the eye drinks, doesn’t merely see
the eye grows quicker than the finger
achieves negative exploits
and even positive ones, agreed!
the eye perceives all around the hand of God
like silk the eye caresses things
man dies seated
upright or stretched out on earth hands crossed
feet in front and body stiff
life steals away like a thief
from The Nomads, My Brothers, Will Drink from the Big Dipper translated from the French by Nancy Naomi Carlson for our new issue
"My truth, my "I," which, whether I like it or not, contains my homosexuality, my writing, both published and forthcoming, it is for you. It is important for me that you listen in turn. I need you to know that I am like you. Not in the same revolt as you but, like you all the same.
It’s you I want to convince.”
This Gay Pride weekend, read and share Abdellah Taia's groundbreaking open letter: “Homosexuality Explained to My Mother”
I don’t always go alone to the bottom of my self;
Quite often living captives keep me company.
Those who have stepped inside my cold caverns,
Are they sure that they can ever leave again?
Like a sinking ship I pile up in my night
Pell-mell all the passengers and sailors,
Then I turn off every cabin’s light;
The great depths will soon become my friends.
translated from the French by Patricia Terry
"Suddenly I had the desire to know and understand earthly things. Now I saw in the mirror the trembling, transparent image of panpipes and goblets and high-pointed hats and faces, cool with sinuous lips, and the obscure meaning of objects appeared to me.”
— Marcel Schwob
Asymptote Blog has embarked on a translation project to publish serially English translations of a hallucinatory French work “Mimes” by Marcel Schwob (1867-1905).
Schwob’s “Mimes” was translated into English by A. Lenalie in 1901, but we’re doing it a little differently at our blog by crowd-sourcing our translations, inviting a wide range of styles, approaches, media, and interpretations as is evident from the first three installations: Prologue & Mime I; Mimes II & III; Mimes IV & V
Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar (1951)
translated from the French by Grace Frick in collaboration with the author
Dominique Hervieu starts dancing again to explain years of work. We are suddenly silent. No church, no church will ever do it
That dizziness filled with hope
Then she sits back down
Time for redness under the eye.
(translated from the French by Elias Simpson and Corinne Noirot)
Read the entire poem here.
The prurient nature of so many of these dreams (many of them involve fondling and seduction, and several end in coitus) is curious given that Eros is such a lacuna in Perec’s work. The descriptions of women in these dreams are unlike any I’ve found in Perec’s literature; his gaze is at times overtly masculine, even predatory: “At one point she gets up and unhooks her bra. Her breasts are swollen and purple, spangled with stains, or rather with hematomata from exceptionally voracious suction, prolonged and repeated. I am jealous of the man who did this to her.” Why did he not attempt such writing in other forms? Given his torment over the dissolution of his relationship with Suzanne, why did he never try to process the pain of a broken romance through literature?