8.04.2008

Lesson for Today

Today, a great class given by Babo Kamel and Alex Pierce on the Glosa, a form of poetry that requires one to borrow four lines from another writer's poem. Besides learning the rules of this form, the discussion centered on the ethics of such appropriation and borrowing in general, a subject I find fascinating as it relates to all of us who create anything in this culture of media bombardment. And I don't mean to sound critical with that last statement--just making an observation. We ARE bombarded with media, for good or bad, and as so much information lodges into our subconsciousness, we're going to see more blurring of the lines between "original" work and derivative. That's why it is SO important to find our authentic voices in the midst of it all. But I do think we can borrow from one another, to the extent that we inspire one another, giving credit where credit is due. I once came across (online) a collage in which the artist had used the text of one of my poems. I was honored.

Anyway, during the class, they played this Leonard Cohen song, based on his own translation of the Frederico Garcia Lorca poem, Little Viennese Waltz. See if you can hear the differences in the Cohen lyrics.


Little Viennese Waltz


In Vienna there are ten little girls,
a shoulder for death to cry on,
and a forest of dried pigeons.
There is a fragment of tomorrow
in the museum of winter frost.
There is a thousand-windowed dance hall.

Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Take this close-mouthed waltz.

Little waltz, little waltz, little waltz,
of itself of death, and of brandy
that dips its tail in the sea.

I love you, I love you, I love you,
with the armchair and the book of death,
down the melancholy hallway,
in the iris's darkened garret,

Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Take this broken-waisted waltz.

In Vienna there are four mirrors
in which your mouth and the ehcoes play.
There is a death for piano
that paints little boys blue.
There are beggars on the roof.
There are fresh garlands of tears.

Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Take this waltz that dies in my arms.

Because I love you, I love you, my love,
in the attic where the children play,
dreaming ancient lights of Hungary
through the noise, the balmy afternoon,
seeing sheep and irises of snow
through the dark silence of your forehead

Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Take this " I will always love you" waltz

In Vienna I will dance with you
in a costume with
a river's head.
See how the hyacinths line my banks!
I will leave my mouth between your legs,
my soul in a photographs and lilies,
and in the dark wake of your footsteps,
my love, my love, I will have to leave
violin and grave, the waltzing ribbons

Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca

2 comments:

biggy said...

"We ARE bombarded with media, for good or bad, and as so much information lodges into our subconsciousness, we're going to see more blurring of the lines between "original" work and derivative. ". This would be similar to sampling in hip/hop, no? Or electronica? See Howard's recent post on Girl Talk.

Tania Rochelle said...

Exactly.

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