Donald Hall, Javier Marías, Cyriel Buysse, Upton Sinclair, Joseph Breitbach, Adolf Endler, Henry Arthur Jones, Stevie Smith, Hanns Cibulka

De Amerikaanse dichter en schrijver Donald Hall werd geboren in Hamden, New Haven County, Connecticut op 20 september 1928. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 september 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Donald Hall op dit blog.

Distressed Haiku

In a week or ten days
the snow and ice
will melt from Cemetery Road.

I’m coming! Don’t move!

Once again it is April.
Today is the day
we would have been married
twenty-six years.

I finished with April
halfway through March.

You think that their
dying is the worst
thing that could happen.

Then they stay dead.

Will Hall ever write
lines that do anything
but whine and complain?

In April the blue
mountain revises
from white to green.

The Boston Red Sox win
a hundred straight games.
The mouse rips
the throat of the lion

and the dead return.

Donald Hall (Hamden, 20 september 1928)

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Owen Sheers

De Engelse (Welshe) dichter, schrijver en presentator Owen Sheers werd geboren op 20 september 1974 in Suva op de Fiji eilanden en groeide op in Abergavenny, Zuid-Wales. Hij bezocht de King Henry VIII School in Abergavenny, voordat hij ging studeren aan New College, Oxford en de Universiteit van East Anglia, waar hij een MA in creatief schrijven behaalde. Tijdens zijn studietijd aan het New College leidde Sheers het moderne pentatlonteam van de Universiteit van Oxford. In 1999 ontving Sheers een Eric Gregory Award van de Society of Authors. Zijn eerste bundel poëzie, “The Blue Book”, werd in 2000 uitgegeven. De bundel haalde de shortlist voor het Wales Book of the Year en de Forward Prize voor ‘Best First Collection’. Na deze eerste publicatie werkte Sheers aan het lichte entertainment-tv-programma The Big Breakfast mee als onderzoeker. Zijn prozadebuut “The Dust Diaries” werd in 2004 uitgegeven. Het werd in 2005 het Wales Book of the Year en was ook genomineerd voor de Ondaatje-prijs van de Royal Society of Literature. Voor Sheers tweede poëziebundel “Skirrid Hill” uit 2005 ontving hij een Somerset Maugham Award. “Unicorns, een bijna eenmanspel, gebaseerd op het leven en de poëzie van de WOII-dichter Keith Douglas, werd ontwikkeld door Old Vic, New Voices en uitgevoerd door Joseph Fiennes. Sheers eerste roman “Resistance”, is vertaald in tien talen en stond op de shortlist voor de Writer’s Guild of Great Britain Best Book Award 2008 en won een 2008 Hospital Club Creative Award. Deze roman werd in 2011 verfilmd. In 2007 werkte Sheers samen met componist Rachel Portman aan “The Water Diviner’s Tale”, een oratorium voor kinderen dat in première ging in de Royal Albert Hall voor de BBC Proms. In 2007/8 was Sheers Dorothy en Lewis B. Cullman Fellow in de New York Public Library. Sheers werkte ook als journalist en schreef reportages voor verschillende tijdschriften, waaronder Granta, The Guardian, Esquire, GQ, The Times en The Financial Times. Ook schreef hij een toneelstuk voor BBC Radio 4 over de WOII-dichter Alun Lewis: “If I Should Go Away”. In 2012 schreef Sheers “The Two Worlds of Charlie F”, een toneelstuk gebaseerd op de ervaringen van gewonde soldaten, van wie velen ook de cast van de productie vormden, geregisseerd door Stephen Rayne en opgevoerd in de Theatre Royal Haymarket. Zijn versdrama “Pink Mist” werd voor het eerst uitgezonden op Radio 4. “Pink Mist” werd in 2014 Welsh Book of the Year en werd geproduceerd als toneelstuk door het Bristol Old Vic-theater in 2015.


“For Sarah Lewis it began in her sleep. The drag, rattle, and bark of the dogs straining on their chains was so persistent it entered her dreams. A ship in storm, the sailors shouting for help from the deck, their pink faces and open mouths obscured by the spray blown up the sides of the hull. Then the noise became Marley’s ghost, dragging his shackles over a flagstone floor. Clink,slump, clink, slump. Eventually, as the light brightened about the edges of the blackout curtain and Sarah surfaced through the layers of her sleep, the sound became what it was. Two dogs, urgent and distressed, pulling again and again on their rusty chains and barking, short and sharp through the constraint of their collars.
Without opening her eyes Sarah slid her hand across the sheet behind her, feeling for the warm impression of her husband’s body. The old horsehair mattress they slept on could hold the shape of a man all day and although Tom was usually up before her, she found comfort in touching the warm indentation of where he’d lain beside her. She stroked her palm over the thin cotton sheet. A few hairs poking through the mattress caught against her skin, hard and stubborn as the bristles on a sow’s back.
And there he was. A long valley where his weight had pressed the ball of his shoulder and his upper arm into the bed; a rise where his neck had lain beneath the pillow. She explored further down. A deeper bowl again, sunk by a protruding hip and then the shallower depression of his legs tapering towards the foot of the bed. As usual, Tom’s shape, the landscape of him, was there. But it was cold. Normally Sarah could still feel the last traces of his body’s heat, held in the fabric of the sheet just as the mattress held his form. But this morning that residue was missing.
With fragments of her dreams still fading under her lids, she slid her hand around the curves and indentations again, and then beyond them, outside the borders of his body. But the sheet was cold there too. The dogs below her window barked and barked, their sound making pictures in her mind’s eye: their sharp noses tugging up with each short yap, exposing the white triangles of their necks, flashing on and off like a warning. She lay there listening to them, their chains rising and falling on the cobblestones of the yard.
Tom must have been up early. Very early. Not in the morning at all but in the night. She turned on her side and shifted herself across the bed. The blankets blinked with her movement and she felt a stab of cold air at her shoulder. Pulling them tight about her neck, she lay there within the impression of her husband, trying not to disturb the contours of his map.“

Owen Sheers (Suva, 20 september 1974)

Hanya Yanagihara

De Amerikaanse schrijfster Hanya Yanagihara werd geboren op 20 september 1975 in Los Angeles. Zie ook alle tags voor Hanya Yanagihara op dit blog.

Uit: A Little Life

“The eleventh apartment had only one closet, but it did have a sliding glass door that opened onto a small balcony, from which he could see a man sitting across the way, outdoors in only a T-shirt and shorts even though it was October, smoking. Willem held up a hand in greeting to him, but the man didn’t wave back.
In the bedroom, Jude was accordioning the closet door, opening and shutting it, when Willem came in. “There’s only one closet,” he said.
“That’s okay,” Willem said. “I have nothing to put in it anyway.”
“Neither do I.” They smiled at each other. The agent from the building wandered in after them. “We’ll take it,” Jude told her.
But back at the agent’s office, they were told they couldn’t rent the apartment after all. “Why not?” Jude asked her.
“You don’t make enough to cover six months’ rent, and you don’t have anything in savings,” said the agent, suddenly terse. She had checked their credit and their bank accounts and had at last realized that there was something amiss about two men in their twenties who were not a couple and yet were trying to rent a one-bedroom apartment on a dull (but still expensive) stretch of Twenty-fifth Street.
“Do you have anyone who can sign on as your guarantor? A boss? Parents?”
“Our parents are dead,” said Willem, swiftly.
The agent sighed. “Then I suggest you lower your expectations. No one who manages a well-run building is going to rent to candidates with your financial profile.” And then she stood, with an air of finality, and looked pointedly at the door.
When they told JB and Malcolm this, however, they made it into a comedy: the apartment floor became tattooed with mouse droppings, the man across the way had almost exposed himself, the agent was upset because she had been flirting with Willem and he hadn’t reciprocated.
“Who wants to live on Twenty-fifth and Second anyway,” asked JB. They were at Pho Viet Huong in Chinatown, where they met twice a month for dinner. Pho Viet Huong wasn’t very good–the pho was curiously sugary, the lime juice was soapy, and at least one of them got sick after every meal–but they kept coming, both out of habit and necessity. You could get a bowl of soup or a sandwich at Pho Viet Huong for five dollars, or you could get an entrée, which were eight to ten dollars but much larger, so you could save half of it for the next day or for a snack later that night. Only Malcolm never ate the whole of his entrée and never saved the other half either, and when he was finished eating, he put his plate in the center of the table so Willem and JB–who were always hungry–could eat the rest. »

Hanya Yanagihara (Los Angeles, 20 september 1975)

Joseph O’Connor

De Ierse schrijver Joseph Victor O’Connor werd geboren op 20 september 1963 in Dublin als oudste van vier kinderen. Hij is een broer van zangeres Sinéad O’Connor. O’Connor bezocht het Blackrock College en studeerde af aan het University College Dublin met een M.A. in Anglo-Irish Literature. Hij werkte als postacademicus aan de universiteit van Oxford en behaalde een tweede M.A. van de Northern School of Film and Television van Leeds Metropolitan University in scenarioschrijven. Aan het eind van de jaren tachtig werkte hij voor de Britse Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign; in zijn tweede roman, “Desperadoes”, putte hij uit zijn ervaringen in het revolutionaire Nicaragua. Voor zijn succes als schrijver was hij journalist bij de Sunday Tribune en het tijdschrift Esquire. O’Connor levert regelmatig bijdragen aan Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ). In 1991 debuteerde hij met “Cowboys and Indians” datop de shortlist kwam voor de Whitbread Prize. Op 10 februari 1985 werd de moeder van O’Connor gedood bij een auto-ongeluk. De moeder van het personage Sweeney in “The Salesman” (1998) stierf op een soortgelijke manier. In 2002 schreef hij de roman “Star of the Sea”, die een internationale bestseller werd. Zijn historische roman “Redemption Falls”verscheen in 2007. “Ghost Light” uit 2010 is losjes gebaseerd op het leven van de actrice Maire O’Neill, geboren in Mary “Molly “Allgood, en haar relatie met de Ierse toneelschrijver John Millington Synge. O’Connor woonde in New York, Londen en kort in Nicaragua, voordat hij terugkeerde naar Dublin, waar hij met zijn gezin woont. Sinds 2014 is hij hoogleraar creatief schrijven aan de Universiteit van Limerick.

Uit: Star of the Sea

“The Right Honourable Thomas David Nelson Merridith, the noble Lord Kingscourt, the Viscount of Roundstone, the ninth Earl of Cashel, Kilkerrin and Carna, entered the Dining Saloon to an explosion of smashing glass.
A steward, a Negro, had stumbled near the doorway, bucked by a sudden roll of the vessel, letting slip an overloaded salver of charged champagne flutes. Someone was performing an ironic slow-handclap at the fallen man’s expense. An inebriated mocking cheer came from the farthest corner: ‘Huazzah! Bravo! Well done, that fellow!’ Another voice called: ‘They’ll have to put up the fares!’
The steward was on his knees now, trying to clear the debris. Blood was rivuleting down his slender left wrist, staining the cuff of his brocaded jacket. In his anxiety to collect the shards of shattered crystal he had sliced open his thumb from ball to tip.
‘Mind your hand,’ Lord Kingscourt said. ‘Here.’ He offered the steward a clean linen handkerchief. The man looked up with an expression of dread. His mouth began to work but no sound came. The Chief Steward had bustled over and was barking at his subordinate in a language Merridith did not understand. Was it German, perhaps? Portuguese? Saliva flew from his mouth as he hissed and cursed the man, who was now cowering on the carpet like a beaten child, his uniform besmirched with blood and champagne, a grotesque parody of commodore’s whites.
‘David?’ called Merridith’s wife. He turned to look. She had half risen from her banquette at the Captain’s table and was gaily beckoning him over with a bread-knife, her knotted eyebrows and pinched lips set in a burlesque of impatience. The people around her were laughing madly, all except the Maharajah, who never laughed. When Merridith glanced back towards the steward again, he was being chivvied from the saloon by his furious superior, the latter still bawling in the guttural language, the transgressor cradling his hand to his breast like a wounded bird.
Lord Kingscourt’s palate tasted acridly of salt. His head hurt and his vision was cloudy. For several weeks he had been suffering some kind of urinary infection and since boarding the ship at Kingstown, it had worsened significantly. This morning it had pained him to pass water; a scalding burn that had made him cry out. He wished he’d seen a doctor before embarking on the voyage. Nothing for it now but to wait for New York. Couldn’t be frank with that drunken idiot Mangan. Maybe four weeks. Hope and pray.”

Joseph O’Connor (Dublin, 20 september 1963)