Mark Strand Tribute


Mark Strand Tribute

Trước khi về Lào ăn Tết Mít với lũ nhỏ, GCC đọc vội tờ NYRB, bài tưởng niệm nhà thơ Mẽo mới mất. Và có đi vài hàng về bài này.
Về lại Canada, nhân cái chân trái đang làm eo, bèn nằm 1 chỗ, và lôi tờ báo ra đọc tiếp, thì phát giác ra 1 bài thần sầu:

How Envy of Jews Lay Behind It

 “Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Envy, Race Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust” 

The historian George Mosse liked to tell a hypothetical story: if someone had predicted in 1900 that within fifty years the Jews of Europe would be murdered, one possible response would have been: “Well, I suppose that is possible. Those French or Russians are capable of anything.”

In Memory of Joseph Brodsky

It could be said, even here, that what remains of the self
Unwinds into a vanishing light, and thins like dust, and heads
To a place where knowing and nothing pass into each other, and
    through;
That it moves, unwinding still, beyond the vault of brightness ended,
And continues to a place which may never be found, where the
    unsayable,
Finally, once more is uttered, but lightly, quickly, like random rain
That passes in sleep, that one imagines passes in sleep.
What remains of the self unwinds and unwinds, for none
Of the boundaries holds-neither the shapeless one between us,
Nor the one that falls between your body and your voice. Joseph,
Dear Joseph, those sudden reminders of your having been-the
    places
And times whose greatest life was the one you gave them-now
    appear
Like ghosts in your wake. What remains of the self unwinds
Beyond us, for whom time is only a measure of meanwhile
And the future no more than et cetera et cetera ... but fast and
    forever.

Mark Strand: New Selected Poems

*

Trong bài viết của ông, về Mark Strand, được tờ NYRB cho đăng lại, cùng với bài của Charles Simic, như 1 tưởng niệm, Brodsky kể, lần đầu tiên ông đọc thơ Mark Strand, khi còn ở Liên Xô.
Bài cũng ngắn, Tin Văn scan và giới thiệu độc giả liền sau đây, cùng bài thơ của Mark Strand tưởng niệm Brodsky, và một…  giai thoại liên quan tới Brodsky, Mark Strand và...  nữ văn sĩ Thảo Trần, tức Gấu Cái!

Brodsky viết, thơ của Mark Strand là thứ thơ mà thi sĩ không vặn tay độc giả đến trẹo cả xương, bắt phải đọc:
Technically speaking, Strand is a very gentle poet: he never twists your arm, never forces you into a poem.

GCC đã sử dụng đòn này, để nói về văn của Gấu Cái, nhân đọc bài viết của Thảo Trường, khi anh đọc "Nơi Dòng Sông Chảy Về Phía Nam" (1):

"Viết như không viết".

Tếu hơn nữa, là, 1 tay blogger bèn chôm liền cụm từ này, để nói về 1 em chân dài, trong 1 show trình diện trước công chúng Mít, ở trong nước:

Mặc như không mặc!

On Mark Strand (1934-2014)

The poet Mark Strand, a contributor to these pages, died on November 29. 

JOSEPH BRODSKY

The following was given by Joseph Brodsky as an introduction to a reading by Mark Strand at the American Academy of Poets in New York City on November 4, 1986.

It's a tall order to introduce Mark Strand because it requires estrangement from what I like very much, from something to which I owe many moments of almost physical happiness-or to its mental equivalent. I am talking about his poems-as well as about his prose, but poems first.
    A man is, after all, what he loves. But one always feels cornered when asked to explain why one loves this or that person, and what for. In order to ex-plain it-which inevitably amounts to explaining oneself-one has to try to love the object of one's attention a little bit less. I don't think I am capable of this feat of objectivity, nor am I willing even to try. In short, I feel biased about Mark Strand's poems, and judging by the way his work progresses, I expect to stay biased to the end of my days.
    My romance with Mr. Strand's poems dates back to the end of the Sixties, or to the beginning of the Seventies, when an anthology of contemporary American poetry-a large paperback brick (edited by, I think, among others, Mark Strand) landed one day on my lap. That was in Russia. If my memory serves me right, Strand's entry in that anthology contained one of the best poems written in the postwar era, his "The Way It Is," with that terrific epigraph from Wallace Stevens that I can't resist reproducing here:

The world is ugly,
and the people are sad.

    What impressed me there and then was a peculiar unassertiveness in depicting fairly dismal, in this poem's case, aspects of the human condition. I was also impressed by the almost effortless pace and grace of the poem's utterances. It became apparent to me at once that I was dealing with a poet who doesn't put his strength on display-quite the contrary, who displays a sort of flabby muscle, who puts you at ease rather than imposes himself on the reader.
    This impression has stayed with me for some eighteen years, and even now I don't see that much reason for modifying it. Technically speaking, Strand is a very gentle poet: he never twists your arm, never forces you into a poem. No, his opening lines usually invite you in, with a genial, slightly elegiac sweep of intonation, and for a while you feel almost at home on the surface of his opaque, gray, swelling lines, until you realize-and not suddenly, with a jolt, but rather gradually and out of your own idle curiosity, the way one some- times looks out a skyscraper's window or overboard of a rowboat-how many fathoms are there underneath, how far you are from any shore. What's more, you'll find that depth, as well as that impossibility of return, hypnotic.

But his strategies aside, Mark Strand is essentially a poet of infinities, not of affinities, of things' cores and essences, not so much of their applications. Nobody can evoke absences, silences, emptinesses better than this poet, in whose lines you hear not regret but rather respect for those nonentities that surround and often engulf us. A usual Strand poem, to paraphrase Frost, starts in a recognition yet builds up to a reverie-a reverie toward infinity encountered in a gray light of the sky, in the curve of a distant wave, in a case, however, we encounter the real thing: as real as it was in the case of Zbigniew Herbert or of Max Jacob, though I doubt very much that either was Strand's inspiration. For while those two Europeans were, very roughly putting it, carving their remarkable cameos of absurdity, Strand's prose poems-or rather, prose-looking poems-unleash themselves with the maddening grandeur of purely lyrical eloquence. These pieces are great, crackpot, unbridled orations, monologues whose chief driving force is pure linguistic energy, mulling over clichés, bureaucratese, psychobabble, literary passages, scientific lingo-you name missed chance, in a moment of hesitation. I often thought that should Robert Musil write verse, he'd sound like Mark Strand, except that when Mark Strand writes prose, he sounds not at all like Musil but rather like a cross between Ovid and Borges.
    But before we get to his prose, which I admire enormously and the reception of which in our papers I find nothing short of idiotic, I'd like to urge you to listen to Mark Strand very carefully, not because his poems are difficult, i.e., hermetic or obscure-they are not- but because they evolve with the immanent logic of a dream, which calls for a somewhat heightened degree of attention. Very often his stanzas resemble a sort of slow-motion film shot in a dream that selects reality more for its open-endedness than for mechanical cohesion. Very often they give a feeling that the author managed to smuggle a camera into his dream. A reader more reckless than I would talk about Strand's surrealist techniques; I think about him as a realist, a detective, really, who follows himself to the source of his disquiet.
I also hope that he is going to read tonight some of his prose, or some of his prose poems. One winces at this definition, and rightly so. In Strand's it-past absurdity, past common sense, on the way to the reader's joy.
    Had that writing been coming from the Continent, it would be all the rage on our island. As it is, it is coming from Salt Lake City, Utah, and while being grateful to the land of the Mormons for giving shelter to this writer, we should be in all honesty a bit ashamed for not being able to provide him with a place in our midst.

Joseph Brodsky

*

*

A man is, after all, what he loves.
Brodsky

Nói cho cùng, một thằng đàn ông là "cái" [thay bằng "gái", được không, nhỉ] hắn yêu. 

"What", ở đây, nghĩa là gì?
Một loài chim biển, được chăng?

The world is ugly,
and the people are sad. 

Đời thì xấu xí
Người thì buồn thế!

The Good Life

You stand at the window.
There is a glass cloud in the shape of a heart.
The wind's sighs are like caves in your speech.
You are the ghost in the tree outside.

The street is quiet.
The weather, like tomorrow, like your life,
is partially here, partially up in the air.
There is nothing you can do.

The good life gives no warning.
It weathers the climates of despair
and appears, on foot, unrecognized, offering nothing,
and you are there.

Một đời OK

Mi đứng ở cửa sổ
Mây thuỷ tinh hình trái tim
Gió thở dài sườn sượt, như hầm như hố, trong lèm bèm của mi
Mi là con ma trong cây bên ngoài

Phố yên tĩnh
Thời tiết, như ngày mai, như đời mi
Thì, một phần ở đây, một phần ở mãi tít trên kia
Mi thì vô phương, chẳng làm gì được với cái chuyện như thế đó

Một đời OK, là một đời đếch đề ra, một cảnh báo cảnh biếc cái con mẹ gì cả.
Nó phì phào cái khí hậu của sự chán chường
Và tỏ ra, trên mặt đất, trong tiếng chân đi, không thể nhận ra, chẳng dâng hiến cái gì,
Và mi, có đó!

IN MEMORIAM

Give me six lines written by the most honourable of men,
and I will find a reason in them to hang him.

-Richelieu

We never found the last lines he had written,
Or where he was when they found him.
Of his honor, people seem to know nothing.
And many doubt that he ever lived.
It does not matter. The fact that he died
Is reason enough to believe there were reasons.

IN MEMORIAM

Cho ta sáu dòng được viết bởi kẻ đáng kính trọng nhất trong những bực tu mi
Và ta sẽ tìm ra một lý do trong đó để treo cổ hắn ta

-Richelieu

Chúng ta không kiếm ra những dòng cuối cùng hắn viết
Hay hắn ở đâu, khi họ tìm thấy hắn
Về phẩm giá của hắn, có vẻ như người ta chẳng biết gì
Và nhiều người còn nghi ngờ, có thằng cha như thế ư
Nhưng cũng chẳng sao, nói cho cùng
Sự kiện hắn ngỏm là đủ lý do để mà tin rằng có những lý do.

Thơ Mỗi Ngày

**

WINTER IN NORTH LIBERTY

Snow falls, filling
The moonlit fields.
All night we hear
The wind on the drifts
And think of escaping
This room, this house,
The reaches of ourselves
That winter dulls.

Pale ferns and flowers
Form on the windows
Like grave reminders
Of a summer spent.
The walls close in.
We lie apart all night,
Thinking of where we are.
We have no place to go.

ELEVATOR

1.

The elevator went to the base-
ment. The doors opened.
A man stepped in and asked if I
was going up.
"I'm going down," I said. "I won't
be going up."

2.

The elevator went to the base-
ment. The doors opened.
A man stepped in and asked if
I was going up.
"I'm going down," I said. "I won't
be going up." 

Mark Strand poet

Mark Strand (born 11 April 1934) is a Canadian-born American poet, essayist, and translator. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1990. Since 2005–06, he has been a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

Strand was born on Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada. His early years were spent in North America, while much of his teenage years were spent in South and Central America. In 1957, he earned his B.A. from Antioch College in Ohio. Strand then studied painting under Josef Albers at Yale University where he earned a B.F.A in 1959. On a Fulbright Scholarship, Strand studied nineteenth-century Italian poetry in Italy during 1960–1961. He attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa the following year and earned a Master of Arts in 1962. In 1965 he spent a year in Brazil as a Fulbright Lecturer.

Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself—
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.

*

Mark Strand, 1934 - 2014.     

Credit PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRIS FELVER / GETTY


Page-Turner
November 30, 2014
Mark Strand’s Last Waltz
By Dan Chiasson 

The passing of Mark Strand returns us to his poems and to his fine “Collected Poems,” published this year and long-listed for the National Book Award. Strand’s poems are often about the inner life’s methods of processing its social manifestations. He wrote poetry in quiet and private; on trains, he wrote prose, because it was “less embarrassing,” as he told his friend Wallace Shawn in Strand’s Paris Review interview: “Who would understand a man of my age writing poems on a train, if they looked over my shoulder? I would be perceived as an overly emotional person.” Strand was an “overly emotional person,” but his courtesy warred with his intensity. How gallant to think of the passenger beside him, whose rights extend to not being seated next to a handsome stranger scribbling verses.
At least since “Reasons For Moving” (1968), his second volume, Strand surveyed his outward circumstances—relative health and prosperity, growing fame, the undeniable good fortune of being alive—from a peephole cut into the exterior wall of his solitude. The weirdness was all out there, where a suave and handsome man named Strand moved among other columns of flesh and bone; in here, alone with the moods, the mind, our memories of childhood and love, we found what Strand called, in his book-length poem of this name, “The Continuous Life.” It could be harrowing, but it was never proprietary: we all shared the same secret; Strand’s poems of the inner life were sometimes like expressions of our own: “some shy event, some secret of the light that falls upon the deep/Some source of sorrow that does not wish to be discovered yet.” (“Our Masterpiece Is the Private Life.”)
“The Continuous Life” continues after death, whose abrupt appearance, breaking up the party, Strand often described. Life is a waltz, a “Delirium Waltz,” as he called it in his greatest poem—collected in his best book, one of the finest of the past fifty years, “Blizzard of One”—which ends when the music ends. It is in the nature of waltzes that we cannot foretell their duration ahead of time. Waltzing to delirium, we might think that they never end. And then the music stops. It happened on Saturday for Strand, a great poet and a kind man. Here is “2002,” one of the bleakly comic poems he wrote in anticipation of that moment:

I am not thinking of Death, but Death is thinking of me.
He leans back in his chair, rubs his hands, strokes
His beard and says, “I’m thinking of Strand, I’m thinking
That one of these days I’ll be out back, swinging my scythe
Or holding my hourglass up to the moon, and Strand will appear
In a jacket and tie, and together under the boulevards’
Leafless trees we’ll stroll into the city of souls. And when
We get to the Great Piazza with its marble mansions, the crowd
That had been waiting there will welcome us with delirious cries,
And their tears, turned hard and cold as glass from having been
Held back so long, will fall, and clatter on the stones below.
O let it be soon. Let it be soon.”

*

On Mark Strand (1934–2014)

Joseph Brodsky and Charles Simic
January 8, 2015 Issue
The poet Mark Strand, a contributor to these pages, died on November 29.

Note: Tin Văn sẽ đi bài này, từ báo giấy, tất nhiên!

JOSEPH BRODSKY

The following was given by Joseph Brodsky as an introduction to a reading by Mark Strand at the American Academy of Poets in New York City on November 4, 1986.

It’s a tall order to introduce Mark Strand because it requires estrangement from what I like very much, from something to which I owe many moments of almost physical happiness—or to its mental equivalent. I am talking about his poems—as well as about his prose, but poems first.

A man is, after all, what he loves. But one always feels cornered when asked to explain why one loves this or that person, and what for. In order to explain it—which inevitably amounts to explaining oneself—one has to try to love the object of one’s attention a little bit less. I don’t think I am capable of this feat of objectivity, nor am I willing even to try. In short, I feel biased about Mark Strand’s poems, and judging by the way his work progresses, I expect to stay biased to the end of my days.

My romance with Mr. Strand’s poems dates back to the end of the Sixties, or to the beginning of the Seventies, when an anthology of contemporary American poetry—a large paperback brick (edited by, I think, among others, Mark Strand) landed one day on my lap. That was in Russia. If my memory serves me right, Strand’s entry in that anthology contained one of the best poems written in the postwar era, his “The Way It Is,” with that terrific epigraph from Wallace Stevens that I can’t resist reproducing here:

    The world is ugly,
    and the people are sad. 

What impressed me there and then was a peculiar unassertiveness in depicting fairly dismal, in this poem’s case, aspects of the human condition. I was also impressed by the almost effortless pace and grace of the poem’s utterances. It became apparent to me at once that I was dealing with a poet who doesn’t put his strength on display—quite the contrary, who displays a sort of flabby muscle, who puts you at ease rather than imposes himself on the reader. 

This impression has stayed with me for some eighteen years, and even now I don’t see that much reason for modifying it. Technically speaking, Strand is a very gentle poet: he never twists your arm, never forces you into a poem. No, his opening lines usually invite you in, with a genial, slightly elegiac sweep of intonation, and for a while you feel almost at home on the surface of his opaque, gray, swelling lines, until you realize—and not suddenly, with a jolt, but rather gradually and out of your own idle curiosity, the way one sometimes looks out a skyscraper’s window or overboard of …
*

A man is, after all, what he loves.
Nói cho cùng, một thằng đàn ông là "cái" [thay bằng "gái", được không, nhỉ] hắn yêu. 

"What", ở đây, nghĩa là gì?
Một loài chim biển, được chăng?

The world is ugly,
and the people are sad. 

Đời thì xấu xí
Người thì buồn thế!

ELEVATOR

1.

The elevator went to the base-
ment. The doors opened.
A man stepped in and asked if I
was going up.
"I'm going down," I said. "I won't
be going up."

2.

The elevator went to the base-
ment. The doors opened.
A man stepped in and asked if
I was going up.
"I'm going down," I said. "I won't
be going up."

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