To begin, thanks to Ernesto for the invitation to join his new collective blog, where I've just posted something tonight on a Will Oldham song I like. Reading this blog, besides being a musical education for me, seems like a way of getting to hear a fantastic group of DJs all in one room ("Talking shit about a mile a minute / Put the wax on the table and let the DJ spin it").
In his second book of essays, The Irresponsible Self (Picador, 2004), James Wood discusses Coleridge's relationship to Shakespeare and books, pointing to his "metaphysical" tendencies as a reader. Coleridge as a prototype DJ philosopher in his Biographia Literaria:
"But Coleridge was weak, too, and his writing, especially his criticism, represents a long struggle with his terrible ruderlessness, an entangled struggle with his own weakness, which he would elaborate into a philosophy and a theology of self-consciousness. This immense, perforated organum of allusion and enigmatic suggestion is powered by, and ceaselessly returns to, the question of the self, and how to escape it, sacrifice it, redeem it, and finally know it." (45-6)
I end up reading most of Wood's essays for his prose, regardless of who he might be reading, ennervating and dragging anecdote & bibliographic memory to magazine pages, on a monthly or bi-weekly rotation of mailbox deliveries.
The assurance and sustenance one gains from peers and the strangest of strangers. Family of words, writing about Martha Kornblith for a future magazine, what I must translate and what aspects of her voice I might hope to arrange as an introduction to her work in English. When she writes in the opening verses of a poem:
"Hoy termino de aprender
que no hace falta
sólo un íntimo comienzo,
la palabra conclusiva
que lo vincule
y lo enlace todo,
que para escribir un poema
(dulce y ahito recodo)
hace falta fundar
en las estrofas
un lugar donde permanezcan
(Oraciones para un dios ausente, Monte Ávila Editores, 1994)
My grandmother's frail corpse laid out abed at dawn with folded arms & open mouth, peyote colors pasted on beeswax, yarn wound for spirit above her bed, she was an Indian after all, even when I didn't accept her as such. Because somewhere between Annapolis and Florida (living alone in NYC in 1939, when Auden and Isherwood disembarked, this false stage) she took it upon herself. An homage to the diary I tore up angrily in London in 1982, we displayed her paintings throughout her apartment after it arrived, I've kept only one. She sat on the couch momentarily, her head surrounded in a glow (of words?). Whose words can only bounce off chronologically-filed images, no longer a voice, ashes in Buzzards Bay or at the Quaker graveyard across the street from the library.