Thursday, January 21, 2010

My New Yorker is back! :)

I knew I was really, really poor when I, after more than 15 years, had to let my "New Yorker" subscription lapse over a month ago. I'd been looking at it online, but...not quite the same! Luckily, my mother took pity on me and, while I was home for Christmas, renewed my subscription. And I just got my first issue today -- Hoorah! Perhaps I'm overly appreciative after being deprived, but... I just looooved some things in there. The story "Trailhead" by E.O. Wilson, for instance. About a civilization's tragic last stand. (And the "civilization" is... an ant colony.) And I learned about Renaissance Man Neil Gaiman (author of "Coraline"), whom I regrettably had never even heard of before. And then there was this extraordinary poem, "Earthquake," by Aime Cesaire -- again, someone I'd never even heard of. But this poem is amazing; such rich, energetic language. (Unlike the tepid Merwin/Bly/Strand the "New Yorker" usually loves.) I've read it at least 10 times already:

EARTHQUAKE
by Aime Cesaire (translated from the French by Paul Muldoon)

such great stretches of dreamscape
such lines of all too familiar lines
staved in
carved in so the filthy wake resounds with the notion
of the pair of us? What of the pair of us?
Pretty much the tale of the family surviving disaster:
"In the ancient serpent stink of our blood we got clear
of the valley; the village loosed stone lions roaring at our heels."
Sleep, troubled sleep, the troubled waking of the heart
yours on top of mine chipped dishes stacked in the pitching sink
of noontides.
What then of words? Grinding them together to summon up the void
as night insects grind their crazed wing cases?
Caught caught caught unequivocally caught
caught caught caught
head over heels into the abyss
for no good reason
except for the sudden faint steadfastness
of our own true names, our own amazing names
that had hitherto been consigned to a realm of forgetfulness
itself quite tumbledown.

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His Wikipedia entry.

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