Monday, August 25, 2014

Autumn in the city

About two weeks ago I smelled autumn  in the city and since then I saw chestnuts on the ground in the park, walnuts, acorns. Of course rain and slanted light among the trees... Leaves falling and two young chess players taking in the last sun of the day.

The clouds have been spectacular, not to discern faces or animals, just to see them move, just to see them and thinking of who will see this beauty after they have moved on...

Clouds move
from west to east
so what I didn't see
you will do
and then
the change
clouds from south to north
just clouds
quick and horzontal
no face formations
nor myths of celebrations
just clouds
and a horizontal
eye of a hurricane

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Clouds of Sils Maria

Clouds of Sils Maria is a wonderful movie which I happened to see because Andras Laszlo won some tickets from Radio Klara ( the classical and culture radio) for a special viewing in Antwerp. Juliet Binoche and actually all the other actors gave us their very best performance. I loved the movie because of ts layers of meaning and how to read them. The story is about an aging actress who is offered the role of an older woman Helena in the play she starred in as the younger actress Sigrid. She has to accept an award for the author of the play who on that very night commits suicide. A new production is planned and with her PA, Kristen Steward, the content and the way of performing the roles are discussed and different interpretations, aging, resiting the passing of time, reading in a totally different way what the play is about, kind of being stuck in the past interpretation of the younger actress she was.. Different options come to surface. For the older actress it is a harsh confrontation. So you have the 'real life' dialogs and the dialogs of the play she is studying. Both elements sharpening the relationship between  the actress and the PA. During a walk wanting to see the snake of clouds coming flowing through the pass the PA disappears... No clue whether she just turns back, commits suicide, falls, or is murdered... This is good, leaves open different readings of the interactions between the two women. The brilliant PA shows the actress how differently one can read the story. So reality, the play, different visions about acting and personal relations, it all becomes a heady mix. I loved the movie, I enjoyed the spectacular views of the swiss alps which also perform their role to perfection as all the actors did.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lucienne Stassaert and the translation of Emily Dickinsons poetry

Yesterday Lucienne Stassaert dropped in and after her visit I revisited some of her translations of Emily Dickinson. It is incredibly hard to translate Emily Dickinson's work since mostly she writes sparsely, just a few words - dashes - and deep thought. The difficulty in translating Dickinson's work is that the words she uses do double and often even triple duty. incorporating the resulting layers of meaning is sheer impossible. I admire Lucienne's reckless poetry and I see some of the traits of her own poetry showing up in her translations. Her double word formations really work as an enrichment of the language of her Dutch translation. Moreover Lucienne has created a free space of creativity and freedom yet still remains true to the great original texts.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tags, Graffiti and official art

I am intrigued by what people write on walls, in the case of the two first pictures on the walls of a prison.  The French one calling to put fire to the prison and the Dutch one saying Tear me down. Both with the anarchist A.

 This one I have read every day when walking the dog. I have thought of how to complete it, but recently I have decided it is just right. Without art we would have far less interpretations of art and we would probably be stammering in trying to explain stuff and say ehh... a lot. These three pictures are a kind of guerrilla art. In contrast to the beautiful poem by Paul van Ostayen on the wall of the local hospital. These two last 'interventions' in the urban landscape is in dialog with each other, almost the the ehh... as legitimation for the poem... And then on the long closed wine counter some one wrote: NOT SO SERIOUS...

Good advice...

Monday, August 4, 2014


A few days ago two America travelers visited me and shared their passion for petroglyphs. They travel each year to different locations in the USA to find the most remote, the most impressive of these old native American messages. Not withstanding their age they go in slot canyons, venture through crevasses, jump down a couple of yards, next to a deep ravine. They photograph each and everyone of them and later at home write an extensive report about what, where, when and how. They have already a huge archive. I share their fascination and have visited  some sites. Yet these people do scientific work and work hard at it. I just enjoy them, try to know what they mean and do protect them if I can. I even bought 10 acres of land because there were some petroglyphs on it. If you click on the picture you'll see some of my favorite petroglyphs in Chloride across from the murals...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cormac Mc Carthy. The road- All the pretty horses, Child of God and Outer dark

I had given The Road, a post apocalyptic novel by Cormac Mc Carthy to a friend of mine. When he gave it it back he said : it is sooo dark... After climate change a father and son walk through scorched America. The only thing moving are the ashes and the people looking for food. Violence and unerring humanity. It is shocking yet beautiful. So off to the bookshop I went and got myself All the pretty horses the first book of the Border trilogy. I am floored by the language, the precise terms for types of soil, potholes and other standing water, but also life and death, love and notwithstanding pain some men live by their own rather masculine honor code. He tells a grand and epic story, expressed in even grander landscapes reflecting the mental states of some of the protagonists. Pain, love, loyalty. My love of language made me circle the words I had never read before... quiet a few gems are to be found on each page. And yes the story of young men, kids almost and the trials and tribulations of first love... In a way this is a unique coming of age novel. I had read before Child of God, for me this was the hardest to read: the degradation, the grotesque, killing and preying upon people in normal situations like chance encounters in the woods, in stores. The images of East Tennessee show the depressed area and the de-posessed... Yet I go on reading mesmerized by the dignity of some, the touch of humor and the strength and mesmerizing beauty of his language. Mc Carthy shows the worst of a human being yet elicits compassion.
Just one sentence: The lamp in the floor gutters in the wind and the wind moans in th flue.
Outer dark begins with the birth of a child from the incestuous union between a brother and a sister. The brother takes away the child and she won't stop looking for it in the wild Appalachian lands around the turn of the century. Moving and chilling is this wandering to find a child. three strangers turn it into an apocalypse... It is quiet a read bringing redemption n a strange way as a kind of parable.

Blood on the moon and Cormac Mc Carthy and the rest of the West

I was tired, so I switched on the TV and fell in a western black and white movie: Blood on the moon. I watch in fascination. The type casting and what to show and what not  was a pleasant surprise and also the bar fight, or the more serious encounters of fists and guns. The beauty was that it was all shadowy, so the violence was mostly unseen, yet the "bruiteur", the person responsible for the sound, did a wonderful job, making us hear the punches rather than seeing them. Also the women were smart, had common sense and were strong willed. Of course falling for the drifter who gets involved in the local dispute between an Arizona cattle rancher and local homesteaders. These disputes till go on, less violently but about water there are still issue between ranchers and the local population. In this psychological western Robert Michum is doing a great job being the good guy with dubious principles, just as Robert Preston. It truly is a film noir, where Michum from starting as a hired gun against a cattleman, falls for his strong willed, intelligent, brave yet maligned daughter and so Michum turns out to be the good guy after all. Yet that was not all on my lazy day. I turned also to Cormac McCarthy's All the pretty horses. I am always impressed by his precise writing, circle the words I don't know in his text, his language being rich and wonderful. More about that when I have finished the book...