10 hours ago
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Does anyone know how Romanians inside Romania are reacting to Herta Müller winning the Nobel Prize? They’ve been waiting years for their turn, grooming their own set of Romanian-language contenders, and end up with their first Nobel in Lit from a German-language author who’s lived in Berlin for nearly a quarter century. Putting aside the quality of her work and considering just the politics, Sweden might be seen as getting a “two-for-one” with a writer like Müller, German and Romanian, showing sympathy for a (now nearly vanished) minority community while staying safely within the EU’s cultural comfort zone. The German-speaking minority in the Banat has a complex history in Romania as oppressors and oppressed—mostly, since the Soviet occupation at the end of WW II, tragically oppressed—and it sounds like Müller explores that legacy in scrupulous detail. Her resistance under Ceausescu also looks uncompromising and brave in a time and place where shady accommodation was more the norm. I’m glad for the chance to discover her work, which I hadn’t known about before the award. Just wondering if this is seen in Romania as a triumph, or another example of Romanians getting the short end of the European stick. Or are they too busy with their government collapsing last week to even care? (Banat’s now second most famous German pictured above.)
Friday, October 16, 2009
“We’ll try to found ourselves, desperately, in the present, but no instrument at our disposal is suitable for the job in anything but a phantasmatic capacity. It’s a structural weakness in our Gattungswesen that we can batten on phantasms for ages and ages. Say writing, for instance: the ghost in advance.”
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The English Department at Portland State brings Kate Greenstreet and Linda Russo to town this Friday, 10/16. Go English Department at Portland State.
Friday, October 17, 6 PM
KATE GREENSTREET & LINDA RUSSO
Portland State University, Neuberger Hall 407 (English Dept. Conference Room)
Ahsahta Press published Kate Greenstreet’s first book, case sensitive, in 2006. Her second, The Last 4 Things, came out with Ahsahta last month. This is why I hurt you, a recent chapbook, is available from Lame House Press. New work is forthcoming in jubilat, Court Green, Hotel Amerika, Practice, Saltgrass, and MAKE.
Linda Russo is the author of MIRTH (Chax Press, 2007) and o going out (Potes & Poets, 1999), and her poems appear in recent issues of Bird Dog and Fence. She wrote the preface to Joanne Kyger’s About Now: Collected Poems (National Poetry Foundation, 2007). A graduate of the Poetics Program at SUNY Buffalo, she teaches creative writing at Washington State University in Pullman.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
I’m sure this is wrong. Why is it also so moving?
“The creativity of Egyptian civilization seemed, in the end, strangely to miscarry. Colossal resources of labour were massed under the direction of outstanding civil servants, but only to set up the greatest tombstones the world has ever seen. Craftsmanship of exquisite quality was employed, but to make grave-goods. A highly literate elite utilizing a complex and subtle language and possessing, in papyrus, a material of unsurpassed convenience, deployed them copiously in texts and inscriptions, but left to humanity no great philosophical or religious idea. It is difficult not to sense an ultimate sterility, a nothingness, at the heart of this glittering tour de force. Only its sheer staying-power remains amazing.”
—J.M. Roberts, A Short History of the World