A while back, I published one of my favourite excerpts from Lorrie Moore’s Who Will Run The Frog Hospital? on here. My friend Maria Host found it, fell in love with it just as much and made it into this beautiful short film.
“Listening to someone read aloud is very different from reading in silence. When you read, you can stop or skip sentences: you are the one who sets the pace. When someone else is reading, it is difficult to make your attention coincide with the tempo of his reading: the voice goes either too fast or too slow.
And then, listening to someone who is translating from another language involves a fluctuation, a hesitation over the words, a margin of indecision, something vague, tentative. The text, when you are the reader, is something that is there, against which you are forced to clash; when someone translates it aloud to you, it is something that is and is not there, that you cannot manage to touch.
Furthermore, Professor Uzzi-Tuzii had begun his oral translation as if he were not quite sure he could make the words hang together, going back over every sentence to iron out the syntactical creases, manipulating the phrases until they were completely rumpled, smoothing them, clipping them, stopping at every word to illustrate its idiomatic uses and its connotations, accompanying himself with inclusive gestures as if inviting you to be content with approximate equivalents, breaking off to state grammatical rules, etymological derivations, quoting the classics. But just when you are convinced that for the professor philology and erudition mean more than what the story is telling, you realize the opposite is true: that academic envelope serves only to protect everything the story says and does not say, an inner afflatus always on the verge of being dispersed at contact with the air, the echo of a vanished knowledge revealed in the penumbra and in tacit allusions.”
— From: Italo Calvino - If On A Winter’s Night a Traveller
Steven J Fowler, Joanna Walsh, Matthew Gregory, Eley Williams, Sarah Howe and I will be collaborating on a chain, or renga poem over the two month duration of the Poetry in Collaboration exhibition at the Saison Poetry Library, to be published in VLAK magazine later in the year. (Readings TBA in summer.)
What’s my price and will you pay it if it’s alright? Take it from my dignity and waste it till it’s dead Throw me back into the gutter ‘cause it’s alright Find another pleasure fucker, drag them down to Hell
(There ain’t that many things daytime drinking won’t sort tbqh.)