Friday, October 8, 2010

Thank you all for the birthday wishes and your sweet-tongued gifts. My favorite was, perhaps, the email that began "Happy birthday, melancholy baby." But all were assuaging to the spirit.

Here are a few quotations from what I was reading yesterday. They're not necessarily related, at least not obviously related, at least not yet.

From "A Letter from New York City" by Quincy R. Lehr, in New Walk Magazine, autumn/winter 2010:

One suspects that if a greater number of American writers--with MFAs or without--laid off the incesssant "networking," focussed on the good ideas when they came, and didn't feel they had to constantly get into print, we'd not be so deluged with near-identical poems and short stories that neither surprise nor delight and seem to constitute the necessary drudge work of "being a writer."

From Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano:

For the Nazis . . . soccer was a matter of state. A monument in the Ukraine commemorates the players of the 1942 Dynamo Kiev team. During the German occupation they committed the insane act of defeating Hitler's squad in the local stadium. Having been warned, "If you win, you die," they started out resigned to losing, trembling with fear and hunger, but in the end they could not resist the temptation of dignity. When the game was over all eleven were shot with their shirts on at the edge of a cliff.

"When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" by Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.


Ruth said...

Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano: rather like the the Christian VS the Lions

Maureen said...

Wondered if you've seen this item:"Struggling New York writer Herman Melville":

Dawn Potter said...

A classic hero tale. I read it aloud to Paul, and he was very interested. There are several effective moves in Galeano's narrative, and all of them (at least as they work on me) involve the sonic impact of word choice: "Dynamo Kiev," "temptation of dignity," and "all eleven were shot with their shirts on."

Dawn Potter said...

And no, Maureen, I hadn't seen it. Thanks for the link.