In case you missed it, yesterday, Andrzej Sosnowski’s “Morning Edition” (as translated by Benjamin Paloff) was featured on Poetry Daily.
Here’s the full poem:
Garrulous mornings, dynamic
departures from the take-off of night,
mouths filled with words that snap
like a parachute behind the fighter
pilot landing on an aircraft carrier. Stop,
I think you misheard that. I think
it’s an Eastern European high pressure
area working on my nerves with signs
of sun beneath the still-closed
sluice of day, as the machinery
trembles before the grand opening
and the sun maneuvers toward the gates
already ready to enter, soar up, sail out
over the city with the dazzling pomp
of a heat wave. The rooks that spend
the night in the poplars in front of the house
have already flown to the fields,
but in sleep their dark racket was so very
talkative that I imagine it might be
possible to chat with birds
at some wild frequency,
head over heels, at daybreak,
because they run the same missions
at night as in the morning, so to hell
with the goggles and flight suit, let’s
file classified reports on the position
of enemies and friends on the Ocean
of Storms and the Sea of Vapors, the Sea
of Dreams and Crises, on the Sea
of Tranquility. How did the moon
get in here? And enemies? Let’s talk about
you instead: so what if you’re lousy
on the jump? You glide right off
the edge, where there is no end,
and it’s a long way down? Now
leapfrog: surely that umbrella
is a parachute? Sometimes
I’m afraid of this mumbling,
these words with missed connections,
from nowhere to nowhere, as if
my head shone ominously with lights
from a pinball machine, but under
whose control? Yours, or his there?
And do you remember Kloss? Ingolf
Mork! The inrun, take-off, flight
and landing: I go to the bathroom,
cold water, shower, splashes
of water like snow from under skis
and the head blown off the pint
into the faces of gawkers. I’d like
to jump that well, too. But something
doesn’t want to pass my throat
after the landing: could it be
that the night is dumbstruck, dazed
within me, speechless? Let’s
go get a beer.
Any poem is a good poem that ends with “Let’s go get a beer.” Speaking of . . .
Over the next few days, NPR’s Morning Edition is going to be featuring Chinese writers, as a part of their ‘China at 60’ series that’s looking at the history of the People’s Republic.
The 2004 best-selling book Wolf Totem is said to be second in circulation in China only to Chairman Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book. The author, Jiang Rong, 63, is an unusual hero for the country: a child of the revolution who became a democracy activist. His novel is a thinly veiled political fable about freedom.
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .