Category Archives: What Is A Scholar?

Cultures of reading

I was going to make note of, and then donate my issue of the January, 2019 PMLA but I think I will keep it, for now. I often do not even read PMLA, it seems boring, but then once in a while it has things of interest.

Here, there’s an article on Fanon’s radio; one by Emily Apter on untranslatability that starts out discussing Auerbach’s correspondence with Benjamin, from Istanbul; one on anticolonial reading and one on Juan Moreira; one on racial imaginaries of reading … and more. I am quite interested in all of this.

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How do you get interested in things? I have many thoughts on this question, but sitting in Northern California among trees taking notes on theories of writing and reading is a strong memory in me, and my interest is partly in the material and partly in the fact it is my indigenous activity. I am from here and this is what I do here.

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Filed under Bibliography, Theories, Theories Bibliography, What Is A Scholar?

On tragedy

My student wrote an essay on Bodas de sangre as anti-tragedy and it was great. I then discovered there is a book by George Steiner on this matter and another very interesting one by Ekbert Faas. I never thought I was interested in theatre as a genre but I think that many of the decisions I made as an early undergraduate had to do with not having a good background in literature from high school. I am for poetry because I am, but the additional reason I was interested in it in college was that I had no training in writing about literature and with poems, I could feel sure I was really covering them and yet more importantly, because I could focus on words, images, language. I did not want to discuss novels or theatre because I did not have the personal confidence I felt I needed to comment on characters or action in the world. I am discovering now that with poetry and the essay, theatre is quite the thing for me. Perhaps when I am truly old I will begin to feel really comfortable with narrative.

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Filed under Bibliography, Theories Bibliography, What Is A Scholar?

La sombra de la paloma

I am recycling my photocopy of this collection of short stories, which I never read because it was a bad photocopy. The actual book is in libraries, and Amir Hamed is a good writer.

Teresa Basile has a 2017 article on Amir’s Artigas Blues Band, and more has surely come out by now.

(This is news of the past — it is something I would have been interested in working on, had it not been so painful to be in academia.)

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Filed under What Is A Scholar?, Working

Diarios de motocicleta

There are so many teaching guides on this, the students love the film, and you can have them read part of the book. I think I will start using all of this in a systematic way although it is not my personal favorite. They can learn to map the story, summarize, do a character sketch, narrate in a different tense, study the countries visited, and also learn something about who Che Guevara was other than “a Communist dictator” (which is what they say now).

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Filed under Bibliography, Teaching, What Is A Scholar?, Working

Le succès

I read at the New Orleans Poetry Festival, from our translation manuscript (a revised version of the first of these poems, and some others). People liked them and thought the book has a future.

I met, and got to talk to and hang out with Salgado Maranhão, his translator Alexis Levitin, the Poet in New York translator Mark Statman, a cool local professor named Ralph Adamo, a cool Bay Area poet named Joseph Lease, a cool bartender at the Spotted Cat who is a Cuban-American poet and writes for Ploughshares, and Omar Pimienta who was especially enthusiastic about our project, which was an honor.

Another new friend turned me onto this poem.

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Filed under Poetry, What Is A Scholar?, Working

“Saving my strength for running”

I started being depressed on November 19, 1991 and may have stopped on April 3, 2019. That makes it less than 28 years. Most people I know have not known me that long. But the cause would have been deciding it was necessary to take Da Whiteman’s ideas seriously and the cure, realizing exactly how ridiculous they were and starting to laugh.

“They are paper tigers, fuck them all,” someone said years ago and I did not understand it, did not believe it, but the plot of the continuing melodrama, or mellow-drama here has given a Balzacian twist so forced as to lack verisimilitude, yet it is real and while everyone else wrung their hands I burst out laughing.

I’m saving my strength for running.

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Filed under Banes, Songs, What Is A Scholar?, Working

Academic capitalism

If you search this as a keywords through your library interface you will find that there is a great deal of material, much of it in Portuguese and Spanish.

There’s a name I’ve been given, Adrianna Kezar, on this but based on titles, a review she wrote seems more immediately interesting to me now than her other work.

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Filed under Freire, What Is A Scholar?, Working