Thursday, July 02, 2009

literary ephemera of yesterday

The sneaky volume for work consumption: - I've finished a Penguin 60s vol of 4 Gabriel Garcia Marquez short stories - odd mix, the best by a mile was "I only came to use the phone", fantastic short story. In one of my dreams of old age, I will only read short stories. Why read the Trial or 1984 when you can get it all here in this story, and a bit better?

Anyhow, that's over, so now in continuance of the virtual Sweden theme, I'm reading a pamphlet about a local (Jämtland) geologistigen. I learned that the ground is still rising 7mm a year, and all about when Indalsälven was a bay, during the thaw at the end of the last Ice Age, and how you can know where the shore was at its highest point.

Back home, three booklets from Oystercatcher Press had arrived: Carol Watts, Allen Fisher and Lisa Samuels. Hughes is just knocking these out on his home computer and inkjet, I'm guessing, yet they are very desirable objects. I sort of scanned them, the way you do when you buy something that you don't really intend to read yet. This is just about the first time that I've read anything by AF. There was a crackle of electricity, vaguely portentous, and then I put it aside. Watts I already knew faintly from poems on the Internet - it's so exciting to know that a British poet writes like this - and LS I'm just a massive fan of, as you already know.

Last night, first I read more of Lindman's classic Nordens Flora, the grass section. I'll probably translate some extracts, and of the geology leaflet too. Fascinating the transformation of nature in a different language. Of course the species are themselves transformed, they look, grow, and behave different, but that's another matter.

I must have read something on the Internet, too, but I already can't remember what. is currently talking about Greenlandic literature. I went on the site and it looks like they would deliver to the UK, though I haven't tried this out yet. I also ran across a sort of site within Amazon that specializes in Swedish books/books about Sweden, primarily in English, - - the selection of books seemed rudimentary and random, but perhaps this will evolve.

Winding down for bed, picked up Selected Poems of Robinson Jeffers (bought for 10p at fete), which I was half way through, and finished it. Jeffers, with his private income and irritating way of taking the highest of moral high ground and of informing the rest of us that whatever disgusting things we did we'd soon be dead anyway, was clearly a total git (he would have been amazing in Big Brother), but the performance is compulsive reading, sort of car-crash poetry. (See the evasive way in which, by treating his stark truth-telling as "performance", I refuse to notice it.) He has some great, knee-saggingly brutal lines about the world wars, and some unforgettable (also brutal) ideas like the one about the lights of LA compared to sardines rounded up in a seine-net.

Finally, subsiding into sleep, read some of Eva Ström in Robin Fulton's trans of Five Swedish Poets, a book that always bores me to death and so it proved once more, but I keep nibbling at it.

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