Nadine Gordimer, Don DeLillo, Thomas Chatterton, Sheema Kalbasi

De Zuidafrikaanse schrijfster Nadine Gordimer werd geboren op 20 november 1923 in Springs. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 november 2006 en ook mijn blog van 20 november 2007 en ook mijn blog van 20 november 2008 en ook mijn blog van 20 november 2009.


Uit: Beethoven was One-Sixteenth Black



Anyone who is a reader knows that what you have read has influenced your life. By ‘reader’ I mean one from the time you began to pick out the printed words, for yourself, in the bedtime story. (Another presumption: you became literate in some era before the bedtime story was replaced by the half-hour before the Box.) Adolescence is the crucial period when the poet and the fiction writer intervene in formation of the sense of self in sexual relation to others, suggesting – excitingly, sometimes scarily – that what adult authority has told or implied is the order of such relations, is not all. Back in the Forties, I was given to understand: first, you will meet a man, both will fall in love, and you will marry; there is an order of emotions that goes with this packaged process. That is what love is.

For me, who came along first was Marcel Proust. The strange but ineluctable disorder of Charles Swann’s agonising love for a woman who wasn’t his type (and this really no fault of her own, he fell in love with her as what she was, eh?); the jealousy of the Narrator tormentedly following a trail of Albertine’s evasions.

Swept away was the confetti. I now had different expectations of what experience might have to take on. My appren­ticeship to sexual love changed; for life. Like it or not, this is what love is. Terrible. Glorious.

But what happens if something from a fiction is not interiorised, but materialises? Takes on independent exist­ence?

It has just happened to me. Every year I re-read some of the books I don’t want to die without having read again. This year one of these is Kafka’s Diaries, and I am about halfway through. It’s night-time reading of a wonderfully harrowing sort.

A few mornings ago when I sat down at this typewriter as I do now, not waiting for Lorca’s duende but getting to work, I saw under the narrow strip of window which displays words electronically as I convey them, a roach. A smallish roach about the size and roach-shape of the nail of my third finger – medium-sized hand. To tell that I couldn’t believe it is understatement. But my immediate thought was practical: it was undoubtedly there, how did it get in. I tapped the glass at the place beneath which it appeared. It confirmed its existence, not by moving the body but wavering this way and that two whiskers, antennae so thin and pale I had not discerned them.”


Nadine Gordimer (Springs. 20 november 1923)



De Amerikaanse schrijver Don DeLillo werd op 20 november 1936 geboren in New York City als zoon van Italiaanse immigranten. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 november 2008 en ook mijn blog van 20 november 2009.


Uit: Underworld


We were about thirty miles below the Canadian border in a rambling encampment that was mostly barracks and other frame structures, a harking back, maybe, to the missionary roots of the order – except the natives, in this case, were us. Poor city kids who showed promise; some frail-bodied types with photographic memories and a certain uncleanness about them; those who were bright but unstable; those who could not adjust; the ones whose adjustment was ordained by the state; a cluster of Latins from some Jesuit center in Venezuela, smart young men with a cosmopolitan style, freezing their weenies off; and a few farmboys from not so far away, shyer than borrowed suits.
“Sometimes I think the education we dispense is better suited to a fifty-year-old who feels he missed the point the first time around. Too many abstract ideas. Eternal verities left and right. You’d be better served looking at your shoe and naming the parts. You in particular, Shay, coming from the place you come from.”
This seemed to animate him. He leaned across the desk and gazed, is the word, at my wet boots.
“Those are ugly things, aren’t they?”
“Yes they are.”
“Name the parts. Go ahead. We’re not so chi chi here, we’re not so intellectually chic that we can’t test a student face-to-face.”
“Name the parts,” I said. “All right. Laces.”
“Laces. One to each shoe. Proceed.”
I lifted one foot and turned it awkwardly.



Don DeLillo (New York City, 20 november 1936)




De Engelse dichter en schrijver Thomas Chatterton werd geboren op 20 november 1752 in Bristol als zoon van een koster. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 november 2008 en ook mijn blog van 20 november 2009.


A New Song

Ah blame me not, Catcott, if from the right way
My notions and actions run far.
How can my ideas do other but stray,
Deprived of their ruling North-Star?

A blame me not, Broderip, if mounted aloft,
I chatter and spoil the dull air;
How can I imagine thy foppery soft,
When discord’s the voice of my fair?

If Turner remitted my bluster and rhymes,
If Hardind was girlish and cold,
If never an ogle was got from Miss Grimes,
If Flavia was blasted and old;

I chose without liking, and left without pain,
Nor welcomed the frown with a sigh;
I scorned, like a monkey, to dangle my chain,
And paint them new charms with a lie.

Once Cotton was handsome; I flam’d and I burn’d,
I died to obtain the bright queen;
But when I beheld my epistle return’d,
By Jesu it alter’d the scene.

She’s damnable ugly, my Vanity cried,
You lie, says my Conscience, you lie;
Resolving to follow the dictates of Pride,
I’d view her a hag to my eye.

But should she regain her bright lustre again,
And shine in her natural charms,
‘Tis but to accept of the works of my pen,
And permit me to use my own arms.

Thomas Chatterton (20 november 1752  – 5 augustus 1770)

Standbeeld in Bristol




De Iraanse dichteres, vertaalster en mensenrechten-advocate Sheema Kalbasi werd geboren op 20 november 1972 in Teheran. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 november 2008 en ook mijn blog van 20 november 2009.


New England


Children are playing next to the ocean coast

and sand castles are built with their digging

hands symphonized with their joyous laughter.

Near the beach, sea rocks are thirsty to move

from sitting next to the New England attic rooms.


The air is cooling down and the little kids

are now nesting on the rocks, trying to get away

from the cool summer breeze, chilled afternoon winds

and the dancing waves.


My little girl is one of the children, and with dreamy eyes

she is pretending to be waving at the Beluga Whales,

the wave makers of the sea … from coast to coast.


The beach and the people are getting ready for

today’s close-up and I hear my voice: “Dokhtaram, Bia!”

we have to say goodbye to the sea and the whales.


Her little body fully clothed floats across

the air, arms in the hands of her father

and after two more rotations, is satisfied to close

her wings for the evening ride.


She slips the shelves and shadows of

her new found friends within the

walls of her night’s dream before

another summer-morning lights the start of the day

for her to watch the length of her footsteps

on the sands next to the white waters and dancing waves.


Sheema Kalbasi (Teheran, 20 november 1972)

Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 20e november ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.