Updates, Live

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham
photo: Barbara Zanon/Getty Images
(The Guardian)
no copyright infringement intended

He lives in a world where Virginia Woolf and Walt Whitman are present and their books unfold surprising destinies through their heroes and readers altogether. An unexpected image of eternity, caught in a myriad of glimpses of time and space, completely distant and different each other, each one ultimately revealing the forever, specimen days and specimen hours. Decades pass and then centuries, everything changes, Miss D. is passing through all this, forever evolving, forever the same.

And the Old Bard tuning his lyre:

Fear not, o Muse! truly new ways and days receive, surround you,
And yet... the same within, without...
The same old love, beauty...


(A Life in Books)

Labels: ,

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cristian Vasile: Aprinde o țigare




Când de ochii tăi adânci mi-e dor
Şi în noapte chem o rază din lumina lor de vis
Stele mici, spre tine, când mă îndeamnă în șoaptă,
Şi-s flămând de al iubirii paradis
Iau atunci și sorb cu sete o țigare,
Şi în fumul ei ucid cumplitul dor
Şi a mea e atuncia lumea asta mare
Şi de viață mă îmbăt ca de alcool

Aprinde o țigare!
Şi-n fumul care zboară-n nori albaștri ca un vis
Cufundă-te-n uitare
Şi lasă gândului cărare de abis

În fumul de țigare
Durerilor găsește tainicul liman
Găsește o nouă stare și dorului alean
În fumul de țigare
Ce se pierde în val

Când ajungi să crezi că viața-i o povară
Şi dureri de neînțeles te apasă greu
Când afară-i ciripit de primăvară
Iar în sufletul tău toamnă e mereu
Înfrățește-te cu fumul din țigare
Şi te avântă pe aripa-i de mister
În regatul fără nume și hotare
Şi colinde prin oceanul de...

Aprinde o țigare!
Şi-n fumul care zboară-n nori albaștri ca un vis
Cufundă-te-n uitare
Şi lasă gândului cărare de abis

În fumul de țigare
Durerilor găsește tainicul liman
Găsește o nouă stare și dorului alean
În fumul de țigare
Ce se pierde în val



Cristian Vasile: Aprinde o țigare
(video by Adragnava)


(Les Troubadours du Temps Jadis)

Labels:

Mircea Barbu reporting from MH17 crash site



(The Romanian texts from Mircea Barbu Facebook page. I tried an English translation, that follows each Romanian text)



(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=687069681364520)
no copyright infringement intended


Sunt în drum spre locul unde s-a prăbușit zborul Malaysian Airlines. Armata ucraineană și-a sporit efectivele la filtrele de control din zona de est a țării. Câțiva soldați ucraineni mi-au mărturisit că așteaptă noi ordine de la Kiev, cu privire la modul în care vor răspunde la acest incident. Atmosferă extrem de tensionată, din nou, în estul separatist al Ucrainei. — la Nikolaev, Ucraina.

I'm on my way to the crash site of flight Malaysian Airlines. Ukrainian army increased its manpower in the control filters from the eastern part of the country. Some Ukrainian soldiers have told me that they are awaiting further orders from Kiev on how tol respond to this incident. Extremely tense atmosphere again in the separatist region from eastern Ukraine. - At Nikolaev, Ukraine.



(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=687463541325134)
no copyright infringement intended


(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=687463457991809)
no copyright infringement intended


(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=687463337991821)
no copyright infringement intended


La locul accidentului, undeva la numai câțiva zeci de kilometri în afara orașului Donețk, urmele zborului Malaysian Airlines sar în ochi ca o amintire sumbră a tragediei întămplate în urmă cu 48 de ore.Aici, printre lanuri de floarea soarelui, poți zări genți aruncate, scaune topite și rămășițe umane, împrăștiate pe o rază de 20 de kilometri. O echipă OSCE se află la fața locului. Anchetatorii oficiali nu au sosit încă, iar accesul în zonă este puternic restricționat de separatiști înarmați.

At the crash site somewhere only a few tens of kilometers outside the city of Donetsk, the Malaysian Airlines flight tracks glaring like a grim reminder of the tragedy happened 48 hours ago. Here, among sunflower fields, you ca see discarded bags, chairs melted and human remains scattered over 20 kilometers around. An OSCE team is on the spot. Official investigators have not yet arrived, and access to the area is heavily restricted by armed separatists.

(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=687341774670644)
no copyright infringement intended

Accesul la locul accidentului e restricționat. Am încercat să mă strecor de dimineața, dar am fost oprit de un filtru separatist la numai câțiva kilometri de site. Momentan în Donețk, încerc să obțin acreditare de la Centrul de Presă al separatiștilor. Toata presa adunată chiorchine pe o mână de funcționari.

Access to the crash site is restricted. I tried to sneak in the morning, but I was stopped by a separatist filter only a few kilometers from the site. Currently in Donetsk, I am trying to get accreditation from the press center of the separatists. All media gathered in a bunch over a handful of officials.


(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=687532017984953)
no copyright infringement intended

În aceste momente se desfășoară conferința de presă a OSCE în legătură cu zborul MH17: Nu ni s-a permis acces total la site. Ieri am fost intimidați de către separatiști, dar astăzi au fost ceva mai înțelegători cu scopul misiunii noastre, a declarat rep. misiunii OSCE în zona de est a Ucrainei.

An OSCE press conference right now, related to MH17 flight. They did  not allow us total access to the site, and we were intimidated yesterday by separatists. Today they appeared to be a  bit more accommodating to the goal of our mission, said the representative of the OSCE mission.



(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=687793691292119)
no copyright infringement intended


(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=687793691292119)
no copyright infringement intended


(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=687793691292119)
no copyright infringement intended


Misiunea OSCE se află în orașul Torez, la 20 de kilometri de locul unde s-a prăbușit MH17. Trenul morții transportă victimele accidentului în vagoane frigorifice.

The OSCE mission is in Torez, 20 kilometres from the crash site of MH17. The death train is carrying the victims in refrigerated cars.



(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=687801991291289)
no copyright infringement intended

Am deschis vagoanele. Da, sunt cadavre înăuntru, dar nu putem verifica originea lor sau numărul exact. E imposibil de intrat fără echipament special, a declarat purtătorul de cuvânt al misiunii OSCE.
Mergem în coloană spre următorul site al accidentului.

We opened the refrigerated cars. Yes, there are corpses inside, but we can not verify their origin or the exact number. It is impossible to enter without special equipment, said the OSCE spokesman.
We move with an auto column to the next crash site.

(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=688230277915127)
no copyright infringement intended


Obervatorii OSCE împreună cu o echipă de anchetatori olandezi în aceste clipe în Torez, stația de tren unde sunt ținute, în vagoane frigorifice, victimele zborului MH17.

OSCE observers together with a team of Dutch investigators in Torez railroad station, where the victims of MH17 flight  are kept in refrigerated cars.

Se trage în Donețk. Hotelul unde suntem a fost înconjurat de forțele separatiste. Victime la gara din oraș. Sunt în Torez, la o oră de oraș. Mă îndrept spre locul incidentului.

Shootings in Donetsk. The hotel where we are has been surrounded by separatist forces. Victims at the railroad station. I am in Torez, one hour to the city. I'm heading to the scene.

Un bloc de civili a fost bombardat acum câteva clipe în Donețk. Din surse neconfirmate, se pare că artileria ucraineană ar fi fost de vină.

An apartment building of civilians has been bombed a few moments ago in Donetsk. From unconfirmed sources, seemingly the Ukrainian artillery were the culprit.



(Mircea Barbu)

Labels:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kobayashi Kiyochika: Matsuchi Hill and the Taiko Bridge in winter

a view of Matsuchi Hill and the Taiko Bridge in winter,
looking across the Sumida River
with a ferry-boat in the foreground
signed Kobayashi Kiyochika. Published Meiji 29 ( 1896 )
richard 浮世絵 ukiyo-e, JapanesePrints-London
(http://www.japaneseprints-london.com/tag/kobayashi-kiyochika/)
no copyright infringement intended


A few words about the collection: Richard Kruml started dealing in Japanese prints, paintings and books in 1968 after studying architecture and then being a professional photographer for a number of years. He was the first dealer to hold exhibitions and issue catalogues on surimono and also the first to issue a Kuniyoshi catalogue.


(Kobayashi Kyiochika)

Labels:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Kobayashi Kiyochika at Freer: Sumida River by Night, 1881

Kobayashi Kiyochika: Sumida River by Night, 1881
woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Robert O. Muller Collection
Kiyochika: Master of the Night, exhibition at Freer Gallery of Art
(http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/current/kiyochika/)
no copyright infringement intended


Kiyochika (1847 - 1915) was the last important ukiyo-e master and the first noteworthy print artist of modern Japan... [or, perhaps] an anachronistic survival from an earlier age, a minor hero whose best efforts to adapt ukiyo-e to the new world of Meiji Japan were not quite enough (wiki)

On September 3, 1868, the city called Edo ceased to exist. Renamed Tokyo (“Eastern Capital”) by Japan’s new rulers, the city became the primary experiment in a national drive toward modernization. Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847–1915), a minor retainer of the recently deposed shogun, followed his master into exile. When he returned to his birthplace in 1874, Kiyochika found Tokyo filled with railroads, steamships, gaslights, telegraph lines, and large brick buildings—never-before-seen entities that were now ingrained in the cityscape (Kiyochika: Master of the Night)



(Smithsonian Castle)

Labels:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Nadine Gordimer

Nadine Gordimer in 1961
Photo: Alamy
(The Guardian: Nadine Gordimer, a Life in Pictures)
no copyright infringement intended


A NY Times alert came to my email a couple of days ago: the respected South African author and activist Nadine Gordimer passed away, at the age of ninety. As I was browsing the obituaries from some major media outlets (The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Washington Post, BBC, Al Jazeera, to name but a few), I was thinking at the peculiar way my first encounter with her name took place.

Several years ago I was looking on the web to find references about a jeweler from Johannesburg (Kurt Jobst). Someone on a web forum had a bangle crafted by Jobst and wanted to know more about him, firstly if he was still alive or not. I offered my help, and the first reference that I found shocked me (as I knew nothing about the man): it was about his funeral in 1971. This reference was from a library catalog consecrated to the papers of Nadine Gordimer: an annotation quoting a sentence of her about Jobst, that he gave Jo'burg some style. A bit later I understood that this sentence was actually the title of a foreword written by Gordimer for a monograph consecrated to Kurt Jobst. But, at the very beginning, it was the only thing that I had found out about the jeweler, and also about the writer. I didn't know virtually anything about Nadine Gordimer, previously to that moment, as I didn't know anything about Kurt Jobst either.That sentence was telling me a lot about both of them. You could feel an author of great quality behind such a sentence, and also a person of great quality characterized by such words.

Later I discovered more about them. Nadine Gordimer (that would receive the Nobel for literature in 1991) and her husband Reinhold Cassirer (about whom I would read years later another superb phrase - not coined by Nadine Gordimer this time, but anyway :) - that he had been an eccentric art dealer in a class of his own) were regularly invited by Kurt Jobst who enjoyed treating his friends with sophisticated dishes cooked by himself. I had the chance to make acquaintance with someone who had been by that time in their circle of friends, and who gave me a great description of their dinners.

Naturally this gave me the impulse to read Gordimer's books, and I promised myself that I would  start doing it, only time is always one's greatest enemy when it comes to fulfill such promises. Any small urgent task puts a delay to one's enthusiastic plan and then delay comes over delay and that's it.

There are several books by Nadine Gordimer at the English Bookshop in Bucharest, and each time I'm going there I can see them on the shelves, and the story of Kurt Jobst, the man who gave Jo'burg some style, comes again in my mind. That story and all those people who one way or the other had a role in it - and their whole world - this circle of friends from Johannesburg, part of the tumultuous history of South Africa in those years. And I feel again the impulse to read her, and to open this way the gates toward the complex and contradictory South African universe.

Well, last time I was the English Bookshop I bought one of Gordimer's books: The Late Bourgeois World. I would come back, very soon (hopefully:).





(A Life in Books)

Labels:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chaucer


Father of English literature, originator of English vernacular tradition, the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, this was Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343-1400); author, philosopher, alchemist, astronomer, civil servant, courtier, diplomat, bureaucrat, leaving his trace in each of these domains. To say of him that he was a man of many talents (which he was, indeed), would be a misnomer: because he was larger than life.

One of my childhood memories is of two books staying together on the shelf in an uncle's house: Chaucer's Canterbury Tales near Boccacio's Decameron. Understanding the importance of one of them nurtures your understanding of the importance of the other; and it nurtures further your understanding of their crucial moment in the European culture: they opened the gates of the vernacular; they liberated the flow of the modern age. We belong to their mentality, they belong to ours. Basically we are on the same page.

I was visiting the other day the English Bookshop in Bucharest, and that childhood memory came to my mind, as I noticed a splendid copy of The Canterbury Tales, a Wordsworth edition from 2002. And I considered the pros and the cons of buying it. As vernacular as it is its language, it is still very different from what is in use nowadays. Maybe it's better to find a good translation (as it was the book in my uncle's bookshelf).  Otherwise the risk is to try one page, to get lost after a few lines, to put the book some place among other books ejusdem farinae and to forget about it.

All this was true (and well experienced), while not buying the book would have meant losing great indulgements; taking it from the bookshelf every now and then, opening it each time at another page (that being the case with any book of sand, according to Borges - and this was definitely a book of sand) reading some lines, getting lost in its riches of language, enjoying the moment. I opened the book and looked at a few pages. Each tale was preceded by an explanatory text, a plot summary was provided, as well as scholarly bibliography. Many lines in the tales were having annotations to help understanding the old wording.

Look here, just a couple of lines at random:

Whilom, as olde stories tell us (once upon a time)
Ther was a Duk that highte Theseus (was called)
---------
[The Knight's Tale, page 39]

He conquered al the regne of Femynynye (kingdom; Amazonia)
That wilom was y cleped Cithea (formerly; called)
---------
[The Knight's Tale, page 39]

In old days of the kyng Arthur,
Of which that Britouns spekeen gret honour
Al was this lond fulfilled of fayrie (fairies)
The elf queen with hir joly compagne
Daunced fuloft in many a grene mede (meadow)
---------


I decided to buy the book.



(A Life in Books)

Labels:

Monday, June 09, 2014

Victor Eftimiu









(A Life in Books)

Labels:

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Nevasta şefului de gară

(source: Istorii Regăsite)
no copyright infringement intended

Îmi amintesc, eram copil şi am fost să văd Înşir-te mărgărite a lui Victor Eftimiu. Pe vremea aceea sala de festivităţi a şcolii unde învăţam era folosită de unul din teatrele bucureştene, era de altfel o sală foarte mare, iar scena putea fi pusă în mişcare să se rotească (am descoperit asta mai târziu, când nu mai era teatrul acolo, iar sala şi scena erau folosite de noi).

După spectacol am avut ocazia să îl cunosc pe autor, pe maestrul Victor Eftimiu. Fusesem împreună cu o prietenă a părinţilor mei, Doamna Paranici, care îl ştia de mult. L-am cunoscut şi pe el, şi pe soţia sa, actriţa Agepsina Macri. Iar ea când m-a văzut, copil entuziasmat şi covârşit de momentul pe care îl trăiam, faţa i s-a umplut de un zâmbet larg şi a repetat în faţa mea o replică - jucase în rolul vrăjitoarei aşa că era o replică făcută să ne îngheţe sângele în vine. În tinereţe o jucase pe Sorina în Înşir-te mărgărite. Acum erau amândoi în vârstă, mai târziu aveam să aflu de rolurile mari pe care le jucase Agepsina Macri într-o carieră artistică foarte lungă.

După câţiva ani mă aflam într-o vacanţă la Câmpulung Muscel şi am găsit în casa unchiului meu volumul de Portrete şi amintiri al lui Victor Eftimiu. Nu am avut vreme să îl citesc în întregime, dar tot ce am citit îmi readucea în faţa ochilor minţii imaginea maestrului din ziua aceea în care fusesem să văd Înşir-te mărgărite.

Dar nu era numai asta, Am găsit în cartea aceea personalităţi ale culturii noastre despre care nu ştiusem. În primul rând Octavian Goga, despre care Victor Eftimiu vorbea cu multă căldură. În anii aceia Octavian Goga  nu era studiat la şcoală, de parcă nu ar fi existat. I-am căutat apoi poeziile, care pe atunci erau fireşte numai in ediţii vechi, dinainte de război. Avea să fie introdus în manuale de abia când eram în ultima clasă de liceu.

Mi-am amintit azi de toate acestea, găsind pe Internet un blog în care este redată o povestire a lui Victor Eftimiu din acel volum de Portrete şi amintiri. O povestire în care sunt reuniţi Şt. O. Iosif, Octavian Goga şi nu numai ei. Călătoreau toţi cu trenul spre Craiova, unde Emil Gârleanu era director al Teatrului Naţional şi inaugura stagiunea cu Înşir-te mărgărite. Dar hai mai bine să las povestea aşa cum e povestită de Victor Eftimiu, şi redată pe blogul domnului Horia Dumitru Oprea:

Toamna lui 1911… Era director la Teatrul Naţional din Craiova Emil Gârleanu, iar secretar literar Liviu Rebreanu, pe vremea ministeriatului acelui om amabil, surâzător şi prieten al artiştilor, C. C. Arion. Pentru că era înalt, blond, cu ochii albaştri-cenusii şi foarte calm, Liviu Rebreanu fusese botezat, de către Gârleanu, Neamţul. Aşa i-am spus noi câţiva ani, până a murit Emil Gârleanu şi ni s-au despărţit cărările fiecăruia şi nu ne-a mai ars de râsete şi de glume.

Gârleanu îşi inaugura prima direcţie cu
Înşirăte mărgărite şi Rapsozii, un act inedit al meu, scris pentru această festivitate, o apoteoză a lui Alecsandri şi Eminescu. Un grup de scriitori au pornit din Bucureşti spre Craiova cu bilete galbene, oferite de bunul ministru. Erau printre ei Octavian Goga, D. Anghel, Şt. O. Iosif, Cincinat Pavelescu. Parcă mă văd în compartimentul de clasa I cu Octavian Goga şi Şt. O. Iosif, tineri cu toţii, Goga şi cu mine foarte veseli, râzând mereu, iar bietul Şteo – proaspăt rănit de o dramă familială, părăsit de femeia iubită, tot o scriitoare, care călătorea în acelaşi tren, în alt vagon, cu D. Anghel -, Şt. O. Iosif, trist, cu un surâs amar pe buze, cu ochii tiviţi cu roşu de atâta plâns.

Pe la Slatina sau Piatra-Olt, la una din ferestrele gării – probabil locuinţa şefului – o tânără femeie privea trenul şi-i urmărea plecarea cu melancolie. Şi-n ritmul roţilor, cu imaginea acelei tinere femei în suflet, am început să scandăm, câteşitrei – Goga, Iosif şi cu mine – poezia Nevasta şefului de gară…, apărută mai târziu, sub o semnătură triplă în revista Flacăra.





Nevasta şefului de gară
S-a îndrăgostit de-un călător...
interpretează Tudor Gheorghe
(video by Tudor Gheorghe)


Ducându-şi viaţa solitară,
Un suflet trist şi visător,
Nevasta şefului de gară
S-a îndrăgostit de-un călător.

Dar trenul a plecat, şi-n goana
Cu care monstrul a trecut
În suflet i-a lăsat icoana
Frumosului necunoscut…

De-atunci trec zile, nopţi de-a rândul
Şi trenuri trec neîncetat
Ea stă şi astăzi, aşteptându-l
La geamul veşnic luminat…

Şi trenuri vin şi pleacă iar
Şi nu ştiu rănile ce-o dor…
Nevasta şefului de gară
S-a îndrăgostit de-un călător!


Cincinat Pavelescu a propus însă un alt final, poznaş aşa cum i-au fost toate poeziile:

Şi trenuri vin şi pleacă iar
Şi plictisită-ntr-un târziu,
Nevasta şefului de gară
A deraiat c-un macagiu…



Am găsit povestea acestei poezii şi în ziarul Adevărul (redată acolo de Dorin Stănescu). Poezia a fost publicată (sub triplă semnătură, Iosif, Goga, Eftimiu, şi fără finalul propus de Cincinat Pavelescu) în revista Flacăra cu titlul În goană. O să o las totuşi aici cu tilul Nevasta şefului de gară. Aşa îmi place mai mult.



(Şt O Iosif)

(Victor Eftimiu)

Labels: , ,

Friday, June 06, 2014

Tony Hawks

Tony Hawks
(source: The Telegraph)
no copyright infringement intended

Tony Hawks is a British comedian and author who sometimes dreams changing his life and moving to Réunion, the French island in the Indian Ocean: the climate there looks ideal and he can speak French (so he would survive). That reminds me of a time when I was dreaming to spend my retirement years in some country south of Rio Grande. I don't know Spanish but I would love to learn it. My problem is rather with their cuisine: I tried several Latino restaurants and it was tough every time (so I wouldn't survive).

Well, Tony Hawks didn't move to Réunion, I wasn't south of Rio Grande either, life doesn't rewards dreamers. At least he traveled around Ireland (with a fridge in his backpack - it was a bet made at drunkenness with a friend), and to Moldova (to find all players from their soccer national team and challenge each one to a tennis game; another bet, perfected over four beers and a glass of whisky, while watching a match on TV). Sounds crazy? Maybe, but two books came out from these trips: Round Ireland with a Fridge, and Playing the Moldovans at Tennis. Both of them were later made into movies, too. Two books, two movies, and a special sensibility for the hard problems of Moldovan society. The guy decided to split the profits from his book on Moldova: half of it goes for philanthropic works in that country.

These are not his two only books. There is also A Piano in the Pyrénées, an account of his hazards and occurrences to find a dwelling in the French mountains. And there are other books, too.

All in all, Tony Hawks seems to be a great guy and I ordered today his two books on Ireland and Moldova; they should come to me sometime in July. I'm reading right now on the web an excerpt from Playing the Moldovans at Tennis. Mircea Barbu took him a video interview that was published in today's Adevărul. The video has Romanian subtitles and it's very interesting to watch.


(Mircea Barbu)

(A Life in Books)

Labels: ,