Sunday, June 24, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 25.1 (Eleni Sikelianos)

Earliest Worlds
Earliest Worlds
Sikelianos, Eleni

I think I bought this at Talking Leaves...Books, possibly when Eleni came to Buffalo for a reading. Though I might have bought it at some other time.

Eleni was one of the first poets I met in New York. She and her husband, Laird Hunt, had just arrived in the city after having leaved in Paris, where I believe they met, for several years. We met at a translation open mic that Dan Machlin curated in the Segue Space on E. 8th St. People were told to bring translations of anything and to read one or two of them. It was a great idea. I don't think I have ever heard of someone putting together a reading like this before.

I met Jonathan Skinner and his wife Isabelle that same night. I think we all went out to Odessa or some other nearby diner after the reading. I have a memory of Eleni jumping on to Laird's back and of him giving her a piggyback halfway down the block that night (or maybe it was some other night).

We always seemed to end up at the same readings and parties for the next few months, and we were always friendly. I skipped town and moved to Buffalo not long after we met. I think she and Laird stayed in New York a few more years before decamping to Denver, where they now reside.

from Earliest Worlds

POLAR CITADEL, CHARMED CIRCLE OF DECEMBER: Now that the light has changed, everything's different, whole buildings appear where they were not. Like that hole in the sky there, through which a finger of light is trying to escape. Or is it an eye beam, handed down at an angle? I suspect they are carefully diagrammed–but that tree seems to be flying off sideways. One trouble: many days there are half a million people hiding outside the door, others another five and a half billion riding (the small system of light). Today I saw a bird–regular dun-colored small-to-medium-sized bird hanging by its leg from a thin rope in a tree. Its wings were spread. Gertrude Stein said, "Dear Christian. You are very sweet without hope. Hope is for you." Then there were trees being finger-pressed by light, and the small bars of broke between the leaves.

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