Friday, June 11, 2010

Guillaume Apollinaire

Guillaume Apollinaire

Born 26 August 1880(1880-08-26)
Rome, Italy1
Died 9 November 1918 (aged 38)
Paris, France
Occupation Poet, Writer, Art critic

Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki, known as Guillaume Apollinaire (French pronunciation: [ɡijom apɔliˈnɛʁ]; Rome, August 26, 1880–November 9, 1918, Paris) was a French poet, playwright, and art critic born in Italy to a Polish mother.


The room is free

Each for himself

A new arrival

Pays by the month

The boss is doubtful

Whether you’ll pay

Like a top

I spin on the way

The traffic noise

My neighbour gross

Who puffs an acrid

English smoke

O La Vallière

Who limps and smiles

In my prayers

The bedside table

And all the company

in this hotel

know the languages

of Babel

Let’s shut our doors

With a double lock

And each adore

his lonely love

Among the foremost poets of the early 20th century, he is credited with coining the word Surrealism and writing one of the earliest works described as surrealist, the play The Breasts of Tiresias (1917, used as the basis for a 1947 opera). Two years after being wounded in World War I, he died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 at age 38.

Born Wilhelm Apollinaris de Kostrowitzky and raised speaking French, among other languages, he emigrated to France and adopted the name Guillaume Apollinaire. His mother, born Angelica Kostrowicka, was a Polish noblewoman born near Navahrudak (now in Belarus). Apollinaire's father is unknown but may have been Francesco Flugi d'Aspermont, a Swiss Italian aristocrat who disappeared early from Apollinaire's life. Apollinaire was partly educated in Monaco.

Apollinaire was one of the most popular members of the artistic community of Montparnasse in Paris. His friends and collaborators in that period included Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Max Jacob, André Salmon, Marie Laurencin, André Breton, André Derain, Faik Konica, Blaise Cendrars, Pierre Reverdy, Alexandra Exter, Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie, Ossip Zadkine, Marc Chagall, and Marcel Duchamp. In 1911, he joined the Puteaux Group, a branch of the cubist movement.

On September 7, 1911, police arrested and jailed him on suspicion of stealing the Mona Lisa, but released him a week later. Apollinaire then implicated his friend Pablo Picasso, who was also brought in for questioning in the art theft, but he was also exonerated. He once called for the Louvre to be burnt down.

He fought in World War I and, in 1916, received a serious shrapnel wound to the temple. He wrote Les Mamelles de Tirésias while recovering from this wound. During this period he coined the word surrealism in the program notes for Jean Cocteau and Erik Satie's ballet Parade, first performed on 18 May 1917. He also published an artistic manifesto, L'Esprit nouveau et les poètes. Apollinaire's status as a literary critic is most famous and influential in his recognition of the Marquis de Sade, whose works were for a long time obscure, yet arising in popularity as an influence upon the Dada and Surrealist art movements going on in Montparnasse at the beginning of the twentieth century as, "The freest spirit that ever existed."

The war-weakened Apollinaire died of influenza during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. He was interred in the Le Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

The White Snow

The angels the angels in the sky

One’s dressed as an officer

One’s dressed as a chef today

And the others sing

Fine sky-coloured officer

Sweet Spring when Christmas is long gone

Will deck you with a lovely sun

A lovely sun

The chef plucks geese

Ah! Snowfalls hiss

Fall and how I miss

My beloved in my arms

Apollinaire's first collection of poetry was L'enchanteur pourrissant (1909), but Alcools (1913) established his reputation. The poems, influenced in part by the Symbolists, juxtapose the old and the new, combining traditional poetic forms with modern imagery. In 1913, Apollinaire published the essay Les Peintres cubistes on the cubist painters, a movement which he helped to define. He also coined the term orphism to describe a tendency towards absolute abstraction in the paintings of Robert Delaunay and others.


Mellifluent moon on the lips of the maddened

The orchards and towns are greedy tonight

The stars appear like the image of bees

Of this luminous honey that offends the vines

For now all sweet in their fall from the sky

Each ray of moonlight’s a ray of honey

Now hid I conceive the sweetest adventure

I fear stings of fire from this Polar bee

that sets these deceptive rays in my hands

And takes its moon-honey to the rose of the winds

In 1907, Apollinaire wrote the well-known erotic novel, The Eleven Thousand Rods (Les Onze Mille Verges). Officially banned in France until 1970, various printings of it circulated widely for many years. Apollinaire never publicly acknowledged authorship of the novel. Another erotic novel attributed to him was The Exploits of a Young Don Juan (Les exploits d'un jeune Don Juan), in which the 15-year-old hero fathers three children with various members of his entourage, including his aunt.

Shortly after his death, Calligrammes, a collection of his concrete poetry (poetry in which typography and layout adds to the overall effect), and more orthodox, though still modernist poems informed by Apollinaire's experiences in the First World War and in which he often used the technique of automatic writing, was published.

The Gypsy

The gypsy knew in advance

Our two lives star-crossed by night

We said farewell to her and then

from that deep well Hope began

Love heavy a performing bear

Danced upright when we wanted

And the blue bird lost his plumes

And the beggars lost their Ave

We knew quite well that we were damned

But hope of love in the street

Made us think hand in hand

Of what the Gypsy did foresee

In his youth Apollinaire lived for a short while in Belgium, mastering the Walloon dialect sufficiently to write poetry through that medium, some of which has survived.

A Curse Against Elegies by Anne Sexton

Oh, love, why do we argue like this?
I am tired of all your pious talk.
Also, I am tired of all the dead.
They refuse to listen,
so leave them alone.
Take your foot out of the graveyard,
they are busy being dead.

Everyone was always to blame:
the last empty fifth of booze,
the rusty nails and chicken feathers
that stuck in the mud on the back doorstep,
the worms that lived under the cat's ear
and the thin-lipped preacher
who refused to call
except once on a flea-ridden day
when he came scuffing in through the yard
looking for a scapegoat.
I hid in the kitchen under the ragbag.

I refuse to remember the dead.
And the dead are bored with the whole thing.
But you - you go ahead,
go on, go on back down
into the graveyard,
lie down where you think their faces are;
talk back to your old bad dreams.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

George Saunders

Born December 2, 1958 (1958-12-02) (age 51)
Amarillo, Texas
Occupation Short story writer, Journalist, College Professor
Nationality United States
Kurt Vonnegut, John Steinbeck, John Updike
Official website

George Saunders (born December 2, 1958) is a New York Times bestselling American writer of short stories, essays, novellas and children's books. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, McSweeney's and GQ, among others. He also contributed a weekly column, American Psyche, to the weekend magazine of The Guardian’s Saturday edition until October, 2008. Currently a professor at Syracuse University, he won the National Magazine Award for fiction in 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2004, and second prize in the O. Henry Awards in 1997. His first story collection, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline was a finalist for the 1996 PEN/Hemingway Award. In 2006, Saunders received one of that year's MacArthur Fellowships, more popularly known as the "genius grant". His story collection In Persuasion Nation was a finalist for The Story Prize in 2007.
Early life and education

Saunders was born in Amarillo, Texas and raised on the south side of Chicago. He is a graduate of Oak Forest High School, located in Oak Forest, Illinois, a south suburb of Chicago. In 1981, he received a B.S. in geophysical engineering from Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. Speaking of his scientific background, Saunders said "...any claim I might make to originality in my fiction is really just the result of this odd background: basically, just me working inefficiently, with flawed tools, in a mode I don't have sufficient background to really understand. Like if you put a welder to designing dresses."[1] In 1988, he obtained an M.A. in creative writing from Syracuse University.
Career as author

In his twenties, Saunders considered himself an Objectivist, but is now repulsed by the philosophy, comparing it to neoconservative thinking.[2] From 1989 to 1996 he worked for Radian International, an environmental engineering firm in Rochester, New York as a technical writer and geophysical engineer. He also worked for a time in Sumatra with an oil exploration crew. Since 1997, Saunders has been on the faculty of Syracuse University, teaching creative writing in the school's MFA program. In 2006, Saunders was awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, commonly called a "genius grant". In the same year he was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Saunders currently resides in Syracuse, New York. He is married and has two daughters. He was a Visiting Writer at Wesleyan University and Hope College in 2010, and participated in Wesleyan's Distinguished Writers Series and Hope's Visiting Writers Series. His most recent book, a collection of recent non-fiction entitled The Braindead Megaphone, was published on September 4, 2007.While promoting The Braindead Megaphone, Saunders appeared on The Colbert Report and Late Night with David Letterman.

Saunders' fiction often focuses on the absurdity of consumerism and corporate culture and the role of the mass media. While many reviewers are quick to mention the satirical tone in most of Saunders' writing, many of these same works also deal with philosophical questions of morality. The tragicomic element, concurrently devastating and wildly funny, has earned Saunders comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut, a writer to whom Saunders has acknowledged a debt.[17]

The film rights to CivilWarLand in Bad Decline were purchased by Ben Stiller in the late 1990s and a film has been rumored to be in the works for several years now, to be produced by Stiller's company, Red Hour Productions.[18] Saunders has also written a feature-length screenplay for one of his stories from Pastoralia, 'Sea Oak'.

* CivilWarLand in Bad Decline (1996) (short stories and a novella)
* Pastoralia (2000) (short stories and a novella)
* The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip (2000) (novella with illustrations by Lane Smith (illustrator)) (New York Times bestseller)
* The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil (2005) (novella)
* In Persuasion Nation (2006) (short stories)

* A Bee Stung Me, So I Killed the Fish (2006) (promotional chapbook of essays, limited to 500 copies)
* The Braindead Megaphone (2007) (collected essays)

This is the official fan page;

A fabulous essay on homelessness in GQ.