Mahmood Darwish, Five Years Already

Last night, just before falling asleep I was reading in Pascal Quignard’s Sur le jadis (volume 2 of his Dernier Royaume series) & came across the following sentence: “C’est une plaie qui cherche son couteau. / It is a wound looking for its knife.” I put the book down to go to sleep, but the sentence kept running through my mind & for some reason started to irritate. I … Read more Mahmood Darwish, Five Years Already

Happy 250th, JP!

This morning’s riddle, dear bloggiste: Who is the famous German writer from the days of Goethe and Schiller, known by his French first name, if known at all, and who was born today 250 years ago? Well, give your tongue to the cat, as the French would say? He is known as “Jean Paul” & his full name is Jean Paul Friedrich Richter  (21 March 1763 – 14 November 1825). … Read more Happy 250th, JP!

Jean Bollack (1923-2012)

When I think of Jean Bollack — philologist, philosopher, hermeneut, translator, commentator, friend to Paul Celan & irritant to many — the first word that comes to mind is “décrasser,” a French term that means to clean, to scrub or more powerfully, to scour, even dip into a bath of acid to remove the accumulated  gangue of lazy thought & language. He did this mostly to the Greek tragedies and the pre-socratic … Read more Jean Bollack (1923-2012)

Dead Poets & Live Language: scatter my brain yet ginger my swagger

The Guardian, as so often, has interesting material on dead poets & live languages. The first concerns Keats as opium addict (vide new biography by Nicholas Roe) & the second, Nigeria’s strong, very alive & quickly evolving pidgin: John Keats was an opium addict, claims a new biography of the poet The author of Ode to a Nightingale wrote his greatest poems with the aid of opium, believes Prof Nicholas Roe … Read more Dead Poets & Live Language: scatter my brain yet ginger my swagger


Ram Devineni put this notice on the Buffalo Poetics list;  I’m very sorry I had to miss last night’s fiesta presentation at the Bowery Poetry Club. But I want to repeat the notice here as those videos are indeed very worthwhile watching: Dear Friends: I am excited to announce the first travel/poetry series airing on LINK TV. The show, ON THE ROAD WITH BOB HOLMAN follows the popular slam … Read more ON THE ROAD WITH BOB HOLMAN

Barney Rosset (1922 – 2012)

from NYT obit: Barney Rosset, Trailblazing Publisher, Dies at 89 By JOHN WILLIAMS Barney Rosset, the legendary owner of Grove Press who fought legal battles to publish provocative writers, including Henry Miller and Samuel Beckett, has died at 89. The Associated Press obituary is here. The Times’s obituary will be up soon. Mr. Rosset’s experiences and his legacy are amply documented online. Hisinterview with The Paris Review, which was published in … Read more Barney Rosset (1922 – 2012)

Language without a childhood

Via signandsight, this on the Turkish-born German-writing author Emine Sevgi Özdamar. You can read the full article here: A tribute to the writing of Emine Sevgi Özdamar, whose novels have made Berlin greater, more expansive, warmer. By Harald Jähner It’s not necessarily boring to watch a film in a language you don’t understand. You concentrate all the more on other elements of the film, gestures, body language, the landscapes, extras. … Read more Language without a childhood

Jacqueline de Romilly (1913-2010)

(”Jacqueline de Romilly chez elle en 2004″, photos Olivier Roller) Jacqueline de Romilly who passed away yesterday at 97, was a magnificent Hellenist & Greek scholar, who collected firsts: the first woman accepted at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, the first woman professor elected to the Collège de France, the first woman elected to the “Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres,” the second woman (after Marguerite Yourcenar) elected to the Académie … Read more Jacqueline de Romilly (1913-2010)

The Times Union on UA Cuts

UAlbany language cuts spark petition By STEPHANIE LEE Staff Writer Published: 12:00 a.m., Monday, November 15, 2010 ALBANY — More than 13,000 people from around the world have signed an online petition in an effort to save the French, Russian and Italian foreign language programs targeted for closure at the University of Albany. The petition, available here, will be submitted to UAlbany administrators by members of UAlbany and Union College … Read more The Times Union on UA Cuts

French Responses to U Albany Department Eliminations

Here are two further pieces from France to be added to the ever-growing dossier concerning the scandal re the to be eliminated Language & Theater Departments  at the University at Albany, SUNY. The first is a translation of an article that was published by the French daily Le Monde, the second a public letter by the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy. The translator is David Wills. Le Monde, 1 November … Read more French Responses to U Albany Department Eliminations