Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Jean Améry, Nick Stone, Irina Denezhkina, Marijke Schermer

De Braziliaanse dichter Carlos Drummond de Andrade werd geboren op 31 oktober 1902 in Itabira, een klein dorpje in de staat Minas Gerais. Zie ook alle tags voorCarlos Drummond de Andrade op dit blog.


The poet rode the trolley drunk.
The sun came up behind the yards.
The small hotels slept very sadly.
The houses too were drunk.

Everything was a total wreck.
Nobody knew that the world was going to end
(only a child did but kept it quiet),
that the world was going to end at 7:45.
Last thoughts! Last telegrams!

Joe who listed pronouns,
Helen who loved men,
Sebastian who ruined himself,
Arthur who never said anything,
set off for eternity.

The poet is drunk, but
he hears a voice in the dawn:
Why don’t we all go dancing
between the trolley and the tree?

Between the trolley and the tree
dance, brothers!
Even without music
dance, brothers!
Children are being born
with so much spontaneity.
Love is fantastic
(love and what it produces).

Dance, brothers!
Death will come later
like a sacrament.



I spent one hour thinking of a verse
my pen does not want to write.
Yet, it is here inside
restless, alive.
It is here inside
and does not wish to get out.
But the poetry of this very moment
overflows my whole life.



An insect digs
digs without alarm
perforating the earth
without finding escape.
What to do, exhausted,
in a blocked country,
union of the night
root and mineral?
And the labyrinth
(oh reason and mystery)
suddenly untie itself:
in green, lonely,
an orchid is born.

Carlos Drummond de Andrade (31 oktober 1902 – 17 augustus 1987)


De Oostenrijkse schrijver Jean Améry werd geboren op 31 oktober 1912 in Wenen. Zie ook alle tags voor Jean Améry op dit blog.

Uit: Die Schiffbrüchigen

“Eugen Althager aber schwebte im Leeren. In eine unpersönliche Ferne waren ihm die Tage gerückt, in denen er gearbeitet hatte. Sachlich nur mehr und akademisch wußte er um eine Zeit, da er im Buchladen gestanden war und verkauft hatte. Unbeschwert von Erinnerungen daran war seine Seele. Das war vor drei Jahren gewesen: da sein Leben gegliedert und zielhaft gewesen war. Urlaube hatte es gegeben, die erstrebt und erhofft worden waren, Werktage der Arbeit, freie Abende, Sonntage der Einkehr und Andacht. Das waren Feiern gewesen, deren Leuchtkraft in den Jahren verblaßt war. Die ungeheure Menge freier Zeit, die nun sein Leben erfüllte, hatte jeden Begriff von Freiheit in ihm erdrückt. Er kämpfte einen erbitterten Kampf gegen diese Freiheit. Stunden um Stunden rang er ihr ab. Stunden, die trotz ihrer Sinnlosigkeit nicht würdelos versackten. Hell und hart waren seine Tage.
Nur in äußersten Fällen der inneren Trostlosigkeit, wenn drohend die Gefahr stumpfen Dämmerns vor ihm erwuchs, suchte er Umgang mit Freunden. Dann stieg er die sauberen, hellen Stiegen zu Heinrich Hessls Wohnung empor. Und Heinrichs Mutter, die ihn wohltuend und menschlich mit »Du« ansprach, öffnete ihm. Immer noch war es gut sein mit Heinrich Hessl. Achtzehn Jahre der Freundschaft lagen zwischen ihnen. Am ersten Schultag waren die Knaben damals nebeneinander gesetzt worden und nun stand Heinrich wenige Tage vor dem Rigorosum. Was alles zwischen jenem ersten Schultag und heute geschehen war! Die Tage einer ländlichen Kindheit mit den ungeheuer weiten und großartigen Spielen in den Wäldern. Was wissen davon die Knaben der Städte, die ihre mühseligen, armen Spiele hinter den grau verstaubten Büschen der Parks spielen, zwischen den Müllkübeln und Teppichstangen der Hinterhöfe. Höhlen hatten sie gemeinsam gegraben in den Wäldern, waren Reiter und Pfadfinder gewesen. Später waren die Knaben dann vorübergehend auseinandergekommen. Eugen, der die unteren Klassen eines Provinzgymnasiums besucht hatte, mußte frühzeitig einen Beruf erlernen und Heinrich wurde dem fragwürdigen städtischen Mittelschulbetrieb übergeben. Immer wieder, wenn die Freunde einander zu verlieren drohten, wenn starke Verschiedenheiten der Sphären und Lebensformen zwischen sie traten, dann war es das Erinnern der ländlichen Reiter- und Jägerzeit, das siegte.”

Jean Améry (31 oktober 1912– 17 oktober 1978)
Portret door Manfred Dübelt, 2004


De Engelse schrijver Nick Stone werd geboren op 31 oktober 1966 in Cambridge. Zie ook alle tags voor Nick Stone op dit blog.

Uit: Mr Clarinet

“New York City, 6 November 1996

Ten million dollars if he performed a miracle and brought the boy back alive, five million dollars if he came back with just the body, and another five million if he dragged the killers in with it — their dead-or-alive status was immaterial, as long as they had the kid’s blood on their hands. Those were the terms, and, if he chose to accept them, that was the deal.
Max Mingus was an ex-cop turned private investigator. Missing persons were his specialty, finding them his talent. Most people said he was the best in the business — or at least they had until 17th April 1989, the day he’d started a seven-year sentence for manslaughter on Attica Island and had his licence permanently revoked. The client’s name was Allain Carver. His son’s name was Charlie. Charlie was missing, presumed kidnapped. Optimistically, with things going to plan and ending happily for all concerned, Max was looking at riding out into the sunset a millionaire ten to fifteen times over. There were a lot of things he wouldn’t have to worry about again, and he’d been doing a lot of worrying lately, nothing but worrying. So far, so good, but now for the rest: The case was based in Haiti. Waytee?’ Max said as if he’d heard wrong. `Yes,’ Carver replied. Shit. He knew this about Haiti: voodoo, AIDS, Papa Doc, Baby Doc, boat people and, recently, an American military invasion called Operation Restore Democracy he’d seen on TV. He knew — or had known — quite a few Haitians, ex-pats he’d had regular dealings with back when he’d been a cop and worked a case in Little Haiti, Miami. They hadn’t had a decent thing to say about their homeland, ‘bad place’ being the most common and kindest. Nevertheless, he had fond memories of most of the Haitians he’d met. In fact, he’d admired them. They were honest, honourable, hard-working people who’d found themselves in the most unenviable place in America —bottom of the food chain, south of the poverty line, a lot of ground to make up. That went for most of the Haitians he’d met. When it came to people there were always plenty of exceptions to every generalization, and he’d come face to face with those. They hadn’t left him with bad memories so much as the kind of wounds that never really heal, that open up at the slightest nudge or touch. The whole thing was already sounding like a bad idea. He’d just come out of one tough spot. Why go to another? Money. That was why.”

Nick Stone (Cambridge, 31 oktober 1966)


De Russische schrijfster Irina Denezhkina werd geboren op 31 oktober 1981 in Yekaterinburg. Zie ook alle tags voor Irina Denezhkina op dit blog.

Uit: Give Me: Songs for Lovers

“Now here I am stuck in real life, trying to wake him up. Trying to make him realize I want that rapid-rush start to our relationship to continue. Sugar, it’s like the Stork and the Heron … He smokes. And looks the other way. Drinks beer. And looks the other way. Plays the drums like a maniac. And all the time it’s like I don’t exist for him. Then why does he ask me to call? Why did he take me to Peterhof with Volkova and Kres? We had a great time there, climbed in all the fountains, and a militiaman even tried to chase us. And in the last fountain it was slippery, and Lyapa took hold of my hand. Or I took hold of his. I don’t remember. And we stood there under the clear streams of water, squeezing each other’s hands, and all around us everything was bright and happy. Lyapa’s spikes ran and his whole head was covered in gel. We stood there holding hands, and Volkova couldn’t get it together to take a picture of us. Finally she clicked the shutter and we headed back, still holding hands. And that was all. Separate again. And we’re still separate now. We walk separately, and it’s all just nothing but.
… Always writing hits so the brothers will get the feel. No garbage and no drivel and no strife.
The telephone rang. I started and looked at the clock—whoa! One o’clock in the morning!
Hippolet? Volkova’s voice mocked me tenderly in the receiver.
Guess where I’m calling from!!!
I listened. Besides Volkova’s sniffling into the receiver I could hear the distant rumble of music.
From a club?
Right! And guess what phone I’m using!
A mobile.
Somehow I guessed all the answers very quickly. Volkova lost interest in her game and started telling me things in her everyday voice:
I’ve met this guy. Thirty-eight. Rich as Croesus … He gave me a lift home from work, then we went to a bar, and then came here. Tarasova’s here too. Her guy’s worse! Ha ha!
Well, naturally, I said with a nod, although Volkova couldn’t see me.
And where did you get to, mush? Volkova asked, suddenly taking an interest in me.”

Irina Denezhkina (Yekaterinburg, 31 oktober 1981)


Onafhankelijk van geboortedata

De Nederlandse schrijfster Marijke Schermer werd geboren in Amsterdam in 1975. Zie ook alle tags voor Marijke Schermer op dit blog.

Uit: Noodweer

“Na het applaus, bij het verlaten van de zaal, raken ze elkaar kwijt. Emilia zoekt een tijdje. Bruch staat niet bij een deur of boven aan de trap op haar te wachten. Ze dwaalt door de gangen. Ze kijkt op haar telefoon. Geen berichten. Ze veronderstelt dat Bruch Vincent heeft gevonden, regisseur van de voorstelling en vriend van hem van vroeger. Ze bestelt een glas bier in de foyer. De actrice die Blanche speelde had de hele tuttige enscenering goed gemaakt. Ze liet alle zinnen van Tennessee Williams woord voor woord horen. Je leek me zo zacht, zo lief, als een holte in de rots die de wereld is waarin ik me kon verbergen. Ze liet de wanhoop als een niet te breken golf in zich uitbarsten. Emilia had ergens in een kier van de avond de leegte gevoeld die zij met diepe betekenis associeert. Daar is ze melancholisch van geworden.
Ze gaat het Ajaxbalkon op. Het is er leeg en verlaten waardoor ze zich afvraagt of het eigenlijk wel is toegestaan dat zij daar is. Er staan opgestapelde kratten en twee scheef gewaaide parasols. Het heeft geregend. In haar tas zoekt ze naar sigaretten die ze niet kan vinden. Ze gaapt. En dan grijpt iemand haar plotseling van achteren vast. Een stevige greep vat haar schouder. Een grote warme vaag naar komijn ruikende hand vouwt zich over haar gezicht, drukt haar ogen dicht, vingers schuin over haar lippen, vingertoppen waarop haar huid het eelt kan onderscheiden. Haar rug raakt een massief lijf. Achter haar ogen vindt een ontploffing plaats. Een vlam panische angst. Onmiddellijk daarna verdwijnt alle kracht en alle vorm uit haar lichaam en glijdt ze, zonder een spoor van een vluchtof vechtreflex, volkomen slap, uit zijn greep op de grote harde natgeregende cementtegels.
‘Hé, Emilia! wat doe je?’ Vertraagd breekt de stem door de suizende stilte. Het is Frank, vaak genoeg aan hun eettafel gezeten. Lolbroek, zonder meer, met terugwerkende kracht ook inderdaad bezitter van die komijnachtige lichaamsgeur, ze had hem daaraan kunnen herkennen.
‘Maak je nou een grap?’ roept hij van boven. Er verstrijken zeker twintig seconden waarin het vocht uit de tegels in de stof van haar kleren trekt, waarin ze zich afvraagt of ze haar reactie met een opmerking ongedaan zou kunnen maken. Dan pas hervindt Emilia haar spieren en botten en komt ze overeind.”

Marijke Schermer (Amsterdam, 1975)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 31e oktober ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2017 deel 2.

Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Jean Améry, Nick Stone, Irina Denezhkina, Ernst Augustin

De Braziliaanse dichter Carlos Drummond de Andrade werd geboren op 31 oktober 1902 in Itabira, een klein dorpje in de staat Minas Gerais. Zie ook alle tags voorCarlos Drummond de Andrade op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2010

Onder de douche beminnen

Onder de douche beminnen, zeep en kussen,
of in bad, beiden gekleed in water,
glibberende liefde, glippend, grijpend,
wijkend, water in de ogen, monden,
dansen, varen, duiken, regenen,
dat schuim op onze buiken, en de driehoek
van het schaamhaar wit – van water, sperma,
liefdes loop, of zijn wij bron geworden?


Vertaald door August Willemsen


In The Middle Of The Road

In the middle of the road there was a stone
there was a stone in the middle of the road
there was a stone
in the middle of the road there was a stone.

Never should I forget this event
in the life of my fatigued retinas.
Never should I forget that in the middle of the road
there was a stone
there was a stone in the middle of the road
in the middle of the road there was a stone.


The Word

I no longer want to consult
dictionaries in vain.
I only want the word
that will never be there
and that can’t be invented.

One that would resume
and replace the world.

More sun than the sun,
in which we all could
live in communion,
savouring it.


Vertaald door Mariza Góes

Carlos Drummond de Andrade (31 oktober 1902 – 17 augustus 1987)
Portret door Cândido Portinari, z.j.

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Jean Améry, Nick Stone, Irina Denezhkina, Ernst Augustin”

Joseph Boyden, Bruce Bawer, John Keats, Carlos Drummond de Andrade

De Canadese schrijver Joseph Boyden werd geboren op 31 oktober 1966 in Willowdale, Ontario. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Joseph Boyden op dit blog.

Uit: Through Black Spruce

“I hit hard ice this time, and it knocked the little breath left out of me. My jeans and jacket were already frozen worse than a straitjacket, and the shivers came so bad my teeth felt like they were about to shatter. I knew my Zippo was in my coat pocket but probably wet to uselessness. Push bad thoughts away. One thing at a time. First things first. I crawled quick as I could, trying to stand and walk, and I frankensteined my way to the trees and began snapping dry twigs from a dead spruce.
After I made a pile, I reached into my chest pocket, breaking the ice from the material that felt hard as iron now. My fingers had lost all feel. I reached for my cigarettes, struggled to pull one from my pack, and clinked open the lighter. I’d decided that if the lighter worked, I‘d enjoy a cigarette as I started a fire. It the lighter didn’t work, I’d freeze to death and searchers would find me with an unlit smoke in my mouth, looking cool as the Marlboro Man. On the fifteenth thumb roll I got the lighter going. I was saved for the first time. I reached for my flask in my ass pocket and struggled to open it. Within five minutes I had a fire going. Within fifteen I’d siphoned fuel from my tank and had one of the greatest fires of my life burning, so hot I had to stand away from it, slowly rotating my body like a sausage.
The darkness of a James Bay night in January is something you two girls know well. Annie, you’re old enough to remember your grandfather. Suzanne, I don’t know. I hope so.Your moshum, he liked nothing more than taking you girls out, bundled up like mummies, to look at the stars and especially the northern lights that flickered over the bay. He’d tell you two that they danced just for you, showed you how to rub your fists together to make them burn brighter. Do you remember?
My first crash ended good. My old friend Chief Joe flew out to me the next morning. found me by the smoky fire I’d kept burning all night. We got my plane unstuck and had a couple of good drinks and he gave me a spare pair of boots. Then Joe went to find those trappers and I got my gas lines unfrozen and flew home to Helen.
Joe quit flying soon after that. He was ready for something else. Me, I kept going. I had no other choice. A wife who wanted children, the idea of a family to feed coming to us like a good sunrise on the horizon. I made my choices. I was young still, young enough to believe you can put out your gill net and pull in options like fish.
The snow’s deep here, nieces. I’m tired, but I have to keep walking. I’m so tired, but I‘ve got to get up or I’ll freeze to death. Talking to you, it keeps me warm.”

Joseph Boyden (Willowdale, 31 oktober 1966)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Joseph Boyden, Bruce Bawer, John Keats, Carlos Drummond de Andrade”

Joseph Boyden, Bruce Bawer, John Keats, Nick Stone, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Irina Denezhkina

De Canadese schrijver Joseph Boyden werd geboren op 31 oktober 1966 in Willowdale, Ontario. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Joseph Boyden op dit blog.

Uit: The Orenda

“Now the snow covering the lake glows the colour of a robin’s egg as sunlight tries to break through cloud. If I live through this day I will always remember to pay attention to the tickle of dryness at the back of my throat at this moment, the feeling of a bad headache coming. I’ve just begun to walk to the girl to offer her comfort, if she’s still alive, when a dog’s howl breaks the silence, its excitement in picking up our scent making me want to throw up. Other dogs answer it. I forget how my toes have begun to blacken, that I’ve lost so much weight I can barely support my gaunt frame, that my chest has filled with a sickness that’s turned my skin yellow.
I know dogs, though. As in my old world, they are one of the few things in this new one that bring me comfort. And this pack’s still a long way away, their voices travelling easy in the frozen air. When I bend to help the girl up, I see the others have already disappeared into the shadows of trees and thick brush.
My terror of being left behind for those chasing me, who will make sure my death is slow and painful, is so powerful that I now weigh taking my own life. I know exactly what I must do. Asking Your divine mercy for this, I will strip naked and walk out onto the lake. I calculate how long all this will take. It’s my second winter in the new world, after all, and my first one I witnessed the brutality of death by freezing. The first ten minutes, as the pack races closer and closer, will certainly be the most excruciating. My skin will at first feel as if it’s on fire, like I’m being boiled in a pot. Only one thing is more painful than these early minutes of freezing, and it’s the thawing out, every tendril of the body screaming for the agony to stop. But I won’t have to worry about that. I will lie on the frozen lake and allow the boiling cold to consume me. After that handful of minutes the violent shaking won’t even be noticed, but the sharp stabs of pain in the forehead will come, and they will travel deeper until it feels my brain is being prodded with fish spines.»

Joseph Boyden (Willowdale, 31 oktober 1966)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Joseph Boyden, Bruce Bawer, John Keats, Nick Stone, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Irina Denezhkina”

Joseph Boyden, Bruce Bawer, John Keats, Nick Stone, Carlos Drummond de Andrade

De Canadese schrijver Joseph Boyden werd geboren op 31 oktober 1966 in Willowdale, Ontario. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Joseph Boyden op dit blog.


Uit: The Orenda


“I awake. A few minutes, maybe, of troubled sleep. My teeth chatter so violently I can taste I’ve bitten my swollen tongue. Spitting red into the snow, I try to rise but my body’s seized. The oldest Huron, their leader, who kept us walking all night around the big lake rather than across it because of some ridiculous dream, stands above me with a thorn club. The weight these men give their dreams will be the end of them.

Although I still know little of their language, I understand the words he whispers and force myself to roll over when the club swings toward me. The thorns bite into my back and the bile of curses that pour from my mouth make the Hurons convulse with laughter. I am sorry, Lord, to use Your name in vain.

They’d all be screaming with glee, pointing and holding their bellies, if we weren’t being hunted. With a low sun rising and the air so cold, noise travels. They are clearly fed up with the young Iroquois girl who never stopped whimpering the entire night. Her face is swollen and, when I see her lying in the snow, I fear they killed her while I slept.

Not long ago, just before first light, we’d all paused to rest, the leader and his handful of hunters stopping as if they’d planned this in advance, the pack of them collapsing against one another for the heat. They whispered among themselves, and a couple glanced over at me. Although I couldn’t decipher their rushed speech, I sensed they talked of leaving me here, probably with the girl, who at that moment sat with her back to a birch, staring as if in a dream.Or maybe they talked of killing us. We had slowed them down all night, and despite trying to walk quietly I’d stumbled in the dark through the thick brush and tripped over fallen trees buried in the snow. At one point I removed my snowshoes because they were so clumsy, but then sank up to my hips in the next steps, and one of the hunters had to pull me out, biting me hard on the face once he’d accomplished the deed.”



Joseph Boyden (Willowdale, 31 oktober 1966)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Joseph Boyden, Bruce Bawer, John Keats, Nick Stone, Carlos Drummond de Andrade”

Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Irina Denezhkina, Ernst Augustin, Jean Améry

De Braziliaanse dichter Carlos Drummond de Andrade werd geboren op 31 oktober 1902 in Itabira, een klein dorpje in de staat Minas Gerais. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2008 en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2009 en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2010


Het kontje, ach hoe aardig

Het kontje, ach hoe aardig.

Lacht altijd, nooit tragisch

Kan niet schelen wat

van voren zit. Het kontje is zichzelf genoeg.

Is er nog meer? Misschien de borsten.

Nou-moppert het kontje-die jongens

hebben nog heel wat voor de boeg

Het kontje is twee tweelingmanen

in een bolrond wiegen. Loopt vanzelf

in zijn lieftallige cadans, zijn wonder

twee in een te zijn, volledig.

Het kontje, vermaakt zich

in zijn eentje. En bemint.

In bed beweegt het. Bergen

rijzen, dalen. Golven slaan

op grenzeloze kust.

Daar gaat het kontje, lachend. Blij.

Met de streling er te zijn, te schommelen.

Harmonieuze sferen hoog boven de chaos.

Het kontje is het kontje,


De dingen die in bed gebeuren zijn geheim van wie bemint

Het geheim van wie bemint

is: niet slechts vluchtig het genot

te kennen dat ons diep doordringt,

tot stand gebracht op deze aarde

en zo verre van de wereld

dat het lichaam, dat het lichaam vindt

en daarin voortgaat op zijn vaart,

de vrede vindt van groter gaarde,

vrede als in de dood, onaards,

als een nirwana, penisslaap

O bed, o zoet, zoet wiegelied,

slaap kindje, slaap kindje, slaap,

nu slaapt de boze jaguar,

nu slaapt de argeloze vagina,

en de sirene slaapt, de laatste

of voorlaatste…En de penis

slaapt, de poema, ’t uitgeputte

wilde dier. Slaap nu, o fulpen

sluier op en om je vulva.

En laten zij die minnen zwijgen,

tussen laken en gordijnen

nat van zaad, van de geheimen

van de dingen die in bed gebeuren


Vertaald door August Willemsen


Carlos Drummond de Andrade (31 oktober 1902 – 17 augustus 1987)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Irina Denezhkina, Ernst Augustin, Jean Améry”

Nick Stone, Joseph Boyden, Bruce Bawer, John Keats, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Irina Denezhkina, Ernst Augustin, Jean Améry

De Engelse schrijver Nick Stone werd geboren op 31 oktober 1966 in Cambridge. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2009.

 Uit: The Unarmed Robbery

“Nick, the radio doesn’t work.”
“That’s because you smacked it with your shoe,” I said.
“‘Cause it wasn’t loud enough!”
“Laurie, did you really think that would fix it?”
She folded her arms and stared out the window into the night. “I don’t understand, Nick. Why are we using a ’91 Geo Prism for this?”
“I told you, you have to use a nondescript vehicle for pulling a robbery. And a ’91 is about as nondescript as they get!”
Laurie turned and glared at me. “And what would you know about pulling a robbery? We’ve never done this before.”
“True, but how hard could it be? I pull out the gun, ask for money and drive away.”
“Ask for money??”
“Well yeah! I mean, with a gun in their face, will I really have to demand it? Besides, I think it’s common courtesy to be polite while screaming obscenities and waving a gun in someone’s face.”
She eyed me suspiciously. “Have you been smoking banana peels again?”
By two in the morning we were sitting in our Geo in a parking lot across the street from a Sunoco gas station in Allen Park, MI. The station was deserted but still open. We watched for several minutes, but no one came or left the station. So far, everything was perfect.
“Do you really think you can pull this off?” she asked.
I flashed her a quick smile. “No one’s as smooth as Nick Stone!”
When I was convinced there were no customers inside, I had Laurie pull the getaway Geo up to the Sunoco’s front door, parking so close no one else could get inside the building. I put on my ski mask, grabbed Laurie’s .38 snub-nose revolver and a cloth bag and went inside.
“Hi there!” was my congenial greeting to the girl behind the counter. “You know what I am,” and I pointed to the ski mask, “you know what this is,” I held up the gun, “and I assume you know what to do with this,” I said, and tossed her the bag.”


Nick Stone (Cambridge, 31 oktober 1966)


De Amerikaanse dichter, schrijver en literatuurcriticus Bruce Bawer werd geboren op 31 oktober 1956 in New York. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2008 en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2009.

 The View from an Airplane at Night, over California

This is a sight that Wordsworth never knew,
whether looking down from mountain, bridge, or hill:
An endless field of lights, white, orange, and blue,
as small and bright as stars, and nearly still,
but moving slowly, many miles below,
in blackness, as stars crawl across the skies,
and ranked in rows that stars will never know,
like beads strung on a thousand latticed ties.
Would even Wordsworth, seeing what I see,
know that these lights are not well-ordered stars
that have been here a near-eternity,
but houses, streetlights, factories, and cars?
Or has this slim craft made too high a leap
above it all, and is the dark too deep?



Walking down Seventh Avenue in the snow
I turn down Forty-eighth Street and see
a dozen guitars hanging in a window.
Lord, it’s the place where I bought my saxophone.
Suddenly I remember: twelve years old,
my voice about to change, the instrument
heavy in my hands, bright gold, ice cold.
I blew my lungs out, but it only brayed.
The salesman reached out, took it away from me,
wiped the mouthpiece on his sleeve, and rent
the warm air with a perfect bell-like tone.
My father and I smiled, and the salesman played
an old, familiar Hoagy Carmichael song,
and the stockboy put down a box and sang along

Bruce Bawer (New York, 31 oktober 1956)


De Canadese schrijver Joseph Boyden werd geboren op 31 oktober 1966 in Willowdale, Ontario. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2008 en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2009.

Uit: Three Day Road

“It whistles like a giant eagle screaming, so close now that I must cover my ears.
I have paddled by myself against the big river’s current for many days to get here. No mind. My one living relation died in a faraway place, and I am here to greet his friend Elijah. Elijah Whiskeyjack is as close to a relation as I still have, and I will paddle him home.
Joseph Netmaker brought the letter out to me. Winter had just started to settle itself into the country. Joseph walked on snowshoes from the town. “This is for you, Niska,” he said. “It is from the Canadian boss, their hookimaw.”
As soon as I saw the brown letter, the English words written upon it, I knew what it contained. I sat down beside the fire and stirred at it with a stick while Joseph read, first out loud and in his stumbling English, then for me in our language.
“‘Serial No. 6711. Deeply regret to inform you, Private First Class Xavier Bird, infantry, officially reported died of wounds in the field, November 3, 1918. Director of Records.’ “
I waited for more, but that was all. When Joseph left, I was alone.
Many moons later, when the winter ice was leaving and travel was difficult, Joseph came back with another letter. He explained that it was in reference to Elijah, and that Old Man Ferguson had given it to him to give to me since I was the closest thing to a relation that Elijah had.
The letter said that Elijah had been wounded, that he had only one leg now, that he had tried to rescue another soldier, was given a medal for bravery. It said that although weak, he had healed enough to travel and was expected to arrive in the same town from which he and Xavier had left so long ago.
I had Joseph explain to me how the wemistikoshiw calendar worked, what month I was to be there, and I made careful preparations to journey by canoe to that town where Elijah would arrive. I left early in the summer and paddled up the river. It was difficult. I am older now, but I travelled light. Joseph had asked to come along, but I told him no.“


 Joseph Boyden (Willowdale, 31 oktober 1966)


De Engelse dichter John Keats werd geboren op 31 oktober 1795 in Finsbury Pavement in London. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2006 en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2007 en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2008 en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2009.

Bright Star

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors–
No–yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever–or else swoon to death.


In Drear-Nighted December

In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne’er remember
Their green felicity:
The north cannot undo them
With a sleety whistle through them;
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.

In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne’er remember
Apollo’s summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
About the frozen time.

Ah! would ‘twere so with many
A gentle girl and boy!
But were there ever any
Writhed not at passed joy?
The feel of not to feel it,
When there is none to heal it
Nor numbed sense to steel it,
Was never said in rhyme.


On Death

Can death be sleep, when life is but a dream,
And scenes of bliss pass as a phantom by?
The transient pleasures as a vision seem,
And yet we think the greatest pain’s to die.

How strange it is that man on earth should roam,
And lead a life of woe, but not forsake
His rugged path; nor dare he view alone
His future doom which is but to awake.


John Keats (31 oktober 1795 – 23 februari 1821)
Portret van John Keats in Rome, kort voor zijn dood in 1821, door zijn vriend Joseph Severn


De Braziliaanse dichter Carlos Drummond de Andrade werd geboren op 31 oktober 1902 in Itabira, een klein dorpje in de staat Minas Gerais. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2008 en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2009.

 Wat de Peixoto-buurt

Wat de Peixoto-buurt
niet van ons weet
en heeft vergeten!

Anita Garibaldi-straat
en Siquera Campos-straat
(Francisco Braga,
Décio Vilares
op de loer, doen ze
of ze niets zien?)

Het trottoir in de schemer
heen en weer heen en
weer weer,
zijweg naar de tunnel
op zoek naar het maagdenvlies?
Weer terug:
een bankje op het plein. Bamboes.
Bamboebosje in een bries van au-au.

De bard en het meisje waren verliefd
in de Afhankelijkheidsstrijd.
Ironie van de liefde
of alleen ironie?

Straat van de 5de juli (grens
met het rijk der duisternis),
onder het oog van
nietsvermoedende huizen
gooiden we in de tuinen
en in de brievenbussen
niet goed te praten boekwerkjes
met andermans opdrachten,

Laat hij de hond los? Bewaar me.
Vijfhonderd bloedhonden breken los.
Ze huilen het stramien
van bandeloze liefde.
Zie je wel? Het is in mij,
in de bard dat ze blaffen.

Dommigheid van een dom ding.
Het is al over negenduizend uur,
hoogste tijd terug te keren
naar het heiligdom van de maagd.
Nog heel eventjes. Nee.
Ik, de wijze koning, ik beveel.
Ze lacht. Lachen om mij. We blijven.

Vingers in elkaar,
verlangens parallel
in het pueriele park.
Edmundo-plein, hallo,
Bittencourt met bulderende bas.
Als hij ons zou zien zitten zoenen,
kwijlend, niet voor de eerste keer,
schrijft hij dan ingezonden brieven?

Kind als een kip zonder kop,
lachend om alles en niets,
wie de kleinste woordjes weet,
weet je waar we naar toe gaan?
Naar bed.
Niets daarvan. Slechts brandende
probeersels. Ik zwijg.

Reis over de borsten. Omlaag.
Als ik verder ga,
wie houdt me vast?
als ik het hierbij laat,
wie brengt me tot rust?

Twintig jaar later kom ik
weer door de Peixoto-buurt,
getuige van onze rendez-vous,
die vandaag niets meer weet,
van dit onhandig gedoe.


Vertaald door August Willemsen


Carlos Drummond de Andrade (31 oktober 1902 – 17 augustus 1987)


De Russische schrijfster Irina Denezhkina werd geboren op 31 oktober 1981 in Yekaterinburg. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2008 en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2009.

 Uit: Give Me: Songs for Lovers

„Volkova had them figured out right away: nice boys, not bad-looking boys, like a set of matching dolls, but they were “nothing but a bunch of teenagers.” Volkova plays her own field: rich men. Lyapa & Co. were left to me. But all they were for me was “nothing but” too. I don’t know why. Some “husband” I have!

“Shall I see you home?”

I decided to strike a pose and declared:

“I can get there on my own. I’m not a child!”

Lyapa and I live at opposite ends of town. I only have to go around the corner from Lyapa’s place to the metro, but then I have to ride for almost an hour all the way over to

the Vyborg District. “Okay, but when you get there give me a call.”

I didn’t answer and slammed the door. Some husband…Hah! Just a messy situation.

Some young guy smashed out of his skull trailed after me from the bus stop — really tall, long hair and black glasses, clutching a bottle of Petrovskoe beer. I kept walking and kept my mouth shut, cursing Lyapa and cursing myself for wanting God knows what. Who’s he to me anyway?

Meanwhile this lowlife has started grabbing at my arm and hassling me, raising his voice. I got frightened. He was drunk, after all.

“Wassya name, sweetart? Why don’choo tell me? G’won, tell me! I’m Vova!”

A crowd of teenage kids appeared, coming toward us. Great, I thought. That’s all I need. Then I’ll send Lyapa to hell for sure, with a big bunch of roses.

The crowd came closer. Out in front of them this dirty little kid of about twelve was dancing around. He was the one who said it.

“It’s him, guys!”

They separated Vova from me with a neat smack to his mouth. The bottle of beer swung loose out of Vova’s hands and went flying into the air. I stood there and watched, stupefied, as several guys jumped up and down on Vova’s head while the others put the boot into his gut.“

 Denezhkina (

Irina Denezhkina (Yekaterinburg, 31 oktober 1981)


De Duitse schrijver Ernst Augustin werd geboren op 31 oktober 1927 in Hirschberg. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2008 en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2009.

 Uit: Die Schule der Nackten

„Sicherlich nicht, man trägt hier ausnehmend schöne Badekleidung, hoch in den Weichen ausgeschnitten und freigegeben, aber auch wiederum nicht so sehr, elegant freizügig eben. Sicherlich, man hat von den Nackten in der Straßenbahnlinie 8 gehört, die sich im Wildwasser abwärts stürzen, welches – eine Eigenheit Münchens – unterirdisch unter der gesamten Stadt hindurchführt, erst im Englischen Garten durch ein Maul ins Freie tritt, wo es dann unter den Augen der japanischen Touristen unsere Nackten donnernd davonträgt. Aber das sind alles wilde Studenten, die so etwas unternehmen, und daß sie am Ende nackt und bloß in die Straßenbahn steigen, um wieder zum Maul hinaufzufahren, soll jetzt auch verboten sein. Ich weiß es nicht. Im Jakobi-Bad scheint es weitaus ziviler zuzugehen. Nahm ich an.
Das Schild an der Bretterwand irritierte mich allerdings. Wie sollte man dort hindurchgehen? Mit Badehose? Was ja verboten war. Oder sollte man sie vorher ablegen und nackt passieren, was offenkundig niemand tat. Männer mit riesigen Badehosen, entweder hoch über dem Bauch getragen, so daß gerade die Brustsäcke, oder wie man sie nennen sollte, herausschauten, oder aber unterhalb des Bauchs, was auch nicht besser aussah, gingen frei als XXXL hindurch. Und die Damen? Flatterten üppig im Wind, da war auch keine, die sich entledigte, ich habe das drei Stunden lang verfolgt.
Am Ende stand ich auf, um die Inschrift zu studieren. Sie war dauerhaft in Blech geprägt, schwarz und weiß: „Freikörpergelände“, und darunter „Zugang nur ohne Kleidung gestattet.“ Fast wäre ich mit einer Gruppe junger Männer hineingegangen (im Schwung mit hinein), fast! Sie waren alle voll bekleidet, Hemden, Hosen, Jacken, als ob sie dort eigentlich nichts zu suchen hätten, waren auch sehr laut. – Denkwürdig insofern, als ich das erste Mal war, daß ich dort eintreten wollte.
Und dann doch nicht.“


Ernst Augustin (Hirschberg, 31 oktober 1927)


De Oostenrijkse schrijver Jean Améry werd geboren op 31 oktober 1912 in Wenen.   Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2006  en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2007 en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2008 en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2009.

 Uit: Charles Bovary médecin de campagne

Je veux qu’on l’enterre dans sa robe de noces, avec des souliers blancs, une couronne. On lui étalera ses cheveux sur les épaules ; trois cercueils : un de chêne, un d’acajou, un de plomb. Qu’on ne me dise rien, j’aurai la force. On lui mettra par-dessus toute une grande pièce de velours vert. Je le veux. Faites-le.
C’est ce que j’avais écrit, et c’est ce que l’on fit, avant que…
Puis il me sembla que la bière ne cessait de descendre et de s’enfoncer dans la terre. Et que j’aurais dû m’engloutir dans la fosse avec elle. Après tout n’était-ce pas là ma place ? Les gens m’entouraient, ils étaient bons. M. Homais me consolait, quel brave homme et quel ami fidèle ! Il fit la veillée du cadavre avec l’Abbé Bournisien, et l’un et l’autre finirent même par s’entendre, contrairement à l’habitude. Le curé me pardonna les blasphèmes que j’avais proférés dans ma douleur : Je l’exècre, votre Dieu ! m’étais-je écrié. Un brave homme. Il n’y avait que des braves gens autour de moi, Mme Tuvache, Mme Lefrançois ; même Lheureux, le boutiquier et usurier qui m’avait dépossédé de tous mes biens, était venu me présenter ses condoléances. Je ne lui garde aucune rancune, n’était-il pas normal qu’il réclamât son argent ? C’était la faute de la fatalité.
– Berthe ? Viens, mon enfant, pleure toutes les larmes de ton corps. Maman ne reviendra plus, viens pleurer avec moi, cela nous fera du bien à tous les deux. Tes bas sont déchirés, ma pauvre petite fille, et la poupée que tu tiens est déchirée, elle aussi, et maman ne rentrera plus à la maison. Aucun de ces braves gens n’a pu la sauver. Quelle tristesse. Laisse couler tes larmes, mais ne dis rien. Je sais, tu avais peur, car elle criait horriblement, ta mère, elle était blême et son visage était couvert d’une sueur glacée. Ses doigts étaient crispés et son corps s’était couvert de taches brunes. Calme-toi, mon enfant, tout est fini maintenant, va dans le jardin qui est laissé à l’abandon, car il n’y avait plus d’argent pour l’entretenir. Mais qu’aucun de ces braves gens n’ait pu faire quelque chose, c’est ce que je ne parviens pas encore à comprendre. Le docteur Canivet, ce savant, n’a trouvé aucun remède. Le docteur Larivière, mon professeur, cette lumière de la science, comme dit Homais, fut aussi impuissant que moi, moi qui en médecine brille encore moins que la plus infime des flammèches.“


Jean Améry (31 oktober 1912– 17 oktober 1978)