Monday, March 31, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
More about this here here, and here.
Here are three different pieces, all stemming from the phrase "The Smoke of Kings." The last two are translations from imaginary parables that came out of my parable translation project with Hugh Thomas.
THE SMOKE OF KINGS
burn the tree but spare
find a scar
then make a king around it
turn the television to
the channel for knives
divide things up so small that
even the dogs are invisible
I have seen it, the smoke of kings, rising from the throne. we’d thought the kings would remain solid, and not become shadow as the soldiers whisper on the battlements, “over there in the hills, the army that marches to replace us with fire.”
I have seen it: the smoke of kings, rising into the sky. For each king is a train steaming toward us, who are bound to the tracks.
In the club car, pictures of other kings on the cards, their smooth one eyed faces, steadfast, laconic, white.
There’s a bridge across a river, a village on the other shore. The train goes into the temple. Like many, it does not attend to pray but to witness, the plume rising from its chimney, a shawl of smoke.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I will take care of your brick
because it came through my window
it is a damaged bird
not able to fly
I will make it a safe bed
and help as I would like to help
the people of this world
my window is broken
perhaps now someone will throw
a country in
or the frail body of
This beautiful site about the Armenian alphabet is fascinating, beguilingly inscrutable and mysterious for a non-Armenian. If you click on each letter or number it opens up a page about that letter -- an intriguing graphic representation of the letter made out of birds, animals, flowers or other designs. On that page you can click on the individual letter or words made out of that letter and hear it pronounced. There's also Armenian music, other information, and even links to games. (I mentioned a link to a great site about orthography and writing systems, as well as more about Armenian, here.in this post about Choreographies of the Readable.)
To me, as an English speaker, each letter of the Armenian alphabet is like my own alphabet -- the Roman alphabet-- seen as a reflection in a window, turned upside down, or seen like a shadow in the periphery of one's vision. It seems that if I were just to refocus and concentrate, perhaps turn the page upside, read it in a mirror or backwards through the light of a window, I should be able to read it. It reminds me of this little paragraph demonstrating how our minds make sense of texts, assembling them the way we assemble elements to form and read faces.
I said 'my own alphabet.' I don't know if I've ever identified it like that. My alphabet. The way I might say 'My country.' And indeed, on Monday, returning from a trip to Honduras, stepping over the red line at customs in Toronto airport, I had, as I always have, a strong sense of coming home, a kind of comfort and security in returning to Canada, the way I might feel climbing into my bed at night. There are alphabets that I love, that I enjoy visiting and exploring, that I have strong memories and associations of (for example the Cyrillic alphabet, the Hebrew alphabet) but 'my alphabet' is home.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008
In late 2007, Coach House Books published The Alphabet Game, edited by Darren Wershler-Henry and Lori Emerson, a selected reader of Nichol’s work designed as an introductory overview to Nichol’s texts. This spring, Canadian literary criticism journal Open Letter publishes the first of two new bpNichol-focused issues, and the long-awaited bpNichol site, bpnichol.ca, is unveiled. The spring also sees the release of Brian Nash’s bp: pushing the boundaries on DVD.
To celebrate, Coach House Books, Open Letter and bpnichol.ca present NicholBack, a stellar night of Nichol performances.
with performances by Paul Dutton, W. Mark Sutherland, Nobuo Kubota, Frank Davey, Lola Lemire Tostevin, damian lopes, Gary Barwin and a.rawlings.
* * * * *
With an introduction of Alphabet Game co-editor Lori Emerson is split into two rounds of performances.
Four Horsemen member Paul Dutton leads off the evening with a short work from bpNichol, then he and fellow acclaimed sound poets W. Mark Sutherland and Nobuo Kubota perform new sound collaborations inspired by the work of bpNichol.
Following a break, five of today's most innovative writers – Frank Davey, Lola Lemire Tostevin, damian lopes, Gary Barwin and a.rawlings – read their favourite Nichol works.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Six word texts, including one of mine.
Off to Honduras for a week. I hope to not have access to a computer!
Here's my packing list:
bridges like clouds
bullet like heads
3 o’clock staples
electricity across the apple
maggot pay cheques
razor blade butterflies
the same babies again
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
If you type in "Kafka safety helmet" this blog is first on Google. And...it seems from my counter, that people actually do. I was discussing the fact that "A little-known fact about this period, is that Kafka invented the safety helmet. He received a medal for this invention in 1912 because it reduced Bohemian steel mill deaths."
I'm told that Kafka's insurance company reports that he wrote at work, resemble his parables. There's something very right about that, I think.
Kafka invented the safety helmet.
It is a parable.
A yarmulke for the factory of a careless god.