October 15, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Oliver Sacks: The Island of the Colorblind

But the Eden of lost childhood, childhood imagined, became transformed by some legerdemain of the unconscious to an Eden of the remote past, a magical “once,” rendered wholly benign by the omission, the editing out, of all change, all movement. For there was a peculiar static, pictorial quality in these dreams, with at most a slight wind rustling the trees or rippling the water. They neither evolved nor changed, nothing ever happened in them; they were encapsulated as in amber. Nor was I myself, I think, ever present in these scenes, but gazed on them as one gazes at a […]
October 9, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Mario Vargas Llosa and Notes on Latin American Literature

  “The lies in novels are not gratuitous — they fill in the insufficiencies of life. Thus, when life seems full and absolute, and men, out of an all-consuming faith, are resigned to their destinies, novels perform no service at all. Religious cultures produce poetry and theater, not novels. Fiction is an art of societies in which faith is undergoing some sort of crisis, in which it’s necessary to believe in something, in which the unitarian, trusting and absolute vision has been supplanted by a shattered one and an uncertainty about the world we inhabit and the afterworld.” —Mario Vargas […]
October 6, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Poetry: X. J. Kennedy and Kelli Russell Agodon

The Purpose of Time is to Prevent Everything from Happening at Once X. J. Kennedy Suppose your life a folded telescope Durationless, collapsed in just a flash As from your mother’s womb you, bawling, drop Into a nursing home. Suppose you crash Your car, your marriage—toddler laying waste A field of daisies, schoolkid, zit-faced teen With lover zipping up your pants in haste Hearing your parents’ tread downstairs—all one. Einstein was right. That would be too intense. You need a chance to preen, to give a dull Recital before an indifferent audience Equally slow in jeering you and clapping. Time […]
October 2, 2010

Musings on Reading, Unreading, Rereading

  Another month just folded, another one is unfolding, and between them are books bought, hoarded, and yet remained unread. One of the recent purchases was Octavio Paz’s On Poets and Others—a collection of personal and critical  essays juxtaposing poets’ lives—the mundane side—as well as their respective writings and styles. His personal encounter with Robert Frost, which was the first presented in the collection, made me contemplative about my compulsive buying disorder—solely applicable to books, I might say. Robert Frost wot that we should only read few good books. The beauty, art of reading, he said, lies in rereading—which shares […]