into surrounding are(n)as, into trees, creeks, brooks, badger, bark, ancient burial grounds, their world will sparkle, they will rejoice, they will want to Intercourse more, they will lust to explore “love like apparitional joinery,” “lamentation like inglorious silk,” . . . I mean, — who can go shopping after experiences like these?  Wal-Mart will die.  Apple will die.  The Human Being will emerge Newly Flowered.

A note about my comment above, “. . . is Partaken of. . . .”  I’ve had people who have been reading Smelling Mary come up to me & say “I’m still getting through your book.”  Well, neither SM, nor fstr is intended to be gotten through.  Reading Hinge Applications should not be task oriented.  I much prefer — in fact,for the kind of immersion I’m suggesting, I would say it is mandatory — the approach of a reader who told me she had been spending two months on “in the temperature of barn” & was still exploring it assiduously.  This is the path of prolongation, of full absorption, of deepimbibeenthrallment.

Now I’ll need to drift[2] a bit to flesh out how Hinge can assist in correcting the current greed-oriented toxic situation.  We have to understand that the very foundation of the structure is faulty.  The Chairmen of the Boards of our large corporations have one singular raison d’etre, & that is to achieve profits for their shareholders.  That is the extent of their responsibility.  They have no moral imperative, no ethics other than to provide “profits” for their shareholders.  QED.  That sums up the dilemma right there.  As long as no more inclusive, Vitalistic-oriented considerations take precedence, pernicious toxicity is inevitable.  Which is where we are today.

My proposal, with Hinge Theory as a model, is to Revolutionize the way we Live, Eat, Learn; in short, — how we inhabit the planet.  I know it sounds wide-eyed & preposterous, but at this point in time, we either Radically Alter Our Lives or we will certainly Extinguish them.  The smugness pervading the land is remarkable, the empowerment engendered by the new technology illusory, one only has to go through a severe storm, or the Northridge earthquake (I did), to see our entire infrastructure disabled in 17 seconds.

We must begin with Education.  Currently, there is no such thing as “education.”  Our schools & universities are no more than vocational schools, training grounds to equip citizens to participate in the transactional climate that is killing them.  To “begin with Education,” we have to Hingify the Teachers.  They need to be Spiritually Conditioned.  Without leadership, without persons Lighting The Way, we are Doomed.

This not being the appropriate time to submit a volume on Planetary Repair, suffice it to say that at this juncture we must reorient our lives toward Visions & Disciplines that offer Enrichment & Vitalism.

It has been a downhill slide from the sixties’ spiritual adventure of “Expand Your Consciousness” to the current Mantras of “LogIn,” and “Go Online.” We need to empower the Serfs of the Gadgetry Kingdom to release their Screen-Chains!

When they discover that there is more Satisfaction, more Pleasure, more FulFillment trekking the Inner Landscapes, they will toss their iPhones & stamp on their iPads.

They  will hear the Wake-Up Call to shift from a land of Narcoleptics to a land of Hinge-Devout Eureka Freaks!

So I say, — Get Freaky!


[1] see Joe Bageant’s “Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball:  Capitalism is dead, but we still dance with the corpse.”

[2] “Drift” is a Hinge activity, but gainful drift.