Tuesday, November 25, 2008

As Faulkner laments , Neruda explains & Co

Since I am still trying to grasp the meaning of racism in America ,upon hearing so many discussions about race recently, I (re)turned to a book that had once made its imprint on how I perceived racism. For it was not the fear of allowing his sister to marry into bigamy or enter an incestuous relationship, but the fear of mixing races that determined Henry to commit the murder. And the demon that was exorcised through those men's blood and all those women's tears was not the Sutpen whom had built his dream house on the hundred acres by Jefferson and lost it - but the Sutpen in each of us. The pragmatism that becomes moral code when lack of scruples is courage and shrewdness is intelligence (and bigotry becomes religion)...

Of course, I am talking about "Absalom, Absalom " that I had recently finished reading in English and that kept me mesmerized for weeks. However I will say no more about Faulkner or his books (again there is probably nothing I could say that had not been said before) - just read the book. And if this is when you read Faulkner for the first time, I promise you that at the end you won't be surprised to find that he wrote poetry as well.

Two books of poems and one novel are waiting on my short list :

Milan Kundera's unbearable lightness of being , Anne Ranasinghe's not even shadows and a selection of poems in which Pablo Neruda explains a few things.

On the long list is Paul Squire's puzzle book (1) , Faulkner's sound and fury and last but not least Salman Rushdie's satanic verses. Now I shall probably mention that I had read both Faulkner and Rushdie before, but not in English - and given the complexity of language ( and its beauty ) I expect to have a very, very busy holiday season... just in case somebody is missing my blogging and wondering what I am busying myself with...
For what I really wanted to share with you was the excitment of discovering these books:

"And I, tiny being

drunk with the great starry


likeness, image of


felt myself a pure part

of the abyss.

I wheeled with the stars.

My heart broke loose with the wind."

as Neruda explained the liberating power of poetry.

and Anne Ranasinghe (beyond even the shadows of memory):

" Rarely, when everything concurs, I find the moment

that calibrates the edge of joy and longing

and so I make a poem, and then am surprised

that what I write is hardly what I pondered

yet somehow states a truth I did not know I knew." (2)


(1) Paul's blog here :
Gingatao .

(2) More about Anne Ranasinghe


Anonymous said...

nice how the neruda quote exemplifies how wonderful neruda is while also showing how you feel!

if and when you figure out racism in america, please put me on your needs to know list. i can't even figure it all out in my family...

Annamari said...

If I figure it out , I'll add you to the list...

For now, all I got for you is Faulkner...

Anonymous said...

Those are beautiful poems fron Neruda. So full of light. Your reading list looks fascinating and I miss you in bloggoland.

Annamari said...

ah!Paul -but the second peom is not Neruda. I have to edit and leave more space between them...

Anonymous said...

Oh so it isn't. Sorry, I wasn't paying enough attention. It is a wonderful poem about poetry and describes a phenomenon that I experience quite a lot. Sometimes the writing of the poem is the discovery of the thought rather than an articulation. But the poem says it much prettier.