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beverley bie brahic's Blog

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Jan.23.2010
cheer.jpeg
In the mailbox a check.  $100 for a poem—translation—published in a magazine, months ago.  Last year.  Unexpected.  But heartening.  Why?  After all, check or no check, the poetry factory goes on turning out poems and three meals a day appear on the table (don't ask), and the bottle of wine. It...
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Jan.22.2010
"Only a man harrowing clods / In a slow silent walk / With an old horse that stumbles and nods / Half asleep as they stalk"... that's the exact beat of the rain coming down, I thought, hearing Hardy rattling around the kitchen of my mind--making coffee?--as I woke this morning.    A week...
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Jan.21.2010
Soft, steady rain. It drips through the redwoods. The world says "Stay in your cave, little human being.  Build a fire.  Maybe you could paint a picture on the wall.  Good thing you gathered all those huckleberries last summer."  
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Jan.18.2010
What is it about rain?  I wake up, extract my ear plugs (there was a party at the student dorm across the street last night) and bliss!  it's pouring rain.  Now, three-quarters of an hour and two cups of tea later, it is still pouring. I watch drops pelt the roof of the carports, sparkly, they...
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Jan.09.2010
Carl Spitzweg, The Bookworm.jpg
Every now and then I am driven to confess my reading habits, which, long before the internet, have been those of a surfer.  This necessity for stock-taking confronted me this week when I began auditing two seminars, one on Calvino, the other on French literary theory.  I look at the reading lists...
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Jan.01.2010
Chardin
It is a glum day for California, but happy 2010 all the same.  Puddles of rainwater on the tarpaper roof of the condo carports; the birches, which don't in any case like coastal California weather (my mother claims birches only like Saskatchewan and should never be planted anywhere else, and my...
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Dec.23.2009
It comes to me, feeling brim full of seasonal cheer, and wondering how to end a message  to someone whose religious, or pagan, roots and convictions I am unaware of, how, some years ago when I was teaching at the British School of Paris, I overheard an administrator ask Muslim pupil what her...
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Dec.21.2009
Poems 1960-2000 by Fleur Adcock
Fleur Adcock has poem somewhere about our propensity to wake up in the middle of the night and think about the bad things.  She consoles herself (in the poem) that "worse things could happen," and then "all the worse things came and stood at the foot of the bed," or (better)...
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Dec.16.2009
Columbia University Press has just written to say that they have nominated my translation of Julia Kristeva's This Incredible Need to Believe, published in October, for the French-American Foundation Translation Award.
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Dec.10.2009
Says the New York Times this morning: "the average American" consumes circa 34 gigabytes of data" along with her breakfast cereal (sugared), lunch pbj, dinner burger, the said data including an estimated 100,000 words. Tolstoy's War and Peace contains 460,000 words, according the...
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Dec.08.2009
A friend writes on his blog about how "wretched paper" has preserved all the poetry of the past, and suddenly I recall a moment, years ago, when I was teaching school in Ghana, as a CUSO (the Canadian answer to VSO or the Peace Corps) volunteer.   I was sitting in a mammy wagon in Kumasi...
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Dec.02.2009
(December 1, over Scotland, heading for the southern tip of Greenland.)  I note this last night in Calvino (Le Città Invisibli )on a piece of blue paper from the bedside notebook :  the “invisible thread that binds one living being to another for a moment and then comes undone.”  I tear it out of...
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Nov.29.2009
And what is this sick feeling I get, right now, shelving the books from my bedside table (four pieces of bamboo, pleasantly assembled) in preparation for shifting my life back to the other continent:  Theocritus, Hecht, Larkin--there they go, slotted into their places on the bookshelf--and the...
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Nov.29.2009
PS
My path crossed the three nuns-in-habits again, when I popped into Monoprix on the Bd St Michel for groceries on my way home from the gym:  there they were, Petites Soeurs des Pauvres, gathering unperishables for the homeless.  Still smiling.
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Nov.27.2009
Sighted in the Luxembourg Garden:  une dame d'un certain âge, maybe even d'un âge certain, breaking all the speed limits in a motorized wheelchair; a twelvish-year-old with an acoustic guitar practicing to be a rock star; three chipmunk-cheeked, smiley-faced nuns-in-habits from the former colonies...
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