Sunday 27 February 2011

>Language >Place Blog Carnival - Edition 4

The contributions to this fourth edition of the blog carnival trace a meandering, creative, self-reflective path through the vicissitudes of place and language. Some point in particular to an expansion of or challenge to identity: "another language, another place, another self". If the section headers are like street signs, these are streets that intersect and double back.

Colours of a Different Place
 Steve Wing: Firefly Domain's Posterous  


Hatches and Despatches 
In January, there's a round-up for the year in the bulletin of our local commune... I always take a quick glance at the naissances column... I've noticed that the Celtic style names of the first wave, such as Erwann, Tanguy, Gildas, Kevin (the first three more authentically Breton, the last a bit later I think, and now become a cause of middle-class wincing), seem to have fallen away rather in favour of more novel and (perhaps) hybrid ones.  Old-fashioned very classic French names seem rare as hen's teeth (more 

First Language 
Finnish was my first language. I was five years old when my family emigrated to Canada. Arriving in Winnipeg, I was promptly placed in school, not knowing a word of English. Now that was language immersion! I don't remember much of those early scary days. I was already reading Finnish and we continued to speak Finnish at home. I learned English quickly enough as children do, but my parents' English was never perfect. LIke many working class immigrants, they were too busy working hard to survive to take more than a couple of basic language classes.(more) 


Hatsepshut's Temple
I have a fixation about the ancient Egyptian egomaniac Hatshepsut and the reason I went to Luxor was to go back to that ancient time and place where I believe I once belonged and was her and commanded things to be done. Like building this stupendous temple to make sure I wouldn't be forgotten by future generations. And behold here they are those future generations, in their touristic thousands, walking up and down clicking their cameras, the name Hatshepsut always on their tongues - Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Russian... (more)
Natalie d'Arbeloff: Blaugustine

At the center of the cozy room is a kotatsu, a low table with a heating element set underneath. The saké is served hot. The shabu-shabu pot is set to bubble so that supper can be cooked right there. You are warm from inside the deepest part of your heart to the tips of both of your little fingers ... then someone calls for Yukimizaké! (This one word in Japanese actually means "snow viewing whilst drinking saké in order to enhance the beauty of the snow scene.") With red cheeks, you bravely call back, "ikimashyô!" Let us go ~ out into the snow! (more)
Rouchswalwe: Fünffingerplätzje'

Some Other Faces [Chengdu]
Finally, after a few days of seeing just Birdy, I get to meet a few of the other foreigners here. Just around the corner of the university gates are a few restaurants. Many of them are run by Muslims. Probably because Xinjiang Province is close by. They are quite distinctive from Han Chinese. You can spot a Muslim Chinese a mile away. Their features are different – and their dress and mannerisms different. One of the restaurants I like is run by a friendly Muslim woman. She is almost always sitting outside the restaurant, urging customers to step inside. In front of her are flat breads – almost like a pizza base we know back home. (more)

I Walked [New York]
I walked on snow and tainted thoughts about the future. Another self, dwelling away from home. Sometimes the lock was frozen and it took a hair dryer for me to go outside. Other times I fumbled in my pocket for a lost ticket--to the art museum that left me in a daze; for the train ride that fleeted past like a ghost retrieved from an old film. (more)
Nicolette Wong: Meditations in an Emergency

Intercambio [Barcelona]
The Raval never stops. Volem un barri digne, plead banners on residents’ balconies. Women work on the corner day and night. I hear shouts and songs and sirens and skateboards rattling past. Cannabis smoke wafts up from the neighbour’s place. Hashish, offers a man walking past us on La Rambla. Juan’s place got broken into recently and the door’s still fucked; I hide my laptop under a bag of laundry like that’s going to fool the burglars. And I know this place, not like the back of my hand, not like I’m a goddamn expert on how everything works, but I know it and it’s where I feel good. (more)
Nine: Abyssinia, Henry


La Isla [Lanzarote]
Everything was moving there, every single grain of sand. That's what she realized some days later, at the beach, where she stood still and watched the wind move across the ground. And was stunned. For what she saw was the miniature of a dune desert: the beach, a lake of motion, a genesis of sand, following the path of the wind. She kneeled down, and touched one of the tiny dunes, wondering where it came from, and how far it could travel. The dune gave its answer by gliding on underneath her hand. (more)
Dorothee Lang: Virtual Notes

Another Place
I'm a poet. To me visual poems are another place of another language to another self. When I'm in these places anything is possible to me, I can fly, I can reach something nearly impossible. These poems in here are from the year 2008 (originally). I made them by cutting Abu Nuwais poetry. I cut the pages from his book and built a new world, a new place and language from these cuttings. And at the same time it was also a trip to myself, to my soul and body, to my skull where my inside world met the outside world. (more)


Unicornian for Beginners
Almine channels messages from unicorns, merfolk, dragons, giants, the pegassus (which she uses as a collective noun—deal with it), and some mini-dragons called “twitches.” She transcribes first into unicorn (or whatever) speech and then translates. Here, for example, is the name of one unicorn: Brshmirklekleurtlvapelshnuritvakulesna, meaning “The one who whispers ‘fairies are real’.” That’s one of the shorter names. (more)
Cathy Douglas: City Mouse

Rudas Bath
A steamy experience in Hungary is featured as ‘Monday’s Poem’ at Leaf Press:
rudas bath, budapest.  The process that accompanied publication included a linguistic snag: The original submission was called ‘rudas gyógyfürdő, budapest’. The Hungarian word ‘gyógyfürdő’ translates into English as ‘medicinal bath’. This word–gyógyfürdő–is the one that caused the glitch. Late Sunday evening, the night before publication, I opened an email from Leaf Press publisher Ursula Vaira: I am working on the poem now, and am stuck on the last o in gyógyfürdő … my software (Dreamweaver) simply has no character for that.  Even when I go to a website and copy the word and paste it directly in, it still turns up as a question mark. (more)
Karyn Eisler: Living?s

Lost in Translation [Paris]
“Dites moi ce que vous en pensez,” said the old woman. “Tell me what you think.”
The girl had been gazing at the canvas, an astonishing explosion of color amidst a grey background of tattered cardboard and greasy clothing and tired plastic bags, and she now sensed the woman’s gaze on her. What could she say? That she wanted to press her cheek into the cool ocean purples, put her lips to the milky sky and drink? (more)
Michelle Elvy: Glow Worm

Visiting Places
It had been a while since they had travelled anywhere. They wanted to, but couldn’t; they never spoke about it. On this Saturday evening, she suggested a walk through town: let us pretend to be tourists, she said, and picked up the camera. He didn’t see the point, but agreed.
Afternoon rain had followed morning snowfall, and although the slushy streets made walking difficult, the sky was clear and the air fresh; it seemed like a new place after all, she said. (more)

Stone Story
Although Kareem is eight, he looks more like twelve. This is neither due to his hairstyle, nor to the long trousers and T-shirt he is wearing; rather the serious expression on his face, and the way he looks at you, straight in the eye. He sells stones.
He picked them himself carefully: not too big, for they will not travel far; not too small, for they will impress no one. He arranged them on his wooden tray and priced them accordingly: regular, one piastra; medium, two. (more)
Stella Pierides

Where do You Come From?   [Trinidad]
asks the stranger by the ocean,
who looks at me, full in the face,
all activities of gathering blossom forgotten.

I open my mouth to reply, all there is,
is a gargoyle glare as my tongue sticks
in a groove, words lodge in my throat.

Sheree Mack: Every Day Creativity 3

Metro Stories
So: it's late one night on a crowded Green Line metro car running between McGill and Berri/UQAM. The first speaker is a tall Quebecer, anglophone, pale reddish complexion, sandy hair and beard, 20-ish; looks rather straight. His friend: same age, also Caucasian and anglophone but with dreadlocks and loose clothes, affecting a worldly hippie look. (more)
Beth Adams: The Cassandra Pages


Old Dust Made New
First day of school: I do not speak a word of English. Copy everything painstakingly from the blackboard. (My dad will decipher it for me when I get home.) My classroom has dark green metal shutters for windows. On the first day the only thing I can do is draw.

A vignette and a poem from the time I grew up in Nigeria. The vignette is brand new. The poem old dust made new was first published in One Ghana, One Voice. It was written for their Harmattan series.(more)
Daniela Elza: Strange Places

Bento Boxes
Tweny-five years ago I outsourced my motivation to the Japanese. I wore the Kansai humidity like a second skin and shaved my beard to get closer to the soup. I went to all kinds of extremes, even fell in love. Anything to avoid going to class.
Opening a bento was like taking the roof off a cheap apartment building, the kind where you can hear every word through the thin walls but understand nothing. I speak from experience: the woman in the next apartment had a screaming orgasm every afternoon at 3:00. My roommate took to accompanying her on the guitar. (more)
Dave Bonta: Via Negativa

The Pyrenees, The Cathars and Imago
I want to tell you now about the genesis of my novel Imago, due out any day.
The first time I went to the Pyrenees I was 14, and travelling with my French penfriend and her family. We were crossing to stay in a village by the sea in the foothills in Spanish Catalonia.
I remember three things from that trip: a sense that this hauntingly beautiful mountain range was in some important way significant to me; a day's ride into the mountains on big grey (white) Spanish horses, just me with my penfriend's gorgeous and rather awe-inspiring older male cousins; and a severe and acute mystery illness, where I was delirious for several days, and couldn't even keep down water. This is the first time I remember having what would have to be called an out-of-body experience. (more)
Roselle Angwin: Qualia and Other Wildlife

Reforma Agrária
My name there was Joana. They talked to me all day and at first I understood little, but I learned quickly, as you do in case of need. My boyfriend spoke Portuguese, but was rarely with me to interpret. Gender apartheid ruled in both farmwork and homelife. I've a lasting image of his backview disappearing on a tractor, on the pillion of a battered motorbike - an unfamiliar backview at that, for on day two they took him to the barber and I saw him for the first time with short hair. (more)
Jean Morris: tasting rhubarb

Paris 1986
The metro.
The dogshit.
The smoke.
The traffic.
The noise.
The stairs.
The walls.
The silence.

Pica: Feathers of Hope



Their Next
Michael Solender reads his short story about an American's final journey to a remote monastery in Bhutan. (video)
Michael J Solender: not from here, are you?

Sunday Afternoon
This was going to be a post about words and worlds. The spaces turned into places by the swift needles of language. There was going to be something about how text patterns experience. About how, these days, experience fragments text in turn.
The post was going to start with how for Gaston Bachelard, who used to muse about the poetics of space, words "are little houses, each with its cellar and garret," a structured space in which poetry is channeled from the cellars of  obscure etymologies to the garrets of dreams far removed from the ground-level drawing rooms of common sense. (more)
Maria Benet: Small Change


Edition 5 of the >Language >Place blog carnival will be edited and hosted by Parmanu

Submissions will be open from 1 to 20 March, with the next edition planned to go online by the start of April. Check out the guidelines here.


Michael Solender said...

looks like a wonderful line-up Jean - will be back for more!~ great job...

Cathy said...

Nice job--well organized and presented. I like the decision to use an excerpt to lead into each post.

Karyn said...

Beautiful layout/presentation! Will be back to sample the offerings :-)))

Dave said...

Pleased to see both old friends and some great new-to-me blogs here. Thanks for the inclusion, and congratualtions on a lovely presentation.

alembic said...

A lovely presentation indeed and what a rich lineup. Thank you for all the work you put in this. I'll keep coming back to read slowly, to explore place through this collection of stories.

marja-leena said...

Oh, yes, a lovely presentation indeed! I love how you've organized it all under "chapters": beginnings, journeys, etc. So many rich stories to explore from old friends and new. Thank you, Jean for including me and for all the work you did.

Dorothee said...

such a beautiful edition! i love the structure, and the idea to include excerpts. thanks so much for piecing together this virtual journey.

roselle said...

Jean, this is a vibrant, imaginative and exciting issue. What a great way to start a Monday morning! Thank you for all you've put into this.


Stella Pierides said...

Great presentation! I look forward to reading the entries and visiting the blogs. Thank you, Jean!

Anonymous said...

Than You Jean, very interesting and awsome presentation.

Lucy said...

I've just spent a very enjoyable first-morning-of-the-holidays reading through these. I don't think I've ever seen such an invitingly presented blog carnival. Really great, thanks Jean!

Nicolette Wong said...

Great line up and layout! Thanks so much for putting this together.

Anonymous said...

This is an impressive site. I'm pleased to see Michael Solender is also listed.

Beth said...

Thank you for a wonderful (and beautiful) compilation, Jean -- I anxiously await some quiet time when I can sit down and read through all of the contributions.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Yes,Jean, you did a great job of presentation. Thank you for including me. I'm looking forward to slowly reading each of the entries.

Jean said...

Thank you all very much for the kind comments!

I'm particularly glad that all you contributors like the carnival layout. Thank you for all your wonderful contributions!

The format used for this month's carnival owes much to the peerless compilation blog, wood s lot: and to contributor Dave Bonta's ongoing compilation, the wonderfully named Smorgasblog, on his blog, via negativa:

Sherry O'Keefe said...

wow, what a wonderful lineup! consider me enticed!

Rouchswalwe said...

This is splendid, Jean! Thank you so much for including me in a chapter.