Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wow, Those Symbolists!

Dear Jack Spicer,
Got to love Mallarme's tash and that a mise en abîme thingy he's got going there with the Manet portrait next to him (two things I remember from David Brooks’ courses 'teleology' and 'mise en abîme' oo la la). I'm going to print it and head down to The Bells and see what I can get for it without having my head caved in with a bar stool. Imagine that, a Sydney where you could still trade correspondence from a French Symbolist at your local for a bag of longnecks.
What was it Tranter wrote to you from Singapore, ha, here it is, from the files, addressed and dated ‘70 Greenwood Avenue/Singapore 11/18 May more or less,’ 1971:

Beware of Mallarme: he will send you mad. Heavy doses of Canabis Indica was the only thing that saved me from complete slavery to his pernicious doctrine in ’65, though traces of degeneracy linger on. Follow him far enough, and you’ll never write an intelligible word again. A quickly-chewed wad of Arthur is as good an antidote as any, though this remedy has its own contra-indications … ah, the danger of the blank page.
La vraie vie est ailleurs, sure, but Tranter was already elsewhere, wasn't he, he wasn't saved from the deaths Mallarme found digging so far into verse, not by Rimbaud, not by Turbo Pascal. None of us can be once it sets in. I'm trying to ward it off by doing charitable works, building with bricks and mortar, staying out of the head. But they've cancelled the build here in Chiang Mai and I'm left here alone with nothing but a copy of Wallace Stevens and time.
Elsewhere for now
Michael Brennan

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