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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

non-snow days

how strange to have a day "off" when it's a no-show of blizzard....

so in principle I am writing about Pascal ,but in fact, am scurrying about to find which is the perfect publisher for a book on Jon Schueler (such beautiful paintings of northern Scotland!dlay and I got to write about his present show at David Findlay Jr. gallery for the beloved Brooklyn Rail, I always love it), and not thinking about my seminar tomorrow in Translation/Adaptation, and then our panel of four on Translating Aesthetics, for Friday, with Josh Wilner and Wayne Koestenbaum and Alyson Waters and myself all unscripted and doing whatever we feel like -- my favorite kind of unplanned panel...

So much I want to read and write and see, and all these unseen exhibitions and the grand seen ones like the cubism Lauder gift, such fun going around with various friends to everything... that's New York, of course, even in the non-blizzard...

Saturday, January 17, 2015

one-eyed

so I never ever knew that what my friends werre saying to me: "oh, I had two eyes done, so one saw far off, one near, I had to balance them, " and it seemed so miracuslous to me, so peculiarly delicious, NOW I UNDERSTAND, I GET IT! I had my right eye "done," as in uncataracted this morning and now, middle ot the night the next night I see BRIGHTLY with one eyes and the way I always did with the other, GOOD HEAVENS HOW IT CHANGES! and when the eye doctor or whatever we call them said to me: "you might want in six weeks or so, to do the other one, " I used to say, "ummm" in my usual and plenteously meaningful way, well, I see what he means. My husband, my beloved Boyce, understands totally what he meant, and says, "you'll see."

Well,  maybe. But in the meantime, wth my left like normal, and the right eye, everything sparkles. IT SPARKLES.
Whether it is worth the anguish of a put-in ring too large for my small eyes (who knew I had small eyes?) for the correction of the astigmatism thing, I don't know. At the moment, I don't think so. How fascinatingly strange. So much in the world goes on, and anything concnerned with just oneself and one's way of seeing is SO SMALL but all the same worth spending a minute or so over... this is that minute. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

and now all this

so it's on all our minds, France and Belgium now, and -- as so often happens, remembering 9/11 - whatever kind of writing and working and giving talks on this and that seems to seem beside the whatever point the world we know is making  right now, in Europe and in our minds and hearts

of course, what's ever relevant depends on so much else -- it all feels like climbing the Dawn Wall without any ropes at all, and still having breath ot congratulate everyone climbing and who has climbed and will

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pascal

So here I am, again, writing on Blaise Pascal, my Critical Lives: Blaise Pascal, for which I just signed a contract, and am thinking about how secrecy and suffering go along together with mystery -- that is the preface to the preface I have just written, and the ordering of the chapters is of course the major major major problem
but how moving is his life! 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

singularities

And I am SO enjoying my seminar in Modernist Singularities! We lingered over Beckett and Borges, and last time, D.H. Lawrence (why do we have to say D.H., not a lot of other Lawrences I would be likely to teach, it's not like T.J. Clark, or T.S. Eliot, because there are after all Kenneth and George)
anyway, we have coming up Thomas Bernhard (speaking of difficult people, and I LOVE the Loser, about Glenn Gould, well, I love anything about Glenn Gould), and Wittgenstein (as in his Zettel)  -- will I show, as I sometimes do, Derek Jarman's Wittgenstein? -- AND Marjorie Perloff together, thinking of this and that, and her Vienna Paradox, and then everyone talks, instead of an exam, about what they all wrote their long paper on and if I can remember it, I bring some wine and crackers
and we are growing, Boyce and myself, basil and tomatoes, on our indoor ledge and it looks like a Blooming Forest of green!

whooof whooooooof

So we all have the same problems, I expect, and was just reading about -- because I am indeed writing a book on Pascal and have made far too many beginnings over the last three years, so that all sorts of perceptions I had then got lost or drowned, and now it is a MESS, but that is (probably, who knows? not me) the way things work - was reading about the company of "solitaires" who then taught in the "petites ecoles" of Port-Royal. How nice to be solitary in a company, and I think Mark Strand wrote something about it in a poem, I read today in our local newspaper. By the way, I remind myself, having read it in the enormously readable book on Jansenism by Francoise Hildesheimer, that  the name of Port-Royal, as in the convents of Port-Royal des Champs, in the field, and Port-Royal in Paris, comes from Porois, which is a swamp. Now that's really encouraging when you think your writing is 1) in a swamp 2) or swamping you.

What I first loved was, besides the secrecy of the Memorial, Pascal's death mask, so strangely like Antonin Artaud...

For Thanksgiving, we try to ask in anyone among our friends who isn't doing family things, so we had two visiting Swiss professors, one of the history of medieval philosophy (and yes I could have asked her about Augustine or Jansenius, but was so interested in her history of the Electric Fish that I got swamped down and didn't) and the other, author of a wonderful book on cubist poetry and art: that's something I would LOVE to have written, but in any case the translations and edition I did with my beloved disappeared friend Pat Terry is coming out NOW this week with Black Widow Press, called Pierre Reverdy, Early to Late, and it looks lovely and very Reverdian.

Enough, then, about Pascal and Reverdy and Augustine and Jansenius and the Flemish and Swiss -- except that I so loved being with Isabelle Lorenz in Berlin, of Swiss heritage and of worldwide delight -- am I lucky or what? 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

celebrating the fall of the wall

Celebrating the Fall

We just arrived last night from Bremen and ddIncredible to be in the middle of Berlin on the night of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall, the Mauerfall – the very middle, in the hotel Adlon by the Branderburg gate – on the night that Daniel Barenboim is going to play the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth. There are tens of thousands of people assembled, and we are watching now on tv a picture of what it was like 25 years ago… I was then at the Getty in California for the year and remember what I felt like, just watching…

And now again, here it is, with all its hope. So much the opposite of the fall of Icarus so many mythical years ago!