The search for Cesárea, a #reading of “The Savage Detectives”, Roberto Bolaño

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Roberto Bolaño” by FarisoriOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

From the Golden Fleece to The Two Towers, from the Holy Grail to Heart of Darkness, great works of world’s literature are often stories of quests. So goes for Roberto Bolaño‘s masterpiece, The Savage Detectives, which follows two young poets, Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, in their odyssey in search for the mythical Cesárea Tinajero, great priestess of the “Visceral Realists”.

We follow them, often under the bemused eyes of Juan García Madero, seventeen when he joins the visceral realists (no initiation ceremony), from the streets of Mexico City to the Sonora desert, via Chile, Nicaragua, California, Barcelona, Rome, Angola, Sierra Leone, and other places in history, meeting biblical whores, murderous pimps, corrupt policemen, incorruptible generals, and, of course, lost poets.

This is a story of poets, fugitives, witnesses… perhaps apostles? Its roots are in the horror and miracles of a continent, steeped in literature and death.

“Bolaño,” writes his translator, Natasha Wimmer, “took seriously the idea of literary immortality – never more than when he turned it into a joke. Failed writers are frequent characters in his stories and novels; so are lost writers, whose legacy must be preserved. In ‘Photographs’, the only published story in which Arturo Belano reappears, he comes upon a kind of illustrated encyclopaedia of forgotten French poets from the 1960s and ’70s. As he looks at their pictures and reads their biographies, remote and irrelevant now, he sees a line of birds on the horizon, ‘an electrocardiogram that flutters or spreads its wings in expectation of their death, thinks Belano, and then he shuts his eyes for a long moment, as if he’s thinking of crying with his eye closed.'”

Geography is equally important for Bolaño, who describes meetings, encounters, love affairs and murders with a careful labelling of time and place: “Rafael Barrios, in the bathroom of his house, Jackson Street, San Diego, California, September 1982.”

I went on to read “Distant Star”, and hope to read “2666” soon. An important writer, a genial novel.

Hannah Silva – Forms of Protest

Forms of Protest…

Dave Poems.

Full disclosure: Have seen Silva perform live once. She was pretty great!

Review: Silva’s poems are unlike anything I’ve read. As the video above (and this podcast, absolutely required listening) demonstrate, Silva’s physical voice is central to her aesthetic, removing it a huge risk; the formal aspect of the work is an integral part of the complicated and angry messages that the poems present. Her background in music, theatre and sound poetry inform Forms of Protest from the foundations up, and that the poems’ technical intricacy and often dispassionate removes are transferable to the page at all is a remarkable achievement. That so many successfully convey their political anger and emotional precision is a large part of what makes Forms of Protest a valuable book.

3 KS

The poems themselves are remarkable for the relative absence of the poetic ego. Only one poem, a startlingly frank snapshot of adolescent life at…

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#AtoZAprilChallenge: Yesterday

Science may one day shatter the mystery of time, and with time, most of our delusions. When was yesterday? And why should today, tomorrow, be different from yesterday? As often, the answer to such questions is better found in poetry.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay
oh, I believe in yesterday
Suddenly I’m not half the man I used to be
There’s a shadow hanging over me
Oh, yesterday came suddenly

Why she had to go?
I don’t know, she wouldn’t say
I said something wrong
Now I long for yesterday

Yesterday love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Why she had to go?
I don’t know, she wouldn’t say
I said something wrong
Now I long for yesterday

Yesterday love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Songwriters
LENNON, JOHN / MCCARTNEY, PAUL

Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Morning poetish thoughts and paint

A place to rest…

Expressions of my life - An evolution of art.

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What heart yonder, falls
so gently in this field.
Soft as Lilly petals and
sweet as jasmine
On the vine.

Such gentle curves give
The soul a place to rest
The mind a place to race
And the heart a home all it’s own

With the voice of an angel
Does she call my name from
The night sky.
Scribed by stars with auroras
robe to warm her silken wings.

How can one smile
One gentle touch
Give the heart
Such murmur and rested peace

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Benjamin
2013

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