I am too sleepy to write much, or entirely coherently, after a long bath, bath oils, relaxed. Until the water is not very hot.
Gerhard has been here for three days, then two days more, working on the book about him and his work. And Kunsu's work floats around with it of course, his ideas and pictures, the words and pictures of various artists he works with, the projects, the artists, the dancers.
Gerhard's talk on Wednesday was the third in a row of composers – the other two our own people, Bennett, Agustín, both so varied, so intimate in their work and intentions. Tonight Gerhard and I, after working through all of these plans and texts, watched Fellini's Satyricon, which I love, and which he hasn't seen for many years – he seemed pleased, dreamy himself afterwards, as though he is happy to fall asleep with those arcane, bizarre images and stolen fragments of lovely music (especially the Mimaroglu bits of course).
Last night was the poetry slam at Pink Lane – I won, I won! – with the story Reitalianization, which is in this blog – and then gave the money back to the people running it (£30) because I have a job, and maybe they can use it to buy a good microphone. And they're all young and poorer than me anyway, it would be silly to take their money.
Other poets and writers on last night ranged from the first two – both talented and smart in very different ways, but so shy and uncertain they fled the stage after two poems each – to the skillful final three, the intelligent, assured poet with several fine pastiches, the black girl who had started doing remarkable parodies in various voices. The dark-haired youngster with green fingernails, the very rough sad one with blond hair and a scab on his arm. Not to mention the smart dark-haired student in a long coat, who will be skilled when he is older, who probably writes endlessly.
Gerhard's compositions are so free, so varied – it is rather fun to re-view this book, which has been a painful chore of Musicology, as a looser collection of articles, some academic, some personal, some artistic. Many photographs, many fascinatingly wrought pictures. The publisher will evidently indulge us in a volume that have good German paper and binding, with experimental formats whenever we want them.
Matthew, one of our graduate students in composition – but not for much longer I think, I believe he has handed in his doctoral work – has decided to set some of my writings to music, and sent me another e-mail today about his ideas. He took some of my pieces apart, one whole poem, other fragments, paragraphs: really lovely, I gave him my blessing to do whatever he wanted with them. The intent is that I may also sing them (if they aren't too difficult for my aging voice, nothing above, say, a high F-sharp, please).
That would be the first time someone has set one of my texts to music. I can even imagine publishing my short prose pieces and poems – there aren't a huge mass of them, and they probably won't grow, as I haven't had any ideas for a while, but – that's all right, some of them really were quite good; it would be nice to put the best of them together and bind them. And perhaps Dalkey will publish the Butor translation I sent them last month.
In the bath I have just read Roberto Bolaño's 'Sensini', the first story in Last Evenings on Earth, which is about two writers – an older and a younger – who write letters to each other about literary competitions, never meet, win a few prizes. A lovely story; about the scattered and unpredictable nature of artists, of makers. And, subtly but pleasantly, at the end of the story he mentions that the story won a prize in a literary competition....