July 4th, 2001

New Stage, Old Problems

Sampled about 45 minutes of the New Stage readings. The stage is new (and a blessed undertaking by a good man named Boaz Rimmer), but the problems are the same as they've ever been -- too little self-criticism, teenage egos, and ignorance.

This is rather bold criticism, based on rather too little a sample. So don't take my word for it. But the poems and prose read there was mostly uninspired, mostly incoherent, and sometimes annoyingly ingratiating. Coupled with mostly bad presentation and verbal delivery, and bad humor covering up shyness and stress, the whole thing was uninteresting at best.

And yet I think this stage as fair as any indy art venue, and I'm really glad it's there, operating regularly, and doing a lot for young artists, if only by exposing them to one another and to one another's works.

I do not imagine young people generally wrote better poems twenty years ago. Not at all. I think Theodore Sturgeon was right in saying "Ninety percent of everything is crap". It's just that today, with the internet, almost everyone can get their work published online, so we are exposed to a lot more material, ninety percent of which is still crap.

I hope they keep it up.
  • Current Music
    Mati Caspi

Heine, Göthe, Tanai

Chanced upon a bookstore today, and, as is my wont, reviewed their poetry shelf. Their poetry shelf was a positive surprise, first of all by virtue of being plural. Yes! They had two poetry shelves, imagine that... Aside from the current in-print books syndicated across all branches of the Israeli bookstore chain, I found two books of translations of German poetry by Shlomo Tanai. One contained translations of Heine, and the other of Göthe. Both were reasonably priced. I like the two poems I've read in Tanai's translation in the past, and a random one I read at the store was well done too, so I bought both.

More poetry: tonight I'll attend our poetry seminar, with the illustrious Sonis lecturing on Auden. I'm looking forward to it. cmm, lbyf, gaal, roza, and avva (whose fault all of this, and that, is anyway!), will be there, too. (How's that for convoluted sentences in correct [one hopes] grammar?)
  • Current Music
    Ehud Banai - Saul and David

Finland, Finland, Finland...

(title alludes to Monty Python)

A local newspaper reports of Jukka Ammondt (whose name it unfortunately renders in Hebrew letters as JUKA AMOND, instead of the correct YUKA AMONT), a wacky Finnish professor of literature, who has released a CD with songs by Elvis Presley, all translated and sung in Latin. For this outlandish endeavor he won much reknown and possibly even money, and was actually lauded by the pope himself (though I can't see why...)

But industrious Ammondt did not rest on his laurels! He's about to release a CD of Presley's music, this time translated and sung in ancient Sumerian!

I tell you, some people have all the fun...
  • Current Music
    Mozart's Requiem (K626) - Karl Boehm, Wiener Philharmonik