a blog with cultural bulimia.

Friday, November 21, 2003

dogpoet, cavafy, pessoa & insights

Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 08:54:04 -0800
From: Mr. DW
Subject: dog poet talks "new york and cavafy"
mildly uncanny: dogpoet
As you get to know it more -- and better -- the world shrinks to a ridiculous size. You now already half-jokingly expect to have slept with the ex of the guy you will meet tonight.
But, beyond personal connections, referencing are getting less original...
So, this week, there were (at least three) people thinking about New York and Cavafy at the same time. Some of these people know each other. Some will never meet. It certainly gives you comfort that you are not the only lunatic out there.

where is my tribe? where are my people?

dogpoet was one of the very first blogs I read and it fascinated me by the directiveness of its good writing and insight.
And he just gave me a few new insights:
WHY I love Pessoa and Cavafy (Fernando Pessoa is my favorite poet in Portuguese, more on him to come)
WHY I chose Cavafy to speak for me this week.
WHY I want to keep alive the possible; the diverging paths that I choose to believe lie ahead.

"And then I remembered an essay I had read on the plane, Lost Cities by Rachel Cohen, who examined the lives of two poets, Fernando Pessoa and Constantine Cavafy, who were clerks during the day and who wrote in the evenings. And I opened the book and read this aloud:
'Many of the fragments begin with the mundane: the account books, Pessoa's boss Vasques, his occasionally foolish colleague Moreira, the delivery boy, the clock and the calendar on the wall. Then there is the feeling of the office when the sky outside darkens in a storm. Anxiety comes with the storm, a sense of menace, and Pessoa is glad for the company of the office, the joke of the delivery boy, the protection and comfort of this undemanding company. This is the shape of his world in the day and it frees him for the night. In the evening, he walks the streets of Lisbon and returns home to write perfect crystalline meditations on depression, insomnia, nostalgia, memory, the city?s geography, anonymity, and mortality. It seems that this work is possible only in his straitened conditions. The city wanderings must have their dusty contrast, must play in relief.'
I read to find those writers who have tried to make sense of their cities, their solitude; writers who have found, in a particular arrangement of words, a world worth describing. I read to recognize this shared endeavor, because by reading I feel less alone, here along the margins of my own making. And I read for the romantic notion of the poet and the clerk. And I read this aloud to my friend, because I wanted to offer something, some proof or evidence of a tradition; as though by reading it aloud we could belong to the shared history of writers. And I read it aloud because I wanted to keep alive the possible; the diverging paths that I choose to believe lie ahead. And I read it aloud to extend and inhabit this tradition; each of us tied to the other through words; from Cavafy and Pessoa to Rachel Cohen; her words tying my friend and I together to that city, on that cold night, the sound of the wind outside her window a comfort before bed."