Martin Amis, Kees Stip, Howard Jacobson, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth

De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook alle tags voor Martin Amis op dit blog.

Uit: Lionel Asbo. State of England

« Dear Jennaveieve,
I’m having an affair with an older woman. Shes’ a lady of some sophistication, and makes a refreshing change from the teen agers I know (like Alektra for example, or Chanel.) The sex is fantastic and I think I’m in love. But ther’es one very serious complication and i’ts this; shes’ my Gran!
Desmond Pepperdine (Desmond, Des, Desi), the author of this document, was fifteen and a half. And his handwriting, nowadays, was self-consciously elegant; the letters used to slope backward, but he patiently trained them to slope forward; and when everything was smoothly conjoined he started adding little flourishes (his e was positively ornate—like a w turned on its side).
Using the computer he now shared with his uncle, Des had given himself a course on calligraphy, among several other courses.
On the plus-side, the age-difference is surprisingly
He crossed that bit out, and resumed.
It started a fort-night ago when she rang up and said its the plumbing again love. And I said nan? I’ll be right over. She lives in a granny flat under a house about a mile away and theres allways some thing wrong with it’s plumbing. Now I’m no plumber but I learnd a bit from my Uncle George whose in the trade. I sorted it out for her and she said why not stay for a few drink’s?
Calligraphy (and sociology, and anthropology, and psychology), but not yet punctuation. He was a good little speller, Des, but he knew how weak his punctuation was because he had just begun a course on it. And punctuation, he (quite rightly) intuited, was something of an art.
So we had a few Dubonnet’s which I’m not used to, and she was giving me these funny look’s. She’s all ways got the Beatles’ on and she was playing all the slow one’s like Golden Slumber’s, Yester-day, and Sh’es Leaving Home. Then gran says its so hot I’ll just slip in to my night-dress. And she came back in a babydoll!
He was trying to give himself an education—not at Squeers Free, recently singled out, he read in the Diston Gazette, as the worst school in England. But his understanding of the planet and the universe had inconceivable voids in it. He was repeatedly amazed by the tonnage of what he didn’t know.
So we had a few more drink’s, and I was noticing how well preserved she is. She’s taken good care of herself and shes really fit considering the life shes’ led. So after a few more drink’s she says are’nt you frying alive in that blazer? Come over here handsome, and give us a cuddle! Well what could I do. She put her hand on my thigh and slid it up my short’s. Well I’m only human aren’t I? The stereo was playing I Should Of Known Better—but one thing lead to another, and it was mind blowing!”

 
Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)

 

De Nederlandse dichter Cornelis Jan (Kees) Stip werd geboren in Veenendaal op 25 augustus 1913. Zie ook alle tags voor Kees Stip op dit blog.

Poppenkast

De poppenkast staat midden op de straat.
Vanuit de verte hoor je haar al kijven:
Katrijn, van alle vreselijke wijven
het vreselijkste wijf dat er bestaat.

Maar voor Jan Klaassen zelf staan wij paraat.
Wij zullen trouw zijn kameraden blijven
totdat hij straks in levendigen lijve
de dooie dood van Pierlala verslaat.

’s Nachts is het dorp een poppenkast zo groot
dat alle poppen grote mensen lijken.
Men ziet mijzelf daar als Jan Klaassen prijken.
Maar nauwelijks heb ik de dood morsdood
zijn zelfgegraven graf in laten dalen
of kijk daar staat Katrijn, ze komt me halen.

 

Op een muis

Een kleine huismuis aan de Maas
hield niet van Nederlandse kaas.
Was het geen Camembert of Brie
dan huilde hij een dag of drie
totdat zijn moeder zei: “Mon cher,
hou op met je gecamemblèr.”

 

Een egel

Een egel die, gestart te Smilde,
naar Hindelopen lopen wilde,
zeeg halverwege in elkaar
met een aanmerkelijke blaar.
Ach had ik, hoorde men hem snikken,
maar iets om die mee door te prikken.


Kees Stip (25 augustus 1913 – 27 juni 2001)
Hier met een heel jonge Mies Bouwman (l)

 

De Britse schrijver Howard Jacobson werd geboren op 25 augustus 1942 in Manchester. Zie ook alle tags voor Howard Jacobson op dit blog.

Uit: Peeping Tom

“Signs are, even to my drugged eye, that the village is finally coming out of winter. I am not witnessing a return to robustness and sanity exactly -that’s too much to expect down here, so far from the soundness of cities, so deep into the obsessional neurosis of Nature – but there is an atmosphere of fragile convalescence abroad, as if the patients have been allowed their first unaccompanied turn around the walled gardens of the institution. The wind has dropped. The water in the harbour rocks itself, brood-ing on its delusions. The squinting sea birds look as if they believe they might just eat again. Those hoteliers who changed wives or husbands at the start of the off-season – hoteliers are always the most romantic and expectant inhabitants of any remote place – have changed back again and are freshening up their Vacancy notices. Autographed copies of this year’s print run of Lionel Turnbull’s pamphlet (Lance Tourney is, of course, a pen-name) have started to appear in the post office and the village stores, and Lionel himself has begun those naked ritualistic swims which will continue every morning now until the Atlantic freezes over again. And already the first serious walkers of the season have arrived in their fetishistic boots and with their Ordnance Survey maps in protective plastic packets tied around their necks like bibs. I meet them in the early morning during my penitential walks along the harbour walls or out on the cliff paths, and although they all nod me a bracing greeting or wave their blackthorn sticks, I can see that I am an cxtrancity and a blemish for them. In my long sleek-piled fur coat (resembling ocelot and bought on an Austin Reed charge account) and my Bally slip-on snakeskin shoes decorated, rather tastefully I’ve always thought, with a delicate gold chain and having the added advantage of slightly built-up heels, I am not what they have taken a week off work and kissed goodbye to their children and strapped methane stoves to their backs to find. At a stroke I domesticate the cliffs for them.”

 
Howard Jacobson (Manchester, 25 augustus 1942)

 

De Amerikaanse dichter Charles Wright werd geboren op 25 augustus 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee. Zie ook alle tags voor Charles Wright op dit blog.

Bedtime Story

The generator hums like a distant ding an sich.
It’s early evening, and time, like the dog it is,
is hungry for food,
And will be fed, don’t doubt it, will be fed, my small one.
The forest begins to gather its silences in.
The meadow regroups and hunkers down
for its cleft feet.

Something is wringing the rag of sunlight
inexorably out and hanging.
Something is making the reeds bend and cover their heads.
Something is licking the shadows up,
And stringing the blank spaces along, filling them in.
Something is inching its way into our hearts,
scratching its blue nails against the wall there.

Should we let it in?
Should we greet it as it deserves,
Hands on our ears, mouths open?
Or should we bring it a chair to sit on, and offer it meat?
Should we turn on the radio,
should we clap our hands and dance
The Something Dance, the welcoming Something Dance?
I think we should, love, I think we should.

 

Stone Canyon Nocturne

Ancient of Days, old friend, no one believes you’ll come back.
No one believes in his own life anymore.

The moon, like a dead heart, cold and unstartable, hangs by a thread
At the earth’s edge,
Unfaithful at last, splotching the ferns and the pink shrubs.

In the other world, children undo the knots in their tally strings.
They sing songs, and their fingers blear.

And here, where the swan hums in his socket, where bloodroot
And belladonna insist on our comforting,
Where the fox in the canyon wall empties our hands, ecstatic for more,

Like a bead of clear oil the Healer revolves through the night wind,
Part eye, part tear, unwilling to recognize us.

 
Charles Wright (Pickwick Dam, 25 augustus 1935)

 

De Duitse schrijver Maxim Biller werd geboren op 25 augustus 1960 in Praag. Zie ook alle tags voor Maxim Biller op dit blog.

Uit: The Mahogany Elephant (Vertaald door Anthea Bell)

“Did you miss me?” he said.
“No, Jordi,” she said. “I didn’t.”
“Of course not,” he said, and nodded.
“Are you angry?”
“No.”
“I’m glad.”
“Good.”
“Are you sure you’re not angry?”
“I’m sure.”
He looked out the window. When she left, he had still been able to see across the square to the Church of Zion. Now the trees were in leaf and all he saw from the window was those wonderful large green leaves. The leaves swayed back and forth in the wind, reminding Jordi of seaweed drifting in the ocean.
Perhaps it was because they hadn’t seen each other for so long. They hadn’t seen each other for almost as long as they’d known each other! He laid his arm on the back of the sofa behind her and left it there for a few minutes, but then he took it away again. The arm didn’t feel quite sure of itself.
“What about you?” she asked.
“Me?”
“What have you been doing?”
“Why didn’t you call?” he said. “Not once in three months!”
“But you knew,” she said, taking alarm. “That was our agreement, wasn’t it?”
She was right. She’d even said, “Suppose I stay there for good?” And he had said that would be O.K., she was a free agent, and if they never said another word to each other again that would be O.K., too. But he had said so only out of calculation, because he knew that she was an Aries—and just try keeping a ram captive.
“There’s a story about that elephant,” she said. She paused, waiting for him to ask what the story was, but all he could think about was how to get the elephant out of the garbage without her noticing.”

 
Maxim Biller (Praag, 25 augustus 1960)

 

De Engelse schrijver Frederick Forsyth werd geboren in Ashford, Kent, op 25 augustus 1938. Zie ook alle tags voor Frederick Forsyth op dit blog.

Uit: De onderhandelaar (Vertaald door Hugo en Nienke Kuipers)

“Maar terwijl hij zijn plicht had gedaan en zijn maarschalksstaf had verdiend, had hij zich ook iets heilig voorgenomen — nooit meer zou zijn dierbare Sovjet-leger zich onder zijn leiding terugtrekken — en ondanks alle manipulatie van de publiciteit was Afghanistan een nederlaag geweest. Het was dan ook het vooruitzicht van een nieuwe nederlaag dat hem zo somber stemde toen hij door het dubbele glas naar de vlagen van ijzel keek die voor zijn raam langs joegen. De oorzaak van zijn somberheid was een rapport op zijn bureau, een rapport dat hij zelf door zijn meest intelligente protégé had laten schrijven, een jonge generaal-majoor die hij uit Afghanistan naar de generale staf had meegenomen. Kaminski was een academicus, een denker en tegelijk een geniale organisator, en de maarschalk had hem tot tweede man op de afdeling Logistiek benoemd. Zoals alle ervaren militairen wist Kozlov heel goed dat je geen veldslagen won met alleen moed of opofferingsgezindheid of zelfs bekwame generaals; je won ze doordat je het juiste materieel — in grote aantallen — op het juiste moment op de juiste plaats had. Als soldaat van achttien had hij moeten toezien hoe de voortreffelijk uitgeruste Duitsers tijdens de Blitzkrieg over de strijdkrachten van het Moederland heen waren gewalst. Hij dacht daar met verbittering aan terug. Het Rode Leger, leeggebloed door Stalins zuiveringen van 1938 en uitgerust met antiek materieel, had geen schijn van kans gehad. Zijn eigen vader was gesneuveld in een poging een onhoudbare positie bij Smolensk te verdedigen. Met repeteergeweren hadden ze het moeten opnemen tegen Guderians daverende pantserregimenten. De volgende keer, had hij gezworen, zouden ze het juiste materieel hebben, en in grote hoeveelheden. Hij had een groot deel van zijn militaire leven aan dat streven gewijd en hij stond nu aan het hoofd van de vijf krijgsmachtonderdelen van de Sovjet-Unie, het leger, de marine, de luchtmacht, de strategische-raketstrijdkrachten en het luchtverdedigingscommando. Dat alles dreigde verslagen te worden. Dat was de eenduidige conclusie van het driehonderd bladzijden tellende rapport dat op zijn bureau lag. Hij had het twee keer doorgenomen, ’s nachts in zijn Spartaans ingerichte appartement aan de Koetoezovski Prospekt en deze morgen opnieuw, in zijn kantoor, waar hij om zeven uur was gearriveerd en meteen de hoorn van de haak had gelegd. Nu wendde hij zich van het raam af, liep terug naar het grote bureau aan het hoofd van de T-vormige vergadertafel en las de laatste bladzijden van het rapport nog eens door.”

 
Frederick Forsyth (Ashford, 25 augustus 1938)

 

Zie voor nog meerschrijvers van de 25e augustus ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.

Martin Amis, Kees Stip, Howard Jacobson, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth, Jògvan Isaksen, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Thea Astley

De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook alle tags voor Martin Amis op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2010.

Uit: Het interessegebied (Vertaald door Janneke van der Meulen)

“Ik was niet onbekend met de bliksemflits; ik was niet onbekend met de donderslag. Benijdenswaardig ervaren in deze zaken, was ik niet onbekend met de wolkbreuk – de wolkbreuk, en daarna de zonneschijn en de regenboog.
Ze kwam terug uit de oude stad met haar twee dochters, en ze bevonden zich al een flink eind binnen het Interessegebied. Een lange laan – haast wel een zuilengang – strekte zich uitnodigend voor hen uit, omzoomd door esdoorns, waarvan de takken en het gelobde loof zich hoog in de lucht met elkaar verstrengelden. Een namiddag hartje zomer, met miniem glinsterende muggen… Mijn notitieboekje lag opengeslagen op een boomstronk, en een lichte bries neusde nieuwsgierig door de bladzijden.
Lang, breedgebouwd, welgevuld en toch lichtvoetig, in een geschulpte, enkellange witte jurk, met een zachtgele strohoed met een zwart lint op en zwaaiend met een strooien tas (de meisjes, eveneens in het wit, droegen ook een strohoed en een strooien tas), bewoog ze zich in en uit vlagen donzige, geelbruine, leeuwachtige warmte. Ze lachte – hoofd in de nek, gespannen hals. Parallel aan haar hield ik gelijke tred, in mijn sobere tweed jasje en gekeperde pantalon, met mijn klembord en vulpen.
Nu stak het drietal de oprit van de manege over. Terwijl haar kinderen plagerig om haar heen dartelden, passeerde ze de decoratieve windmolen, de meiboom, de galg met drie wielen, het trekpaard dat losjes was vastgemaakt aan de ijzeren waterpomp, en liep toen verder.
Het Ka Zet in, Ka Zet I in.
Er gebeurde iets bij die eerste aanblik. Bliksem, donder, wolkbreuk, zonneschijn, regenboog – de meteorologie van de eerste aanblik.
Haar naam was Hannah – mevrouw Hannah Doll.
In de officiersclub, gezeten op een paardenharen sofa, omringd door bronzen paardentuig en paardenprenten en onder het genot van ersatzkoffie (koffie voor paarden) zei ik tegen Boris Eltz, met wie ik al mijn leven lang bevriend was: ‘Heel even was ik weer jong. Het leek wel liefde.’

 
Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Martin Amis, Kees Stip, Howard Jacobson, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth, Jògvan Isaksen, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Thea Astley”

Dolce far niente, Albert Verwey, Kees Stip, Martin Amis, Howard Jacobson, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller

Dolce far niente

 

 
The Bathers door John Singer Sargent, 1917

 

Baders hartewens

Dwars door de tuinen
Van roos en ranken
Zich
‘t pad te banen,
Dan door de lanen
Van zand en dennen
Vluchtig te rennen
Tot waar de kruinen
Van hoge duinen
In
‘t blauwe blanken
En zo te naderen
Met zwellende aderen
In laatste loop
De harde golven
En, overdolven,
Hun koele doop.

 

 
Albert Verwey (15 mei 1865 – 8 maart 1937)
Amsterdam, 19e eeuw. Albert Verwey werd geboren in Amsterdam

 

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Dolce far niente, Albert Verwey, Kees Stip, Martin Amis, Howard Jacobson, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller”

Martin Amis, Howard Jacobson, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth, Jògvan Isaksen, Johann Gottfried von Herder

De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook alle tags voor Martin Amis op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2010.

Uit: Denton’s Death

“Suddenly Denton realized that there would be three of them, that they would come after dark, that their leader would have his own key, and that they would be calm and deliberate, confident that they had all the time they needed to do what had to be done. He knew that they would be courtly, deferential, urbane – whatever state he happened to be in when they arrived – and that he would be allowed to make himself comfortable; perhaps he would even be offered a last cigarette. He never seriously doubted that he would warm to and admire all three at once, and wish only that he could have been their friend. He knew that they used a machine. As if prompted by some special hindsight, Denton thought often and poignantly about the moment when the leader would consent to take his hand as the machine began to work. He knew that they were out there already, seeing people, making telephone calls; and he knew that they must be very expensive.
At first, he took a lively, even rather self-important interest in the question of who had hired the men and their machine. Who would bother to do this to him? There was his brother, a huge exhausted man whom Denton had never liked or disliked or felt close to or threatened by in any way: they had quarreled recently over the allotment of their dead mothers goods, and Denton had in fact managed to secure a few worthless extras at his brothers expense; but this was just one more reason why his brother could never afford to do this to him. There was a man at the office whose life Denton had probably ruined: having bullied his friend into assisting him with a routine office theft, Denton told all to his superiors, claiming that he had used duplicity merely to test his colleague (Denton’s firm not only dismissed the man — they also, to Denton’s mild alarm, successfully prosecuted him for fraud); but someone whose life you could ruin so easily wouldn’t have the determination to do this to him.”

 
Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Martin Amis, Howard Jacobson, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth, Jògvan Isaksen, Johann Gottfried von Herder”

Martin Amis, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth, Jògvan Isaksen, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Thea Astley

De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook alle tags voor Martin Amis op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2010.

Uit: Money

“I’d better give you the lowdown on Selina — and quick. That hot bitch, what am I letting her do to me?
Like many girls (I reckon), and especially those of the small, supple, swervy, bendy, bed-smart variety, Selina lives her life in hardened fear of assault, molestation and rape. The world has ravished her often enough in the past, and she thinks the world wants to ravish her again. Lying between the sheets, or propped at my side during long and anxious journeys in the Fiasco, or seated across the table in the deep lees of high-tab dinners, Selina has frequently refreshed me with tales of insult and violation from her childhood and teenage years — a musk-breathing, toffee-offering sicko on the common, the toolshed interrogations of sweat-soaked parkies, some lumbering retard in the alley or the lane, right up to the narcissist photographers and priapic prop-boys who used to cruise her at work, and now the scowling punks, soccer trogs and bus-stop boogies malevolently lining the streets and more or less constantly pinching her ass or flicking her tits and generally making no bones about the things they need to do… It must be tiring knowledge, the realization that half the members of the planet, one on one, can do what the hell they like with you.
And it must be extra tough on a girl like Selina, whose appearance, after many hours at the mirror, is a fifty—fifty compromise between the primly juvenile and the grossly provocative. Her tastes are strictly High Street too, with frank promise of brothelly knowhow and top-dollar underwear. I’ve followed Selina down the strip, when we’re shopping, say, and she strolls on ahead, wearing sawn-off jeans and a wash-withered T-shirt, or a frilly frock measuring the brink of her russety thighs, or a transparent coating of gossamer, like a condom, or an abbreviated school uniform … The men wince and watch, wince and watch. They buckle and half turn away. They shut their eyes and clutch their nuts. And sometimes, when they see me cruise up behind my little friend and slip an arm around her trim and muscular waist, they look at me as if to say — Do something about it, will you ? Don’t let her go about the place looking like that. Come on, it’s your responsibility.»


Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Martin Amis, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth, Jògvan Isaksen, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Thea Astley”

Martin Amis, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth, Jògvan Isaksen, Thea Astley

De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook alle tags voor Martin Amis op dit blog.

 

Uit: Night Train

 

“I am a police. That may sound like an unusual statement–or an unusual construction. But it’s a parlance we have. Among ourselves, we would never say I am a policeman or I am a policewoman or I am a police officer. We would just say I am a police. I am a police. I am a police and my name is Detective Mike Hoolihan. And I am a woman, also.

What I am setting out here is an account of the worst case I have ever handled. The worst case–for me, that is. When you’re a police, “worst” is an elastic concept. You can’t really get a fix on “worst.” The boundaries are pushed out every other day. “Worst?” we’ll ask. “There’s no such thing as worst.” But for Detective Mike Hoolihan this was the worst case.

Downtown, at CID, with its three thousand sworn, there are many departments and subdepartments, sections and units, whose names are always changing: Organized Crime, Major Crimes, Crimes Against Persons, Sex Offenses, Auto Theft, Check and Fraud, Special Investigations, Asset Forfeiture, Intelligence, Narcotics, Kidnapping, Burglary, Robbery–and Homicide. There is a glass door marked Vice. There is no glass door marked Sin. The city is the offense. We are the defense. That’s the general idea.

Here is my personal “ten-card.” At the age of eighteen I enrolled for a master’s in Criminal Justice at Pete Brown. But what I really wanted was the streets. And I couldn’t wait. I took tests for state trooper, for border patrol, and even for state corrections officer. I passed them all. I also took the police test, and I passed that, too. I quit Pete and enrolled at the Academy.”

 

 

 

Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Martin Amis, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth, Jògvan Isaksen, Thea Astley”

Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Martin Amis, Frederick Forsyth

De Amerikaanse dichter Charles Wright werd geboren op 25 augustus 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2009 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2010.

 

POLAROIDS

Since landscape’s insoluble,
Then loath at last light I leave the landfall, soft and gone.
Or it leaves me.
I’ve got a tune in my head I can’t let go,
Unlike the landscape, heavy and wan,
Sunk like a stone in the growing night,
Snuffed in the heart like a candle flame that won’t come back.

Our world is of little moment, of course, but it is our world.
Thus it behooves us to contemplate,
from time to time,
The weight of glory we should wish reset in our hearts,
About the things which are seen,
and things which are not seen,
That corresponds like to like,
The stone to the dark of the earth, the flame to the star.

_____

Those without stories are preordained to repeat them,
I saw once in the stars.
Unclear who underwrote that,
But since then I’ve seen it everywhere
I’ve looked, staggering
Noon light and night’s meridian wandering wide and the single sky.
And here it is in the meadow grass, a brutish script.

We tend to repeat what we don’t know
Instead of the other way around—
thus mojo, thus misericordia,
Old cross-work and signature, the catechism in the wind.
We tend to repeat what hurts us, things, and ghosts of things,
The actual green of summer, and summer’s half-truth.
We tend to repeat ourselves.

_____

One longs for order and permanence,
An order as in the night sky just north of Mt. Caribou,
Permanence like the seasons,
coming in, going out,
Watchman and wanderer. There’s been no cure, however, and no
Ecstasy in transcendent form, so
Don’t look for me here, incipient, now, in the artifice.

Florence is much on my mind, gold leaf and golden frame,
Infinite background of the masters—
Mayfire of green in the hills,
watchtower and Belvedere,
The Arno, as Dino said, like a dithering snake,
Sad swipe of forgetfulness.
Last chance, a various universe.

_____

A few more rising and setting suns.
Always the spike of the purple lupin, always the folded hands of the dog rose.
Childhood, gentle monk.
His eye extinguished,
someone’s red-gold heart-mouth has sealed his lips.
No wind in the evergreens, no singer, no lament.
Summer surrounds us, and wordless, O blue cathedral.

A few more sorrowful scenes.
The waters murmur, shadows are moist in the upper meadow.
Silence wide as a wasteland through the black streets of the forest.
Over the white eyelids of the dead,
white clover is blossoming.
Late snow like a fallen city shimmers the mountain’s riprap and stare.
Unmullioned window, stained light.

_____

The lapis lazuli dragonflies
of postbelief, rising and falling near
The broken slab wood steps, now one by one, now in pairs,
Are not the dragonflies of death with their blue-black eyes.
These are the tiny ones, the stems, the phosphorescent,
Rising and falling like drowned playthings.
They come and they disappear. They come back and they disappear.

Horizon-hump of pine bristles on end toward the south,
Breath-stealer, cloudless drop cloth
Of sky,
the great meadow beneath like a mirror face down in the earth,
Accepting nothing, giving it back.
We’ll go, as Mandelstam tells us, into a growing numbness of time,
Insoluble, as long as landscape, as indistinct.

Charles Wright (Pickwick Dam, 25 augustus 1935)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Martin Amis, Frederick Forsyth”

Frederick Forsyth, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Martin Amis, Jógvan Isaksen, U Tchicaya Tam’si, Thea Astley, Brian Moore, Johann Herder

De Engelse schrijver Frederick Forsyth werd geboren in Ashford, Kent, op 25 augustus 1938. Hij werd geplaatst op de beroemde Engelse Tonbridge School, een kostschool die deel uitmaakt van de Etongroup. Na Tonbridge studeerde Forsyth aan de Universiteit van Granada in Spanje. Al na vijf maanden staakte hij zijn studie en keerde terug naar Engeland. In mei 1956 sloot hij zich op zijn negentiende aan bij de RAF als één van de jongste piloten. In 1958 zwaaide hij af en werd journalist bij de Eastern Daily Press in Norfolk. In 1961 ging hij bij Reuters werken, eerst in Parijs en later in Oost-Europa. In 1965 keerde hij terug naar Engeland en werd verslaggever voor de BBC. In 1967 brak er in Nigeria een burgeroorlog uit. De provincie Biafra was in opstand gekomen en er woedde een strijd tussen rebellen en regeringstroepen. Forsyth verbleef van juli tot september in Biafra en versloeg de oorlog voor zijn werkgever. In 1970 had hij genoeg van de oorlog en keerde weer terug naar Engeland. Hij begon te werken aan een roman over een huurmoordenaar die in opdracht van de OAS een aanslag wil plegen op president De Gaulle. Forsyth gebruikte voor zijn roman de kennis die hij had opgedaan toen hij als correspondent voor Reuters in Parijs werkte. Elk feitje is gecontroleerd, elke straat, plein, regeringsinstelling of functionaris klopt. Ondanks al deze moeite werd het boek aanvankelijk geweigerd totdat uitgeverij Hutchinson het manuscript aankocht en uitgaf onder de titel, The Day of the Jackal. Het boek werd een bestseller en is inmiddels twee keer verfilmd. Na “The Day Of The Jackal” schreef Forsyth nog een groot aantal romans en verhalenbundels., waarbij steeds zijn voorliefde voor feiten wordt vermengd met spannende, thrillerachtige verhalen.

Uit: The Day of the Jackal

Colonel Marc Rodin stared at the man from London. The visitor, apparently in his early thirties, was about six feet tall, with a lean athletic build. The face was suntanned, with regular but not remarkable features. He looked like a man who retained control of himself, but the eyes bothered Rodin. The flecked grey irises seemed smoky, and it took Rodin a few seconds to realise that they had no expression at all. Whatever thoughts did go on behind the smoke screen, nothing came through, and Rodin felt a worm of unease.
‘We know who you are,’ he began abruptly. ‘I had better introduce myself. I am Colonel Marc Rodin’
‘I know,’ said the Englishman. ‘You are chief of operations of the OAS. You are Major René Montclair, treasurer, and you are Monsieur André Casson, head of the underground.’ He stared at each in turn as he spoke, and reached for a cigarette. Then he lit up, leaned back and blew out the first stream of smoke.
‘Gentlemen, let us be frank. I know what you are and you know what I am. We both have unusual occupations. I operate for money, you for idealism. But we are all professionals. Therefore we do not need to fence. You have been making enquiries. It was important to me to know who was so interested in me. As soon as I discovered the identity of the organisation, two days among the French newspaper files in the British Museum were enough to tell me about you. Bon. What I would like to know is what you want.’
There was a silence for several moments; then Rodin spoke. ‘I will not bore you with the motivations behind our organisation. We believe France is now ruled by a dictator and can only be restored to Frenchmen if he dies. Our attempts to eliminate him so far have misfired. We are now considering engaging the services of a professional. However, we do not wish to waste our money. The first thing we would like to know is if it is possible.’

forsythe

Frederick Forsyth (Ashford, 25 augustus 1938)

 

De Amerikaanse dichter Charles Wright werd geboren op 25 augustus 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2009.

Body and Soul II
(for Coleman Hawkins)

The structure of landscape is infinitesimal,
Like the structure of music,
seamless, invisible.
Even the rain has larger sutures.
What holds the landscape together, and what holds music together,
Is faith, it appears–faith of the eye, faith of the ear.
Nothing like that in language,
However, clouds chugging from west to east like blossoms
Blown by the wind.
April, and anything’s possible.

Here is the story of Hsuan Tsang.
A Buddhist monk, he went from Xian to southern India
And back–on horseback, on camel-back, on elephant-back, and on
foot.
Ten thousand miles it took him, from 629 to 645,
Mountains and deserts,
In search of the Truth,
the heart of the heart of Reality,
The Law that would help him escape it,
And all its attendant and inescapable suffering.
And he found it.

These days, I look at things, not through them,
And sit down low, as far away from the sky as I can get.
The reef of the weeping cherry flourishes coral,
The neighbor’s back porch light bulbs glow like anemones.
Squid-eyed Venus floats forth overhead.
This is the half hour, half-light, half-dark,
when everything starts to shine out,
And aphorisms skulk in the trees,
Their wings folded, their heads bowed.

Every true poem is a spark,
and aspires to the condition of the original fire
Arising out of the emptiness.
It is that same emptiness it wants to reignite.
It is that same engendering it wants to be re-engendered by.
Shooting stars.
April’s identical,
celestial, wordless, burning down.
Its light is the light we commune by.
Its destination’s our own, its hope is the hope we live with.

Wang Wei, on the other hand,
Before he was 30 years old bought his famous estate on the Wang River
Just east of the east end of the Southern Mountains,
and lived there,
Off and on, for the rest of his life.
He never travelled the landscape, but stayed inside it,
A part of nature himself, he thought.
And who would say no
To someone so bound up in solitude,
in failure, he thought, and suffering.

Afternoon sky the color of Cream of Wheat, a small
Dollop of butter hazily at the western edge.
Getting too old and lazy to write poems,
I watch the snowfall
From the apple trees.
Landscape, as Wang Wei says, softens the sharp edges of isolation

wright

Charles Wright (Pickwick Dam,  25 augustus 1935)

 

De Duitse schrijver Maxim Biller werd geboren op 25 augustus 1960 in Praag. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2009.

Uit: Wenn ich einmal reich und tot bin

“Ich mag keine Gedichte, sie sind mir fremd, und ich verstehe auch nichts von bisexuellen russischen Poetessen à la Marina Zwetajewa. Bei meiner Mutter jedoch liegt der Fall anders, und obwohl man mit der Behauptung vorsichtig sein sollte, sie lebe ganz allein und für sich in einer kleinen, engen Welt aus Jamben, Trochäen und Daktylen, ist doch etwas dran, denn Lyrik bedeutet ihr sehr viel.

Früher, erinnere ich mich, verschwand sie manchmal für ganze Nachmittage im Schlafzimmer, um zu lesen. Wenn sie mich dann plötzlich von dort rief, wußte ich genau, daß sie mich an ihren Versabenteuern beteiligen wollte. So stand ich in der Tür, trat von einem Fuß auf den anderen und sah sie an. Die Gardinen waren zugezogen, nur die Bettlampe gab ein gedrängtes, ockergelbes Licht ab. Meine Mutter lag am äußersten Rand des Ehebettes, im Morgenrock, zugedeckt, den Rücken von dicken Kissen hochgestützt, die Beine angewinkelt. Auf ihren Knien ruhte ein Buch von Mandelstam, das sie seit Wochen studierte. Bestimmt las sie schön, und ich hatte auch nie etwas gegen ihre russischen Gedichte — aber sie interessierten mich eben nicht. Manchmal ließ ich das Ganze über mich ergehen, manchmal nicht, weshalb ich dann sofort angeödet die Schlafzimmertür von außen schloß.

Die Mandelstam-Phase ist längst vorbei. Ich lebe jetzt in München, doch meine Eltern wohnen nach wie vor in dem alten Bürgerhaus am Hamburger Rotherbaum, wo wir 1974 auf unserem Weg von Moskau über Wien, Israel und New York schließlich untergekommen waren, zufrieden über jene lebensnotwendige Portion materieller und ziviler Sicherheit, die Deutschland uns bot.”

biller

Maxim Biller (Praag, 25 augustus 1960)

 

De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2009.

Uit: The War Against Cliché

What happened, El?’ said Vernon Presley to his son, one day in 1956. Elvis was twenty-one at the time, and a multimillionaire. ‘The last thing I can remember is I was working in a can factory and you were driving a truck.’ Elvis laughed. ‘I don’t know what it is,’ he later told a reporter. ‘I just fell into it, really.’

What happened was this. The Presleys were Depression-shoved nomads from the deep rural South. Elvis’s uncle, Vester Presley, was a teenager before he owned his first pair of shoes. Looking for work, the family straggled into Memphis. Elvis was a half-employed slum spiv when he did his first audition. He recorded the rockabilly classic ‘That’s All Right, Mama’—and suddenly the tenement Okies found themselves in Graceland, a Doric mansion at the far end of Elvis Presley Boulevard.

It was during Elvis’s much-publicized stint of military service in Germany that the present writers came into the story. Dee Stanley was the wife of a morose sergeant stationed in Bad Nauheim. On a bored impulse Dee gave El a call, to offer him some Southern hospitality. They arranged to meet for coffee. As it happened, Elvis was on manoeuvres; but Dee was greeted and squired by the courtly, personable and recently widowed Vernon… On her return to the US, Dee got a divorce and ensconced herself at Graceland, with her three small sons, Billy, Rick and David.

Elvis, We Love You Tender is their story, cobbled together twenty years on with the excitable help of journalist Martin Torgoff. Elvis’s entourage was divided into TCBers and TLCers: those who Took Care of Business and those who gave Tender Loving Care when the exhausted menfolk returned from the road.“

 amis

Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)

 

De Faeröerse schrijver Jógvan Isaksen werd geboren op 25 augustus 1950 in 25/08/1950 in Tórshavn, Faröer Eilanden. Na zijn afstuderen in 1970 in Tórshavn studeerde hij Scandinavistiek aan de universiteit van Aarhus n werd hij in 1982 Master in de Scandinavische literatuur. Sinds 1986 is hij docent aan de Universiteit van Kopenhagen en doceert hij Faeröisch. Sinds 2000 is hij redacteur van het tijdschrift Nordisk literatuur van de Noordse Raad. Sinds 1978 is Isaksen actief als schrijver. In 1994 kreeg hij de Literatuurprijs van de Faeröer voor zijn leerboek Literaturwissenschaftliches Í hornatøkum vid Procrustes over de schrijver Andreassen Hanus (Hanus Kamban), maar ook voor zijn hoofdwerk, dat de Faeröer literatuur als belangrijkste onderwerp heeft. De detective Blid á Føroyalandi summarnátt uit 1990 was de eerste misdaadroman ooit in de Faeröische taal en werd onmiddellijk vertaald in het Deens en IJslands en later in het Duits en Engels.

Uit: Endstation Färöer (Vertaald door Christel Hildebrandt)

„Das Feuer loderte zum dämmrigen Himmel empor. Die Flammen rissen sich von ihrem heißen Ursprung los und führten für einen kurzen Augenblick ihr eigenes Leben. Der Nachtwind kam langsam herangestrichen und mit ihm stieg und fiel der Funkenregen, tanzte umher und verschwand gen Himmel. Die Gesänge waren verstummt und die Meisten standen nur da und starrten ins Feuer. Sie versuchte, etwas zu finden, wohinter sie sich hocken konnte. Nun hatte sie so lange ausgehalten, jetzt war sie an der Reihe. Sie war etwas unsicher auf den Beinen und sagte zu sich selbst, dass sie aufpassen musste, wenn sie noch etwas von der Nacht haben wollte. Und sie wollte viel haben. Mehr als irgendeiner dieser Ignoranten, die jetzt damit angefangen hatten, aus dem Liederbuch des Färöischen Volkes zu singen, sich erträumen konnte. Aber sie musste aufpassen und einen klaren Kopf bewahren. Warum war die Hochebene nur so kahl? Es gab nicht einmal einen passenden Stein, um sich dahinter zu verstecken. Sie war jetzt so weit von den anderen entfernt, dass sie meinte, hier würde auch ein kleinerer Stein genügen. Während sie dasaß, hörte sie es irgendwo im Dunkeln atmen. Eine Gänsehaut überlief sie, aber das war nicht der richtige Augenblick für schwache Nerven. Wahrscheinlich war es ein Schaf. Oder ein Mensch, der wie sie nach einem Ort suchte, an dem er der Natur freien Lauf lassen konnte. Die Götter waren Zeuge, dass reichlich getrunken wurde. Auf dem Weg zurück sah sie auf dem nördlichen Ende der Hochebene die Umrisse einer Person sich gegen den Himmel abzeichnen. Jetzt ist die Stunde gekommen, dachte sie plötzlich. Und ihr wurde im gleichen Moment klar, dass man weit davon entfernt ist, nüchtern zu sein, wenn einem solche Worte einfallen. Sie blieb stehen. Hatte sie Schritte auf dem Kies gehört? Nein, da war nichts. Nur von der Versammlung dröhnte es herüber: Und Menschen verschwinden wie Schatten von Pfaden und taufeuchten Grasmatten …“

 isaksen
Jógvan Isaksen (Tórshavn, 25. augustus 1950)

 

De Congolese dichter en schrijver U Tchicaya Tam’si werd geboren op 25 augustus 1931 in Mpili. Zijn officiële naam is Gerald-Felix Tchicaya; zijn artiestennaambetekent zoiets als: een kleine krant die namens een land in Kikongo. U Tam’si bracht zijn jeugd door in Frankrijk, waar hij werkte als journalist, totdat hij in 1960 terugkeerde naar zijn vaderland. Terug in Congo bleef hij werken als journalist en tijdens deze periode heeft hij contact onderhouden met de politicus Patrice Lumumba. In 1961, begon hij te werken voor de UNESCO. Sinds 1989 wordt in de kleine Marokkaanse stad Asilah om de twee jaar de Tchicaya U Tam’si-Award uitgereikt voor Afrikaanse poëzie. U Tam’si’s poëzie bevat elementen van het surrealisme, heeft vaak levendige historische beelden en geeft commentaar op het Afrikaanse leven en de Afrikaanse maatschappij, evenals op de mensheid in het algemeen.

The Belly Remains

Sure the belly remains chaste
under a treasure of white bones
then open to a fighter’s song
lost body and soul
in the flames of his passion
As at Mont Ségur
As elsewhere where
a feast of fallow bodies
invents tortures.

Bannered at the spectacle made of it
one hears chimings a-rattle
from one song to the other
under an own sky
when one no longer knows
in what night were lost
the body and wherewithal of a crown
got it in the spine and on the chine.

Sure, the belly remains.
Is it more filthy than chaste?
Because of certain heartbreaks?
Love for love’s
sake is as depressing as the rest.
But love for life’s sake
the one one gives with the belly
the earth takes charge of it
Thank god the visionaries fall
most often on their backs
most often with arms open wide
most often
with their belly skyward!

 

Vertaald door Pierre Joris

 

Forest, Part III (of V)

– Where are the flowers that smell
of the warm flesh under the armpits?
– In paradise on the victim’s burial mound
Those that as a child I lapped
closed my burning eyes
the sun itself on my cropped head
through it was all red lead
ah! I still danced though I had no woman
hilarious toads and astounding pythons
as if my dead returned through them.

tamsi

U Tchicaya Tam’si (25 augustus 1931 – 22 april 1988)

 

De Australische schrijfster Thea Astley werd geboren op 25 augustus 1925 in Brisbane. Ze was een productief schrijfster, die vanaf 1958 meer dan 40 jaar bleef publiceren. Op het moment van haar dood, had ze meer Miles Franklin Awards, de belangrijkste literaire onderscheiding in Australië, gewonnen dan welke andere schrijver ook. Astley werd opgeleid aan de All Hallows ‘School, studeerde kunsten aan de Universiteit van Queensland en werd vervolgens opgeleid om leraar te worden. Na haar huwelijk met Jack Gregson in 1948 verhuisde ze naar Sydney waar ze doceerde aan verschillende middelbare scholen, maar zij bleef ook altijd schrijven..Ze begeleidde studenten aan de Macquarie University van 1968 tot 1980, toen zij full-time ging schrijven en zij en haar man verhuisden naar Kuranda in Noord-Queensland. In de late jaren 1980 verhuisden ze naar Nowra op de NSW South Coast, en, na de dood van haar man in 2003, verhuisde ze naar Byron Bay. Astley vond haar materiaal in de krant en op haar reizen, maar meestal in de verschillende gemeenschappen waarin zij en haar man woonden.

Uit: It’s Raining in Mango

„Cornelius Laffey had slipped ashore, father told her often enough, from the dinghy of the sailing ship Jeannie Dove, one steamy late March day, onto burning sand in a place that would later be called Bowen.     The nothingness appalled him, quite apart from the heat, the man­groves, the flies.     His soft northern skin, attuned to the Canadian maritime provinces, crisped as if it had been placed on a griddle. He thought momentarily of the grey waterfront of St. John, but flies alone kept him busy. For days the ship’s party had been camped offshore on Stone Island, because the mainland natives-foolishly, all the crew agreed-were preventing their landing.     Stone Island was nothing like the tropical nirvana his dreamy Celtic soul had imagined. His hands were pulpy from trapping fish in reef pools, his feet skinned and bleeding from coral. He was con­vinced of error, of misjudgement. He had celebrated his twenty fourth birthday gutting mackerel hauled from the shallows of the most vir­ulent blue waters he had ever seen. His scaling knife slipped and cut his thumb. Scales clung like spangles. From across the channel came the sound of rifle fire as officious colonisers showed the indigenous people what’s what in a ratatat, idiot anticipation of another civil war half a world and half a week away.     It was 1861.     That early day in April when the township, cleared of black land­owners, was proclaimed, Cornelius was looking for and expecting a frontier magic he still failed to find a month later. Scowling at the hopeless canvas village that scabbed the bay-line, he resolved his stay would be the shortest. He had come to this new southern land as a journalist, trained for something more than sandflies and heat, he thought aggrievedly. With a yearning affection he recalled his old newspaper offices in St. John.“

 astley

Thea Astley (25 augustus 1925 – 17 augustus 2004)

 

De Ierse schrijver Brian Moore werd geboren in Belfast op 25 augustus 1921. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2009.

Uit: The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

“The first thing Miss Judith Hearne unpacked in her new lodgings was the silver-gramed photograph of her aunt. The place for her aunt, ever since the sad day of the funeral, was on the mantelpiece of whatever bed-sitting-room Miss Hearne happened to be living in. And as she put her up now, the photograph eyes were stern and questioning, sharing Miss Hearne’s own misgivings about the condition of the bed-springs, the shabbiness of the furniture and the run-down part of Belfast in which the room was situated.
After she had arranged the photograph so that her dear aunt could look at her from the exact centre of the mantelpiece, Miss Hearne unwrapped the white tissue paper which covered the coloured oleograph of the Sacred Herat. His place was at the head of the bed, His fingers raised in benediction. His eyes kindly yet accusing. He was old and the painted halo around His head was beginning to show little cracks. He had looked down on Miss Hearne for a long time, almost half her lifetime. The trouble about hanging the Sacred Heart, Miss Hearne discovered, was that there was no picture hook in the right place. She had bought some picture hooks but she had no hammer. So she laid the Sacred Heart down on the bed and went to the bay window to see how the room looked from there.
The street outisde was a university bywater, once a good residential area, which had lately been reduced to the level of taking in paying guests. Miss Hearne stared at the houses opposite and thought of her aunt’s day when there were only private families in this street, at least one maid to every house, and dinner was at night, not at noon. All gone now, all those people dead and all the houses partitioned off into flats, the bedrooms cut in two, kitchenettes jammed into linen closets, linoleum on the floors and ‘To Let’ cards in the bay windows. Like this house, she thought.”

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Brian Moore (25 augustus 1921 – 10 januari 1999)

 

De Duitse dichter, schrijver, theoloog en cultuur-filosoof Johann Gottfried von Herder werd geboren in Mohrungen op 25 augustus 1744. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2009.

Lied des Lebens

Flüchtiger als Wind und Welle
Flieht die Zeit; was hält sie auf?
Sie genießen auf der Stelle,
Sie ergreifen schnell im Lauf;
Das, ihr Brüder, hält ihr Schweben,
Hält die Flucht der Tage ein.
Schneller Gang ist unser Leben,
Laßt uns Rosen auf ihn streun.

Rosen; denn die Tage sinken
In des Winters Nebelmeer.
Rosen; denn sie blühn und blinken
Links und rechts noch um uns her.
Rosen stehn auf jedem Zweige
Jeder schönen Jugendtat.
Wohl ihm, der bis auf die Neige
Rein gelebt sein Leben hat.

Tage, werdet uns zum Kranze
Der des Greises Schläf’ umzieht
Und um sie in frischem Glanze
Wie ein Traum der Jugend blüht.
Auch die dunkeln Blumen kühlen
Uns mit Ruhe, doppelt-süß;
Und die lauen Lüfte spielen
Freundlich uns ins Paradies.

herder

Johann Gottfried von Herder (25 augustus 1744 – 18 december 1803)
Monument in Bückeburg

 

Brian Moore, Charles Wright, Martin Amis, Johann Herder, Maxim Biller

De Ierse schrijver. Brian Moore werd geboren in Belfast op 25 augustus 1921.

Uit: The Luck of Ginger Coffey

 

“Fifteen dollars and three cents. He counted it and put it in his trouser-pocket. Then picked his Tyrolean hat off the dresser, wondering if the two Alpine buttons and the little brush dingus in the hatband weren’t a shade jaunty for the place he was going. Still, they might be lucky to him. And it was a lovely morning, clear and crisp and clean. Maybe that was a good augury. Maybe today his ship would come in.

James Francis (Ginger) Coffey then risked it into the kitchen. His wife was at the stove. His daughter Paulie sat listless over Corn Flakes. He said “Good morning,” but his only answer came from Michel, the landlady’s little boy, who was looking out the window.

“What’s up, lad?” Coffey asked, joining Michel. Together, man and boy, they watched a Montreal Roads Department tractor clambering on and off the pavement as it shunted last night’s snowfall into the street.

“Sit down, Ginger, you’re as bad as the child,” his wife said, laying his breakfast on the kitchen table.

He tried her again. “Good morning, Veronica.”

“His mother was just in,” said she, pointing to Michel. “Wanting to know how long we were going to keep the place on. I told her you’d speak to her. So don’t forget to pop upstairs and give our notice the minute you have the tickets.”

“Yes, dear.” Flute! Couldn’t a man get a bite of breakfast into him before she started that nattering? He knew about telling Madame Beaulieu. All right.

A boiled egg, one slice of toast and his tea. It was not enough. Breakfast was his best meal; she knew that. But in the crying poverty mood that was on her these last weeks, he supposed she’d take his head off altogether if he asked her for a second egg. Still, he tried.

“Would you make us another egg?” he said.

“Make it yourself,” she said.

He turned to Paulie. “Pet, would you shove an egg on for me?”

“Daddy, I’m late.”

 

 

Moore

Brian Moore (25 augustus 1921 – 10 januari 1999)

 

 

De Amerikaanse dichter Charles Wright werd geboren op 25 augustus 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee.

 

Last Supper 

I seem to have come to the end of something, but don’t know what,

Full moon blood orange just over the top of the redbud tree.

Maundy Thursday tomorrow,

then Good Friday, then Easter in full drag,

Dogwood blossoms like little crosses

All down the street,

lilies and jonquils bowing their mitred heads.

 

Perhaps it’s a sentimentality about such fey things,

But I don’t think so. One knows

There is no end to the other world,

no matter where it is.

In the event, a reliquary evening for sure,

The bones in their tiny boxes, rosettes under glass.

 

Or maybe it’s just the way the snow fell

a couple of days ago,

So white on the white snowdrops.

As our fathers were bold to tell us,

it’s either eat or be eaten.

Spring in its starched bib,

Winter’s cutlery in its hands. Cold grace. Slice and fork.

 

 

CharlesWright

Charles Wright (Pickwick Dam,  25 augustus 1935)

 

De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.

 

Uit: Lolita Reconsidered

 

“Without apeing the explicatory style of Nabokov’s famous Lectures (without producing height-charts, road maps, motel bookmatches, and so on),it might still be as well to establish what actually happens in Lolita: morally. How bad is all this–on paper, anyway? Although he distances himself with customary hauteur from the world of ‘coal sheds and alleyways’, of panting maniacs and howling policemen, Humbert Humbert is without question an honest-to-God, open-and-shut sexual deviant, displaying classic ruthlessness, guile and (above all) attention to detail. He parks the car at the gates of schoolyards, for instance, and obliges Lo to fondle him as the children emerge. Sixty-five cents secures a similar caress in her classroom, while Humbert admires a platinum classmate. Fellatio prices peak at four dollars a session before Humbert brings rates down ‘drastically by having her earn the hard and nauseous way permission to participate in the school’s theatrical programme’. On the other hand he performs complementary cunnilingus when his stepdaughter is laid low by fever: ‘I could not resist the exquisite caloricity of unexpected delights–Venus febriculosa–though it was a very languid Lolita that moaned and coughed and shivered in my embrace.’

 

Humbert was evidently something of a bourgeois sadist with his first wife, Valeria. He fantasized about ‘slapping her breasts out of alignment’ or ‘putting on [his] mountain boots and taking a running kick at her rump’ but in reality confined himself to ‘twisting fat Valechka’s brittle wrist (the one she had fallen upon from a bicycle)’ and saying, ‘Look here, you fat fool, c’est moi qui décide.’ The weakened wrist is good: sadists know all about weakspots.”

 

Amis

Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)

 

De Duitse dichter, schrijver, theoloog en cultuur-filosoof Johann Gottfried von Herder werd geboren in Mohrungen op 25 augustus 1744. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.

 

 

In Mitte der Ewigkeit

 

Ein Traum, ein Traum ist unser Leben

auf Erden hier.

Wie Schatten auf den Wegen schweben

und schwinden wir.

Und messen unsre trägen Tritte

nach Raum und Zeit;

und sind (und wissen’s nicht) in Mitte

der Ewigkeit . . .

 

 

Verklärung

 

Lebensfunke, vom Himmel entglüht,

Der sich loszuwinden müht!

Zitternd, kühn, vor Sehnen leidend,

Gern und doch mit Schmerzen scheidend!

End’, o end’ den Kampf, Natur!

Sanft ins Leben

Aufwärts schweben,

Sanft hinschwinden laß mich nur.

 

Horch!, mir lispeln Geister zu:

»Schwester-Seele, komm zur Ruh!«

Ziehet was mich sanft von hinnen?

Was ist’s, was mir meine Sinnen,

Mir den Hauch zu rauben droht?

Seele, sprich, ist das der Tod?

 

Die Welt entweicht!

Sie ist nicht mehr!

Engel-Einklang um mich her!

Ich schweb’ im Morgenrot!

Leiht, o leiht mir eure Schwingen;

Ihr Brüder-Geister, helft mir singen:

»O Grab, wo ist dein Sieg?

Wo ist dein Pfeil, o Tod?«

 

Herder

Johann Gottfried von Herder (25 augustus 1744 – 18 december 1803)
Borstbeeld in Weimar, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek

 

De Duitse schrijver Maxim Biller werd geboren op 25 augustus 1960 in Praag. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.

 

Uit: Liebe Heute

 

“Große, grüne, wogende Blätter

Er wartete auf sie drei Monate lang. Er sortierte seine Fotos, brachte Ordnung in seine Bücher und räumte ein paar Möbel um, und dann wartete er weiter. Dann las er alle Briefe, die er jemals bekommen hatte, und warf die meisten weg, und er kaufte eine große Karte von Indien und hängte sie über sein Bett. Nein, er kaufte keine Karte von Indien, aber er wollte es wirklich tun, währen
d er wartete. Er wartete und wartete und fing an, eine
Geschichte darüber zu schreiben, wie er auf sie wartete, aber er wußte nicht, wie sie endete, und dann hörte er wieder auf damit. Zum Schluß machte er gar nichts mehr; er wartete nicht einmal mehr. Er schlief immer weniger, er aß nur noch Brot und Tomaten und gelben

Supermarktkäse, und dann kam sie endlich, sie saßen zusammen bei ihm auf der Couch, und sie sagte: »Es war eine lange Zeit.« »Ja«, sagte er, obwohl er sich fest vorgenommen hatte, so wenig wie möglich zu sagen, »es war eine sehr lange Zeit.« Sie hatte abgenommen auf ihrer Reise, und er fand nicht, daß sie besser aussah als vorher. Sie war müde, aber sie war immer müde, deshalb war sie weggefahren, um nicht mehr müde zu sein, und jetzt kam sie noch müder zurück. Und sie war älter geworden. Älter oder ernster oder härter, das wußte er nicht so genau. Ein grauer Schimmer lag auf ihrer sonnengegerbten Haut, wie ihn sonst nur ältere Frauen hatten, ihr Lächeln war viel zu ernst und überlegen, und ihre Wangenknochen traten noch stärker hervor als früher. Sie stand auf und ging raus, und als sie zurückkam, hatte sie eine bunte Tüte in der Hand.

»Das ist für dich«, sagte sie.

»Danke, meine Liebe«, sagte er. Er machte die Tüte auf. Es war ein kleiner, schwarzer, dicker Elefant aus Mahagoni drin.

»Möchtest du etwas trinken?« sagte er.

»Wasser.«

»Ich hab Wein für dich gekauft.«

»Nein. Wasser«, sagte sie.

Er stand langsam auf und streifte mit seinem Bein ihr Bein. Es war bis auf den flüchtigen Begrüßungskuß ihre erste Berührung seit drei Monaten.

»Wirklich nur Wasser?« rief er aus der Küche, aber sie antwortete nicht. »Kalt oder normal?« rief er wieder, und sie rief leise zurück: »Normal.«

 

maxim_biller

Maxim Biller (Praag, 25 augustus 1960)

 

Zie voor alle bovenstaande schrijvers ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2008.

Brian Moore, Charles Wright, Martin Amis, Johann Herder, Maxim Biller

De Ierse schrijver. Brian Moore werd geboren in Belfast op 25 augustus 1921 in een groot katholiek doktersgezin. Zijn middelbare schooltijd herinnerde hij zich als een ramp. In de Tweede Wereldoorlog trad hij in dienst van het Britse Ministerie voor Oorlogstransporten en was actief in onder meer Algerije, Italië en Frankrijk. In 1948 vestigde hij zich in Canada en verwierf het Canadese staatsburgerschap. Vanaf de jaren 1950 begon hij te schrijven, waarvoor hij zich altijd afzonderde van zijn gezin en vrienden. In 1964 hertrouwde hij met zijn tweede vrouw, Jean Denney, bij wie hij zich veel gelukkiger voelde. Een jaar later verhuisden ze naar Californië, waar hij in 1999 overleed. Zijn meest verkochte roman, The Lies of Silence (1990) is een thriller die speelt in Belfast. Moore maakte zich zorgen over de waanzin en ‘dodelijke ziekte’ waar Noord-Ierland volgens hem aan leed.

Uit: Catholics

 

“The fog lifted. The island was there. The visitor walked to the end of the disused pier and saw it across three miles of ocean, riding the sea like an overturned fishing boat. Morning sunlight moved along a keel of mountain, above valleys black as tarred boat sides.

He thought of Rome. Surprisingly, the order itself had little descriptive information. In the Lungotevere Vaticano he had been handed an out-of-print book: Weir’s Guide to Religious Monuments.

Muck Abbey, Kerry, Ireland. On a small island off the rocky panoramic coastline of the Atlantic Ocean known as “The Ring of Kerry.” The monastery, (Albanesian order), founded 1216, rebuilt 1400–1470, has a dependency, or cell, on the mainland, the priory of Holy Cross, at Mount Coom near the village of Cahirciveen. This priory, sacked by Cromwellian troops, was, in Penal times, a site for clandestine Mass, conducted in the open air on a “Mass rock” altar. The abbey itself (on Muck Island) escaped Cromwellian despoliation and sits on the western slope of the island overlooking a splendor of sea. From the abbey tower the visitor looks down on gray waves that curl on barren rock. The monks fish and gather kelp.

He had telephoned again before breakfast. The pretty girl at the desk in his hotel cranked up an incredibly old-fashioned device to call exchange. “We’re wanting Muck Island. No, Sheilagh, it’s all right, it’s for that priest who spoke to the island last night.

“There now, Father.” He took the receiver. A bell rang and rang.

“Muck Island One,” said a crackly voice, out in the Atlantic.

The visitor gave his name. He said he had been asked to call and check on the weather.

“What was your name again, now?”

“Kinsella. Father James Kinsella.” He had learned his lesson.

“Ah, Father Kinsella. We’ll send a boat for you, to be sure. Go down to the pier now, and Padraig will be along shortly.”

Gulls, searching the remains of fish, skimmed overhead, dipped to the brackish waters beneath. Behind him, at the end of the road that led to the pier, were three roofless concrete boat sheds, floored with weeds, smelling of urine and sheep droppings. A very old car, which he had thought abandoned, sat in one of the sheds. Yesterday, when he first drove down here searching the fog for a sight of the island, he had looked in at the car. A purple silk stole lay on the front seat. At the hotel, after dinner, he asked who had built this pier. No, the monks had not built it, the Irish government built it, years ago, before the fishing became polluted. At that time, there were some twenty families living on the island. “They’ve nearly all come out since. Scattered now, to the four ends of the world.”

 

moorebrian

Brian Moore (25 augustus 1921 – 10 januari 1999)

 

 

De Amerikaanse dichter Charles Wright werd geboren op 25 augustus 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee. Hij volgde opleidingen aan het Davidson College en de University of Iowa. In 1983 ontving hij de National Book Award voor Country Music: Selected Early Poems en de Pulitzer Prize for Poetry voor Black Zodiac in 1998. Voor zijn vertaling van Eugenio Montale’s The Storm and Other Poems kreeg hij in 1979 de PEN Translation Prize. Wright doceert ook Engels aan de University of Virginia in Charlottesville..

 

Werk o.a: Chickamauga, Buffalo Yoga, Negative Blue, Appalachia, The World of the Ten Thousand Things: Poems 1980-1990, Zone Journals and Hard Freight

 

After Reading Tu Fu, I Go Outside to the Dwarf Orchard

 

East of me, west of me, full summer.
How deeper than elsewhere the dusk is in your own yard.
Birds fly back and forth across the lawn
looking for home
As night drifts up like a little boat.

Day after day, I become of less use to myself.
Like this mockingbird,
I flit from one thing to the next.
What do I have to look forward to at fifty-four?
Tomorrow is dark.
Day-after-tomorrow is darker still.

The sky dogs are whimpering.
Fireflies are dragging the hush of evening
up from the damp grass.
Into the world’s tumult, into the chaos of every day,
Go quietly, quietly.

 

 

 

Chickamauga

 

Dove-twirl in the tall grass.
End-of-summer glaze next door
On the gloves and split ends of the conked magnolia tree.
Work sounds: truck back-up-beep, wood
tin-hammer, cicada, fire horn.
History handles our past like spoiled fruit.
Mid-morning, late-century light
calicoed under the peach trees.
Fingers us here. Fingers us here and here.
The poem is a code with no message:
The point of the mask is not the mask but
the face underneath,
Absolute, incommunicado,
unhoused and peregrine.
The gill net of history will pluck us soon enough
From the cold waters of self-contentment
we drift in
One by one
into its suffocating light and air.
Structure becomes an element of belief,
syntax
And grammar a catechist,
Their words what the beads say,
words thumbed to our discontent.

 

charles_wright

Charles Wright (Pickwick Dam,  25 augustus 1935)

 

De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.

 

Uit: House of Meetings

 

“Now that wouldn’t be a bad opening sentence for the narrative proper, and I am impatient to write it. But not yet. “Not yet, not yet, my precious!” This is what the poet Auden us
ed to say to the lyrics, the sprawling epistles, that seemed to be lobbying him for premature birth. It is too early, now, for the war between the brutes and the bitches. There will be war in these pages, inevitably: I fought in fifteen battles, and, in the seventh, I was almost castrated by a secondary missile (a three-pound iron bolt), which lodged itself in my inner thigh. When you get a wound as bad as that, for the first hour you don’t know whether you’re a man or a woman (or whether you’re old or young, or who your father was or what your name is). Even so, an inch or two further up, as they say, and there would have been no story to tell–because this is a love story. All right, Russian love. But still love.

The love story is triangular in shape, and the triangle is not equilateral. I sometimes like to think that the triangle is isosceles: it certainly comes to a very sharp point. Let’s be honest, though, and admit that the triangle remains brutally scalene. I trust, my dear, that you have a dictionary nearby? You never needed much encouragement in your respect for dictionaries. Scalene, from the Greek, skalenos: unequal.

It’s a love story. So of course I must begin with the House of Meetings.

I’m sitting in the prow-shaped dining room of a tourist steamer, the Georgi Zhukov, on the Yenisei River, which flows from the foothills of Mongolia to the Arctic Ocean, thus cleaving the northern Eurasian plain—a distance of some two and a half thousand versts. Given Russian distances, and the general arduousness of Russian life, you’d expect a verst to be the equivalent of—I don’t know—thirty-nine miles. In fact it’s barely more than a kilometer. But that’s still a very long ride. The brochure describes the cruise as “a journey to the destination of a lifetime”—a phrase that carries a somewhat unwelcome resonance. Bear in mind, please, that I was born in 1919….”

 

martin_amis

Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)

 

 

De Duitse dichter, schrijver, theoloog en cultuur-filosoof Johann Gottfried von Herder werd geboren in Mohrungen op 25 augustus 1744. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.

 

In Mitte der Ewigkeit

 

Ein Traum, ein Traum ist unser Leben
auf Erden hier.
Wie Schatten auf den Wegen schweben
und schwinden wir.
Und messen unsre trägen Tritte
nach Raum und Zeit;
und sind (und wissen’s nicht) in Mitte
der Ewigkeit . . .

 

 

 

Der Mond

 

Und grämt dich, Edler, noch ein Wort
Der kleinen Neidgesellen?
Der hohe Mond, er leuchtet dort,
Und läßt die Hunde bellen
Und schweigt und wandelt ruhig fort,
Was Nacht ist, aufzuhellen.

 

herder4

Johann Gottfried Herder (25 augustus 1744 – 18 december 1803)

 

De Duitse schrijver Maxim Biller werd geboren op 25 augustus 1960 in Praag. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.

 

Uit: The Mahogany Elephant

 

“He waited for her for three months. He sorted out his photos, rearranged his books, moved the furniture around, and then he went on waiting. After that, he read all the letters he had ever received and threw most of them away, and then he bought a large map of India and hung it above his bed. Or, rather, he didn’t buy a map of India, but that was what he really wanted to do while he was waiting. He waited and waited, and began to write a story about waiting for her, but he didn’t know how it would end, so he stopped. Finally, he did nothing at all; he didn’t even wait anymore. He was sleeping less and less, eating nothing but bread and tomatoes and yellow supermarket cheese, and then, at last, she came back. They sat together on his sofa, and she said, “It’s been a long time.”

“Yes,” he said, although he had firmly made up his mind to say as little as possible. “It’s been a very long time.”

She had lost weight on her travels, and he didn’t think she looked better than before. She was tired, but then she was always tired; she’d gone away to recover from feeling tired all the time, and now that she was back she was still tired. And she’d grown older. Older or harder or more serious—he wasn’t sure which. There was a gray tinge to her tanned skin, the kind you usually see only on older women. Her smile was much too grave and thoughtful, and her cheekbones were even more prominent than before.

She rose to her feet and left the room. When she came back, she had a bright-colored bag in her hand.

“This is for you,” she said.

“Thank you, my love,” he said. He opened the bag. There was a small, fat black mahogany elephant in it. He put the elephant in his pocket.

“Would you like a drink?” he asked.

“Some water.”

“I bought wine for you.”

“No, water,” she said.

He stood up slowly and grazed her leg with his. Apart from the fleeting kiss when she arrived, it was their first physical contact in three months.

“Really just water?” he called from the kitchen, but she didn’t reply. “Chilled or room temperature?” he asked, and she called quietly back, “Room temperature.”

 

maxim_biller

Maxim Biller (Praag, 25 augustus 1960)