A blog on reading, writing and life

Monday, April 9, 2012

Intended summer reading list

Thinking about books that could relate to my thesis and be suitable for my bibliography, this is what I came up with for a good summer reading list:

1.  The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
 I am interested in his portrayal of the suburbs, and I liked "The Swimmer" when I read it in undergrad.

2.  Because They Wanted to by Mary Gaitskill
I read "Tiny Smiling Daddy" in a anthology in undergrad and when I reread it last summer, I was move to tears.  Her portrayal of family relationships there is something that I aspire to.  I'm also interested in her portrayals of alternative sexual behaviors.

3.  The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel
My professor mentioned her several times during our Readings in Fiction class and was compared to Susan Minot.

4.  The Ice Storm by Rick Moody
I'd like to read a more contemporary portrays of the suburbs.  From what I understand, this book also deals with family issues and youthful sexual experimentation.  I liked "Boys."

5.  Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson
I loved The Powerbook and her portrayals of gender and ambiguity.  This is a whole novel that doesn't reveal the narrator's gender.

6.  World and Other Places by Jeanette Winterson
I'd also like to see how Winterson crafts her style in short story form.

7.  Distortions by Ann Beattie
Some professor in undergrad mentioned her as one of the first fiction writer's to include brand names in stories.

8.  Monkeys by Susan Minot
I loved Lust, which I read this semester.  I feel like her portrayals of female characters are similar to some of mine.  I admire her brevity and her ability to establish real personalities in very short stories.

9.  A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
I'm interested in the way she includes characters from one self-contained story to the next.  I was also really struck by her language in what I read so far from this book.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

English Translation of Alfonsia y el Mar

"Alfonsia y el Mar" is an Argentinian folk song by Félix Luna and Ariel Ramírez about modernist poet Alfonsia Storni (May 29, 1892 – October 25, 1938). "A year and a half after her friend Quiroga committed suicide in 1937, and haunted by solitude and breast cancer, Storni sent her last poem, Voy a dormir ("I'm going to sleep") to La Nación newspaper in October 1938. Around 1:00 AM on Tuesday the 25th, Alfonsina left her room and headed towards the sea at La Perla beach in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Later that morning two workers found her body washed up on the beach. Although her biographers hold that she jumped into the water from a breakwater, popular legend is that she slowly walked out to sea until she drowned" (Wikipedia).

The song has been performed by many musicians, including Mercedes Sosa, Nana Mouskouri, Mocedades and Andrés Calamaro.

Alfonsina and the Sea (Alfonsia y el Mar)
by Félix Luna and Ariel Ramírez

On the soft sand licked by the sea
your small footprint will not return again.
A single path of sorrow and silence reached deep water,
a single path made of untold sorrow
reached the foam.

God knows the anguish that walked with you,
what suffering your old voice kept silent
that caused you to sleep, lulled by the song of the seashells,
the song sung in the dark ocean bottom
by the conch shell.

You go, Alfonsina, with your solitude
What new poems did you hope to find?
And an ancient voice of wind and salt
is seducing your soul and carrying you away,
and you go over, like in a dream,
Alfonsina asleep, dressed in the sea.

Five little mermaids will take you
through roads of algae and coral
and phosphorescent sea horses will sing
a round with you.
And the inhabitants of the water
will soon be playing at your side.

Dim the lamp a little more for me,
let me sleep, nanna, in peace,
and if he calls, tell him I am not here,
tell him Alfonsia will not return.
And if he calls, never tell him I am here,
say that I'm gone.

You go Alfonsina, with your solitude
What new poems did you hope to find?
And an ancient voice of wind and salt
is seducing your soul and carrying you away,
and you go over, like in a dream,
Alfonsina asleep, dressed in the sea.