I was enraptured from the moment W.S. Merwin mentioned that the first time he was at the 92nd Street Y was when he was there introducing Borges. I love the fact that events on both ends of my husband’s and my often disparate-seeming spectrum of aesthetics have included references to Borges - William Gibson mentioned him as well in his talk at the NYPL. Merwin alluded to Borges again when he placed him in the long lineage of writers and poets who, like himself, faced the prospect of losing their sight (or were blind from birth). Rather than asking or inviting sympathy, Merwin (who is 87) seemed to accept and even welcome the challenges of his deteriorating vision and referenced the fact that literacy actually limits memory (something I’d never heard before, nor had I considered literacy being a physical as well as mental capability). Instead of giving a ‘reading’ he followed up his conversation with J.D. McClatchy by reciting a number of his poems - from memory.
Some memorable quotes:
“Poetry continues to try to express the things that cannot be expressed - the thing that ‘just got away’”
“She lost everything, over and over again - I was the first thing she thought she might be able to keep” (on his mother’s love after losing her husband and many other family members)
“So old that it’s in the oral tradition”
[ 5 . 16 . 2013 ]
“literary experiences ARE experiences” - on his ‘omnivorous’ reading of everything he could get his hands on in his youth
the ‘temporal split’ of living in a modern world but surrounded by very retro culture
“living in someone else’s past” - the knowledge that our shiny gadgets will be someone else’s junk
burroughs + borges!
loving on springsteen’s darkness on the edge of town - who knew?
Proust on telephones
“the miracle with which I wish to amaze my reader would be an invisible banality to my reader” - on writing about cyberspace
“orgasmic experiences with pure information” - how his protagonists experience cyberspace
“i don’t think we can know how technology affects us. as soon as it affects us we become that which has been affected.”
[ 4 . 21 . 2013 ]
- Jorge Luis Borges, The Secret Miracle.
So you see, it’s not that I’m a pessimist per se….
[ 12 . 19 . 2012 ]