Friday, January 27, 2012

A slabbed-down mass of tabbage

1. Robert Walser's story "Good morning, Giantess" (NYRB classics tumblr). I esp. liked this:
Cold and white the streets lie there, like outstretched human arms; you trot along, rubbing your hands, and watch people coming out of the gates and doorways of their buildings, as though some impatient monster were spewing out warm, flaming saliva. You encounter eyes as you walk along like this: girls’ eyes and the eyes of men, mirthless and gay; legs are trotting behind and before you, and you too are legging along as best you can, gazing with your own eyes, glancing the same glances as everyone else.
Cf. Chaucer:
 Hold up thy tayl, thou Sathanas!' quod he;
`Shewe forth thyn ers, and lat the frere se
 Where is the nest of freres in this place!'
 And er that half a furlong wey of space,
 Right so as bees out swarmen from an hyve,
 Out of the develes ers ther gonne dryve
 Twenty thousand freres on a route,
 And thurghout helle swarmed al aboute,
 And comen agayn as faste as they may gon,
 And in his ers they crepten everychon.
2. Puritan names. Going around on the internet, but e.g. Helpless Henley, Wrestling Brewster, Faithful Teate, Magnyfye Beard, and Unfeigned Panckhurst are almost reusable.

3. John Burnside's poem "The Good Neighbor." (Previously noted: "Late Show.") Burnside won the T.S. Eliot prize this year, annoyingly the new book isn't out in the US yet, but there's a Kindle edition (!), which I suppose I'll have to buy.

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