Monthly Archives: May 2012

Jennifer Scappettone | | Amelia Rosselli

May 31, 2012
By
Jennifer Scappettone | | Amelia Rosselli

(Image copyright: Dino Ignani)

From Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli, A Bilingual Edition

Edited and Translated by Jennifer Scappettone

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Da Palermo ’63 (1963)

Poesia dedicata a Spatola

Il mare ha delle punte bianche ch’io non conosco e il tempo, che bravo

si dimena bravo nelle mie braccia, corrompo docilmente—

e sottile si lamenta per i dolori al ginocchio a me toccàti.

Senza livore io ti ricordo un immenso giorno di gioia

ma tu dimentichi la vera sapienza. Se la notte è una

veraconda scematura io rivorrei giocare con le belle

dolci signore che t’insegnavano che il dare o il vero, non

è vero.

Sentendo morire la dolce tirannia io ti richiamo

sirena volenterosa—ma il viso disfatto di un chiaro prevedere

altre colpe e docili obbedienze mi promuove cretine

speranze.

Gravi disgrazie sollecitano.

Il vero è una morte intera.

                   ***

From Palermo ’63 (1963)

Poem dedicated to Spatola

The sea has white points that I don’t know and tempo, so good

it wags good in my embrace, I . . .

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Rainer Werner Fassbinder: A Baby Caligula

May 31, 2012
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Rainer Werner Fassbinder: A Baby Caligula

Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945–82), hard-living, frenetic (libertine, bourgeois-scourging) New German filmmaker would have turned sixty-seven today, had he survived even into his forties. Strong-armed by the influence of Brechtian theater and Jean-Luc Godard’s Weekend (1967), Fassbinder went on to direct forty films and made-for-television performances—though like the Frenchman L. J. M. Daguerre and the American John Waters (puppet theater), Fassbinder’s background was the stage, and it showed. His early work is marked by a static camera and dialogue not conceivably of this world; he goes on the record in a piece later reprinted for Cineaste, where he states:

“I would like to build a house with my films. Some are the cellars, others the walls, still others the windows. But I hope in the end it will be a house.”

To watch a Fassbinder film is to participate, if only through mediation, in the tailwinds of the director’s cultural persona, his bad-boy whipping-up of a post-fascist, prejudicial German zeitgeist. To cogently locate him politically, and to infer his contributions to post-war, avant-garde cinema nearly three decades after his death, is a bit trickier.

Coincidentally, it was almost thirty-eight years . . .

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Bob Dylan | Bob Dylan

May 24, 2012
By
Bob Dylan | Bob Dylan

Robert Allen Zimmerman (b. May 24, 1941)

GEMINI

GEMINI

GEMINI

GEMINI

GEMINI

“Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble,/Ancient footprints are everywhere./You can almost think that you’re seein’ double/On a cold, dark night on the Spanish Stairs.”—”When I Paint My Masterpiece” (1971)

On August 30, 1964, a Sunday, Manhattan lay swathed in the heat of a summer afternoon. In their air-conditioned luxury suite high above the intersection of Park Avenue and 59th Street, the Beatles could hear the faint screams of fans who had gathered reverently on the sidewalks around the Delmonico Hotel, hoping to catch a glimpse of Paul, George, John, or Ringo peering from behind a curtain. Those screams had rung in the Beatles’ ears for seven months as the cresting wave of Beatlemania rose higher and higher with no end yet in sight. In April the top five places in Billboard Magazine’s Top One Hundred chart were Beatles songs. On August 12, the film A Hard Day’s Nighthad opened in more than 500 theaters nationwide, earning more than $1.3 million its first week and making Beatlemania a performance for millions of . . .

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The Wonderful World of Chemistry

May 23, 2012
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The Wonderful World of Chemistry

“With Antron and Nylon and Lycra and Orlon and Dacron, the world’s a better place. You know we all have a smile on that started with Nylon and stretches across each happy face.” King of the jingle (and prince of the cabaret), Michael Brown wrote and directed DuPont’s “industrial musical” The Wonderful World of Chemistry, which would air an unprecedented 14,600 times, or 40 times per day, during the two-year run of the 1964–65 World’s Fair in New York City. (It should be pointed out that a bit of research on Timothy D. Taylor’s forthcoming The Sounds of Capitalism: Advertising, Music, and the Conquest of Culture led us here. The book hones in on the indiscriminate blurring between advertising copy and popular music, unearthing an as-yet unclaimed piece of our cultural history—the musical aesthetics of consumerism, and its buzz-buzz-buzzing.) Brown was a children’s book author, lyricist, and producer, who penned tales about Santa Mouse and put the words, literally, in Carol Channing’s mouth during a run of Sugar Babies. The Wonderful World of Chemistry was his masterpiece, among songs scribed for notable Broadway musicals (like “Lizzie Borden” in Leonard Sillman’s New Faces of 1952) and other “industrial” pieces. Even his . . .

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Welcome to the Great Society

May 22, 2012
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Welcome to the Great Society

Forty-eight years ago today, then-president Lyndon Johnson formally introduced his platform for the “Great Society” at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor’s commencement on May 22, 1964. Coined by speechwriter Richard N. Goodwin (who also wrote for Robert F. Kennedy—he’s still living, and is the spouse of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin), the Great Society sponsored a series of social initiatives that helped Johnson win election later that fall in a landslide victory, and many of them—decades later—remain with us today, including Medicaid, Medicare, and the Older Americans Act.

Several agencies and institutions were first endowed by Great Society–funded legislation, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Among the landmark legislation passed in Johnson’s term was the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, Civil Right Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968; the Social Security Act (1965), the Food Stamp Act (1964), and the Immigration and National Services Act (1965); and, the Elementary and Higher Education Act (1965), the Higher Education Act (1965), and the Bilingual Education Act (1968). The Cigarette Labeling Act. The . . .

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Police Power and Twenty-First Century America

May 21, 2012
By
Police Power and Twenty-First Century America

I.

In Cop Knowledge: Police Power and Twentieth-Century America, Christopher P. Wilson writes about narratives of police power in mass culture—from crime fiction and film to the denizens of contemporary political discourse who make use of the squad room, the beat, and the badge. His conclusion? That the stories we tell about police power are intimately linked to the course and outcome of modern liberalism, including a current resurgence of neoconservatism.

II.

In January 2003, Slavoj Žižek penned the article “Gerhard Schroeder’s Minority Report and Its Consequences,” which explored themes from Steven Spielberg’s adaptation (2002) of the Philip K. Dick short story—in which criminals are arrested before they can commit their crimes, thanks to the efforts of a specialized police department, working under the government’s protective wing. For Žižek (and also for Spielberg, who went on the record), the police state evoked by the film was clearly transposed to U.S. international relations post-9/11, where the Bush doctrine suggested with a heavy hand that American military might should remain “beyond challenge” in the foreseeable future. Žižek goes on in the piece to point out the election of Gerhard Schroeder—the German Social . . .

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Studs Terkel: A Centenary Remembrance

May 16, 2012
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Studs Terkel: A Centenary Remembrance

STUDS TERKEL (1912–2008)

“I love thee, infamous city!”

Baudelaire’s perverse ode to Paris is reflected in Nelson Algren’s bardic salute to Chicago. No matter how you read it, aloud or to yourself, it is indubitably a love song. It sings, Chicago style: a haunting, split-hearted ballad.

Perhaps Ross Macdonald said it best: “Algren’s hell burns with a passion for heaven.” In this slender classic, first published in 1951 and, ever since, bounced around like a ping-pong ball, Algren tells us all we need to know about passion, heaven, hell. And a city.

He recognized Chicago as Hustler Town from its first prairie morning as the city’s fathers hustled the Pottawattomies down to their last moccasin. He recognized it, too, as another place: North Star to Jane Addams as to Al Capone, to John Peter Altgeld as to Richard J. Daley, to Clarence Darrow as to Julius Hoffman. He saw it not so much as Janus-faced but as the carny freak show’s two-headed boy, one noggin Neanderthal, the other noble-browed. You see, Nelson Algren was a street-corner comic as well as a poet.

He may have been the funniest . . .

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Chicago 1968 >>>>>>>> Chicago 2012

May 15, 2012
By
Chicago 1968 >>>>>>>> Chicago 2012

INTRODUCTION

We choose our aphorisms wisely. George Santayana cautioned us against our doom in repeating the past and we pushed it to the point of cliché. Let’s incant with Karl Kraus, instead.

“The ugliness of our time has retroactive force.”

BODIES

This coming weekend brings the 2012 North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) twenty-fifth anniversary summit to Chicago, exactly almost a half-century after we hosted the 1968 Democratic National Convention. We’ve traded Daleys for Rahm; our police force is run by a former football player instead of a former army provost-marshall; and the odds of inadvertently thwacking Dan Rather in the stomach have been significantly reduced by his retirement from network television—

According to NATO’s website, the organization has a threefold focus for their meeting:

the Alliance’s commitment to Afghanistan through transition and beyond; ensuring the Alliance has the capabilities it needs to defend its population and territory and to deal with the challenges of the 21st century; and strengthening NATO’s network of partners across the globe.

According to the Nation, Occupy Chicago’s social network and media feeds, and Timeout Chicago, those protestors native to Chicago and in town for anti-NATO demonstrations have prepared . . .

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Roman numeral C, reinforced by (the) Latin centum: Part II

May 11, 2012
By
Roman numeral C, reinforced by (the) Latin centum: Part II

In which we continue to promote The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine by considering what exists outside its daunting canon of twentieth- and twenty-first-century giants. Part I here.

Oh, Mari’bn: You’re kiddins

Our remix of Anne Carson’s “A Detail from the Tomb of the Diver (Paestum 500–453 BC) Second Detail” (after a reading of Marjorie Perloff’s Unoriginal Genius, in which we channel Caroline Bergvall and Tan Lin)

A Dtret rnou rrn Tolas or rHE dr\,ER

(PAiliruM

Joo-451

BC) SEcoND DrTdr

Art..tr Ccx-soN

Swinhine at noon alwaF ftninds me

-Fn,@

s,tug

The Eruscos: true you blue, MaritFrl

lou rc btuc?

MarnJyn: Co undervr aLer.

The Etruscans: Wlry?

Maribn: Slowwortd, I like thar

The Etruscms: Slow bodies?

Mrlp: Bodes pulled amond by faces.

The Etruscans: Momentary faces.

Marilyn: Acutally, alldle same face.

The Etruscans: Irigfi renhs? Seduftive?

Marilyn: No. Sr.-nge. Beautitul.

The Eduscans: Odd son ofbeauty.

Mrill,n: Uke r new brasie.e

The E*uscans: Or a ery u$al erb.

Ma.itp: Wharl.

The Etruscals: For insraace the verb !s,.

Madbn: I didn’t know

is,was a ve$.

The Etruscans: What did you ftrink it was?

Marilp: A . . .

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Hemingway & Gellhorn: The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors

May 10, 2012
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Hemingway & Gellhorn: The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors

 

So much Hemingway, so little time. So little Hemingway, so much time? Something about little—not literal size; something about Hemingway—Hemingway and. . . . Hemingway and. . . . Hemingway and . . . Gellhorn?

James Gandolfini—indomitable analysand and crime boss Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, Patricia Arquette-beating goon Virgil in True Romance, and producer of more than one documentary on war veterans for HBO—signed on in June 2010 to serve as executive producer of a then-untitled biopic centered around Ernest Hemingway’s sojourn during the Spanish Civil War with Collier’s Weekly correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Fast forward to 2012: the film Hemingway & Gellhorn, starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman, and directed by Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff, Henry & June), will premiere on HBO on May 28th. Another tough-guy with a (tortured) pen of gold tale? Not quite.

Martha Gellhorn married Hemingway in December 1940, after the pair lived together off-and-on for four years, which the movie charts from an  initial holiday encounter in 1936 Key West. Beginning with those early contributions to Collier’s, Gellhorn followed reportage during Franco’s protracted war with the Spanish government with a trip to Germany that chronicled Hitler’s rise, before she . . .

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