Friday, April 16, 2010

One Day in Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen

Friday, April 9, 2010: A panel discussion and reading, sponsored by the Danish Writers Union, with Slovenian poet Ales Debeljak, Danish novelist Janne Teller and me (curated by Danish poet and translator Aleksandar Sajin) -- just before the volcano!

Pegasus over the town

Aleksandar Sajin (left), poet, translator and curator of the discussion/reading and Ales Debeljak, Slovenian poet and essayist, in the lobby of the hotel, pretty early the morning of our readings

Ales (and kids) on top of the Round Tower

Cold but wonderful Copenhagen, from the Round Tower

Aleksandar and Ales strolling

Bees. I just like 'em ...

In Frederiks Kirke

Ales oughta be in pitchers (I know, I know, sorry ... )

Pennmark (in the bathroom of the Turkish buffet place where we had lunch)

Sightseeing . . .

Hans Christian Andersen and admirers

The Ugly Duckling

"Into the garden presently came some little children, and threw bread and cake into the water.

“'See,' cried the youngest, 'there is a new one;' and the rest were delighted, and ran to their father and mother, dancing and clapping their hands, and shouting joyously, 'There is another swan come; a new one has arrived.'

"Then they threw more bread and cake into the water, and said, 'The new one is the most beautiful of all; he is so young and pretty.' And the old swans bowed their heads before him.

"Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his wing; for he did not know what to do, he was so happy, and yet not at all proud. He had been persecuted and despised for his ugliness, and now he heard them say he was the most beautiful of all the birds. Even the elder-tree bent down its bows into the water before him, and the sun shone warm and bright. Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, 'I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling.'"

Hans Christian Andersen, "The Ugly Duckling"


Distant solo swanning

At the Danish Writers Union

Ales, Michael Svennevig (who read our work in Danish) and Marianne Larsen, Danish poet

Aleksandar and Janne Teller, Danish novelist

Debeljak, Walmsley and Sternberg -- international poets, editors, translators

At Underwood Ink

Janne reading

Ales reading

Aleksandar and me, before I left

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Is This Feeling Really the Sweetness of Pure Being?

I started off this morning feeling peaceful and empty inside, feeling the eternal sweetness of pure bliss, like the Easter Bunny hopped-up (sorry) on all that sugar. There I was in Evanston, feeling the ineffable pure essence and incomprehensible sweetness of sunrise poo (despite Irish car bombs going off everywhere and too much Fever-Tree Ginger Beer, which made me feel feverish), asking myself: with the Nazis being so totally against cake and everything, might this be the perfect time to plant a really neat French Kiss from an angel on a unicorn? A strange feeling of need and longing awakened within me as a unicorn appeared and said, "I actually quite loathe Evanston — you can't open your mouth without feeling like you're bothering everyone studying."

I felt like I had died the death to which I'd been doomed since the day I rushed the Eagles encore at the Milwaukee Cop-A-Feel Festival — the band's alternate melodic sweetness and propulsive rock was something I usually expected from The Pixies, but the final feeling was completely different: kinda like the long backwash off the back of a horny blonde from Malvern's duck/monkey. What I didn't know was that when unicorns reach the end of their lifespan they are drawn to rotisserie chicken and rescuing crushed beer cans from the streets of New York City. I also didn't know that Courtney Love doesn't exist until dinner. Even though she told me, "I've killed more than a few squirrels in my day, ya know, but even weirder was the meeting between my unicorn and Pink Floyd's renown guitarist, with all its dreamy sweetness intact. So angry was my tweeting about it that I misplaced a hyphen and substituted a homonym."

Courtney denied that she and Ben Affleck ever "made out" anywhere. I would love "to do" Courtney Love, but U.S. Federal law only allows 100 gallons/year of apricots and rainbows to be fermented to make unicorn semen, and Courtney is apparently angry because she didn't like that she may or may not be involved with unicorn semen, and glitter. Where I differ from Courtney is that I love stretch leggings, Buffy the Vampire slayer, driving in the car and getting really angry about stuff ... I just want to crushcrushcrush the super-TED conference on hot dogs and fake teeth! I mean, after three years the stem cell bill finally arrives, and angry couples are forced to buy dragon/buy unicorn, then make dragon/make unicorn, and then they end up with a kid that looks like Kurt and Courtney shared by Lassie? Come on! Just keep picking at your crabs and passing out, people.

Listen, I see myself as every shrieking Chinese corset queen who ever got the shaft from Japanese Santa on Canada Day, but one thing I cannot — & WILL NOT — abide is Courtney Love as an Olson Twin at my math geek birthday party next week, trying to steal (yet again) my (Romanian version) Weird Al "Supreme Chalupa Mega-Pack." Plus, I am 3 weeks late for my Special Happy Kitten and Unicorn Time, so fuck your gummy Scientology. I believe anyone can be gay at any time. White people, am I right?