Monday, September 07, 2009


Recently relished THE BRITTLE AGE and RETURNING UPLAND by Rene Char, Translated by Gustaf Sobin (Counterpath Press, Denver, 2009). It includes a really moving note in Sobin's Translator's Preface:
One can grow more in the light of another person's expectations, occasionally, than in that of one's own. I remember growing, assimilating, refining my own sensibilities, within the gaze--complicitous as it was paternal--of the poet Rene Char. He'd taken me under wing from my first months in Provence, and endowed me (as he would other people, other things) with exaggerated qualities. Massive in stature, he himself magnified, aggrandized, blew into luminous proportions, whatever his attention happened to light upon. And it lit, indeed, upon virtually everything. A butterfly might announce a thunderstorm just as much as a breeze, the body of his beloved. His universe was inductive, driven--alchemically--by an irrepressible will toward the transformed.

I love this story about Char. A century ago when I was young, I was lucky to have a handful of mentors with whom I once had such a relationship as Sobin did with Char. It's a nice contrast to how some other "established" poets behave. Like, I've also been approached a number of times by poets wishing to take me under hir wing (so to speak). But you can tell that -- even when s/he sincerely likes your work -- s/he is more interested in co-opting another (younger) poet into becoming part of the future positive critical voice for hir own work. (Oh I know you know what I'm talking about....let the backchannels begin!) I'm not bitter about this, btw (I think it's something to be pitied rather than to deride...we're all human), but I do try to stay away from that stuff. (I'm only sorry that such a history makes me occasionally wary/weary of meeting new poets in person...)

On to more positive stuff, here's my latest Relished W(h)ine List -- well, maybe it's to more benign stuff rather than positive stuff since, after all, check out that peach harvest (sigh):

14 bunches of yellow table grapes
37 bunch of red flame table grapes
2 bunches of Concord grapes (don't quite know how the Concords got into the garden)
32 green figs
11 black figs
41red cherry tomatoes
217 golden cherry tomatoes
194 red heirloom tomatoes
28 yellow heirloom tomatoes
4 peaches
5 artichokes (probably the most expensive artichokes on the planet)
120 green onion stalks
14 onions/scallions
92 strawberries
41 yellow squash
28 zucchini (2 the size of infants, 2 the size of canoes, 1 the size of my arm beneath the elbow)
315 basil leaves
75 lemon cucumbers
26 cucumbers
25 pepper leaves
14 green bell peppers
21 jalapeno peppers
30 mint leaves
30 yellow squash leaves

"DARK TIMES\FILLED WITH LIGHT": A TRIBUTE TO JUAN GELMAN (Special Issue of The Cafe Review), poetry/visual art/reminiscences Edited by Paul Pines (so special to have an effect on others as Juan Gelman did on many wise ones, from Pines to Claribel Alegria)

TINDERBOX LAWN, poems by Carol Guess

CANTAR DE MIO CORMAN, poems by Lars Palm

TO THE BONE, poems by Sebastian Agudelo

THE BRITTLE AGE and RETURNING UPLAND, poems by Rene Char, Trans. by Gustaf Sobin

THE RUSSIAN VERSION, poems by Elene Fanailova, Trans. by Genya Turovskaya & Stephanie Sandler

THE LOST COUNTRY OF SIGHT, poems by Neil Aitken

TEENY TINY #12, Aug. 2009, Ed. Amanda Laughtland (as always, an ever-lovely intimate space)

LONG LOST, novel by Harlan Coben

BODY DOUBLE, novel by Tess Gerritsen

GRAVITY, novel by Tess Gerritsen

LIFE SUPPORT, novel by Tess Gerritsen

LITTLE HOUSE BY BOSTON BAY, novel by Melissa Wiley

ON TIDE MILL LANE, novel by Melissa Wiley

THE ROAD FROM ROXBURY, novel by Melissa Wiley

A LANTERN IN HER HAND, novel by Bess Streeter Aldrich


1998 Dutschke St Jakobi shiraz Barossa Valley
2005 Joh. Jos Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese
2004 Claire Luce Abbey Roncalli
2005 Nicholson River Winery chardonnay
2006 Napa Cellars Zinfandel NV
1994 Ravenswood Wood Road Belloni zinfandel Russian Valley
1989 Ch. Cantemerle
1983 Dow
2001 Philip Togni cabernet
2006 Philip Togni cabernet
2006 Philip Togni "Tan Bark Hill"
2003 Philip Togni Ca Togni
2004 Dutch Henry cabernet
1970 Ch. Lynch Bages

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