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Category Archives: books
i just heard the saddest bit of news. well alright, saddest is an exaggeration. but, upsetting nonetheless. encyclopaedia britannica will no longer be printed on paper.
i know, i know this is great news for trees and environmentalists everywhere. i’m not sure why i love paper so much, but i’m still unconvinced that kindles and ereaders are the best way of digesting good reads. i do think electronic viewing is fantastic for portability and volume. and if that encourages someone to read who otherwise wouldn’t have than by all means, please.
but as someone who has a history of maxing out her library card (25’s the limit!). i really love a good library. it’s an adventure where you never quite know what you might come out with. a search bar and trending topic list isn’t quite the same.
i can’t explain my old school tendencies but i think there’s something intangible but valuable in holding printed pages in my hands. there’s a different kind of interaction and discovery process that occurs with going to the library and browsing the shelves. a different kind of surprise whenever you flip through pages or start in the middle or end. i feel that there’s a loss of spontaneity with the online reliance. that there is less discovery of the stumbled upon and more of the crowd curated best of kind. i don’t believe that one is better than the other, but i do feel that the loss of the former is a bit disturbing. i’m not sure most people even realize how the way we interact with reading material is changing or stop to question how that changes what we’re reading.
i’ve just completed two small collections of poetry, one of which had sat for years, perched on my shelf patiently waiting for me to muster up the energy to give it its full due.
it’s fittingly entitled plenos poderes by pablo neruda. occasionally, when i’m feeling extra enthusiastic, i purchase the bilingual edition of books. historically, this hasn’t worked out in my favor (apologies borges), but this particular edition is quite slight and therefore seemed more possible. how easily size deceived me.
i averaged about a poem a day for 30 days. i would be exhausted after wading through my tenses, cheating with the english diction where my vocabulario failed me. occasionally, i would have to hide the right pages with my hand just to block the temptation and force myself to think through line by line, stanza by stanza. that english language, that little unaccented minx always winking at me out of the corners of my right hand.
many times, i would circle back and retrace passages as words evolved in meaning given their new contexts. like they were moving, changing addresses, adopting new styles and moods. is that a new haircut? did you lose weight? did things not work out with ‘o’, and is that ‘e’ i see hanging off your arm now?
in any case, neruda is exciting to read in english or spanish or in my case, both (there are worse things that linguistic infidelity). i can’t quite describe how it feels to read him — like i’m rushing forward and need to catch my breath. that life is short and emotional and excessively ripe.
he is delicious like a peach.
the second collection of poetry is also not natively written in english. monologue of a dog by wislawa szymborska who passed away recently. i actually also bought a bilingual edition – but given that it’s in polish, there was not the same struggle that existed with neruda. english was my only friend in this reading. in fact, i actually picked up and completed monologue while i was halfway through neruda to give myself a mental break.
she reminds me very much of kay ryan meets yeats and possibly a tinge updike in her sparseness and playful ponderance. there is a certain sense of wonder and she’s quite fun. i think i will reread this edition many times. often times i pick up a book of poetry and start in the middle or at the end or i put it on shuffle and almost certainly always, on repeat.
she is wonderful like a marble.
from the “mozart of poetry”…
I’ll never find out now
What A. thought of me.
If B. ever forgave me in the end.
Why C. pretended everything was fine.
What part D. played in E.’s silence.
What F. had been expecting, if anything.
Why G. forgot when she knew perfectly well.
What H. had to hide.
What I. wanted to add.
If my being around
to J. and K. and the rest of the alphabet.