Monday, May 30, 2011

Complicity of Celan in the Palestinian plight?

The post at Barbaric Document on Paul Celan's complicity in Middle East injustice somehow offends.

Is the author unaware of the little pogrom in Poland after the war's end?  That some 300,000 hid their identities and remain hidden?

That in the DP camps the western nations were complicit in the Zionist effort to redirect refugees to Palestine?

Where were they to go? Back home to Marburg?  Evict the new tenants?

Where were they to go? Alexandria?

Stalin's little Jewish republic in the far east of the USSR?

Where were Polish Jews to go?  Rumanian Jews (not yet "Romanian") ?  Hide behind non-Jewish names, cover names which may never been their own?

Why was the state of Montana not their destination? Or Paraguay?  Or Stalingrad?

Where is Galicia now?  Where was the Swabian Jew to call home?

Some tried: Frank never reached his destination in Marburg.  G. Husserl tried for some justice in Kiel.

And Sussana Ginzburg - a Ukranian Jew or a Polish Jew? Oh, I see, dead.  Nationality irrelevant if the corpse was not found.  And have I not mis-spelled her surname?

I have no answer: the borders of Europe were not about to dissolve; the Americans and Canadians did not want Jews.  At least not ordinary Jews.  Let alone Polish Jews. Ukrainian Jews.  "Rumanian? [turns to his uniformed colleague] Rumanian - is that more like Serbian or more like Czech?"

Never underestimate the ignorance of an immigration bureaucrat.

Of course, by the 1950's the high north of Arctic Canada was in need of "inhabitants" to justify a "border" between Russians and Americans ... "Any of your Jews good at spearing walrus?" [Canada paid compensation to those victims but refused to apologize.]
They lured in aboriginals from the south - into canvas tents in the highest arctic with no moose - yes, walrus as moose.

And who all was complicit?  Would a show trial or two help to clarify which artists are to be banned from the first union and relegated to the second or third artists' unions?  Do we campaign to snatch back the Nobel Prize of Symborska?

Note: neither of my paternal great-grandfather nor my maternal grandfather seem to have set much store by the border known at the 49th parallel.  My maternal great-grandfather may have ignored it and his father ended defending it while his maternal grandfather ignored it (while fearing the Sioux and preying on the Blackfoot ...)

When will I be invited back to claim my block of land or rock in the Orkney Islands?  In the Jura.  In Ireland.  In Blackpool.  Among the Swampy Cree of the rivers flowing into the western shore of whatever we will rename Hudson's Bay.

When will the Navajo south of Grants, NM, acknowledge me as a cousin and fit to share the water that I might view the pristine night sky above the ancient fields of lava of El Malpais?

And yet I share some of this - after learning of the deception Paul Ricoeur and his sometime colleague, Mircea Eliade.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

René Char

The work of René Char is missing from the NB public library system.

Why should this matter?  Well, there are bilingual editions available (quality varies) and perhaps he is important for Acadiens given their Quebec neighbours: consider what he says in Feuillets d'Hypnos about the French staff officer who laments the language spoken by Char's courageous maquisards.

He is not a Parisian poet so much as a poet of Provence.  Yes, I know, Aix is a favourite destination of the Quebec intellectual.  But all the same ...

Two nights ago I went to meet an Anglo-Irish poet at Alden Nowlan House at  One table in the Windsor Castle bar was speaking French during the hockey game. A woman stepped out onto the deck and said "Look, I can speak French, too" and began making noises.  It could have been a Russian imitating a Pole or a Ukrainian.

I keep hearing this kind of offensive drivel and noise-making here and there around this officially bilingual town - and in this, Canada's only bilingual province.  And when will I hear an Acadienne imitate an NB anglo here in "Arcadia"? Will it be among Australian graduate students at UNB?  I think not.

Is the answer to require Canadian schools to teach that Norman French forms a large part of our English vocabulary - and that the largest part of that came from Latin Rome?  That the French were Franks? ( Is Germanic ancestry still the dominant ethnic origin of "English" Canadians? Does it remain so for "whites" in the USA?)  Or are we to concede to ethnic loathing?

Should foreign students be required to take at least one course on Canadian history to obtain a graduate degree from one of our universities?  Is UNB finding and funding graduate candidates from "la Francophonie" as much as from the Commonwealth?

As to the absence of Char: I have noted elsewhere how deficient the New Directions bilingual edition of Char is -  but better that than nothing.

And here in Fredericton, where is the monument or plaque to commemorate the burning of those Acadian homes on these fashionable streets? (Shades of another quiet university town filled with tourists in summer: Marburg in Lahntal.)  The Marburg of the students Eliot and Pasternak.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ximena Gautier Greve

I found these four calaméo links for e-books by Chilean poet Ximena Gautier Greve:

Réquiem por Chile
Chile mon amour
La Rama Quebrada o Pasión del Destierro
Unidas por la Sangre - Antología poética ilustrada

All can be read on-line as paginated books using Flash in your web browser.

[from a suggestion by Nela Rio and Joe Blades, May 14, 2011 Fredericton NB "Word in the World" poetry reading]