Language Death Night Outside: Poem, Novel
Poetry. Fiction. Cross-Genre. An "I" between languages. A text between genres. The Austrian grandfather's death triggers an examination of the past, of history, identity, consciousness. Three poems (by Zanzotto, Celan, Rakosi) and three philosophers (Descartes, Leibniz, Mach) become touchstones for the narrator in his attempt to find a language that is impersonal even while saying "I." A life is created through precise particulars in short, anaphoric sentences--with an effect both staccato and hypnotic. But the effort toward the concrete and definite ("I forced myself to use main clauses, nouns, the definite article") stands in tension with the boundlessness encountered in the poems and in thinking where the city turns ship and a yellow flower in Vienna touches the sand dunes of North Africa.
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