Friday, November 20, 2015

Dan Godston multimediates

Here is "sépulcrale d'égout," my mixed media piece that uses "Le tombeau de Charles Baudelaire" by Stéphane Mallarmé.

1 comment:

  1. Charles Baudelaire was one of the most influential French poets of the 19th century; his highly original style of prose-poetry inn particular influenced a whole generation of poets. He is credited with coining the term "modernity" to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility art has to capture that experience. He died in 1867. One of those most influenced by him was the symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé, whose work in turn inspired various revolutionary artistic schools of the early 20th century, such as Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, and Surrealism. "A poet so difficult that only foreigners can understand him." In addition to his writings, he also held occasional gatherings of intellectuals at his home. The group became known as les Mardistes, and through it Mallarmé exerted considerable influence on the work of a generation of writers. Regular visitors included W. B. Yeats, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Valéry, Stefan George, and Paul Verlaine..In 1892, he presided over a committee to raise money for a tomb for Baudelaire, dead for a quarter century; to promote the project he asked its members to write poetic tributes for publication. His own contribution was "Hommage," later retitled "Le Tombeau de Charles Baudelaire." Without punctuation or clear syntax, its obscure allusions have always baffled readers and critics. Here are two attempts at translation:
    The first is by Henry Weinfield:

    The buried temple empties through its bowels,
    Sepulchral sewer spewing mud and rubies,
    Abominably some idol of Anubis,
    Its muzzle all aflame with savage howls.

    Or if the recent gas the wick befouls
    That bears so many insults, it illumines
    In haggard outline an immortal pubis
    Flying along the streetlights on its prowls.

    What wreaths dried out in cities without prayer
    Of night could bless like that which settles down
    Vainly against the marble of Baudelaire

    In the fluttering veil that girds her absence round,
    A tutelary poison, his own Wraith,
    We breathe in always though it bring us death.

    And, by A. S. Kline:

    The buried temple shows by the sewer-mouth’s
    Sepulchral slobber of mud and rubies,
    Some abominable statue of Anubis,
    The muzzle lit like a ferocious snout

    Or as when a dubious wick twists in the new gas,
    Having, we know, to wipe out insults suffered
    Haggardly kindling an immortal pubis,
    Whose flight strays according to the lamp

    What votive leaves, dried in cities without evening
    Could bless, as she can, vainly sitting
    Against the marble of Baudelaire

    Shudderingly absent from the veil that clothes her
    She, his shade, a protective poisonous air
    Always to be breathed, although we die of her.


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