Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jan Zwicky Bachelard

Jan Zwicky's Gaston Bachelard epigram* is from his Poetics of Space (La Poétique de l'espace 1957 ISBN 2-13-054444-4.)

The original, page 30, is this: [ scribd ]
Chacun devrait alors dire ses routes, ses carrefours, ses bancs. Chacun devrait dresser le cadastre de ses campagnes perdues.
Why 'then', "alors" ? Le chemin.  Page 29:
Et quel bel objet dynamique qu'un sentier !
cp: his La formation de l'esprit scientifique: ... and the Pléiade volume by Jean Piaget, Logique et connaissance scientifique, Encyclopédie de la Pléiade, 1967 with Hermann Weyl's Philosophy of Mathematics and Natural Science.

v.  La flamme d'une chandelle

In our day,the Saskatchewan chemistry textbook opened with a qualitative task: describe a flame. Forty years later, work in catastrophes, chaos, attractors and fractals brings us to an account of the typical isolated flame, steady, flickering, steady.

See also: Bachelard preface to Jean Cavaillès Sur la logique et la théorie de la science
cf Georges Canguilhem,
La Connaissance de la vie
Idéologie et rationalité dans l'histoire des sciences de la vie: ... 
Vie et mort de Jean Cavaillès
Études d'histoire et de philosophie des sciences 
cf Michel Leiris' "Judith", J.H. Van den Berg

* Robinson's Crossing, 2004, Brick Books (Shibboleth: can you say CC? But as to that other inscription, what would Ivan Illich have made of her use of Canada Council funding for support of her books of poetry? Did Arne Naess avail himself of CC? Consistency, that anarchical hobgoblin. On the use of the internet to sustain poets in subsistence economies, see the earliest proposed use of M.I.T. Curl web pages as pay-per-page and the possible survival of the penny as the web fractional penny.  millipenny ??)

The Bachelard in English as cited is:
Each one of us, then, should speak of his roads, his crossroads, his roadside benches; each one of us should make a surveyor's map of his lost fields and meadows. 
[ which continues with]
Thoreau said that he had the map of his fields engraved in his soul ...

The uncredited translator was M. Jolas

Note Bachelard on Bergson M&M in Sec VIII on the Intro.

The epigram is followed in the text of Bachelard by a quotation from a poem of Jean Wahl

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Art McKay's "Effulgent Image"

Naomi Jackson Groves said of Art McKay's Effulgent Image that it
has the mesmeric magnificence of some far-off sun a billion years of age
Was it Comte who was certain we would never observe the surface of a star other than our sun?

From the CPU heatsinks problem, here is an idea for ensuring that the fuzzy star is at its best when viewed through a Newtonian telescope: a fan.

see: astronomical interferometer, interferometry, angular resolution, diffraction limit,Wm Herschel,aperture masking interferometry,speckle interferometry

Arthur Fortescue McKay's technique, quote:
 [...] in 1997, Dr. David Howard described the painter’s  technique  as relatively simple. First, a layer of white  latex  paint was placed on  masonite  board. Then, using a scraper, McKay would create a rough geometric  shape  with a  series  of concentric lines or circles. Three dimensional  texture  was kept to a minimum [...]as any ridges of paint would be sanded or tapped down to maintain the two dimensionality of the geometric designs. The latex would be allowed to dry overnight before proceeding to the most important stage of paint application. (In many paintings a layer of another  colour  of enamel paint would be applied to create  colour  variation),” Howard notes. “The next day McKay would pour a layer of Northstar Stovepipe Enamel paint over the latex and then would scrape the  surface  again, very hard, from the centre outwards to the edge of the circle, square or rectangle being represented. The scouring of the  surface  reveals both the  latex  and residual enamel paint creating a materially flat image with extraordinary visual depth. (Howard, 2006)

Publishers Weekly PWxyz blog's most beautiful book of 2011

The 2011 most beautiful book of the year from the PWxyz blog of Publishers Weekly is the Vladimir Nabokov Pale Fire box set from Ginkgo Press.

which set comes complete with faux long-hand note cards.

Mine is on order through my local bookseller, Westminster Books of Fredericton.

Note: a small ginkgo tree can be found growing in town on the east side of University Ave. not far from Charlotte Street near a weeping copper beech.  Ginkgo are common in Memphis and were planted at one time near the entrance to the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Please find below an image of an Eocene fossil of Ginkgo biloba from MacAbee, B.C.

Note the cleft found in most Ginkgo leaves below:

[ images from Wikimedia Commons ]

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Romeo Savoie

I arrived at Ingrid Mueller'a Gallery in time to see the packing blanket about the Jean Rooney electric night over and along the Dublin Liffey.

For a while I sat filling note cards before Romeo Savoie's layered diptych, Fan IV. The the pair that form a companion diptych for me: two multi-media on paper, one with flowing black strands, almost a complex Kanji on a fond of rose and yellow with a grey-green, almost carrés, on a dull red, almost the pastel aurora of Fan IV, but there a palette knife left only edges of ochre  — and next to it, the "action" of whites and white-grays, a red stippling on grey.  Nearby, on a table, stood the small "untitled diptych" in a black frame two six-by-eight inch canvas panels, each dominated by white brush strikes, the inverse of Kanji, one over reds, one over a yellow stencilled beginning of an alphabet. The latter, a Kanji morphing from white to black through Möbius twining, twists from black to white.

The great Philip Iverson portrait of Elie Wiesel was not available in the gallery.  I did not ask to see the carmine and emerald piece.

Fan IV may be dripping stove paint from what appears embossed gold but what is, on canvas, an overlaid piece, divided, occupied by arachnoid figures, mirror of a figure. (See: Mirrors of Gold.)  The great blinded Zeiss Teleskop of the Sternwarte of Zürich has no gold mirror.

Fan IV may be dripping stove paint but a palette knife was at work, as was such a tool in Art McKay's Effulgent Image, also seen here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Facebook blocks Blogger post from Blogspot and Google

Facebook just refused to post a short link to my previous post on Elizabeth Smart and Rilke.

Facebook rejected this Blogger address as SPAM whether posted as public or "friends".

Is this the beginning of an assault on by Facebook?  An attack on Google?

Or a malicious "flag" raised by someone I stopped following recently?

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept

In a curious moment in By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, Elizabeth Smart echoes Rilke as
“ Who, if I cried, would hear me among the angelic orders?”

The Rilke text has Schriee which gives cry out or screamschriller Schrei would be shriek.

But here a curiosity: the Rilke echos schreibe or write which has curious twist in English where shrive, confess, is from the same verb but for the written assignment of a penance.  And then there is the scrivener.

Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn aus der Engel

A closer reading might be:

For who, were I to cry out, would hear me from the ranks of the angels?

For who — as in  So who — not For whom.

Do we cry out, if there is no one whose attention we might attract?  Do we not then scream?

Did the author choose this variant with care? Her title is not "At" but rather "By" — attentive or arbitrary?

cf: Psalm 137 and its mistranslations.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

kizuna as the "2011" kanji

Bond, tie

Compare: fetters ?
セツ   or  シツ  ?

shackles = ashikase or 足枷

See:    Ai suru.  Note: indigo = Ai  あい  or 

Cf:  amae  甘え  as psychological dependence and reliance upon another or others: あまえ and the parent-child bond.

v: The Anatomy of Dependence by Takeo Doi, M.D.
v: The Japanese mind: understanding contemporary Japanese culture by Roger J. Davies, Osamu Ikeno

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Wiesel Versions

There are two versions of Elie Wiesel's NIGHT: a Yiddish version (And the World kept quiet c. 1954) and the French La Nuit, 1958.

The liberation photo of Buchenwald creates a puzzle for the variant concerning the German girls and fiction.

Consider this: the witness, bearing witness under oath, is constrained.  The American troops had a word in their speech which returned in every second sentence.

What events occurred in the Weimar, Thuringen area post-liberation - events which might be tied to the Yiddish original?

Was it not a fiction that the burghers of Wiemar were ignorant of the nature of the camp in the years 1937 to 1944 prior to the arrival of Wiesel?

It was a common-place of the eastern regions that the women and girls feared rape and murder at the hands of the invading Russian troops.  Were they also starving in the Weimar region?

cf: facts and legend of Ilse Koch: what Wiesel heard of Ilse Koch after his arrival (her trial in Dachau was in 1947.) Did Wiesel know of the Weimar and Kassel Karl Otto Koch hearings for pre-1944 acts in Buchenwald by 1953?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ondaatje, Debolt and ‘The Story’ in “Handwriting / poems”

A few years ago Daisy Debolt told me that she would not be trying any lyrics from me as she was back working with Michael Ondaatje.  So now, after her death,  I went looking at what I had on my shelves and in stacks of paperbacks of recent work by Ondaatje.

I found myself reading ‘The Story’ from his “Handwriting”.

One problem of being a great writer is knowing when to rely on a good editor: this piece is surely jarring for anyone who has both close ties to philosophy of psychology and poetry and who has been present at the birth of children.

The poem begins with ‘a child’ but then falls into ‘Some are born screaming’.

I can attest that some are born furious, angry and, moments later, are loud.  But I know the sound of screaming — the badly injured child, screaming. You forget neither. It is not what is heard at childbirth. Some ER nurses say they know the ‘ectopic’ scream of women at dire risk.  Some are born as others hear the screams of a mother - or as others hear the scream of a father as efforts to resuscitate a mother cease.  Some were carried by mothers who screamed and what was heard was nothing as compared to what was felt.

But matters are immediately worse: ‘some full of introspective wandering’.

I stumble, reading ‘wondering’ — from what we know of reading, I am not alone.

‘introspective’ is one of those words that has a casual meaning and a valued meaning and should be used with care — it is a foreign word at great distance from our ‘wander’.  There is no need to read Husserl and Heidegger to know this.

Was he aware of just how flawed the piece is when he chose the title of the poem as prose?  We ignore an initial flaw: this passage was not annotated as ‘i’ when the next is ‘ii’. (The publisher is Random House.)  We ignore the flaws, wanting to get on with the story?

The notes say it is dedicated to persons (perhaps in Sri Lanka.)  But the note is appended to the book (my edition has it page 77.)

I believe that as lines of a song, both phrases would not escape edits by a singer: so my question is whether they both passed muster for a poetry editor or editors?

Who is really concerned about the poems of a great novelist?  A flawed poem is not so serious a matter as a flawed novel?

And we do sing flawed songs — some anthems take decades to find imperfect corrections.

One Tagore translator has said not to translate songs.  Nor are all poems lyrics.  But it is worth asking: how well would that sing?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tarantino Kubrick

For a few years I have refused to watch Reservoir Dogs. Perhaps to ensure that I would not do so on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, I saw it last night. What struck me was the connection to Kubrick's The Killing.

The one maps to the other not at all like quotation and not through obvious parallel ( I see now out on the web that QT is said to call RD "My Killing".)

But what is it - beneath, behind, at root  - to be struck with such a relatedness across two films which are otherwise so very different?  Is it the result of watching films as "types" - perhaps reinforced by serial television, by "westerns" ?

These links are not self-evident as "associations" - they seem to me to be based on my limited capacity to talk about film - itself a requirement for "intellectual" standing of any rank among avid conversationalists, let alone cinema mavens.

Perhaps it only strikes me so, given my struggle to recognize faces, and the embarrassment of familiar faces which prove to belong to complete strangers.

And then there is the resident of the Victoria, BC area, who has been my Doppelgänger these past 40 years  if brief exchanges with the few strangers who accost me first are to be accorded any credence.  Have we aged in so similar a manner?

Mercury 11.07

The Mercury logic-programming language — which provides Java, Erlang and C# compilations — is now available as 11.07 from

No binary downloads are available so *nix requires a GNU C build and Windows requires Cygwin or MSYS.

Both x86-32 and x86-64 are supported.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Daisy Debolt (1945-2011)

Daisy Debolt has died.  She passed away October 4, 2011 after a very brief illness.

We corresponded in recent years - she was a valuable source of encouragement.

One late summer evening in 1974 she gave a great performance in Regina, Saskatchewan at the old Folk Guild. Almost 40 years later it remains very memorable.

She is survived by a son, Jake.

I was enquiring of wikipedia why she was not on the list of Canadian musicians when I happened to go from her "pals" page to the home page.  It was a shock and so saddening.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A poet's hubris?

One volume of the Ben Belitt translations of Pablo Neruda includes not a single translation by another poet or by another poetry translator.

One of the translations is obviously flawed: a Chilean poem becomes a poem for all mechanized and schooled mankind. What is worse, the poet may have encouraged his translator in this cosmopolitan reading — but it is lacking in the original as given on the facing page, verso.

A better title: The Collected Translations of Neruda by poet Ben Belitt, 1970.

A book for me: a single volume with the best translations of Neruda from any European language (look how well Italian appears to translate to Danish - the concision - and Spanish?) with originals in Spanish RECTO and the selected translations VERSO (an e-book?) - not the usual arrangement (but consider how French bilingual dictionaries begin with the French lexicon, but those by the English or Germans begin with the target language - so the privilege would go to the poems, not the polyglot translations.)

A UN poetry week project: Tagore?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

QR Codes for Fair Trade without exploitation?

I looked at a retail holiday gift item today, but there was no way to determine that it was neither from a sweat shop nor a factory using child labour.

Had there been an FLO fair trade or related QR Code on the item, then I might have been able to make the purchase in good conscience. My choice was to continue on so as to try to buy local instead.

The original Curl platform would have charged a fraction of a penny per page: could we offer QR Code origin validation for a penny CDN/US/AU /GB/UK/IEP/EUR?

Friday, December 16, 2011

IE Updates

Oddly, the Windows Update option for Microsoft XP as found in the IE8 Tools menu (Internet Explorer 8) does NOT go to an HTTPS site but instead to even though just going to provides the XP user of IE an HTTPS site for updates!

Why does MS even keep that HTTP target on-line?

What would such a minor update to IE8 have cost the accidental collosus?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Header Image

The, i.e., simple template which we have been using has an option to add a background image and to have that image adjust its size to fit.

The result is not acceptable except for the mobile view.

But this one minor edit to the template HTML for the default CSS style gives a good result:

#header img {
width: 100%;
margin-$startSide: auto;
margin-$endSide: auto;

Select "Proceed" when warned about doing edits to the HTML. Be sure to preview the result before saving the template.