Transtromer: 2nd Tuesday of March 2016

From “Prelude” (included in The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems, translated from the Swedish by Robin Fulton):

Waking up is a parachute jump from dreams.

“The Clearing” by Transtromer

Deep in the forest there’s an unexpected clearing that can be reached only by someone who has lost his way.

— from Tomas Transtromer’s collection The Truthbarrier (1978)

DSCN0426

Annaghmakerrig, Ireland, Summer 2015

Transtromer: Train Poem for The Hunger Games

Regular readers of this blog know that self is a fan of:

  • Hunger Games/Everlark/fan fiction
  • Shadowhunters/Victorian Steampunk/ anything related to Will Herondale
  • Dystopia
  • Poetry, all kinds (Miguel Hernandez, Tomas Transtromer, Luisa Igloria, R. Z. Linmark being self’s enduring favorites)
  • Fiction (Current faves: Mary Gaitskill and Kurt Vonnegut)

In honor of a deleted scenes from The Hunger Games movies finally crawling its way into the universe (Katniss & Peeta discussing the meaning of throwing bread), here is a train poem from Transtromer. Because self is all about intersecting universes:

Tracks

2 a.m. moonlight. The train has stopped
out in the middle of the plain. Far away, points of light in a town,
flickering coldly at the horizon.

As when someone has fallen into a dream so deep
he’ll never remember having been there
when he comes back to his room.

As when someone has fallen into an illness so deep
everything his days were becomes a few flickering points, a swarm,
cold and tiny on the horizon.

The train is standing quite still.
2 a.m.: bright moonlight, few stars.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Friday: HAPPY

Contemplating purchasing two books of fairy tales, one a translation of The Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman, the other a book of Chinese Fairy Tales from Princeton University Press.

(Hear Philip Pullman read from the collection, on SoundCloud.)

Weighty issue.

In the meantime, self is reading Tomas Transtromer’s The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems. This last is her own copy. She bought it last year in Venice Beach, when she was with poet Angela Narciso Torres, who recommended it.

In the Bookshelf Survey she was tagged in yesterday, she mentioned Wales as a country she’d like to visit.

Second choice was Sweden.

Because, you know, Henning Mankell. Among other things.

Here’s an excerpt from Transtromer’s “Elegy”:

At the outset, like a fallen dragon
in some mist-and vapor-shrouded swamp,
our spruce-clad coastline lies. Far out there:
two steamers crying from a dream

in the fog. This is the lower world.
Motionless woods, motionless surface
and the orchid’s hand that reaches from the soil.
On the other side, beyond these straits

but hanging in the same reflection: the Ship,
like the cloud hanging weightless in its space.
And the water around its prow is motionless,
becalmed. And yet — a storm is up!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Colm Toibin, The New York Review of Books, 9 July 2015

Self used to have a subscription to The New York Review of Books. Oh how she mourns, mourns, mourns that absence, it was her go-to publication for really good writing, such as the one in the 9 July 2015 issue, Colm Toibin’s essay “The Hard-Won Truth of the North.”

In describing poet Elizabeth Bishop’s move from Nova Scotia to Worcester, Massachusetts, Toibin writes: “. . . the sudden disruption, the end of the familiar, came as a rare and ambiguous gift to the writers. Despite the pain involved, or precisely because of it, they found not only their subject, but their style.”

In discussing the Swedish writer Stig Dagerman (d. 1954, at the age of 31), Toibin writes: “Dagerman was in possession of several tones.”

Isn’t that such a beautiful sentence? It says it all.

Dagerman had “a gift for writing sharp and cool declarative sentences that is close to Hemingway.”

His short stories use “a tone close to that in the early stories of James Joyce’s Dubliners, which Joyce described to his publishers as a tone of ‘scrupulous meanness.’ ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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