Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Rimbaud

Where is “Your Home Country”? Do you feel Exiled?
Witold Gombrowicz wrote in his Journal, 1953, on Homeland and Exile.
On Homeland:
Be assured that your homeland is neither Grójec, Skierniewice, nor the entire country!
Let a forceful blood irrigates your face and colors your cheeks at the thought that You are the Homeland.
Are you no longer living in Grodno, Kutno or Jedlinsk ?
Has a person ever traveled anywhere else but in himself?
You are at home, even as you live in Argentina or Canada: Your homeland is not a location on a map, but the life essence of man.
Come on, no need to cry. Don’t forget that as you lived daily in Poland, Poland never meant mush to you.
Today, you don’t live in Poland, and Poland lives ingrained in you.
This new Poland that you have to define as the deepest of your humanity, the labor of many generations.
Everywhere the eyes of a male discover his destiny in the eyes of a young girl, a homeland is born.
Every time you feel angry or in ecstasy, let your fist rises against infamy, and a new homeland is created.
Every time the words of the wise, or the music of  Beethoven inflames your soul to the highest celestial spheres, in the Equator or in Alaska, a homeland is born.
In the square of Saxe at Warsaw, or in the Market of Cracow, you will be but poor bums, gatherers of miseries without fire or place, ambulating for small money, if you allow vulgarity kills the beauty in you…”
Question: Do you currently feel that you are at home and comfortable among the Silent Majority?
On Exile
The words of Cioran (a French author of the 50’s and 60’s) breath the humid coldness of caves and the dampness of the graves.
His words are too mesquine. Actually of whom this is about? Who should we comprehend in the definition of  “exiled authors”? Rimbaud ? Norwid ? Kafka ? Slowacki ?…
As many men, as many exiled people.
I doubt that any single one of them authors will be precisely scared of this kind of Hell…
Let’s us not forget that Art is nourished of elements of solitude and perfect autonomy. It is in himself that the artist finds satisfaction and a reason to be.
A homeland?
All eminent person, from the fact of his eminence, is a stranger, even in his own house.
Readers? These writers never wrote for their audience, always against their readers.
Honor, success, celebrity, glamour?
They have become celebrity because they learned to have esteem for themselves at a higher level than their success.
Theoretically, and all material difficulties set aside, I think that this plunge in the external universe that exile represents must bring to literature a vigorous impulse.
Here you have the elites of a country booted out of their borders.
This elite class can thus think, feel and write from the outside.
The elite class takes its distance. It acquires a spiritual freedom, rarely attained.
All the shackles and links are broken down. We can be much more than ourselves.
In this generalized effervescence, the established forms are relaxed and untied. We are now capable of walking toward the future in a more rigorous manner…
I don’t deny that in order to vanquish solo these difficulties requires plenty of decisions and moral courage.
Should we feel astonished if, scared of our weakness and by the magnitude of our duties, we hide our head in the mud, and replay past parodies for ourselves, run away from the universe in order to remain in our little world?”
(Lack of opportunities to work, education, and health care… are sources of feeling exiled. You tend to go into isolation and shun company…)
Note: Khalil Toubia shared Littérature et Poésie‘s photo and the original French texts:
Patrie : Sachez bien que votre patrie, ce n’est ni Grójec, ni Skierniewice, ni même le pays tout entier ! Qu’un sang puissant vous monte au visage, et colore vos joues à la pensée que c’est vous-mêmes qui êtes votre Patrie ! Vous n’habitez plus Grodno, Kutno ou Jedlinsk ? Mais l’homme a-t-il jamais séjourné ailleurs qu’en lui-même ? Vous êtes chez-vous, même en habitant l’Argentine ou le Canada, car la Patrie n’est pas un lieu sur la carte, elle est l’essence vive de l’homme. […]<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Allons, ne pleurnichez pas ! Et n’oubliez pas que, tant que vous habitiez la Pologne, la Pologne – chose quotidienne- ne vous frappait guère. Aujourd’hui que vous ne l’habitez plus, mais installée en force, elle vous habite, -cette Pologne qu’il faut définir comme votre humanité la plus profonde, le travail de maintes générations. Partout – sachez-le bien - où le regard du jeune homme découvre sa destinée dans les yeux de la jeune fille, naît la Patrie. Chaque fois que monte à vos lèvres la colère ou l’extase, que votre poing se dresse contre l’infâmie, chaque fois que la parole du sage ou le chant de Beethoven embrase votre âme en la transportant jusqu’aux sphères célestes, alors – en Equateur ou en Alaska - naît la Patrie. Mais, sur la place de Saxe à Varsovie ou sur le Marché de Cracovie, vous ne serez que de pauvres clochards, des colporteurs sans feu ni lieu, des amasseurs de pognon ambulants, si vous permettez que la vulgarité tue en vous la beauté.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Witold Gombrowicz -Journal, 1953
Witold Gombrowicz -Journal, 1953
Patrie :
“Sachez bien que votre patrie, ce n’est ni Grójec, ni Skierniewice, ni même le pays tout entier ! Qu’un sang puissant vous monte au visage, et colore vo…s joues à la pensée que c’est vous-mêmes qui êtes votre Patrie ! Vous n’habitez plus Grodno, Kutno ou Jedlinsk ? Mais l’homme a-t-il jamais séjourné ailleurs qu’en lui-même ? Vous êtes chez-vous, même en habitant l’Argentine ou le Canada, car la Patrie n’est pas un lieu sur la carte, elle est l’essence vive de l’homme. […] Allons, ne pleurnichez pas ! Et n’oubliez pas que, tant que vous habitiez la Pologne, la Pologne – chose quotidienne- ne vous frappait guère. Aujourd’hui que vous ne l’habitez plus, mais installée en force, elle vous habite, -cette Pologne qu’il faut définir comme votre humanité la plus profonde, le travail de maintes générations. Partout – sachez-le bien – où le regard du jeune homme découvre sa destinée dans les yeux de la jeune fille, naît la Patrie.
Chaque fois que monte à vos lèvres la colère ou l’extase, que votre poing se dresse contre l’infâmie, chaque fois que la parole du sage ou le chant de Beethoven embrase votre âme en la transportant jusqu’aux sphères célestes, alors – en Equateur ou en Alaska – naît la Patrie. Mais, sur la place de Saxe à Varsovie ou sur le Marché de Cracovie, vous ne serez que de pauvres clochards, des colporteurs sans feu ni lieu, des amasseurs de pognon ambulants, si vous permettez que la vulgarité tue en vous la beauté…”
Exil    : Les paroles de Cioran respirent le froid humide des caves et le renfermé des tombeaux, mais elles sont bien trop mesquines. En effet, de qui s’agit-il… ? Qui nous faut-il comprendre dans la définition d’« écrivains exilés » ? […] Rimbaud ? Norwid ? Kafka ? Slowacki ?… Autant d’hommes, autant d’exils. Je crois qu’aucun d’entre eux ne serait effrayé précisément par ce genre d’enfer. […] N’oublions pas que l’Art est chargé et nourri d’éléments de solitude et de parfaite autonomie, c’est en lui-même qu’il trouve sa satisfaction et sa raison d’être. Une patrie ? Mais tout homme éminent, du simple fait de son éminence, est un étranger, même à son propre foyer. Des lecteurs ? Ces écrivains n’ont jamais écrit pour les lecteurs, toujours contre eux. Honneurs, succès, retentissement, célébrité ?… Ils sont devenus célèbres parce qu’ils ont su s’estimer eux-mêmes plus haut que leur succès. Il me semble plutôt que –théoriquement parlant et toutes difficultés matérielles mises à part – cette plongée dans l’univers extérieur que représente l’exil doit apporter à la littérature une impulsion inouïe. Voilà l’élite d’un pays jetée hors de ses frontières, à l’étranger. Elle peut, dès lors, penser, sentir, écrire de l’extérieur. Elle prend ses distances. Elle acquiert une liberté spirituelle rarement atteinte. Tous les liens se brisent. On peut être beaucoup plus soi-même. Dans la mêlée générale, les formes établies se dénouent, se relâchent, et l’on peut marcher vers l’avenir d’une manière plus rigoureuse. […] Je ne nie point que vaincre ces difficultés et les vaincre en solitaire- exige beaucoup de décision et de courage moral. Faut-il par conséquent s’étonner si, épouvantés par notre faiblesse et par l’immensité de nos devoirs, nous enfouissons nos têtes sous le sable, et, nous jouant à nous-mêmes des parodies de notre passé, fuyons l’univers pour rester dans notre petit monde ?
Witold Gombrowicz -Journal, 195

Adonis on How to Read ‘Real’ Arab Poetry

I am disseminating this article posted by mlynxqualey on July 17, 2011. I erased the commentary. I will add a few comments.

Poetry that reaches all the people is essentially superficial.

Real poetry requires effort:  it requires the reader to become, like the poet, a creator. Reading is not reception.”

Replying to one translator-poet Khaled Mattawa’s students who said that poetry was an insufficiently popular form, Poet Adonis s added, “I suggest you change your relationship to poetry and art in general.”

Elliott Colla translated Adonis’  “Ambiguity” in the new journal Asymptote.

Adonis writes (via Colla):

“Ambiguous is how a reader describes a text that he cannot grasp, or that he cannot master in a way that turns it into a part of what he knows…

Since Islam, Arab society has lived in a world of complete certainty…

In this manner, poetry, the verbal weapon of the Bedouins, was transformed into an instrument serving the mind, not unlike how a spoon serves the mouth.

The value of a tool-instrument lies in our trust and ability to rely upon it. It lies in the confidence we place in it: We lift the spoon to our mouth everyday without thought or effort. We wear shoes everyday without thought or effort. So too are we supposed to read and understand a poem: without thought or effort.

So poetry becomes a form that we can consume, like a Popsicle or pop song, without thought or effort. But why clarity?

Because clarity is a necessary function of the oral arts.  Oration is a form of articulation that imposes on the speaker a distinctive rhythm, a directness, simple words and clear ideas.

And the need for clarity was further solidified by Arabic poetry’s status as a “science”.

Arabic poetry began, like every science, to describe reality in terms of minute detail and what is adequate, and its primary value became tied to its use and benefit.

In this way, poetry began to move within an intellectual-rational framework, that is, it became a kind of reiteration, a mold, a subject to study and apply, something concerned with presenting “the truth” more than something concerned with innovation and invention.

Those were the “old” poets.  What is “real” poetry?

…The poet is a poet only on one condition: only insofar as he sees what others do not and that he discover and push forward.

And who is reading poetry?

…the reader who proceeds from memory, custom and received tradition, far from the spirit of constant advance and discovery, carries on in his thinking when faced with a poem as his body carries on when faced with a substance to consume: he does not consider himself the owner of the thing until he has consumed it. This kind of reader is good for everything but poetry.

The difference between reader and poet is a form of complementarity that compels the reader to become another creative genius, another poet. (End of quote)

What did I understand?  Even this short exposure, general in nature and needing many detailed example for proper comprehension, was good enough at the third reading for me to comment.

Most of us, start our hand at writing “poems”.  We believe that holding a diary to expressing our confused ignorance about our feelings, life and the universe, is a dangerous enterprise, it reveals our weaknesses, though life is ours and we are the stronger in hope and plans…

As we try to emulate the poems of our favorite poets, the feelings are gone, the diary is gone, our perseverance is gone, our emotions are hidden even deeper, and we missed the train.

What would have happened if Rimbaud failed to publish his work at this young age? Passed this great opportunity, Rimbaud lived in obscurity, nothing of value resurfaced.

A Poem is an excellent means to describing the confused emotions and feeling, describing the confusion, and not making sense of why we are confused. There are many different other expression forms to explain “what make sense”: Poetry is not one of them.

The good poems of pre-Islamic period were beautiful:  They were frank, bold, individualistic, and described accurately the environment and the customs.  They told stories and were downright slutty, as direct as folk songs.

The pre-islamic tribes didn’t enjoy a steady and timely communication with urban civilization, and the only innovation was displayed in more dramatic description of emotions…

After Islam, poems were inclined to becoming lyrical, general, sticking to the new culture of One God, and the sharia or the religious laws.  It became very difficult to be inventive since individuality was a dangerous tendency that was proscribed.

Poets needed the support of princes and emirs to survive in this most valued and appreciated job: memorizing poems was still a great tradition among people, and reciting poems was the best means to being recognized.  Poetry became an industry, with consensus standards, and becoming inventive and innovative in poetry style and topics was not profitable.

Even the most “revolutionary” poets had first to prove that they mastered the traditional style and language before they ventured into their own style. The content of poems didn’t vary much.  The urban poets mocked the life-style of the nomadic tribes, but could not resist boasting of belonging to a tribe, even a faked tribe of his own invention, though they have not linked with the tribe for decades and forgot entirely how to survive in a nomadic environment. For example, Abu Nawas.

You could read in a single poem many topics, and get confused what is the purpose of the poem, if not for targeting my doors, hopefully one of the topics will strike a chord in a rich provider.

For example, Abu Tammam, a 10th century poet, could be considered a modern poet: He focused on satisfying the wants of society, particularly, the caliph and princes who expected decent poems that won’t antagonize the perception of a divine authority.

So how modern poets, after Islam, could circumvent the restrictions if not taking refuge in sciences, and borrowing new terms that didn’t exist, and trying to explain the terms in poetical forms?

In translating poems, it is vital that the context be explained extensively in a note, unless it is a poem written by a youth, expressing the confusion in his emotions and feelings.

The Gods of beauty: Before the age of pimples (February 7, 2009)

 

Note:  I was inspired for this article by the critical introduction of Vincent-Mansour Monteil for his book “Abu Nawas”, the great Arab poet of the early Abbasseed period around the year 800.    

 

Through the ages, boys of 15 or a little less (khoumasi) were erotically more prized than girls of the same age in all civilizations.  Androgynous boys (effeminate, khanith) had grace in movement, they had pretty oval faces, fleshy, soft and smooth skins, and their muscle were firmer.  The western cultures are familiar with the tales and literatures of the antique Greek and Roman civilizations on that subject; for example, Socrates was a famous pedophile and his wife went as far as taking her husband to court.

            Abu Nuwass had Janane, an Iranian lesbian, as a front for his homosexuality and a particular penchant for the boys who were Christian Iranians serving as peons or slave pages in the courts of the affluent and powerful.  “You look like a boy but you are indeed a girl” (Abu Nawass) and “Man is a continent. Woman is a sea.  I prefer very much the firm land”.

I saw a movie done in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime; this very old sheikh purchased a pretty boy who was to be executed (she was indeed a girl who had her hair cut and dressed like a boy); when the sheikh was training the boys how to wash their testicles before prayer he was smitten by the boy/girl and repeated this verse of the Koran of those serving the predestined to Paradise “The peon (ghilman) are immortal Adonis, similar to hidden pearls”

            Rimbaud also had taken as front an indigenous woman in Harari (Ethiopia/Eritrea) so that he may reserve his total love for Djami, his companion and boy of 15.  Verlaine and Baudelaire had also the same preference.  Shakespeare wrote his sonnets, the first 126 sonnets for “My lovely boy; a very young man, barely an adolescent”; and also “A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted, Hast thou the Master Mistress of my passion”

            Leonardo Da Vinci had the same preferences as Abu Nawass for boys of 15 of age; he bequest his inheritance to Francesco Melzi whom he had known at the “fatal age”.  Michel Angelo dedicated 50 epitaphs to Cecchino Bracci, dead at age 15 and was hopelessly in love with the indifferent Tommaso de’ Cavalieri “Who will defend me of your beautiful face?”  The best and most beautiful characters in the paintings of these giant artists are the androgynous young boys.  The difference between these two great painters is that Michel Angelo never dared satisfy “Biblically” his pedophilic urges who was mocked by the Pope Jules II as suffering of “terribilita”.

            Pederasty was common phenomenon in England in the turn of the last century, as long as gentleman did not display their loved boy publicly.  Oscar Wilde paid for his exhibitionism and outlandish temperament a long prison term.  Pedophilia is rampant everywhere now and internet and special websites are serving secret desires.  The Roman Catholic Church is still battling court cases of priests taking advantage of multitude of young boys studying in Catholic schools.

            Sodom and Gomorra might be fictitious two towns in the Bible that were burned by Jehovah but it illustrate that pederasty is an ancient and a prevalent erotic tendency in all ages and all civilizations.  Maybe sex among the same gender is a front to cover a deeper emotional predilection: maybe societies should start to accept the fact that the majority of people of both genders are unable to taking the drastic decision and making the serious effort to comprehend the other sex and prefer the community of their own gender.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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