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Archive G-H

· Out now: Kerouac on Record. A Literary Soundtrack · Allen Ginsberg: Collected Poems (1947-1997) · Federico Garcia Lorca: Poet in Spain · John Hay: Euthanasia · Hanging On Our Own Bones. Poems by Judy Grahn · John Hay: The Prairie · Ausstellung des Literaturhauses Berlin: Zwischen den Fronten. Der Glasperlenspieler Hermann Hesse · Chinaka Hodge poetry: Dated Emcees · Nomineer een pionier voor de Pé Hawinkels Prijs · Michel Houellebecq: Unreconciled. Poems 1991–2013 · Vertaling van ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ van Thomas Gray door Cornelis W. Schoneveld · Leigh HUNT: Deaths of Little Children

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Out now: Kerouac on Record. A Literary Soundtrack

 

Out now:
Kerouac on Record ◊ A Literary Soundtrack
Edited by Simon Warner and Jim Sampas

Co-edited by Jack Kerouac’s nephew, including pieces written by Kerouac himself as well as interviews from major literary and musical figures including Allen Ginsberg, Lee Konitz and David Amram, Kerouac on Record gives a unique insight into how Kerouac brought his passion for jazz to his full creative output.

Kerouac on Record is the touchstone for the music of Kerouac – Kerouac’s love for music, the depth of its influence on his work, and the influence that his work continues to extend to waves of contemporary musicians, from David Bowie and Janis Joplin to Sonic Youth. It is a book rife with the work of cultural icons, essential for any fan of the Beat Generation and popular music alike.

About Kerouac on Record
He was the leading light of the Beat Generation writers and the most dynamic author of his time, but Jack Kerouac also had a lifelong passion for music, particularly the mid-century jazz of New York City, the development of which he witnessed first-hand during the 1940s with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk to the fore.

The novelist, most famous for his 1957 book On the Road, admired the sounds of bebop and attempted to bring something of their original energy to his own writing, a torrent of semi-autobiographical stories he published between 1950 and his early death in 1969.

Yet he was also drawn to American popular music of all kinds – from the blues to Broadway ballads – and when he came to record albums under his own name, he married his unique spoken word style with some of the most talented musicians on the scene.

Kerouac’s musical legacy goes well beyond the studio recordings he made himself: his influence infused generations of music makers who followed in his work – from singer-songwriters to rock bands.

Some of the greatest transatlantic names – Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead, Van Morrison and David Bowie, Janis Joplin and Tom Waits, Sonic Youth and Death Cab for Cutie, and many more – credited Kerouac’s impact on their output.

In Kerouac on Record, we consider how the writer brought his passion for jazz to his prose and poetry, his own record releases, the ways his legacy has been sustained by numerous more recent talents, those rock tributes that have kept his memory alive and some of the scores that have featured in Hollywood adaptations of the adventures he brought to the printed page.

1. Jack Kerouac’s Jazz Scene Jim Burns – 2. 2nd Chorus: Blues: Jack Kerouac Larry Beckett – 3. Duet for Saxophone and Pen: Lee Konitz and the Direct Influence of Jazz on the Development of Jack Kerouac’s ‘Spontaneous Prose’ Style Marian Jago Interview 1: Lee Konitz Marian Jago – 4. Jack Kerouac Goes Vinyl: A Sonic Journey into Kerouac’s Three LPs: Poetry for the Beat Generation; Blues and Haikus; and Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation Jonah Raskin  – 5. Art Music: Listening to Kerouac’s ‘Mexico City Blues’ A. Robert Lee Interview 2: David Amram Pat Thomas – 6. Beat Refrains: Music, Milieu and Identity in Jack Kerouac’s The Subterraneans, the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Adaptation Michael Prince – 7. Bob Dylan’s Beat Visions (Sonic Poetry) Michael Goldberg – 8. Carrying a Torch for Ti Jean Paul Marion Interview 3: Richard Meltzer Michael Goldberg – 9. The Grateful Dead: Jack Manifested as Music Brian Hassett – 10. Driver Mark Bliesener – 11. Jim Morrison/Angel of Fire Jay Jeff Jones – 12. Light is Faster than Sound: Texans, the Beats and the San Francisco Counterculture Holly George-Warren – 13. Hit the Road, Jack: Van Morrison and On the Road Peter Mills – 14. Detecting Jack Kerouac and Joni Mitchell: A Literary/Legal (Not Musicological) Investigation into the Search for Influence Nancy Grace – 15. Kerouac and Country Music Matt Theado – 16. ‘Straight from the Mind to the Voice’: Spectral Persistence in Jack Kerouac and Tom Waits Douglas Field Interview 4: Barney Hoskyns Simon Warner – 17. From Beat Bop Prosody to Punk Rock Poetry: Patti Smith and Jack Kerouac; Literature, Lineage, Legacy Ronna Johnson Poems: Marc Zegans  Interview 6: Allen Ginsberg Pat Thomas – 18. Tramps Like Them: Jack and Bruce and the Myth of the American Road Simon Morrison Interview 5: Graham Parker Pat Thomas – 19. Punk and New Wave James Sullivan – Interview 7: Jim DeRogatis on Lester Bangs James Sullivan – 20. The Tribute Recordings Jim Sampas and Simon Warner  –  Jack Kerouac Biography –  Jack Kerouac Discography Dave Moore  –  Tribute Discography –  Kerouac/Cassady Song List Dave Moore/Horst Spandler

Simon Warner
is a journalist, lecturer and broadcaster who teaches Popular Music Studies at the University of Leeds in the UK. He has, over a number of years, written live reviews and counterculture obituaries for The Guardian and The Independent, and has a particular interest in the relationship between the Beat Generation writers–Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and others–and rock culture. His previous books include Rockspeak: The Language of Rock and Pop (1996) and Howl for Now: A Celebration of Allen Ginsberg’s epic protest poem (2005). – Writes: Popular Music, North American Literature – Author of : Kerouac on Record, Text and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Jim Sampas
is a music and film producer. His musical works often focuses on major cultural figures such Jack Kerouac (who is his Uncle), The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, The Smiths, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones. He has persuaded a galaxy of stars to partake of a unique aesthetic marriage, as vintage works are resurrected in contemporary arrangements in projects covered by such major news outlets as People Magazine, NPR, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and many others. – Writes: Popular Music, North American Literature – Author of: Kerouac on Record

Following Text and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Beats and Rock Culture (2013), Simon Warner partners with Literary Executor of the Estate of Jack Kerouac, Jim Sampas, to go deeper into his exploration of the connections between the great figures of the Beat generation and the music of the so-called ‘rock era.’ Interspersed with exclusive interviews of the likes of Lee Konitz, Graham Parker, Lester Bangs, and Allen Ginsberg, the twenty chapters are signed by an impressive array of journalists, music industry professionals, rock critics, writers, film makers and academics from all over the world. Addressing such issues as the influence of jazz on Kerouac’s ‘spontaneous prose’ style, the lineage between his ‘Beat bop prosody’ and Patti Smith‘s ‘punk rock poetry,’ or his inspiring ‘the myth of the American road’ in Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics, they shed light on what appears to be a two-way relationship between popular music and the work of the author of On the Road. As Warner puts it: ‘if, for Kerouac, it was jazz that would have the principal impact, then it was rock on which the writer would have the main effect.’” – Olivier Julien, Lecturer in the History and Musicology of Popular Music, Paris-Sorbonne University, France

Kerouac on Record
A Literary Soundtrack
By: Simon Warner, Jim Sampas
Published: 08-03-2018
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 480
ISBN: 9781501323348
Imprint: Bloomsbury Academic
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
RRP: £28.00

Kerouac on Record
A Literary Soundtrack
fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: # Music Archive, #Beat Generation Archives, - Book Stories, Archive G-H, Archive G-H, Archive K-L, Archive K-L, Art & Literature News, Bob Dylan, CINEMA, RADIO & TV, Dylan, Bob, Ginsberg, Allen, Joni Mitchell, Kerouac, Jack, Patti Smith


Allen Ginsberg: Collected Poems (1947-1997)

Here, for the first time, is a volume that gathers the published verse of Allen Ginsberg in its entirety, a half century of brilliant work from one of America’s great poets.

As the chief figure among the Beats, Ginsberg changed the course of American poetry, liberating it from closed academic forms with the creation of open, vocal, spontaneous, and energetic postmodern verse. Ginsberg’s raw tones and attitudes of spiritual liberation also helped catalyze a psychological revolution that has become a permanent part of our cultural heritage, profoundly influencing not only poetry, popular song, and speech but also our view of the world.

Allen Ginsberg (1926 – 1997) was the son of Naomi Ginsberg, Russian émigré, and Louis Ginsberg, lyric poet and school teacher, in Paterson, N.J. To these facts Ginsberg adds: “High school in Paterson till 17, Columbia College, merchant marine, Texas and Denver copyboy, Times Square, amigos in jail, dishwashing, book reviews, Mexico City, market research, Satori in Harlem, Yucatan and Chiapas 1954, West Coast 3 years. Later Arctic Sea trip, Tangier, Venice, Amsterdam, Paris, read at Oxford Harvard Columbia Chicago, quit, wrote “Kaddish” 1959, made tape to leave behind & fade in Orient awhile. Carl Solomon to whom “Howl” is addressed, is a intuitive Bronx dadaist and prose-poet.”

Title: Collected Poems 1947-1997
Author: Allen Ginsberg
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Title First Published: 2007
Format: Paperback
ISBN-10 0061139750
ISBN-13 9780061139758
1216 pages
$25.99

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Federico Garcia Lorca: Poet in Spain

For the first time in a quarter century, a major new volume of translations of the beloved poetry of Federico García Lorca, presented in a beautiful bilingual edition.

The fluid and mesmeric lines of these new translations by the award-winning poet Sarah Arvio bring us closer than ever to the talismanic perfection of the great García Lorca. Poet in Spain invokes the “wild, innate, local surrealism” of the Spanish voice, in moonlit poems of love and death set among poplars, rivers, low hills, and high sierras.

Arvio’s ample and rhythmically rich offering includes, among other essential works, the folkloric yet modernist Gypsy Ballads, the plaintive flamenco Poem of the Cante Jondo, and the turbulent and beautiful Dark Love Sonnets—addressed to Lorca’s homosexual lover—which Lorca was revising at the time of his brutal political murder by Fascist forces in the early days of the Spanish Civil War.

Here, too, are several lyrics translated into English for the first time and the play Blood Wedding—also a great tragic poem. Arvio has created a fresh voice for Lorca in English, full of urgency, pathos, and lyricism—showing the poet’s work has grown only more beautiful with the passage of time.

Federico Garcia Lorca may be Spain’s most famous poet and dramatist of all time. Born in Andalusia in 1898, he grew up in a village on the Vega and in the city of Granada.

His prolific works, known for their powerful lyricism and an obsession with love and death, include the Gypsy Ballads, which brought him far-reaching fame, and the homoerotic Dark Love Sonnets, which did not see print until almost fifty years after his death.

His murder in 1936 by Fascist forces at the outset of the Spanish Civil War became a literary cause célébre; in Spain, his writings were banned. Lorca’s poems and plays are now read and revered in many languages throughout the world.

Poet in Spain
By Federico Garcia Lorca
Translated by Sarah Arvio
Category: Poetry
Hardcover
Nov 07, 2017
576 Pages
$35.00
Published by Knopf
ISBN 9781524733117

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John Hay: Euthanasia

  

   Euthanasia

Take from my hand, dear love, these opening flowers.
Afar from thee they grew, ‘neath alien skies
Their stems sought light and life in humble wise,
Fed by the careless suns and vagrant showers.
But now their fate obeys the rule of ours.
They pass to airs made glorious by thine eyes.
Smit with swift joy, they breathe, in fragrant sighs,
Their souls out toward thee in their last glad hours,
Paying leal tribute to a brighter bloom.
Thus, and not other, is the giver’s fate.
Through years unblest by thee, a cheerless path,
A checkered maze of common glare and gloom,
He came to know in rapture deep though late
How thou couldst brighten life and gentle death.

John Hay
(1838-1905)
Euthanasia

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Hanging On Our Own Bones. Poems by Judy Grahn

Through these seven narrative poems, Grahn weaves real-life conditions with goddess mythology to construct modern interpretations of lamentation in nine parts.

Song and poem lamentations have a widespread history from all over the globe and carry a wealth of forms and a few requirements―they must read well out loud, they must address current pressing issues, and they must make every attempt to be truthful.

Here Grahn’s steadfast and rhythmic verse directs our eyes to crucial yet often buried tribulations of our times by critiquing white supremacy, honoring battered women, exalting the powers of menstruation, conflating all labor with birth imagery, and revealing lateral hostilities among potential allies―all in order to arouse a meaningful social critique.

Title: Hanging On Our Own Bones
Subtitle: Poems
Author: Judy Grahn
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Title First Published 15 August 2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN-10 0989036138
ISBN-13 9780989036139
Publication Date: 15 August 2017
Price: $18.95

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John Hay: The Prairie

The Prairie

The skies are blue above my head,
The prairie green below,
And flickering o’er the tufted grass
The shifting shadows go,
Vague-sailing, where the feathery clouds
Fleck white the tranquil skies,
Black javelins darting where aloft
The whirring pheasant flies.

A glimmering plain in drowsy trance
The dim horizon bounds,
Where all the air is resonant
With sleepy summer sounds,
The life that sings among the flowers,
The lisping of the breeze,
The hot cicala’s sultry cry,
The murmurous dream of bees.

The butterfly a flying flower
Wheels swift in flashing rings,
And flutters round his quiet kin,
With brave flame-mottled wings.
The wild Pinks burst in crimson fire,
The Phlox’ bright clusters shine,
And Prairie-Cups are swinging free
To spill their airy wine.

And lavishly beneath the sun,
In liberal splendor rolled,
The Fennel fills the dipping plain
With floods of flowery gold;
And widely weaves the Iron-Weed
A woof of purple dyes
Where Autumn’s royal feet may tread
When bankrupt Summer flies.

In verdurous tumult far away
The prairie-billows gleam,
Upon their crests in blessing rests
The noontide’s gracious beam.
Low quivering vapors steaming dim
The level splendors break
Where languid Lilies deck the rim
Of some land-circled lake.

Far in the East like low-hung clouds
The waving woodlands lie;
Far in the West the glowing plain
Melts warmly in the sky.
No accent wounds the reverent air,
No footprint dints the sod,-
Lone in the light the prairie lies,
Rapt in a dream of God.

Illinois, 1858

John Hay
(1838-1905)
The Prairie

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Ausstellung des Literaturhauses Berlin: Zwischen den Fronten. Der Glasperlenspieler Hermann Hesse

Als erfolgreicher Autor des berühmten S. Fischer Verlags, dem er seit 1904 angehörte, war Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) in besonderer Weise mit Berlin verbunden, wenngleich er selbst nur ganz selten hier war.

Die Machtübernahme durch die Nationalsozialisten hatte auch für Hesse, der seit 1924 wieder Schweizer Staatsbürger war und im Tessin lebte, weitreichende Konsequenzen, da ihn die Bindung an seinen Berliner Verlag in Abhängigkeit vom nationalsozialistischen Regime brachte, dessen Propagandisten ihn anfangs diffamierten und später ausmanövrierten.

Einflussreiche emigrierte Publizisten indessen verurteilten aufs schärfste, dass Hesse nicht gegen die Veröffentlichung seiner Bücher und Texte in Deutschland vorging und sich nicht ausschließlich zur deutschen Exilliteratur bekannte.

Redakteure Schweizer Zeitungen wiederum warfen Hesse mangelndes Verständnis des Schweizer Antisemitismus vor, der Anfang 1936 eine Niederlassung in Zürich des ins Exil getriebenen Teils des S. Fischer Verlags unausgesprochen mit verhindert hatte.

Fokussiert auf die Jahre von 1933 bis 1947, thematisiert die Ausstellung anhand vieler bislang unbekannter Materialien die vielschichtigen Verflechtungen, die Hesse zwischen der Schweiz, der deutschen Emigration und der Diktatur in Deutschland buchstäblich „zwischen die Fronten“ geraten ließ.

Anlass für die Ausstellung ist die Möglichkeit, aus dem umfangreichen, bislang unveröffentlichten Briefwechsel Hesses mit seinem jüngsten Sohn Martin (1911-1968) einige ausgewählte Briefe präsentieren und dem Zeitgeschehen zuordnen zu können. Im Frühjahr 1932 hatte Martin Hesse noch einen Vorkurs am Bauhaus in Dessau belegen können und erlebte dort die politische Radikalisierung Deutschlands.

In die Schweiz zurückgekehrt, entwickelte Martin Hesse aus der am Bauhaus angeregten Beschäftigung mit der Fotografie eine professionelle Passion: Von ihm stammen die beeindruckenden Aufnahmen der Kunstdenkmäler des Kantons Bern und unzählige Fotos seines berühmten Vaters.

Die Ausstellung setzt mit einem Rückblick auf Hesses erste Frau Maria (Mia), geb. Bernoulli (1868-1963), ein, mit der er bis 1912 in Gaienhofen am Bodensee gelebt hatte. Maria Bernoulli gilt als die erste Schweizer Berufsfotografin, zusammen mit ihrer Schwester unterhielt sie von 1902 bis 1907 ein Fotoatelier in Basel.

Eine Ausstellung des Literaturhauses Berlin
Konzipiert von Lutz Dittrich mit Unterstützung durch Gunnar Decker und Volker Michels
Mitarbeit: Sebastian Januszewski
Ausstellungsgestaltung: unodue { (Costanza Puglisi und Florian Wenz)

Einen Folder mit umfangreichen Informationen über die Ausstellung finden Sie auch hier.

Die zur Ausstellung erscheinende Begleitpublikation
Zwischen den Fronten. Der Glasperlenspieler Hermann Hesse enthält einige ausgewählte Abdrucke aus dem Briefwechsel Hermann Hesses mit seinem Sohn Martin sowie Originalbeiträge von Jan-Pieter Barbian (Publizist), Gunnar Decker (Hesse-Biograph), Michael Kleeberg (Schriftsteller und Übersetzer) und Volker Michels (Hesse-Herausgeber).
In der Ausstellung erhältlich.
Hg. von Lutz Dittrich.
12.- Euro.
ISBN 978-3-926433-57-2

14 Dez – 11 Mär 2017
Grosser und Kleiner Saal
Ausstellung im Literaturhaus
Zwischen den Fronten.
Der Glasperlenspieler Hermann Hesse
LiteraturHausBerlin
Fasanenstraße 23
10719 Berlin

#  website  LiteraturHausBerlin

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Chinaka Hodge poetry: Dated Emcees

Chinaka Hodge came of age along with hip-hop—and its influence on her suitors became inextricable from their personal interactions.

Form blends with content in Dated Emcees as she examines her love life through the lens of hip-hop’s best known orators, characters, archetypes and songs, creating a new and inventive narrative about the music that shaped the craggy heart of a young woman poet, just as it also changed the global landscape of pop.

“This is an absolute powerhouse of a book, and a new pinnacle for Chinaka Hodge. There’s enough beauty and heartbreak and melancholy and humor and sorrow in here for three collections, or two lifetimes. Hodge’s writing is so incredibly specific but somehow universal, so honest and raw but somehow polished to unimproveability. She deserves a wide audience, an attentive audience, an audience that wants to be astounded.”––Dave Eggers, author of The Circle

Chinaka Hodge is a poet, educator, playwright and screenwriter. Originally from Oakland, California, she graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in May of 2006, and was honored to be the student speaker at the 174th Commencement exercise. In 2010, Chinaka received USC’s prestigious Annenberg Fellowship to continue her studies at its School of Cinematic Arts. She received her MFA in Writing for Film and TV in 2012. In the fall of that year, she received the SF Foundation’s Phelan Literary Award for emerging Bay Area talent. Chinaka was also a 2012 Artist in Residence at The Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, CA.

In January 2013, Hodge was a Sundance Feature Film lab Fellow for her script, “700th&Int’l.” In June of 2013 Chinaka began as a first year fellow at Cave Canem’s prestigious summer retreat.

For over a decade, Hodge has worked in various capacities at Youth Speaks/The Living Word Project, the nation’s leading literary arts non-profit. During her tenure there, Chinaka served as Program Director, Associate Artistic Director, and worked directly with Youth Speaks’ core population as a teaching artist and poet mentor. She has acted in comparable capacities in New York and Los Angeles at Urban Word NYC and Get Lit: Words Ignite. When not educating or writing for the page, Chinaka rocks mics as a founding member of a collaborative hip hop ensemble, The Getback. Her poems, editorials, interviews and prose have been featured in Newsweek, San Francisco Magazine, Believer Magazine, PBS, NPR, CNN, C-Span, and in two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry.

Title: Dated Emcees
Author: Chinaka Hodge
Collection City Lights/Sister Spit
Publisher City Lights Publishers
Published 2016
Paperback
ISBN-10 0872867021
ISBN-13 9780872867024
64 pages

#  More  on  website  Chinaka  Hodge

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Nomineer een pionier voor de Pé Hawinkels Prijs

De Pé Hawinkels Prijs is een nieuwe prijs voor makers en instanties die met creatieve initiatieven de grenzen van de literatuur oprekken.

  

Hawinkels (1942-1977) was iemand die zich niet in een hokje liet stoppen. Hij zorgde voor verbreding van de literatuur door zich bezig te houden met proza, poëzie, columns, jazzrecensies, vertalingen en zelfs songteksten (voor Herman Brood).

Welke schrijver, dichter, vertaler, journalist, filmmaker, uitgever, boekhandelaar droeg de afgelopen tijd met een bijzonder initiatief bij aan de verbreding van de literatuur? Dit kan zowel inhoudelijk als in vorm zijn, met bijvoorbeeld een app voor lezers, een politiek pamflet, een publiciteitsstunt of een project ten behoeve van verspreiding van boeken.

Vanaf nu kunt u een literair pionier nomineren. DAT KAN VIA DE WEBSITE VAN HET WINTERTUINFESTIVAL. Een vakkundige jury buigt zich over de genomineerden en kiest een winnaar. De prijs wordt op 25 november tijdens het Wintertuinfestival uitgereikt.

De Herfst van Hawinkels
De uitreiking van de Pé Hawinkels Prijs is een onderdeel van De Herfst van Hawinkels. In 2017 is het 40 jaar geleden dat Hawinkels overleed, hij zou anders dit jaar 75 zijn geworden. Dit najaar wordt het leven en werk van Hawinkels gevierd, onder meer met een expositie, een werkconferentie en een programma met jazz en voordrachten.

Wintertuin/De Nieuwe Oost is initiatiefnemer van de Pé Hawinkels Prijs en richt zich als productiehuis nadrukkelijk op ontwikkeling binnen het vakgebied. Met deze prijs wordt vernieuwing in de literatuur beloond en onder de aandacht gebracht.

   # Meer info website wintertuinfestival  

Nomineer een pionier voor de Pé Hawinkels Prijs
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Michel Houellebecq: Unreconciled. Poems 1991–2013

Selected poems from the critically acclaimed author of Atomised and Submission: Michel Houellebecq

This selection of poems chosen from four collections shines a fresh light on Michel Houellebecq and emphasises the radical singularity of his work. Drawing on similar themes as his novels, Unreconciled is a journey into the depths of individual experience and universal passions.

Divided into five parts, Unreconciled forms a narrative of love, hopelessness, catastrophe and, ultimately, redemption. In a world of supermarkets and public transport, Houellebecq manages to find traces of divine grace even as he exposes our inexorable decline into chaos.

Told through forms and rhythms that are both ancient and new, with language steeped in the everyday, Houellebecq’s vision of our era is one brimming with tensions that cannot – and will not – be reconciled.

Michel Houellebecq
Unreconciled
Poems 1991–2013
Translation Gavin Bowd
Penguin UK
William Heinemann editor
Published 12th January 2017
144mm x 222mm x 31mm
336 Pages, £16.99
Dual-language edition

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Vertaling van ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ van Thomas Gray door Cornelis W. Schoneveld

De ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ van Thomas Gray (1716-1771), voltooid in 1750, is een van de allerbekendste gedichten uit de Engelse literatuurgeschiedenis.

Typisch voor de 18de eeuw generaliseert en moraliseert de dichter naar hartelust in ‘poëtische’ taal.

Toch illustreert zijn tekst ook op frappante maar voorzichtige wijze trends die tot de ‘allerindividueelste emoties’ van de Romantiek zouden leiden.

‘Far from the madding crowd’ (later geleend door Thomas Hardy als romantitel) stelt de hooggeleerde dichter zich voor eenzaam door het dorpsgebied te zwerven en tenslotte op het dorpskerkhof begraven te liggen.

William Blake (1757-1827), auteur van de beroemde Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1795), sneed in 1797 de tekst van Gray’s Elegy uit een uitgave van Gray’s poëzie uit 1790, bevestigde die in uitsparingen van aquarelbladen en schilderde zo elf bladen met een illustratie rondom de tekst.

Een bekende uitspraak van Blake is ‘wie generaliseert is een idioot’, maar in Gray’s gedicht zag hij blijkbaar vooral de individuele en romantische kant ervan. Zo ontstond een uniek eenmalig product voor een opdrachtgever, dat pas in 1920 in de publiciteit kwam.

Gray’s originele strofen en de naar vorm en inhoud getrouwe Nederlandse vertaling van Cornelis W. Schoneveld staan onder elkaar, naast Blake’s esoterische illustraties.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.
Yet e’en these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
x Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e’er resigned,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?

Thomas Gray

Ver van het twistend volk, in dwaas verval,
Zwierven hun sobere wensen nooit van huis;
In ’t koele afgescheiden levensdal
Hielden zij koers, zonder het minst geruis.
Ter wering van hun beenderen tegen kwaad
Verzoekt een wrakke zerk, hier opgericht,
In grof reliëf en verzen zwak van maat,
Een zucht van de passant als ereplicht.
x Jaren en naam, door ’n Muze slecht gespeld,
Vervangen lofgezang en rouwgedicht,
En menig heilig woord van Haar vertelt
De vrome landman van zijn dood in zicht.
Want wie zei ooit, vergetelheid ten prooi,
Vaarwel tegen ’t bezorgd maar schoon bestaan,
Verliet het dagdomein, zo warm, zo mooi,
Zonder een draalblik talend terug te slaan?

Vertaling Cornelis W. Schoneveld

 

Thomas Gray
Treurzang geschreven op een dorpskerkhof
Vertaling en voorwoord Cornelis W. Schoneveld
isbn: 978 90 824288 7 2
Uitg. DWT De Wilde Tomaat
2017, 27 pag.

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Leigh HUNT: Deaths of Little Children

huntLEIGH011Deaths of Little Children
by Leigh Hunt

A Grecian philosopher being asked why he wept for the death of his son, since the sorrow was in vain, replied, “I weep on that account.” And his answer became his wisdom. It is only for sophists to contend that we, whose eyes contain the fountains of tears, need never give way to them. It would be unwise not to do so on some occasions. Sorrow unlocks them in her balmy moods. The first bursts may be bitter and overwhelming; but the soil on which they pour would be worse without them. They refresh the fever of the soul—the dry misery which parches the countenance into furrows, and renders us liable to our most terrible “flesh-quakes.”

There are sorrows, it is true, so great, that to give them some of the ordinary vents is to run a hazard of being overthrown. These we must rather strengthen ourselves to resist, or bow quietly and drily down, in order to let them pass over us, as the traveller does the wind of the desert. But where we feel that tears would relieve us, it is false philosophy to deny ourselves at least that first refreshment; and it is always false consolation to tell people that because they cannot help a thing, they are not to mind it. The true way is, to let them grapple with the unavoidable sorrow, and try to win it into gentleness by a reasonable yielding. There are griefs so gentle in their very nature that it would be worse than false heroism to refuse them a tear. Of this kind are the deaths of infants. Particular circumstances may render it more or less advisable to indulge in grief for the loss of a little child; but, in general, parents should be no more advised to repress their first tears on such an occasion, than to repress their smiles towards a child surviving, or to indulge in any other sympathy. It is an appeal to the same gentle tenderness; and such appeals are never made in vain. The end of them is an acquittal from the harsher bonds of affliction—from the typing down of the spirit to one melancholy idea.

It is the nature of tears of this kind, however strongly they may gush forth, to run into quiet waters at last. We cannot easily, for the whole course of our lives, think with pain of any good and kind person whom we have lost. It is the divine nature of their qualities to conquer pain and death itself; to turn the memory of them into pleasure; to survive with a placid aspect in our imaginations. We are writing at this moment just opposite a spot which contains the grave of one inexpressibly dear to us. We see from our window the trees about it, and the church spire. The green fields lie around. The clouds are travelling overhead, alternately taking away the sunshine and restoring it. The vernal winds, piping of the flowery summer-time, are nevertheless calling to mind the far-distant and dangerous ocean, which the heart that lies in that grave had many reasons to think of. And yet the sight of this spot does not give us pain. So far from it, it is the existence of that grave which doubles every charm of the spot; which links the pleasures of our childhood and manhood together; which puts a hushing tenderness in the winds, and a patient joy upon the landscape; which seems to unite heaven and earth, mortality and immortality, the grass of the tomb and the grass of the green field; and gives a more maternal aspect to the whole kindness of nature. It does not hinder gaiety itself. Happiness was what its tenant, through all her troubles, would have diffused. To diffuse happiness, and to enjoy it, is not only carrying on her wishes, but realising her hopes; and gaiety, freed from its only pollutions, malignity and want of sympathy, is but a child playing about the knees of its mother.

The remembered innocence and endearments of a child stand us instead of virtues that have died older. Children have not exercised the voluntary offices of friendship; they have not chosen to be kind and good to us; nor stood by us, from conscious will, in the hour of adversity. But they have shared their pleasures and pains with us as well as they could; the interchange of good offices between us has, of necessity, been less mingled with the troubles of the world; the sorrow arising from their death is the only one which we can associate with their memories. These are happy thoughts that cannot die. Our loss may always render them pensive; but they will not always be painful. It is a part of the benignity of Nature that pain does not survive like pleasure, at any time, much less where the cause of it is an innocent one. The smile will remain reflected by memory, as the moon reflects the light upon us when the sun has gone into heaven.

When writers like ourselves quarrel with earthly pain (we mean writers of the same intentions, without implying, of course, anything about abilities or otherwise), they are misunderstood if they are supposed to quarrel with pains of every sort. This would be idle and effeminate. They do not pretend, indeed, that humanity might not wish, if it could, to be entirely free from pain; for it endeavours, at all times, to turn pain into pleasure: or at least to set off the one with the other, to make the former a zest and the latter a refreshment. The most unaffected dignity of suffering does this, and, if wise, acknowledges it. The greatest benevolence towards others, the most unselfish relish of their pleasures, even at its own expense, does but look to increasing the general stock of happiness, though content, if it could, to have its identity swallowed up in that splendid contemplation. We are far from meaning that this is to be called selfishness. We are far, indeed, from thinking so, or of so confounding words. But neither is it to be called pain when most unselfish, if disinterestedness by truly understood. The pain that is in it softens into pleasure, as the darker hue of the rainbow melts into the brighter. Yet even if a harsher line is to be drawn between the pain and pleasure of the most unselfish mind (and ill-health, for instance, may draw it), we should not quarrel with it if it contributed to the general mass of comfort, and were of a nature which general kindliness could not avoid. Made as we are, there are certain pains without which it would be difficult to conceive certain great and overbalancing pleasures. We may conceive it possible for beings to be made entirely happy; but in our composition something of pain seems to be a necessary ingredient, in order that the materials may turn to as fine account as possible, though our clay, in the course of ages and experience, may be refined more and more. We may get rid of the worst earth, though not of earth itself.

Now the liability to the loss of children—or rather what renders us sensible of it, the occasional loss itself—seems to be one of these necessary bitters thrown into the cup of humanity. We do not mean that every one must lose one of his children in order to enjoy the rest; or that every individual loss afflicts us in the same proportion. We allude to the deaths of infants in general. These might be as few as we could render them. But if none at all ever took place, we should regard every little child as a man or woman secured; and it will easily be conceived what a world of endearing cares and hopes this security would endanger. The very idea of infancy would lose its continuity with us. Girls and boys would be future men and women, not present children. They would have attained their full growth in our imaginations, and might as well have been men and women at once. On the other hand, those who have lost an infant, are never, as it were, without an infant child. They are the only persons who, in one sense, retain it always, and they furnish their neighbours with the same idea. The other children grow up to manhood and womanhood, and suffer all the changes of mortality. This one alone is rendered an immortal child. Death has arrested it with his kindly harshness, and blessed it into an eternal image of youth and innocence.

Of such as these are the pleasantest shapes that visit our fancy and our hopes. They are the ever-smiling emblems of joy; the prettiest pages that wait upon imagination. Lastly, “Of these are the kingdom of heaven.” Wherever there is a province of that benevolent and all-accessible empire, whether on earth or elsewhere, such are the gentle spirits that must inhabit it. To such simplicity, or the resemblance of it, must they come. Such must be the ready confidence of their hearts and creativeness of their fancy. And so ignorant must they be of the “knowledge of good and evil,” losing their discernment of that self-created trouble, by enjoying the garden before them, and not being ashamed of what is kindly and innocent.

Deaths of Little Children
by Leigh Hunt (1784 – 1859)

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