Michail Bakoenin, Georg Schaumberg, Randolph Bourne, Jan Geerts, Henri François Rikken, Robert Prutz, Félix Arnaudin, Pita Amor, Eddy Bruma


De Russische schrijver en anarchist Michail Alexandrowitsj Bakoenin werd geboren in Prjamuchino op 30 mei 1814. Zie ook mijn blog van 30 mei 2010.


Uit: Statism and Anarchy


„The Russian people possess to a great extent two qualities which are in our opinion indispensable preconditions for the Social Revolution ... Their sufferings are infinite, but they do not patiently resign themselves to their misery and they react with an intense savage despair which twice in history produced such popular explosions as the revolts of Stenka Razin and Pugachev, and which even today expresses itself in continuous peasant outbreaks.

What then prevents them from making a successful revolution? It is the absence of a conscious common ideal capable of inspiring a genuine popular revolution... . [Fortunately,] there is no need for a profound analysis of the historic conscience of our people in order to define the fundamental traits which characterize the ideal of our people.

The first of these traits is the conviction, held by all the people, that the land rightfully belongs to them. The second trait is the belief that the right to benefit from the soil belongs not to an individual but to the rural community as a whole, to the Mir which assigns the temporary use of the land to the members of the community. The third trait is that even the minimal limitations placed by the State on the Mir’s autonomy arouse hostility on the part of the latter toward the State.“



Michail Bakoenin (30 mei 1814 – 13 juni 1876)

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André Brink, G. K. Chesterton, Eduard Escoffet, Leah Goldberg, Mohsen Makhmalbāf, Hans Weigel

De Zuid-Afrikaanse schrijver André Brink werd geboren op 29 mei 1935 in Vrede. Zie ook mijn blog van 29 mei 2007 en ook mijn blog van 29 mei 2008.en ook mijn blog van 29 mei 2009 en ook mijn blog van 29 mei 2010.

Uit: A dry white season


„It all really began, as far as Ben was concerned, with the death of Gordon Ngubene. But from the notes he made subsequently, and from newspaper cuttings, it is obvious that the matter went back much further. At least as far as the death of Gordon's son Jonathan at the height of the youth riots in Soweto. And even beyond that, to the day, two years earlier -- represented in Ben's papers by a receipt with a brief note scribbled on it when he'd started contributing to the schooling of the then fifteen year old Jonathan.

Gordon was the black cleaner in the school where Ben taught History and Geography to the senior classes. In the older journals there are occasional references to "Gordon N." or just "Gordon"; and from time to time one finds, in Ben's fastidious financial statements, entries like "Gordon -- R5.oo"; or "Received from Gordon (repayment) -- R5.00", etc. Sometimes Ben gave him special instructions about notes on his blackboard; on other occasions he approached him for small personal jobs. Once, when some money disappeared from the classrooms and one or two of the teachers immediately blamed Gordon for it, it was Ben who took the cleaner under his wing and instituted inquiries which revealed a group of matric boys to be the culprits. From that day Gordon took it upon himself to wash Ben's car once a week. And when, after Linda's difficult birth, Susan was out ofaction for some time, it was Gordon's wife Emily who helped them out with housework.

As they came to know each other better Ben discovered more about Gordon's background. As a young boy he had arrived from the Transkei with his parents when his father had found employment in the City Deep Mine. And since he showed interest in reading and writing from an early age he was sent to school -- no cheap or easy undertaking for a man in his father's position. Gordon made steady progress until he'd passed Standard Two, but then his father died in a rockfall in the mine and Gordon had to leave school and start working to supplement his mother's meagre income as a domestic servant.“


André Brink (Vrede, 29 mei 1935)

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Bernard Clavel, T. H. White, Max Brand, Anne d'Orléans de Montpensier, Alfonsina Storni, Till Mairhofer

De Franse schrijver Bernard Charles Henri Clavel werd geboren op 29 mei 1923 in Lons-le-Saunier. Zie ook mijn blog van 29 mei 2009 en ook mijn blog van 29 mei 2010.


Le seigneur du fleuve


Tandis qu’il bourrait le tabac, le vieux eut un ricanement.

- Toi aussi, tu as les mains qui tremblent, remarqua-t-il, mais ça n’est pas à cause de l’âge. C’est parce que tu es furieux... Et je vais te dire, parce que je te connais bien, c’est après toi que tu es furieux.

- Ecoutez, père...

- Non, laisse-moi dire. Tu es furieux. Et je te connais bien parce que j’ai été exactement comme tu es. L’âge m’a fait passer tout ça. Sinon, en entrant ici, je te calottais comme tu as calotté ce pauvre Adrien. Il ne pouvait rien faire parce que tu es plus fort que lui ! toi, tu ne pouvais rien faire parce que je suis ton père.

- Mais enfin, père...

Philibert essayait d’interrompre le vieux, et pourtant, si le vieux l’avait laissé parler, il n’aurait probablement rien dit de censé.

- Je te connais tellement bien que je vais dire ce que tu penses en ce moment. Tu penses : J’ai foutu le camp parce que tout le monde me mettait mal à l’aise. Après ce que j’avais fait, j’ai préféré foutre le camp. Mais j’ai fait une connerie de plus. Les autres me respectent. Ils m’auraient regardé de travers, mais ils m’auraient foutu la paix. Le vieux, c’est pas pareil. Il va m’emmerder pendant une heure d’horloge... Voilà ce que tu penses. En ce moment. Maintenant. Là. En bourrant ta pipe et en me reluquant par-dessous comme un sournois. Voilà ce que tu penses !... Je le sais. Et je sais que tu n’oseras pas prétendre le contraire... Allons, dis... dis si je me trompe ?

A mesure que le père parlait, sa voix avait changé . De la colère mal contenue, il avait viré sur la moquerie, et, en finissant, il donnait l’idée d’un homme qui a envie de rigoler un bon coup.“



Bernard Clavel (29 mei 1923 – 5 oktober 2010)

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Leo Pleysier, Frank Schätzing, Maeve Binchy, K. Satchidanandan, Thomas Moore


De Belgische schrijver Leo Pleysier werd geboren in Rijkevorsel op 28 mei 1945. Zie ook mijn blog van 28 mei 2007en ook mijn blog van 28 mei 2008 en ook mijn blog van 28 mei 2009en ook mijn blog van 28 mei 2010


Uit: Dieperik


“En terwijl hij zit te smullen, strooit hij er geregeld nog een paar lepels witte suiker over uit. (Bruine suiker is voor op mijn boterham met plattekaas. Of anders voor op een bord koude rijstebrij, vaders lievelingsdessert.)
‘Er zit al suiker in hoor!’
‘Dat er al suiker in zit!’
En dus nog een lepel witte suiker. En nog een.
En nog een.



Razend kwaad en helemaal over zijn toeren was nonkel Wies. En dat bleef hij toen nog geruime tijd ja. Al stak hij me op het einde, en anders dan gewoonlijk, bij het afdrogen en terug aankleden een handje toe.
‘Gaat het?’
Ik knikte en snikte van ja. Waarop hij met zijn eigen zakdoek mijn tranen bette en mijn neus en mond nog eens afdroogde.”



Leo Pleysier (Rijkevorsel, 28 mei 1945)

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Ian Fleming, Walker Percy, Patrick White, Sjoerd Leiker, Fritz Hochwälder


De Britse schrijver Ian Fleming werd geboren op 28 mei 1908 in Londen. Zie ook mijn blog van 28 mei 2007 en ook mijn blog van 28 mei 2009en ook mijn blog van 28 mei 2010


Uit:Diamonds Are Forever


„With its two fighting claws held forward like a wrestler's arms the big pandinus scorpion emerged with a dry rustle from the finger-sized hole under the rock.

There was a small patch of hard, flat earth outside the hole and the scorpion stood in the centre of this on the tips of its four pairs of legs, its nerves and muscles braced for a quick retreat and its senses questing for the minute vibrations which would decide its next move.

The moonlight, glittering down through the great thorn bush, threw sapphire highlights off the hard, black polish of the six-inch body and glinted palely on the moist white sting which protruded from the last segment of the tail, now curved over parallel with the scorpion's flat back. Slowly the sting slid home into its sheath and the nerves in the poison sac at its base relaxed. The scorpion had decided. Greed had won over fear.

Twelve inches away, at the bottom of a sharp slope of sand, the small beetle was concerned only with trudging on towards better pastures than he had found under the thorn bush, and the swift rush of the scorpion down the slope gave him no time to open his wings. The beetle's legs waved in protest as the sharp claw snapped round his body, and then the sting lanced into him from over the scorpion's head and immediately he was dead.

After it had killed the beetle the scorpion stood motionless for nearly five minutes. During this time it identified the nature of its prey and again tested the ground and the air for hostile vibrations. Reassured, its fighting claw withdrew from the half-severed beetle and its two small feeding pincers reached out and into the beetle's flesh. Then for an hour, and with extreme fastidiousness, the scorpion ate its victim.“



Ian Fleming (28 mei 1908 – 12 augustus 1964)


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Henri-Pierre Roché, Maximilian Voloshin, Xin Qiji, J. D. Wyss, Maria Müller-Gögler, B. S. Ingemann, C. H. von Ayrenhoff


De Franse schrijver, journalist en verzamelaar Henri-Pierre Roché werd op 28 mei 1879 geboren te Parijs. Zie ook mijn blog van 28 mei 2009en ook mijn blog van 28 mei 2010


Uit: Victor


„Patricia - Cette chambre m'amuse. Ça manque de sièges ici. Foutons-nous sur votre lit comme divan, c'est-à-dire vous dedans et moi dessus. C'est sans danger puisque nous l'aimons tous les deux. Et parlons de lui.

Elle sauta sur son lit. Ils s'installèrent comme elle avait dit, à distance.

Pierre - Aimez-vous Victor ?

Patricia - Oui.

Pierre - D'amitié ou d'amour ?

Patricia - Des deux. D'amour surtout.

Pierre - D'amour chaste ?

Patricia - Hélas ! Moi d'amour en plein et sans espoir. Je ne sais quel nom donner à ça. Tout le monde l'aime. Il est à tous et à personne. Il a raison sans doute. J'ai tort de le vouloir pour moi. Mais je ne veux que lui. Victor pourrait choisir parmi des héritières. Pas question. Pourrait avoir un gros contrat pour ses tableaux. Pas question. Il les donne presque tous à ses amis. Il donne aussi des leçons de français, fameuses et drôles, à deux dollars l'heure. Il s'amuse tout le temps. Son sourire est aimable, mais c'est un dictateur. il fait que ce qu'il veut, au moment où il veut. Où qu'il arrive, il devient le centre, il est le chef. il a une fantaisie à jet continu. Il a sûrement des aventures, avec des femmes faites, pas avec des jeunes filles. Il est discret, on ne sait rien.”



Henri-Pierre Roché (28 mei 1879 – 9 april 1959)

Manuel Ortiz de Zarate, Henri-Pierre Roché [in uniform], Marie Vassilieff, Max Jacob and Picasso, Blvd. Montparnasse, Parijs, 12 Aug. 1916 - door Jean Cocteau

Lees meer...

Adriaan Bontebal


De Nederlandse dichter en schrijver Adriaan Bontebal werd als Aad van Rijn op 28 mei 1952 in Leidschendamgeboren. Bontebal debuteerde officieel in 1988 met de verhalenbundel „Een goot met uitzicht“. Daarvoor had hij al „De vuilnisman komt in elke straat. Gedichten van de waanzin“ (1983), „Vijf voor vierentachtig. Verhalen“ (1984), „Alleen in bad, gedichten“ (1984) en „Hannah : een tragisch gedicht in een bedrijf of vijf“ (1986) uitgebracht. Na zijn debuut volgden de prozawerken „De ark“ (1990) en „Charmante jongen, sportief tiep“ (1995), de dichtbundel „Overleven met het oorsmeer in de ketting“ (1996), het prozawerk „Katten vlooien“ (2005) en „Adrenaline“ (2010). Gedichten van Adriaan Bontebal zijn te vinden in Komrij's „Nederlandse poëzie van de 19de t/m de 21ste eeuw in 2000 en enige gedichten“ en in „25 Jaar Nederlandstalige poëzie 1980-2005 in 666 en een stuk of wat gedichten“.


Uit: De Ark


‘Het is Oosters toneel uit de tweede helft van de derde eeuw voor Christus, Indiaas, Pakistaans of Mongools, daar wil ik van af zijn. Gek hè? De culturele belangstelling van mensen gaat in golven, net als de economie. We beleven nu voor het eerst sinds Herman Hesse, Sidharta weet je wel, weer een opleving in de belangstelling voor alles dat ten oosten van de Bosporus komt.
Ik moet, terwijl ik de monoloog uitspreek, de Dans van de Zes Sluiers uitvoeren. Met de laatste zin moet de laatste sluier vallen.’
‘Het is toch de Dans van de Zéven sluiers?’
‘Oorspronkelijk wel. Maar dit is een ideetje van onze regisseur, een oude geile bok. Het is een variant voor vrouwen die niet zo zwaar geschapen zijn.’
‘Neem me niet kwalijk,’ flapte ik eruit. ‘Jij hebt niets te klagen, dacht ik zo. Jij hebt voldoende vlees onder de tepel om topveertig-zangeres te zijn.’
‘Hè hè. Dit is juist de grap. Die ene sluier minder maakt het volgens hem in de uitvoering van een vrouw met een figuur als ik een stuk sexy-er. De regisseur komt daar op klaar.’




Adriaan Bontebal (Leidschendam, 28 mei 1952)

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Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Jan Blokker, Niels 't Hooft, Kaur Kender, Said, Adriaan Venema


De Franse schrijver Louis-Ferdinand Céline (pseudoniem van Louis Ferdinand Destouches) werd geboren in Courbevoie op 27 mei 1894. Zie ook mijn blog van 27 mei 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Louis-Ferdinand Céline op dit blog.


Uit: Reise ans Ende der Nacht (Vertaald door Hinrich Schmidt-Henkel)


„Die Arbeiter konnten einen anwidern, wie sie sich über die Maschinen beugten, ängstlich bemüht, ihnen jeden nur denkbaren Gefallen zu tun, sie mit passenden Bolzen zu füttern, einem nach dem anderen, statt ein für alle Mal Schluß damit zu machen, mit diesem Ölgestank, diesem Qualm, der einem die Kehle hochsteigt, bis in die Ohren, und einem die Trommelfelle verbrennt. [...] Man ergibt sich dem Lärm wie dem Krieg. [...] Man muß das Leben draußen zunichte machen, es genauso in Stahl verwandeln, in etwas Nutzbares. [...] Man muß einen Gegenstand draus machen, was Hartes, das ist die Vorschrift.



Die Sonnenuntergänge in dieser afrikanischen Hölle erwiesen sich als spektakulär. Beeindruckend. Tragisch jedes Mal, wie ein Riesengemetzel an der Sonne. Eine Mordsveranstaltung. Allerdings ein bißchen zu viel Bewunderung für einen einzelnen Menschen. Der Himmel vollführte eine Stunde lang Paraden, vom einen Ende zum anderen mit delirierendem Scharlachrot angeklatscht, dann platzte das Grün inmitten der Bäume los und stieg in zitternden Schlieren vom Boden bis zu den ersten Sternen hinauf. Danach eroberte Grau den gesamten Horizont, dann wieder Rot, aber jetzt war es müde, das Rot, und hielt sich nicht lang. So ging es zu Ende. Sämtliche Farben fielen in Fetzen wieder herab, ausgewaschen, auf den Wald, wie Flitterkram nach der hundertsten Vorstellung. Jeden Tag genau um sechs Uhr lief das so ab.“




Louis-Ferdinand Céline (27 mei 1894 - 1 juli 1961)




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John Barth, Herman Wouk, John Cheever, Dashiell Hammett, Georges Eekhoud


De Amerikaanse schrijver John Barth werd geboren op 27 mei 1930 in Cambridge, Maryland. Zie ook mijn blog van 27 mei 2009 en ook mijn blog van 27 mei 2010


Uit: The End of the Road


“What the hell for?"

Rennie had started out with pretty firm, solemn control, but now she got choky and couldn't, or wouldn't, answer the question.

"Has he turned you out?"

"No. Can't you understand why he sent me up here? Please don't make me explain it!" Tears were imminent.

"Honestly, I couldn't guess, Rennie. Are we supposed to reenact the crime in a more analyzable way, or what?"

Well, that finished her control; the head-whipping began. Rennie, incidentally, looked great to me. She'd obviously been suffering intensely for the past few days, and, like exhausted strength, it lent her the sexual attractiveness that tormented women occasionally have. Tender, lovelike feelings announced their presence in me.

"Everything that's happened wrenches my heart," I said to her, laying my hand on her shoulder. "You've no idea how much I sympathize with Joe, and how much more with you. But he sure is making a Barnum and Bailey out of it, isn't he? This sending you up here is the damnedest thing I ever heard of. Is it supposed to be punishment?"

"It's not ridiculous unless you're determined to see it that way," Rennie said, tearfully but vehemently. "Of course you'd say it was, just so you won't have to take Joe seriously."

"What's it all about, for heaven's sake?"

"I didn't want to see you again, Jake. I told Joe that. He told me everything you said to him last night, and at first I thought you were lying all the way. I guess you know I've hated you ever since we made love; when I told Joe about it, I didn't leave out anything we did--not a single detail--but I blamed you for everything."




John Barth (Cambridge, 27 mei 1930)



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Max Brod, Arnold Bennett, Richard Schaukal, Ferdynand Ossendowski, M. A. vonThümmel


De Tsjechisch-Israëlische dichter, schrijver, criticus en componist Max Brod werd geboren in Praag op 27 mei 1884. Zie ook mijn blog van 27 mei 2007 en ook mijn blog van 27 mei 2009 enook mijn blog van 27 mei 2010


Die dunklen Mächte

Die dunklen Mächte, denen du gebietest,
Sind ohne Mund und Augen. Starr
Verzaubern sie, wie Nebel fugendicht und schwer
Durch die ein süsser Dunst von Most versickert.

Doch draussen, vor dem offnen Fenster spielen
Die Kinder, klingt der Amseln
Geläut wie starker Mai,
und ging ich diese Vorstadtstrasse weiter,
Käm ich zu Hügeln, hell ergrünten Feldern
Mit Licht und leichter Luft darüber hin,
Die sich in Blüten reingebatet hat, -
Fern aller Sorge, allem Fuselduft,
Wie gerne zög ich diesen Weg, und frei
Trüg ich die Hände, hochgemut das Haupt.


Max Brod (27 mei 1884 - 20 december 1968)



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Alan Hollinghurst, Radwa Ashour, Hugo Raes, Isabella Nadolny, Vítězslav Nezval


De Britse schrijver Alan Hollinghurst werd geboren op 26 mei 1954 in Stoud, Gloucestershire. Zie ook mijn blog van 26 mei 2007 en ook mijn blog van 26 mei 2008 en ook mijn blog van 26 mei 2009 en ook mijn blog van 26 mei 2010.


Uit: The Line of Beauty


“He had a blind date at eight that evening, and the hot August day was a shimmer of nerves, with little breezy interludes of lustful dreaming. The date wasn't totally blind - 'just very short-sighted", Catherine Fedden said, when Nick showed her the photograph and the letter. She seemed to like the look of the man, who was called Leo, and who she said was so much her type; but his handwriting made her jumpy. It was both elaborate and impetuous. Catherine had a paperback called Graphology: The Mind in the Hand, which gave her all sorts of warnings about people's tendencies and repressions ("Artist or Madman?" "Pet or Brute?"). "It's those enormous ascenders, darling," she said: "I see a lot of ego." They had pursed their lips again over the little square of cheap blue writing paper. "You're sure that doesn't just mean a very strong sex drive?" Nick asked. But she seemed to think not. He had been excited, and even rather moved, to get this letter from a stranger; but it was true the text itself raised few expectations. "Nick - OK! Ref your letter, am in Personnel (London Borough of Brent). We can meet up, discuss Interests and Ambitions. Say When. Say Where" - and then the enormous rampant L of Leo going halfway down the page.




Don Gilet (Leo) en Dan Stevens (Nick) in de tv-serie „The Line of Beauty“ uit 2006.


Nick had moved into the Feddens' big white Notting Hill house a few weeks before. His room was up in the roof; still clearly the children's zone, with its lingering mood of teenage secrets and rebellions. Toby's orderly den was at the top of the stairs, Nick's room just along the skylit landing, and Catherine's at the far end; Nick had no brothers or sisters but he was able to think of himself here as a lost middle child. It was Toby who had brought him here, in earlier vacations, for his London "seasons", long thrilling escapes from his own far less glamorous family; and Toby whose half-dressed presence still haunted the attic passage. Toby himself had never perhaps known why he and Nick were friends, but had amiably accepted the evidence that they were. In these months after Oxford he was rarely there, and Nick had been passed on as a friend to his little sister and to their hospitable parents. He was a friend of the family; and there was something about him they trusted, a gravity, a certain shy polish, something not quite apparent to Nick himself; which had helped the family agree that he should become their lodger.”



Alan Hollinghurst (Stoud, 26 mei 1954)



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Maxwell Bodenheim, Ivan O. Godfroid, Edmond De Goncourt, Mary Wortley Montagu, Ellen Deckwitz, Machteld Brands


De Amerikaanse dichter en schrijver Maxwell Bodenheim werd geboren op 26 mei 1892 in Hermanville, Mississippi. Zie ook mijn blog van 26 mei 2009 en ook mijn blog van 26 mei 2010.



Advice To a Blue-Bird


Who can make a delicate adventure

Of walking on the ground?

Who can make grass-blades

Arcades for pertly careless straying?

You alone, who skim against these leaves,

Turning all desire into light whips

Moulded by your deep blue wing-tips,

You who shrill your unconcern

Into the sternly antique sky.

You to whom all things

Hold an equal kiss of touch.


Mincing, wanton blue-bird,

Grimace at the hoofs of passing men.

You alone can lose yourself

Within a sky, and rob it of its blue!




The Child Meditates


The oak-tree in front of my house

Smells different every morning.

Sometimes it smells fresh and wise

Like my mother's hair.

Sometimes it stands ashamed

Because it doesn't own the smell

It borrowed from our flower-garden.

Sometimes it has a windy smell,

As though it had come back from a long walk.

The oak-tree in front of my house

Has different smells, like grown up people.


My doll hides behind her pink cheeks,

So that you can't see when she moves,

But it doesn't matter because

She always moves when no one is looking,

And that is why people think she is still.

People laugh when I say that my doll is alive,

But if she were dead, my fingers

Wouldn't know that they were touching her.

She lives inside a little house.

And laughs because I cannot find the door.


The colours in my room

Meet each other and hesitate.

Is that what people call shape?

Nobody seems to think so,

But I believe that lines are dead shapes

Unless they fall against each other

And look surprised, like the colours in my room!




Maxwell Bodenheim (26 mei 1892 – 6 februari 1954)



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Eve Ensler, Friedrich Dieckmann, Egyd Gstättner, Claire Castillon, Jamaica Kincaid, Robert Ludlum


De Amerikaanse schrijfster en feminste Eve Ensler werd op 25 mei 1953 in New York geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 mei 2009 en ook mijn blog van 25 mei 2010


Uit: Insecure at Last


„Security watch. Security clearance. Why has all this focus on security made me feel so much more insecure? What does anyone mean when they speak of security? Why are we suddenly a nation and a people who strive for security above all else?

In fact, security is essentially elusive, impossible. We all die. We all get sick. We all get old. People leave us. People surprise us. People change us. Nothing is secure. And this is the good news. But only if you are not seeking security as the point of your life.

When security is paramount you can’t travel very far or venture too far outside a certain circle. You can’t allow too many conflicting ideas into your mind at one time, as they might confuse you or challenge you. You can’t open yourself to new experiences, new people, and new ways of doing things. They might take you off course.

You can’t not know who you are; it’s more secure to cling to hard-matter identity. So you become a Christian or a Muslim or a Jew, you are an Indian, or an Egyptian or an Italian or an American. You are heterosexual or homosexual or you never have sex or at least that’s what you say when you identify yourself. You become part of an US, and in order to be secure, you must defend against THEM. You cling to your land because it is your secure place, and you must fight anyone who encroaches on it.

You become your nation, you become your religion. You become whatever it is that will freeze you, numb you, and protect you from change or doubt. But all this does is shut down your mind. In reality, you are not a drop safer. A meteor could still fall from the sky, a tsunami could rise up next to your beach house, someone could fly a plane through your building.“




 Eve Ensler (New York, 25 mei 1953)



Lees meer...

Theodore Roethke, Georges Bordonove, W. P. Kinsella, Max von der Grün


De Amerikaanse dichter Theodore Huebner Roethke werd geboren in Saginaw, Michigan op 25 mei 1908. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 mei 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Theodore Roethke op dit blog..



Root Cellar


Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch,

Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark,

Shoots dangled and drooped,

Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates,

Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes.

And what a congress of stinks!

Roots ripe as old bait,

Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich,

Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks.

Nothing would give up life:

Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.




Pickle Belt


The fruit rolled by all day.

They prayed the cogs would creep;

They thought about Saturday pay,

And Sunday sleep.


Whatever he smelled was good:

The fruit and flesh smells mixed.

There beside him she stood,--

And he, perplexed;


He, in his shrunken britches,

Eyes rimmed with pickle dust,

Prickling with all the itches

Of sixteen-year-old lust.




Theodore Roethke (25 mei 1908 - 1 augustus 1963)



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