Contemporary fictionists will tell you that there are no heroes and villains, only men and women doing what they think is right (subconsciously motivated by a traumatic experience during their formative years, which they, now in their supposedly mature, conscious state, will re-enact and manoeuvre into their desired end — your friendly psychoanalyst might add).
Take elderly sisters Abby and Martha Brewster, who live together with their mentally challenged nephew, Teddy in a huge Brooklyn house. Inspiration hit them when not long ago, a Mr Midgely knocked on their door, asking for a place to stay. The man — old and without a family to call his own — found a refuge and incidentally his final resting place in the Brewster household, where he died of a heart attack. Teddy (convinced that he is President Teddy Roosevelt) concluded that Mr Midgely fell victim to Yellow Fever and immediately dug a grave for him in the lot.
"He sat dead in that chair looking so peaceful... [Martha and I]…
I'd been re-reading Don Paterson in the past weeks for a paper I was writing. I love him so much. He and Alice Fulton are my favorite living poets — edit: the only living poets I whole-heartedly admire. The poem below, the first time I read it, I literally gasped. It's been a long while since I've had that reaction to a text. I wish we could all know this kindness he speaks of.
The shudder in my son's left hand
he cures with one touch from his right,
two fingertips laid feather-light
to still his pen. He understands
the whole man must be his own brother
for no man is himself alone;
though some of us have never known
the one hand's kindness to the other.
Opera superstar Tito Merelli pauses midway through opening the bedroom door to eavesdrop on a hushed, rushed conversation between his wife, Maria and another man (who, unbeknownst to him, is Carlo Nucci — newest opera darling and boyfriend of his daughter, Mimi). Tito tarries till he confirms his great fear: Maria is having an affair.
This is not true, however. What Tito has witnessed are passionate gestures, words and escape stratagems taken out of their proper context and into his own unassailable betrayal narrative.
Ken Ludwig enjoys this game of hide-and-seek in A comedy of tenors, currently staged by Repertory Philippines under the direction of Miguel Faustmann. A Paris concert featuring the world's leading tenors — Merelli, Nucci, and Jussi Björling — is about to start in three hours. As farce would have it, Björling has to withdraw from the performance due to his mother’s sudden death, forcing producer Henry Saunders to hire his assistant-slash-son-in-law, Max (whom he has …
I received two books for my birthday (yay!): Zoologies by Alison Hawthorne Deming (above) and For the tempus-fugivites by Christopher Norris (below). The former was given to me by a vegan friend, so I couldn't help but ask him, "Are you trying to convert me?" The latter was given to me by my professor, and I was kind of flattered when he said it was something he could only give to a few people, since theory is hardly accessible, more so when argued in verse.
Dove right away into Norris's world of verse-essays. He offered a lucid introduction to his project and also reminded me that poetry is not just lyric poetry.
Some underlined bits from the preface: As hardly needs saying there has to be a constant interplay or tension between meter and natural speech-rhythms such that the two never perfectly coincide but set up an asynchronous counterpoint that again helps to stimulate ear and mind. (p viii)
[Norris paraphrasing Giorgio Agamben] Poetry just is, or is most essen…
The moon has been terribly violent these nights. It wakes me up at 3 in the morning. Pulling down the curtain doesn't do any good, because my curtain's too thin—you know how hot it is in the Philippines.
In other news, I am completely immersed in Seamus Heaney's book, Death of a Naturalist. The Play Way Seamus Heaney
Sunlight pillars through glass, probes each desk
For milk-tops, drinking straws and old dry crusts.
The music strides to challenge it,
Mixing memory and desire with chalk dust.
My lesson notes read: Teacher will play
Beethoven's Concerto Number Five
And class will express themselves freely
In writing. One said 'Can we jive?'
When I produced the record, but now
The big sound has silenced them. Higher
And firmer, each authoritative note
Pumps the classroom up tight as a tyre,
Working its private spell behind eyes
That stare wide. They have forgotten me
For once. The pens are busy, the tongues mime
Their blundering embrace of the free
I never understood remixes. My literary background had me believing in ultimate, untouchable forms. Any rework or editing is a step toward that final draft. Not to say that I don't enjoy a good remix when I hear one. But now that I think about it, I am fascinated by this open and pliant nature of the song—something counter to literature, in particular the tyrannical art of poetry.
Erol Alkan is making me think about it. Sometime in 2012, six years since its release, I don't feel like dancin' found its way to my player, looped for weeks. Five more years passed till I discovered Alkan's Carnival of light rework. What I heard was something subdued but exciting. How he stretched a pleasant moment, toyed with it, built on it. And when I thought it would simply go on for ever—which I didn't mind—he brought the best bit of lyrics out, leaving me with nostalgic aftertaste.
This month he shared a playlist containing songs in his "Reworks Volume 1" compilation. W…
I was so ready to order this shirt the moment I found it on Club 75 last year and to my great dismay, the online store wouldn't ship to the Philippines (wrote them a heartfelt letter questioning this unfortunateness).
See, I'm charmed by the understated design, the neutral color and the heavy word printed across the chest. It doesn't scream fangirl; instead it can be construed as a feminist performative — kidding, we're not going there. Thank heavens Justice has decided to sell their merch in their own website, but the better news is that they realize that they have fans even this side of the world.
Am really happy with the purchase and with Sandbag UK, the merchandise company handling the band's e-commerce campaign. They deliver fast and respond to queries with a personal touch. Five stars, two thumbs up.
Inside each of us lies a voyeur, furtively glancing at a stranger, wondering what’s underneath, if not imagining stories of their life from the little details available to us. Someone stands out in a crowd — because of his expression, because of her hat, because he reminds us of an old friend, because she acts like a character from a book.
Not many of us manage to get closer and so we remain a curious observer; yet some, who are ingenious enough, cut the distance. Self-described “artisan voyeur” Luc Fournol rubbed elbows with the greatest people of his — and to some extent our — time: Louis Armstrong, Pablo Picasso, Yves Saint Laurent, Ernest Hemingway, Sophia Lauren. As a photographer he captured images of these artists outside of a studio and in their own workshops and homes. “It is the subject who interests me. The technique is secondary,” he said.
Fournol had taken black-and-white portraits of icons of the 20th century but died before he could gather them for an exhibit. Now his f…
"Eating freely without being held back." Well that's the dream.
Thing is, I've learned how to do that—and have been doing that—since I landed my first job. The freedom that money and singlehood afford, I spend on gourmandizing. That quote, by the way, comes from the Japanese mini-series, Samurai gourmet, where newly retired Takeshi Kasumi embarks on a new adventure: figuring out what to do with all the free time in his hands.
"Why am I in a hurry to go home? I don't have to go to work tomorrow," is an example of Kasumi's many internal dialogues; and the focus on introspection while keeping a lighthearted tone is the show's unique charm. Its opening credits go, "This story is about an ordinary 60-year-old man"—and they mean it.
Other everyday struggles he faces are: mustering the courage to speak up to a rude store owner, asking loud diners on the next table to be quiet, and being himself, that is, eating pasta with chopsticks—and pairi…
What follows may undermine the pain of loss, of panghihinayang I suffered after seeing termites devour the spines and edges of my treasured books.
I say treasured, but in truth I didn't treat them as such. Those books were gone even before the pests reached them because (it hurts to say this) I abandoned poetry.
Lost Alice Fulton, Lucie Brock-Broido, Elizabeth Bishop, Luise Gluck, and Edna St Vincent Millay to termites. My fault or the world's?
— Razel Estrella (@fishpeep) November 30, 2014
Two days later, when I accepted that some things are filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster, this happened:
Knowing very well that trolls, bots, and fake identities are everywhere online, I double-checked if it was indeed Alice Fulton. My research showed it was her. So I followed, and in the same day: