#south american lit
this gorgeous green, / this searing lilac, / this heart that is nothing but mystery.
Alejandra Pizarnik, “Poem 9″, Diana’s Tree (trans. Yvette Siegert)
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This spectral texture/ of darkness, this/ melody in my bones, this breath from/ various silences, this/ going deeper and/ deeper, this dark, dark/ gallery, this sinking/ without sinking.
- "This Word for Desire", Alejandra Pizarnik, from "Extracting the Stone of Madness", translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert
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Rabinal Achi or Dance of the Trumpets by Anonymous (trans. by Dennis Tredlock)
Books I’ve Read in 2020 (62/?)
I am the brave / I am the man / of the lord of foreign Cunén / foreign Chajul: / the Lord Jaguar Man / Jaguar Quiché / the quick one. / I’m just a drop of water fallen from clouds and mist / on my mountain / on my valley.
netflix just called the gaan suki and friends
and i do 100% agree
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A Streetcar Named Desire
-- American play
-- by Tennessee Williams
-- characters represent two visions of the South
-- Blanche DeBois = declining old romantic
-- Stanley Kowalski = harsh modern era
-- Blanche lost the family estate
-- has to move in with her sister Stella and her husband Stanley
-- live in New Orleans
-- Stanley is rough around the edges
-- he sees through Blanche
-- ruins Blanche’s chance to marry his friend Mitch by revealing Blanche was a prostitute
-- Blanche confronts Stanley
-- Stanley rapes her
-- Blanche is driven into insanity
-- developed into a movie
-- movie featured breakthrough performance of Marlon Brando
Patreon | Ko-fi
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Opening to A Long Petal to the Sea by Isabel Allende for my African, Asian, and South American Literature class.
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here’s a meme i made for real actual credit as part of my real actual american realism test because nothing makes sense under quarantine
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Literature Meme: 6 PROSE WRITERS
↳ Horacio Quiroga (1878-1937) was an Uruguayan storyteller, playwright, and poet. He was the master of the Latin American short story. His prose was vivid, naturalist and modernist. Quiroga achieved great popularity with his Cuentos de la Selva (published 1918), translated into English as Jungle Tales, a collection of eight short stories for children.
Follower of the modernist school founded by Rubén Darío and obsessive reader of Edgar Allan Poe and Guy de Maupassant, Horacio Quiroga was attracted to subjects that covered the strangest aspects of nature, often tinged with horror, disease and suffering for human beings. Many of his stories belong to this trend, his most emblematic work is the collection Cuentos de amor de locura y de muerte (Tales of love of madness and death).
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why yes, I have, in fact, been subject to Chekov’s Three Sisters read out loud in monotone southern accents in front of a professor of Russian literature at one of the top universities in the world. and yes, it is relevant to mention the southern accents because two of the girls reading were not, in fact, from the south. and yes, I am still reeling mentally from this occasion.
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Autumn leaves don't fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.
Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing
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Julio Cortázar, Hopscotch (trans. Gregory Rabassa)
[Text ID: “As if you could pick in love, as if it were not a lightning bolt that splits your bones and leaves you staked out in the middle of the courtyard.”]
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The blues gently shatters my heart that even so is as hot as the blues itself.
Clarice Lispector, from “Brasília”, Complete Stories (trans. Katarina Dodson)
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A song - a tunnel I pass through.
- Alejandra Pizarnik, from "Extracting the Stone of Madness", translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert
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Charles Portis (1933-2020)
Listen, here's what I'd like to do: I'd like to live in a trailer and play records all night.
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dave: i hear hervititooynnvr in the morning if yours she callebsb me the raudiojkji tending s. em fo my hooome. far awayyyyyyhhhhhhhthth
rose: To the plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace
dave: I LIVE IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH
john: i’ve never listened to countrt roada but i know some lyrics
dave: I BEEELLOOOOOOOOOOOONG
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let’s see what the night brings
I noticed the car parked outside
fella inside looked interested in me
going out coming in
otherwise he seemed to sit still
not smoking reading
breathing it seemed
& she rang later in the day
I threw my husband out
I’m free to see you now
oh that was unexpected
but tell me as I never asked before
what does he look like?
tall thin south American
going grey at the temples
faint kind of moustache
is he good at sitting still
doing nothing it seems?
oh yes! she cried
he was excellent at that
so when will I see you again?
oh don’t worry about all that
I murmured down the phone
let’s see what the night brings
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I have never eaten so long or heavy a meal. I was in a place where 'Sunday' still existed as it did in my grandmother's house, a leadening pause in the week, a day of boredom so extreme as to be exhausting. It was the kind of Sunday to make one ache for Monday morning.
Joan Didion, South and West
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American War by Omar El Akkad
I’ve heard time and time again that we, the American public, are heading towards another war with ourselves. I would say another “civil war” but there’s nothing civil about killing another person or people in the name of… whatever.
But you’ve heard the reasons why on the news, but the news hasn’t taken it far enough to suggest it may lead to another war.
“We are divided politically, culturally, religiously, and there’s no room for debate any longer,” they say. We are also seeing a rise of anti-intellectualism which has scared people from trying to understand the world around them and regard people who know more than them as “disconnected” or simply assholes. And the divides around people are growing more and more every day.
The debut novel from journalist Omar El Akkad, simply titled American War, takes these divides to their bitter end.
Set about 75 years in the future, America has lost its east coast, Florida is submerged except for a few islands, much of the southwest is under the protection of Mexico, and the former states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia have seceded and become what is called the MAG. A map towards the front of the book gives a good idea of what the country physically looks like.
But the main story follows a young girl, named Sarat, who was born in lands surrounding the MAG, known as ‘purple country,’ and see her grow into a mythic figure in the MAG’s fight for independence.
The explanation of how an extremist can be born and how they operate in the world is the main draw of the book, and it is pulled off fairly well. Unfortunately, other parts of the novel raise more questions than answers.
Off the top of my head, there are three main issues.
The first has to do with the reason behind the war.
In this future, the rising sea levels from global warming are the reason the east coast and Florida are gone, not to mention rivers and other bodies of water have caused the interior of the land to change as well.
With that being said, I can’t help but think the people who live in the MAG, who are close to the rising seas, would understand the reason the land is underwater is global warming brought on by a dependency on fossil fuels, yet the MAG cling to fossil fuels with all their might and refuse to give up gasoline-powered machines. This is also the main reason for their secession.
I would think the people who live in these regions, the people who have witnessed firsthand the destruction brought on by the sea, would be like, “You know what, maybe we don’t need gasoline so much. Life is better.” But apparently people’s observational skills are greatly reduced in the future, or the people are willfully ignorant (anti-intellectualism and all), or both. Why not both? So that’s issue one.
Numbers two and three are one in the same but with different characters.
Sarat’s mentor into extremism never gives a good reason for his support of the people fighting for the MAG. Is it money? Is it power? Does he believe in the MAG’s cause? He himself is from the north so it can’t be some sense of pride in his home, it wouldn’t make sense.
His only explanation is that when a southerner says they will do something, they do it, implying northerners aren’t honest or don’t stick to their word. But this is out of line with his character since he himself is a grifter and a user of other people. Why does he use them though? We don’t know. He just does, I guess?
And the second character is the mentor’s associate who provides backing for the MAG rebels in the form of military hardware and supplies. But his motivation, or what he gets out of helping the people in the MAG, is never fully explained either.
I can’t believe he is doing this out of the goodness of his heart. And he isn’t even from this part of the world so he has even less of a connection to the war than the mentor.
When asked why he helps by Sarat, he says, “Every war is an American war,” which may be true now in 2018, but the fact that the southwest is a protectorate of Mexico tells me America has lost its standing as a global influencer. Shit has to get pretty bad when people are saying, “Yeah, I want to be protected by the cartels and their people, not you.”
So these two characters’ motivation doesn’t make sense, and it’s not hard to fix these things. Just throw in a few lines of dialogue about how these two people are gunrunners who sell to the highest bidder. Or how they can’t imagine not being a part of a war since they were first soldiers years and years ago. Done. Problem solved. But nope, not even that.
Despite these shortcomings and others, it’s still an interesting read for no other reason than it’s a glimpse into another inner-American war and the birth of a type of extremism.
It’s interesting and fun and you might gain an understanding of why someone might fight for something along the way.
3/5 cups of coffee
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Hello, it is I, your friendly neighborhood historian. I am ready to lose followers for this post, but I have two masters degrees in history and one of my focuses has been middle eastern area studies. Furthermore, I’ve been tired of watching the world be reduced to pithy little infographics, and I believe there is no point to my education if I don’t put it to good use. Finally, I am ethnically Asheknazi Jewish. This does not color my opinion in this post — I am in support of either a one or two state solution for Israel and Palestine, depending on the factors determined by the Palestinian Authority, and the Israeli Government does not speak for me. I hate Netanyahu. A lot. With that said, my family was slaughtered at Auschwitz-Birkenau. I have stood in front of that memorial wall at the Holocaust memorial in DC for my great uncle Simon and my great uncle Louis and cried as I lit a candle. Louis was a rabbi, and he preached mitzvot and tolerance. He died anyway.
There’s a great many things I want to say about what is happening in the Middle East right now, but let’s start with some facts.
In early May, there were talks of a coalition government that might have put together (among other parties, the Knesset is absolutely gigantic and usually has about 11-13 political parties at once) the Yesh Atid, a center-left party, and the United Arab List, a Palestinian party. For the first time, Palestinians would have been members of the Israeli government in their own right. And what happened, all of the sudden? A war broke out. A war that, amazingly, seemed to shield Benjamin Netanyahu from criminal prosecution, despite the fact that he has been under investigation for corruption for some time now and the only thing that is stopping a real investigation is the fact that he is Prime Minister.
Funny how that happened.
There’s a second thing people ought to know, and it is about Hamas. I’ve found it really disturbing to see people defending Hamas on a world stage because, whether or not people want to believe it, Hamas is a terrorist organization. I’m sorry, but it is. Those are the facts. I’m not being a right wing extremist or even a Republican or whatever else or want to lob at me here. I’m a liberal historian with some facts. They are a terrorist organization, and they don’t care if their people die.
Here’s what you need to know:
There are two governments for the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza. In April 2021, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas postponed planned elections. He said it was because of a dispute amid Israeli-annexed East Jerusalum. He is 85 years old, and his Fatah Party is losing power to Hamas. Everyone knows that. Palestinians know that.
Here’s the thing about Hamas: they might be terrorists, but aren’t idiots. They understand that they have a frustrated population filled with people who have been brutalized by their neighbors. And they also understand that Israel has something called the iron dome defense system, which means that if you throw a rocket at it, it probably won’t kill anyone (though there have been people in Israel who died, including Holocaust survivors). Israel will, however, retaliate, and when they do, they will kill Palestinian civilians. On a world stage, this looks horrible. The death toll, because Palestinians don’t have the same defense system, is always skewed. Should the Israeli government do that? No. It’s morally repugnant. It’s wrong. It’s unfair. It’s hurting people without the capability to defend themselves. But is Hamas counting on them to for the propaganda? Yeah. Absolutely. They’re literally willing to kill their other people for it.
You know why this works for Hamas? They know that Israel will respond anyway, despite the moral concerns. And if you’re curious why, you can read some books on the matter (Six Days of War by Michael Oren; The Yom Kippur War by Abraham Rabinovich; Rise and Kill First by Ronen Bergmen; Antisemitism by Deborah Lipstadt; and Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn by Daniel Gordis). The TL;DR, if you aren’t interested in homework, is that Israel believes they have no choice but to defend themselves against what they consider ‘hostile powers.’ And it’s almost entirely to do with the Holocaust. It’s a little David v Goliath. It is, dare I say, complicated.
I’m barely scratching the surface here.
(We won’t get into this in this post, though if you want to DM me for details, it might be worth knowing that Iran funds Hamas and basically supplies them with all of their weapons, and part of the reason the United States has been so reluctant to engage with this conflict is that Iran is currently in Vienna trying to restore its nuclear deal with western powers. The USA cannot afford to piss off Iran right now, and therefore cannot afford to aggravative Hamas and also needs to rely on Israel to destroy Irani nuclear facilities if the deal goes south. So, you know, there is that).
There are some people who will tell you that criticism of the Israel government is antisemitic. They are almost entirely members of the right wing, evangelical community, and they don’t speak for the Jewish community. The majority of Jewish people and Jewish Americans in particular are criticizing the Israeli government right now. The majority of Jewish people in the diaspora and in Israel support Palestinian rights and are speaking out about it. And actually, when they talk about it, they are putting themselves in great danger to do so. Because it really isn’t safe to be visibly Jewish right now. People may not want to listen to Jews when they speak about antisemitism or may want to believe that antisemitism ‘isn’t real’ because ‘the Holocaust is over’ but that is absolutely untrue. In 2019, antisemitic hate crimes in the United States reached a high we have never seen before. I remember that, because I was living in London, and I was super scared for my family at the time. Since then, that number has increased by nearly 400% in the last ten days. If you don’t believe me, have some articles about it (one, two, three, four, and five, to name a few).
I live in New York City, where a man was beaten in Time Square while attending a Free Palestine rally and wearing a kippah. I’m sorry, but being visibly Jewish near a pro-Palestine rally? That was enough to have a bunch of people just start beating on him? I made a previous post detailing how there are Jews being attacked all over the world, and there is a very good timeline of recent hate crimes against Jews that you can find right here. These are Jews, by the way, who have nothing to do with Israel or Palestine. They are Americans or Europeans or Canadians who are living their lives. In some cases, they are at pro-Palestine rallies and they are trying to help, but they just look visibly Jewish. God Forbid we are the wrong ethnicity for your rally, even if we agree.
This is really serious. There are people calling for the death of all Jews. There are people calling for another Holocaust.
There are 14 million Jews in the world. 14 million. Of 7.6 billion. And you think it isn’t a problem the way people treat us?
Anyway (aside from, you know, compassion), why does this matter? This matters because stuff like this deters Jews who want to be part of the pro-Palestine movement because they are literally scared for their safety. I said this before, and I will say it again: Zionism was, historically speaking, a very unpopular opinion. It was only widespread antisemitic violence (you know, the Holocaust) that made Jews believe there was a necessity for a Jewish state. Honestly, it wasn’t until the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that I supported it the abstract idea too.
I grew up in New York City, I am a liberal Jew, and I believe in the rights of marginalized and oppressed people to self-determine worldwide. Growing up, I also fit the profile of what many scholars describe as the self hating Jew, because I believed that, in order to justify myself in American liberal society, I had to hate Israel, and I had to be anti-Zionist by default, even if I didn’t always understand what ‘Zionism’ meant in abstract. Well, I am 27 years old now with two masters degrees in history, and here is what Zionism means to me: I hate the Israeli government. They do not speak for me. But I am not anti-Zionist. I believe in the necessity for a Jewish state — a state where all Jews are welcome, regardless of their background, regardless of their nationality.
There needs to be a place where Jews, an ethnic minority who are unwelcome in nearly every state in the world, have a place where they are free from persecution — a place where they feel protected. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that place being the place where Jews are ethnically indigenous to. Because believe it or not, whether it is inconvenient, Jews are indigenous to the land of Israel. I’ve addressed this in this post.
With that said, that doesn’t mean you can kick the Palestinian people out. They are also indigenous to that land, which is addressed in the same post, if you don’t trust me.
What is incredible to me is that Zionism is defined, by the Oxford English Dixtionary, as “A movement [that called originally for] the reestablishment of a Jewish nationhood in Palestine, and [since 1948] the development of the State of Israel.” Whether we agree with this or not, there were early disagreements about the location of a ‘Jewish state,’ and some, like Maurice de Hirsch, believed it ought to be located in South America, for example. Others believed it should be located in Africa. The point is that the original plans for the Jewish state were about safety. The plan changed because Jews wanted to return to their homeland, the largest project of decolonization and indigenous reclamation ever to be undertaken by an indigenous group. Whether you want to hear that or not, it is true. Read a book or two. Then you might know what I mean.
When people say this is a complicated issue, they aren’t being facetious. They aren’t trying to obfuscate the point. They often aren’t even trying to defend the Israeli government, because I certainly am not — I think they are abhorrent. But there is no future in the Middle East if the Israelis and Palestinians don’t form a state that has an equal right of return and recognizes both of their indigenousness, and that will never happen if people can’t stop throwing vitriolic rhetoric around. Is the Israeli Government bad? Yes. Are Israeli citizens bad? Largely, no. They want to defend their families, and they want to defend their people. This is basically the same as the fact that Palestinian people aren’t bad, though Hamas often is. And for the love of god, stop defending terrorist organizations. Just stop. They kill their own people for their own power and for their own benefit.
And yes, one more time, the Israeli government is so, so, so wrong. But god, think about your words, and think about how you are enabling Nazis. The rhetoric the left is using is hurting Jews. I am afraid to leave my house. I’m afraid to identify as Jewish on tumblr. I’m afraid for my family, afraid for my friends. People I know are afraid for me.
It’s 2021. I am not my great uncle. I cried for him, but I shouldn’t have to die like him.
Words have consequences. Language has consequences. And genuinely, I do not think everyone is a bad person, so think about what you are putting into the world, because you’d be surprised how often you are doing a Nazi a favor or two.
Is that really what you want? To do a Nazi a favor or two? I don’t think that you do. I hope you don’t, at least.
That’s all. You know, five thousand words later. But uh, think a little. Please.
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goodnight to Jensen having the full 15x18 scene recorded on his personal phone, to folks confirming the difference between te quiero and te amo, to the tumblr crash page, to spn having a gif for everything (as always), to everyone, regardless of Spanish knowledge, knowing what the fuck "y yo a ti" means now, and most of all, a goodnight to whatever south american fan leaked the dub and lit the fuse on this shitshow
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