Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ex-Prospective Juror

Most of the day burnt up in jury duty, where I learnt that voir dire (OF "to say the truth," the process by which jury pools are interrogated & weeded out) can be pronounced "vaw dar" by a judge of the circuit court around here, & where I was dismissed after several excruciatingly dull hours (without even having to use the words "ambulance chaser" in connection with the civil trial I was trying out for). Rewarded myself by visiting a couple of book- & music-stores. The haul:
The 2-CD Skeleton Crew set from RER (Fred Frith, Tom Cora, Zeena Parkins)
Marc Ribot Y Los Cubanos Postizos, Muy Divertido!
John Zorn/Wayne Horvitz/Elliott Sharop/Bobby Previte, Downtown Lullaby
All in all, a very "downtown" stack. On DVD:
The collector's edition of Monty Python & the Holy Grail
The film of Peter Brooks's production of Marat/Sade
In paper: a nice Penguin Grundrisse, the recent Vintage reissue of Samuel Delany's Fall of the Towers, & the one Lemony Snickett novel that we hadn't yet read.
Good news from Connecticut. Be careful whom you kiss, or who kisses you...
Goodness, an actual conversation in the comments box! I hasten to say, Henry, that at no point did I want to cast aspersions on your review of John's Breeze – it's just that John's response to the review clicked in my mind with Jessica's comment on wanting her work to be read on its own terms – it started me thinking what a pigeon-holing mind my own is, how I'm always looking for a conceptual folder to file the new things in. Or how I'm always trying to locate things on some sort of conceptual/historical map, so that I can figure out how someone got "there" from "here."

When my maps were getting drawn, there were a certain number of things that got filled in first, while the rest was still "Here Be Dragons," & pace Norman – tho I will defer to your advanced age – they weren't necessarily the "best"; often, the best came later ("I have had to learn the simplest things..." – my motto, courtesy Charley O.). But the things that I encountered first still have the sort of warm spot in memory that one's shitty hometown does, or the lousy diner one ate at every week during college – if only because there weren't any diners in one's s. hometown, & it was the best one in one's rural collegetown.

Is that HW's version of the Mallarmé? I resent his losing the force of the active verb Р"j'ai lu tous les livres."

1 comment:

Norman Finkelstein said...

Mark, HW's translation actually takes even greater liberties: "The flesh is sad, alas, and there's nothing but words!" In his reading of the poem, Weinfield comments on "The ennui of the famous opening line, an ennui that can only be experienced by the literary man who is drowning in ink and suffocating from the dust of books (my translation gives a rather postmodern or poststructuralist slant to this predicament)..." The translation I quoted (I don't know where it's from, but that's how it's been in my head for years) is a metrically conventional Alexandrine, n'est-ce pas? But you're right, it doesn't have the active force. So it loses points on the Poundian scale.