La ciudad ausente

Read Ricardo Piglia's sci-fi/detective novel La ciudad ausente (1992). Piglia identifies a condition of the postmodern Latin American city, not quite a paranoia but a sense of dread or tragedy. Rereading parts of Dalton's Pobrecito poeta que era yo, imprecise dates of composition and publication reflect the already fractured form of the novel. A polemic on Salvadoran identity, variations of it in each of the five books and in the "Intermezo apendicular," a penultimate section of eclectic addendums or footnotes. In Book IV, we read the journal of a young poet toasting New Years Eve in San Salvador, with a dark and anarchic humor. (Dalton's incursions into psychedelia, what Guillermo Cabrera Infante so masterfully amplifies in Tres tristes tigres. Both novels explicitly countercultural within their 1960s contexts.)

"Por mi parte le deseo feliz año nuevo a todo el mundo. A los comunistas, a los curas, a los oligarcas, a los escritores derechistas norteamericanos, a los poetas maricones de Senegal, al Circo Barnum and Bailey, a los heroicos recoleccionadores de hongos alucinantes de Oaxaca." (326)


Adam Yauch on Pink Floyd's Live at Pompeii:

"Well the Pink Floyd one, it has no audience in it. Or maybe you can imagine that the audience is ghosts. I don’t know. And the camera movement is very deliberate, very slow. And the editing is slow to non-existent, like it will just let a shot play for five minutes. As long as the roll of film probably rolls. Or sometimes they do some cutting with the beat that’s interesting."


At the great reading by Sean Cole and Edmund Berrigan recently in Cambridge, during one of Berrigan's songs I heard: "...just like Rubén Darío..." Will finish Isherwood's The Berlin Stories soon, noticing the confluences between his anecdotes and Edward Upward's short stories. The individual amidst a societal collapse. The parallels between Germany in the 1930s and aspects of Venezuela recently. Or, how the writer is often that seemingly-neutral element ("I am a camera...") that threatens most types of authority. Prose that is self-consciously autobiographical, concerned with material consequences.

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