Beatrice Presents Adam Langer @ The Strand

langer.jpgBack in the summer of 2005, Adam Langer‘s novel Crossing California was featured on this site for a week, as Adam chatted with fellow Chicagoan Andrew Winston about their writing and their hometown. Now Adam’s moved to New York, which has become the setting for his latest novel, which he’ll tell you about himself in this video:

I’m really excited to be able to tell you that I’ll be introducing Adam as he reads from Ellington Boulevard at the Strand, one of Manhattan’s most famous bookstores, on Tuesday, January 22nd. We’ll be having a wine reception at 6:30 p.m. before the reading, so if you’re in the area, please do come by and say hello.

11 January 2008 | events |

Breyten Breytenbach, “to empty the mountain (for wang wei)”

Halfway through life’s journey I discover the Way
Wind fleet-footed, heavens still, long-armed monkeys crying.
Now that I’m old I live near green mountains,
Water so clear and sand so white,
Backwards the birds fly
I wander alone there
And with no mouth-companion enjoy unfolded silence.
The endless river rolls its waves hour upon hour

But cannot bring to heel the moon;
After my long illness I scale the heights;
Loitering to where the stream sinks in moss
I rest and watch how clouds appear;
Passing on, I meet the old neighbor
And forget to return and chatter above and below
In one moving sand of words: Oh, we live in desperate times
And mourn our hair of snow
Squeezed by poverty, we even give up the wine!

From Windcatcher: New & Selected Poems 1964-2006. The poem “today I went down” is also available online, as are PDFs of poems published in Harper’s. I first discovered Breytenbach’s work through a profile in Lawrence Weschler’s wonderful book Calamities of Exile, which underscored the essentialness of social justice in Breytenbach’s writing and his personal activism. (He was jailed in his native South Africa for seven years for his political activities, after illegally reentering the country after more than 15 years of exile.) See, also, Breytenbach’s open letter about contemporary Africa, and another open letter to Ariel Sharon published in The Nation.

And what about Wang Wei? One of the finest poets of the Tang Dynasty, who has been repeatedly translated into English; see, for example, several versions of “Deer Park Hermitage” spanning most of the 20th century (and one from David Hinton’s excellent 2006 renditions).

4 January 2008 | poetry |

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