Just a few thoughts before I head out on some errands:
Every year since I was twenty six, I’ve made it a habit to re-read Ulysses. It mostly due to nostalgia, longing for a night in my last years of university when a group of us would get together and read it out loud to each other one night. Like most things in those days, it was just another excuse to drink, be silly, and be intellectual about it, but it was a great night.
Ulysses was probably my first encounter with visual poetry and I believe this is why it appealed to me so much. I’d read it to myself, feeling the mellifluous sentences flow out of me as I whispered each one back onto the page. However, I’d find myself turning a page and just stopping, staring at the paragraphs as if they were illustrations drawn by poetic breaks or pauses in speech; each sentence a lesson in chiasmus and three dimensional rhetoric.
I’ve dedicated the time I’ve given to that book to Portrait of The Artist in the retyping of it and I’m finding myself in the same arena with it; albeit a micro arena here. The language in Portrait has started off simple with much of the same wordplay I found in Ulysses. Words are game to Joyce and the joy is in the riddle he’s crafted for the reader.
And when it had all gone down slowly the hole in the basin had made a sound like that: suck. Only louder.
To remember that and the white look of the lavatory made him feel cold and then hot. There were two cocks that you turned and water came out: cold and hot. He felt cold and then a little hot: and he could see the names printed on the cocks. That was a very queer thing.
Looking at this passage the words: hole, such, socks, hot, cold, queer thing
-they stand out. Reading them over and the way Joyce has put them together forces me to read them staccato, both out loud and in my head. Joyce will also cycle with contrasts. Here it’s with cold and hot, later on, in what I typed out today I found: term, again, vacation, term, again, vacation. He even uses the word “tunnel” to visually the reader through those passages.
Anyways, I’ve created a twitter account for Stephen Dedalus (https://twitter.com/StephenDedalu) to note some of the passages that have stuck out for me so far.
I haven’t given up on this year’s reading of Ulysses yet. I’ve occasionally picked it up and entered passages in my moleskine alongside my daily thought taking. Nostalgia can be toxic, but it’s time I put it to use.
This Sunday I am launching another book, this time through LyricalMyrical Press.
Here’s the blogto listing: http://www.blogto.com/events/72182
And the facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/269797829820448/
And for your amusement and mine: