Monday, December 22, 2008

Anne Blonstein reading in Basel, January 8, 2009

Vernissage with Poetry Reading

ellectrique press is proud to invite you to a vernissage with poetry reading and apéro. The poet anne blonstein will read from

correspondence with nobody

Date Thursday, 8 January 2009
Time starting 18:30, reading begins at 19:00
Place Quartierzentrum Bachletten, Bachlettenstrasse 12, 4054 Basel

correspondence with nobody is a project in notarikon with the twenty-one sonnets of Shakespeare translated into German by Paul Celan.

“Blonstein’s text is thus produced by a double process like the one that transcribes DNA into RNA and translates RNA into protein – the stuff of life. This double process can be seen as analogous to the Kabbalistic transformation of thought into word, and the Christian doctrine of Word become Flesh. correspondence with nobody begins with the expression «words and silences». If we track this back to Celan, we find that the first word of his Einundzwanzig Sonette is «Was», German for «What». . . . Interpreted not word-for-word, but word-for-letter, W-A-S gives «words and silences». This, then, is the end product of Blonstein’s formula; it is also an apt beginning for her latest sequence.” Diana Collecott

There will be a book table at the vernissage (CHF 38). As of 9 January 2009 correspondence with nobody can be purchased via

(*Cover image Grace (1952) by Sonja Sekula, courtesy of kaba roessler / margrit schmid)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Seven years ago today

It was a Friday. I was driving back from shopping in Lörrach, the Wiese river to my right. I was listening to a Grateful Dead tape, one I had not listened to in a long time, from my first pair of shows (so either October 9 or 10, 1982). At that time, "Touch of Grey" was new not only to me but to all Deadheads, as the band had debuted the song only shortly before. When the chorus started, with Jerry singing "I will survive," I became so sad about his passing (then only six years previously) that I had to pull over, because I was crying.

On Monday morning, I read in the Basler Zeitung that W. G. Sebald had died in a car accident on that same Friday afternoon. I later found out that the accident was at around 4:30 p.m. or so—that is, about 5:30 in the Basel area. Pretty much the same time when I pulled over to cry.

To me, this is another example of the kind of "touching but meaningless" coincidence that Sebald referred to in Austerlitz. Others may want to interpret it more mystically.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

National Disaster

From TPM:

Obama's poll numbers are up to 79/18 approve/disapprove, prompting CNN's Bill Schneider to quip: "That's the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster. To many Americans, the Bush Administration was a national disaster."

Cosell on Lennon

I saw this 28 years ago yesterday. Shocked, I turned on KFOG. Beatles song. Could be a coincidence. Tried another station. Beatles song. A third. Another.

Back to KFOG, waited. More Beatles, then the announcement. But it was only when it became clear that a madman had done it that I flipped out and, in a fit of anger, kicked a metal filing cabinet by the front door. I was jumping up and down, laughing and crying, and holding my toe (yes, I was jumping on one foot)—and my Dad walked in the front door.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"John Lennon was murdered," I sputtered.

"But what does that have to do with your foot?" he asked.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Dylan in Basel

What more do I need to say? I am very excited that Bob Dylan will be playing in Basel on April 14! I'll be there!