Tonight is your birthday: the thirteenth of March. And you want an occasion to wrest a deceptive happiness from the grim days. You gather your friends. You conspire against sadness with cups and music and cutting jokes. The music gets louder and you dance. The laughter of the girls reaches the neighbors’ windows. At midnight a policeman arrives. He checks identities and threatens arrest. Be civilized. Enough barbarism. You ask him why, and he says the neighbors had called, to keep the building quiet. You say, “It’s a birthday,” and he answers, “That’s no concern of mine.”
Oh my good neighbors! Why didn’t you warn me that my happiness gives you pain? And why does the music you play, which is made from my blood, pour into my windows every night with no complaint from me? When are you going to get out of my craw, O neighbors? When?
When you go to bed you reach the conclusion that the neighbors were right. In the morning you apologize: “I have no right to celebrate as long as I am your neighbor. Forgive me, O neighbors!” I repent for celebrating.
An interview with Raja Shehadeh, in which Darwish said: “For gaining in experience and furthering one’s knowledge, the city is the better locale, but for getting on with the writing process the village has fewer distractions. The smaller the place the better for writing. In my house the room I write in is the smallest in the house.”
The order was reportedly given Wednesday to remove Darwish’s books from the fair after protestors objected to alleged blasphemy found in his works. A large crowd gathered, and security reportedly had to be called in. After that, the PVPV ordered the books removed.
This came not long after the Arab Network for Research and Publishing stall was removed from the fair, and all the house’s books confiscated. In response to the seizure, Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz Khoja released a statement that said, in part, “the Kingdom’s security is more important than anything, and trying to destabilize our unity can not be tolerated.”
"Interglacial Narrows: Readings by Pierre Joris” (details to be announced)
Wednesday, November 29, 4PM
Lecture: Witnessing for the Witness: The Ferryman’s Labor in Translating Paul Celan.
Thursday, November 30, 5:30PM
Brown University Bookshop
Thursday, January 4, 2024
Segue (Artists Space, 11 Cortlandt Alley, NYC)
Pierre Joris, born in Strasbourg, France in 1946, was raised in Luxembourg. Since age 18, he has moved between Europe, the Maghreb & the US & holds both Luxembourg & American citizenship. He has published over 80 books of poetry, essays, translations & anthologies — most recently Interglacial Narrows (Poems 1915-2021) & Always the Many, Never the One: Conversations In-between, with Florent Toniello, both from Contra Mundum Press. In 2020 his two final Paul Celan translations came out: Microliths They Are, Little Stones (Posthumous prose, from CMP) & The Collected Earlier Poetry (FSG). Forthcoming are: Paul Celan’s “Todesfuge” (Small Orange Import, 2023) & Diwan of Exiles: A Pierre Joris Reader (edited with Ariel Reznikoff, 2024). For a full list see the right column on this blog.
In 2011 Litteraria Pragensia, Charles University, Prague, published Pierre Joris: Cartographies of the In-between, edited by Peter Cockelbergh, with essays on Joris’ work by, among others, Mohammed Bennis, Charles Bernstein, Nicole Brossard, Clayton Eshleman, Allen Fisher, Christine Hume, Robert Kelly, Abdelwahab Meddeb, Jennifer Moxley, Jean Portante, Carrie Noland, Alice Notley, Marjorie Perloff & Nicole Peyrafitte (2011).
Other work includes the CD Routes, not Roots (with Munir Beken, oud; Mike Bisio, bass; Ben Chadabe, percussion; Mitch Elrod, guitar; Ta’wil Productions). With Jerome Rothenberg he edited Poems for the Millennium, vol. 1 & 2: The University of California Book of Modern & Postmodern Poetry, and with Habib. Tengour Poems for the Millennium, vol. 3: The University of California Book of North African Literature.
When not on the road, he lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, with his wife, multimedia praticienne Nicole Peyrafitte. A volume of their collaborative work, to be called Domopoetics, will be published in the near future.