Friday 7 March 2008

A thousand words

Colette arrived yesterday, Thursday. I have to say the day because the blog is on the wrong date and I haven't got time to sort it out, I have given myself 20 min a day to write this blog, why do I think that Hinemoana would say, Far too long, do it in less. And I probably could too, so shall try.

Reading the Polish poet, still can't remember her name, looking at the adjectives - not many - and the comparisons, and more than anything marvelling at the depths she achieves in her writing. A poem that resonated with me, called Home, 11 lines, 2 adjectives, one of which is a number ( seven walls). The words are all simple - an eight year old would understand them, they belong to Elef milim.

One thousand (elef) words (milim) is the number of words taught a new immigrant upon their arrival in Israel, with which he or she can talk to anyone about matters of every day life.

Wislawa Szymborska (I ran to the bedroom to get the book from beside my bed) - Wislawa uses elef milim words in preference to others, except for three in this poem: 'homeostasis' and 'megagalactic cosmonautics'. The poem is about home and the mundane - she writes about an astrophysicist who "For now [...] has curled up and gone to sleep."

My favourite reading remains prose writer Julian Green, comparing the craft of writing a novel to watch-making, the problem being that you cannot explain a novel by taking it apart:

"A good novel is a living organism and when you take a living organism apart and put it back together again, all you have is something dead."

Taking only one sentence from the paragraph does not do his writing justice.

It's from The Apprentice Writer, Essays, published in 1987 by Marion Boyars (London & NY), and it is a translation. No translator's name, so I imagine that he translated it himself. Who better. He was still alive in '87. Shall check him up on Wikipedia.

Wislawa's book is View with a grain of sand. (A grain of salt?) . I've mentioned the bibliographic details earlier.

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