“no poet ever aspired to become ‘President of the Earth'”: miscellany 2

October 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

“The people M. referred to as ‘we’ were those he continued to converse with all his life, even when they were no longer here. There were three of them — but apart from these three, there was also the whole of world poetry, which knew no bounds of time and space. It does not matter what place a poet has in it however small it may be. The very smallest place — just a couple of successful lines, one good poem, a single well-said word — entitles him to enter the fellowship of poets, to be one of ‘us,’ to partake of the feast. I am quite sure that no poet ever aspired to become ‘President of the Earth’ — the very title was only a joke of one of the most naive of them…The pass to poetry is granted only by faith in its sacramental character and a sense of responsibility for everything that happens in the world.”
— Nadezhda Mandelstam, Hope Abandoned, pp.116-117

“M. was clear in his mind that poetry is a purely personal affair — this was the secret of his strength. Communing with oneself alone, one says only things that really matter.”
— Hope Abandoned, p.90

“With joyful anticipation, he thought of the day or two which he would set aside and spend alone, away from the university and from his home, in order to write a poem in memory of Anna. He would include in it all those random things which life would send his way — a few descriptions of Anna’s best characteristics; Tonya in mourning; street incidents on the way back from the funeral; and the washing hanging in the place where he had wept as a child and the blizzard had raged.”
Dr. Zhivago, p.89


from Roger Payne’s Among Whales:

— humpback whale songs follow rules similar to human songs; prob. not song lines, as in Australian aboriginal songlines (“Songs that store descriptions of many points and features needed to keep track of where one is, what landmarks to look for and points at which to change course during a long journey” p.155)

— “We don’t even know where in their bodies to look for the sound-making apparatus.” p.159; perhaps are shunted through valves & sinuses in their heads; they don’t have to open their mouths to sing — sound travels from watery (95%) body to water of sea easily

— “When you are very close to a singing whale you can hear it singing right through the hull of a quiet boat. The boat’s hull acts as a kind of sounding board to help the sound pass from water to air.” p.160

— “Music is fluctuating patterns of energy. When music is played, everything is affected and shaped: the drum, the drum skin, the wood of the drum, air, ears, walls, floors. The physicist Brian Swimme notes that ‘We think of the drummer as playing the drum only; in truth, the drummer is playing the world.'” p.166



— image or pattern in paper which appears as shades of dark & light when seen by transmitted light — caused by variation in thickness in paper; digital watermark: embedding information into a digital signal (audio, video); steganography: “data is carried in the signal itself”


“Poems in Celan are instrumental, dialogic, orientative, because the East is always and only the vanished other person. Poems are intended to engage in the recovery of orientative possibility — the mother’s body, let us say, which has disappeared — by putting language (the competence for which is the specifying difference of humanity) in service of Richtung, orientation in space and time. Enlightenment has inflicted upon language a wound — a reality wound (Wirklichkeitswund — wound, trauma of knowledge, darkness inflicted by light).”
— Allen Grossman, “Poetry and Enlightenment” True-Love p.10


from Shale Magazine (Gabriola) Issue 17, Sept. 2007:

— “Unweathered sandstone in the upper-Nanaimo Group formations is a bright bluish grey with flecks of black amphibole, milky-white feldspar, and sparkling mica. On exposure, it quickly develops a weathered ‘surface zone’ that has an overall sandy-brown colour. (When fresh, the colour sometimes includes warm-coloured hues such as pink, orange, rose, buff, dark red, or brown). Sandstone that has weathered for a very long time, including below the surface zone, has lost most of this colour and appears predominantly dull grey often with a brownish or greenish cast, with the surface zone being typically darker. The surface zone itself may acquire a patchy, eggshell-thin, dark-red or dark-brown rind that eventually turns black” p.51

Geothite, which is named after the German poet, is usually very dark brown, which, when old, appears black.”

Hematite, the possible intermediary between ferrihydrite and geothite, is dull to bright red (seen in Gabriolan-made bricks and the sites of bonfires on the beach.” p.53

— on the ‘honeycomb’ holes in the sandstone: “One admittedly attractive idea is that ‘rock bees do it,’ presumably at night when nobody is looking. An interesting variant of this theory, worth a couple of points, is that the holes are the burrows of ancient molluscs, only now being revealed to the outside world by the erosion of the rock.” p.53-4 Vo.9 August 2004


from Shale Magazine, Issue 2, March 2001: Coast Salish place names on Gabriola:

tle:ltxw (False Narrows): “Sounds like tla alt. The word means ‘rich place’ or ‘expansive dwellings.’ This site is the site of a winter village and large clam bed. Burial sites are extensive throughout this area. An important creation story is linked to this site. It is the story of Mink, the trickster, who lived here with his grandmother, sought out the Chief who kept guard over fire. By kidnapping his child and deceiving him into believing that many people live at tle:ltxw, Mink was able to convince the Chief to give him his fire drill. From this time forward, the Snuneymuxw have had the ability to make fire.” p.24

xwkwumluxwuthum (Thompson Point): “Sounds like wh kwumlo whuthom. The word means, ‘little roots.’ Roots, particularly camas roots, were an important food resource for the Snuneymuxw.” p.24

— qwunus (a rock west of Indian Point): “Sounds like kwun usThe word means, ‘whale.’ This is a rock in the shape of a whale with its mouth open.” p.24; there used to be many whales, esp. humpbacks, in the Strait of Georgia

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