Sunday, August 17, 2008

Poetry Readings V: Lispector's Dangerous Clarity

Scouring Youtube for a recitation of Clarice Lispector 's A dangerous Clarity I found these two videos. Which one to choose? The first one energetic, vigorous, almost dry, the second more intimistic, introspective, refleshingly humid. I feel a tad like Buridan's ass. Well, there is a way out: I shall not choose. They are both right. A poem, a real one, has many identities, it supports an almost endless number of interpretations. A poem is reborn each time is recited. Always the same, always different.

Hear the voice of the most dangerous clarity.

A Lucidez Perigosa

Estou sentindo uma clareza tão grande
que me anula como pessoa atual e comum:
é uma lucidez vazia, como explicar?
Assim como um cálculo matemático perfeito
do qual, no entanto, não se precise.
Estou por assim dizer
vendo claramente o vazio.
E nem entendo aquilo que entendo:
pois estou infinitamente maior que eu mesma,
e não me alcanço.
Além do que:
que faço dessa lucidez?
Sei também que esta minha lucidez
pode-se tornar o inferno humano
- já me aconteceu antes.
Pois sei que
- em termos de nossa diária
e permanente acomodação
resignada à irrealidade -
essa clareza de realidade
é um risco.
Apagai, pois, minha flama, Deus,
porque ela não me serve para viver os dias.
Ajudai-me a de novo consistir
dos modos possíveis.
Eu consisto,
eu consisto,

my translation:

The Dangerous Lucidity

I am feeling a clarity so great
that erases me as a real and common person:
it is an empty clarity, how to explain?
like a perfect mathematical calculation
which, however, is not needed.
I am as, it were,
seeing clearly the void.
Nor do I understand what I see
for I am infinitely greater than me
and I do not reach myself.
what do I do with this clarity?
I also know that this clarity of mine
can turn into a human hell
- it happened to me already-
Thus I know that
- in terms of our daily
and permanent arrangements
resigned to unreality-
this clarity of reality
is a risk.
Quench, God, my flame
for it doesn't help me to live the days.
Help me to consist
of the possible modes.
I consist,
I consist,

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Musical Rambling IX: Sainte Colombe's pensive viola da gamba

I owe to a great friend the lucky discovery of the austere delights of music for viola da gamba. Amongst the greatest practitioners one must number the Sieur de Sainte Colombe, whose aloofness in life is magnificently reflected in his impeccable music.

When the fumes of turbid sentimentalism fog one's spirit, this music acts a potent medicine.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ibsen's oxymoric farewell message

Recently I have been taken by the fancy of writing a play. As I have absolutely no precedent to rely upon, I decided to follow the old adage: climb on the shoulders of giants. There is hardly any giant in the world of modern playwriting larger than Henrik Ibsen (just look at his stately face, it tells volumes about the man).

So I have spent a few days reading some of his late plays. It would be quite tempting to indulge in some impromptu ramblings on these monumental works, particularly because I have watched Master Builder in the 1960 interpretation starring E.G. Marshall and Lois Smith, a truly outstanding performance.

I shall leave Ibsen's plays and characters to another time. Reading bits of his biography, I found out about his senile love for the young Emilie Bardach, with whom he corresponded for a while, and to whom the impetuous character of Hilde in Master Builder is perhaps inspired.

Here is his last message to Emile, dated September 20, 1889:

Hohes, schmerzliches Glück , um das Unerreichbare zu ringen

which translates:

High, painful luck, to struggle for the unattainable

Dear old Ibsen....