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1983-2015
tearing the rag off the bush again
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Dan Dãnilã, Calendar Poetic, Editura Brumar, Bucharest. www.brumar.ro. A remarkable Romanian poet who considers “singuratatea mersului pe sirma” (the loneliness of tightrope walking). The Corpse will note many books in other languages, especially Romanian, in the hope that our readers who do not speak that (or other) languages, will attempt to become multi-lingual. A language, according to Dr. Sachs, can be learned in two weeks. So what are you waiting for? (Reminder: we need a program to place diacriticals in the right places, or else written Romanian will devolve into bad English!)

Adrian Deckbar, Continuum: Moving Through a Still Frame. 2009, www.adriandeckbar.com . Introduced by Peter Frank as a "new naturalist," photographer and painter Deckbar moves through Louisiana and Arkansas lanscapes with an eye for a detailed magical beauty that is both poetic and unsentimental.

Albert Flynn DeSilver
, Letters to Early Street, Albuquerque: La Alameda Press. This is one of our poets and we stand behind him (or to his side) in any fight, physical or literary, he might be involved in. Except maybe in the situation he describes thus: “A stuffed mouse has just capsized in my bed.”

 

Horia Dulvac, Effect Doppler, Editura Scrisul Romanesc, Craiova, Romania 2009.
David Eagleman, Sum, Forty Tales from the Afterlives, Vintage Books, 2009.
The dead are in in fiction now, not that they were ever out, but they are in differently. In Horia Dulvac’s spectacularly and beautifully written short novel, the narrative voices who turn out to belong to dead or nearly dead people, are hypnotic. What makes them great is that the effects death has had on these characters are dire and minimal, though poetic and concentrated. This book, written in Romanian, is too good to be translated, but it will be, and I pity the poor translator. For instance, the narrator declares at one point that, “Once I rose to the sky during a prayer, and looking outside as if through a lens, I saw my face on the other side. I was about to be terrified of my face, and was about to fall. ‘Why in hell do I look like that,” I was asking myself.” Dulvac plays with tenses and creates unforgettable images of utter otherworldliness. For instance, “You have to run away on time. I remembered when I was going to have my first heart-attack, the dilating aorta, the body flying up...” Remembering the future is just one in Dulvac’s seemingly bottomless bag of necro-fic-tricks. It took me two years to get to this slim tomette, but it was worth detaching from top of Tower 12 of Unread Books.Incidentally, David Eagleman’s book followed Dulvac’s like the next pancake in the 30 ft stack. A series of brief essays on possible afterlives, this book is smart, true, and often surprising. The writer is a neuroscoentist, which has something to do with his metaphysics, but the prose owes the beauty to the fragmentary philosophical literature of Calvino and Borges. The afterlives he describes are plausible and purportedly informed by brain research and information techne, but they are actually updated medieval speculations in "scientific" masks. Each one is worth reading twice, though I myself, who am familiar with some of these scenarios, caught on pretty quick to the thinking mode and the essay technique –which didn’t prevent me from enjoying and taking seriously Eagleman’s fancies. I met the author in his role as moderator at a 2011 Diva artistic salon in Houston -- he was a ball of young energy, optimistically invested in the brain. Such faith is hard to come by, so take it second-hand from me. I think Eagleman knows his stuff. And if you die while reading the book, be sure to be on a page where things sort of turn out OK, because mostly they don’t. (8.3.2011)
 
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