Saturday, November 5, 2011

Aimless Reading: The P's, Part 19 (Nicanor Parra)

Poemas y antipoemas
Parra, Nicanor
Poemas y antipoemas

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books.

My friend Gregg and I form a loose reading group. Very loose. In fact, we never choose books ahead of time and we never read the same book at the same time. We do, however, have similar interests, so what ends up happening is that we take long walks around Buffalo, usually on Sundays, and we talk about what books we're reading and what movies we've recently seen. Zelda, my Catahoula Leopard Dog, often joins us. She usually remains silent.

Both of us read Spanish, so for the past few years, many of our discussions have been about Spanish language authors. While I read Roberto Bolaño, Gregg read César Aira. Then I started reading some Aira while he started reading Bolaño. Then I started reading Javier Marías, and later he read some, too. And so on.

Eventually, we end up reading some of the same books, though sometimes months or even years apart. Both of us are such avid and independent readers that it would be difficult to do it any other way. It's more of an intellectual inquiry club, I guess. We share ideas, reading lists, and, most importantly, tangents we take in the course of our various readings.

For instance, I believe it was Gregg who read an essay by Bolaño in praise of Nicanor Parra. I bought this book, but Gregg did not, having read it already some years ago. I read it over the course of a few weeks last winter. I was also reading the newly "discovered" novel by Bolaño, El Tercer Reich, which disappointed me.

Currently, I am reading a steampunk book by China Miéville called Perdido Street Station, which Gregg had recommended. I think Gregg is reading Javier Marías Mañana en la batalla piensa en mi, which I read a couple of years ago. We've lot's to talk about if we can ever find the time to get together for a walk!

from Poemas y antipoemas


Una vez andando
Por un parque inglés
Con un angelorum
Sin querer me hallé.

Buenos días, dijo,
Yo le contesté,
Él en castellano,
Pero yo en francés.

Dites moi, don angel.
Comment va monsieur.

Él me dio la mano,
Yo le tomé el pie
¡Hay que ver, señores,
Cómo un ángel es!

Fatuo como el cisne,
Frío como un riel,
Gordo como un pavo,
Feo como usted.

Susto me dio un poco
Pero no arranqué.

Le busqué las plumas,
Plumas encontré,
Duras como el duro
Cascarón de un pez.

¡Buenas con que hubiera
Sido Lucifer!

Se enojó conmigo,
Me tiró un revés
Con su espada de oro,
Yo me le agaché.

Ángel más absurdo
Non volveré a ver.

Muerto de la risa
Dije good bye sir,
Siga su camino,
Que le vaya bien,
Que la pise el auto,
Que la mate el tren.

Ya se acabó el cuento,
Uno, dos y tres.

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