El río

For me, Cafe Tacuba's best album is the double CD Reves/Yosoy (1999), even though Re (1994) is also brilliant. It's a masterpiece of rock music. And I associate the CD with a week spent in Mexico City in late summer of 1999 taking subway, bus, walking excursions into that universe. It was in Mexico City where I first got the ideas for poems that later ended up in my Caracas Notebook ms. A concern for the city as a person, an historical figure we read and suffer.

I've been to the same coffee shop in Caracas, Mexico City and Miami at different points in my life, transposed through each other's varying decades. Some of this is captured in Salvador Garmendia's novel Día de ceniza, his descriptions of downtown Caracas in the late 1950s, early 1960s. Reves/Yosoy likewise gives an epic scope to the city.

"28 días navegué por la orilla de un río
todas las horas del día sin descansar"


Translation as a necessary distance from self.

Finally read the LRB's essay on the Venezuelan mini-coup of 2002: John Beasely-Murray, "It happened on TV," LRB, 9 May 2002.

And this review of the Spender biography: Stefan Collini, "Stainless Splendour," LRB, 22 July 2004. (You can read it here.)



From the German of Hölderlin

Holy vessels are the poets
Wherein the wine of life, the spirit
Of heroes itself preserves.
But the spirit of this stripling
The swift one, must he not shatter,
Where it would comprehend him, the vessel?
The poet must leave him unattempted, as nature's ghost,
Before such matter the master becomes as a child.
Shall he live and remain in poetry?
No, he lives and remains in the world!


(Stephen Spender, New Collected Poems, Faber & Faber, 2004)

No comments: