The Daily Epitaph

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    Jug
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    The Daily Epitaph

    Post  Jug on Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:20 am

    Andrei Codrescu is a Romanian-born American poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator for National Public Radio. A friend of mine took a writing workshop by him. One of Codrescu's instructions/suggestions was for the participants to begin writing a daily epitaph. Codrescu has written a book called, "The Poetry Lesson" that further discusses this and other things. Might be worth reading.

    My friend and I began exchanging daily epitaphs for a couple of months and it was an insightful and interesting experience. I am inviting you to join me with some posts of this nature on Head Explode. I'll start by posting a few of some early ones of mine.


    He led a singular life, 2 people short of a threesome

    An asyndetic passing:
    Veni, Vidi, Mortuus Sum

    My corpse by any other name would still stink


    THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND HE FELL OVER BORED

    Note: Sailors' language is, unsurprisingly, all at sea and many supposed derivations have to go by the board.
    Don't be taken aback to hear that sheets aren't sails, as landlubbers might expect, but ropes (or occasionally, chains).
    These are fixed to the lower corners of sails, to hold them in place. If three sheets are loose and
    blowing about in the wind then the sails will flap and the boat will lurch about like a drunken sailor.


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    Jug
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    Rimbo

    Post  Jug on Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:12 pm

    Night Mares...

    So I'm readin' this article about Arthur Rimbaud, which is basically a recitation of his brief career as a poet. Although it points out that he didn't die after giving up the poetic and degenerate life when around 20 yo, but went on to become a reclusive, albeit successful employee with a trader operation. He did die rather young in 1891 at 37, of cancer of the leg. Who the hell dies of cancer of the leg?

    Anyway, the article is also about a new translation of "Illuminations" by John Ashbery, a review of a Rimbaud biography by Graham Robb, a novel about why Rimbaud stopped writing, "Disaster Was My God" by Bruce Duffy (who also did a novel about Wittgenstein and others, "The World As I Found It"), and "Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel" by Edmund White. The reviewer also mentions Norman Cameron's translations of his poems as among the few in English that try to reproduce Rimbaud's rhymes.

    Of course, the writer mentions the famous de rigueur Rimbaud quote from a letter to the effect that part of his program of self development was a "rational derangement of all the senses." This was the guiding light I got from reading Rimbaud in my late adolescence (the translation that was my guide used "systematic derangement..."), but all's well that ends well, eh? Actually it served me quite successfully as best I can judge. Right up there with Meatloaf's, "A Wasted Youth is Better By Far Than a Wise and Productive Old Age."

    But the point of this post is mostly about the author's (of the article) ending words and how they are now the basis for a very useful epitaph or simply as a wise observation i.e. ".....Time passes, people change; it's just the way things are. On the day before his death, a delirious Rimbaud dictated a letter to the head of an imaginary shipping company, urgently requesting passage to Suez. Sometimes, for whatever reason, you miss the boat."

    So now my paraphrased epitaph...SOMETIMES, FOR WHATEVER REASON, HE MISSED THE BOAT.

    But I also think I have learned one important stricture or admonition drawn from Rimbaud's "A Season in Hell" which is a kaleidoscopic evocation of a man who comes to terms with the limits of the self; a heavy sense of failure, of wrong paths taken, hovers over the vignettes. Even the overweening and narcissistic fantasies of artistic transcendence are reoriented, in the end, toward reality: "I who called myself angel or seer, exempt from all morality, I am returned to the soil with a duty to seek and rough reality to embrace!" It is this understanding--that fantasy and romance must be eschewed--that leads to the famous closing utterance of the work: "One must be absolutely modern."

    Post Time has passed.....
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    Tezcatlipoca
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    Re: The Daily Epitaph

    Post  Tezcatlipoca on Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:35 am

    Jug wrote:

    My friend and I began exchanging daily epitaphs for a couple of months and it was an insightful and interesting experience. I am inviting you to join me with some posts of this nature on Head Explode. I'll start by posting a few of some early ones of mine.


    He led a singular life, 2 people short of a threesome

    An asyndetic passing:
    Veni, Vidi, Mortuus Sum

    My corpse by any other name would still stink


    THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND HE FELL OVER BORED

    With respect (and I do appreciate a good pun as much as the next bloke) this is all a little too morbid for me, homie. Sad I am grateful to not be at a place in life where I think much about these things as they wig me out. Call me weak if you will, but yeah, there you go.


    Jug wrote:
    Note: Sailors' language is, unsurprisingly, all at sea and many supposed derivations have to go by the board.
    Don't be taken aback to hear that sheets aren't sails, as landlubbers might expect, but ropes (or occasionally, chains).
    These are fixed to the lower corners of sails, to hold them in place. If three sheets are loose and
    blowing about in the wind then the sails will flap and the boat will lurch about like a drunken sailor.

    You know, I actually always wondered about where that saying came from. Party hard.



    _________________
    “The youth, intoxicated with his admiration of a hero, fails to see that it is only a projection of his own soul which he admires.”
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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