Tuesday, July 21, 2009

hey bulldog

I’ve got two poems up in the new Scapegoat Review: No Stars Tonight and When Wonderful, Add Water. “Welcome you enjoy!” as we used to say in China.

Alongside a couple other diversions, I’m reading Memoirs of an Anti-Semite by Gregor von Rezzori, a collection of five short stories from the point of view of the same man in eastern Europe between the wars.

The gulf between Jews and “goyim” is clear in the first story. You encounter Jews as lice-ridden children, but also as bold intellectuals in the person of a young devil-may-care pianist. I’m into the second story now. The narrator does talk about Jews and he himself incorporates the negative attitudes towards them, but this doesn’t quite consume the book, and you don’t hate him for his hate, really; he is self-aware and intelligent. He is an anti-semite but not in a rabid way. Still, in the book, what you can assume is a ubiquitous repulsion is about to turn the world upside down.

It’s one of those books that I remember having in my bookbag and I’m not terribly drawn to it, but once I start reading again, it’s very engaging. It’s not a compulsive read, but worthwhile and evocative.

I still have a four books from my challenge to read this year, and of those I plan to get to the Jim Shepard stories and Butcher’s Crossing this summer.

Thanks to Kavel Rafferty for the Saucy image.


Toni Clark said...

Enjoyed the poems and the introduction to Scapegoat. (I like the substitution of laissez-faire for laze!)

Having a crazy-busy summer. Your blog always makes me want to stop everything and pick up a book!

CPR said...

Like your work in Scapegoat but wonder if 'sheep' s/b 'sleep' or is it correct as is?

Sheep is a little more surreal, but I like it just the same.

Why don't you send us something sometime?


SarahJane said...

Hi -
Thanks for reading the poems.
Toni - my mother sent me that book you recommended, too.
CPR - yes, sheep is correct (as in counting sheep)! I'm sure I have something to send you. Thanks.

Ron. said...

Geeze...First you write some (admittedly great) stuff then mention it your blog, and get solicited for more from another publisher. I should have such a life.

As long as you're in the sending mood, you could send me something too. Money, maybe, or some item of a more personal nature perhaps.

You remain, as ever, my hero.

SarahJane said...

They are surely in the pay of my mom.

Sorlil said...

Loved the first poem, in particular 'the hour of sheep' and 'the lonely lick of the sheets'. Great stuff!

Laura said...

Loved these, Sarah. Congrats!

Richard Fox said...

I'm also happy to see that "When Wonderful Add Water" has found a literary home. It's a poem I've admired from afar. Congratulations!

SarahJane said...

thank you!

Matt Dickerson said...

I enjoyed the poems in Scapegoat, especially "When Wonderful". And I liked sheep in "No Stars"

I was terribly impressed when I read Rezzori's "Memoirs" and recommended it to many friends. I followed up with his difficult "Death of My Brother Abel" when Rezzori's ugliness comes more to the fore. (I lent them to a German friend working on her dissertation on the Holocaust and she decided use them in the diss to illustrate the enabling prejudices among upper class Germans, which was by no means rare.) Still, I list Memoirs among my favorite books in my FB profile.

SarahJane said...

It's an interesting book, Matt. I'd never heard of the book until earlier this year. I'm into the homestretch ...

Valerie Loveland said...

I especially like When Wonderful, Add Water.

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