Life for Nothomb is divided into brightly-coloured regions she has written about already, and uncharted territory which she has yet to explore, though she insists this peculiar split hasn’t affected her way of life. “Luckily I haven’t fallen into the trap, which has claimed so many writers, of living from day to day thinking ‘Ah, I’ll write a book about that’.” The intimate details which more and more French novelists reveal in their work are far beyond what Nothomb describes as the “natural” limits to the terrain of autobiographical fiction. She widens her eyes and puffs out her cheeks, shaking her head as she declares herself “horrified” by writers who seem almost to have begun a love affair “just to write about it”, “shocked” by those who choose to write about their sex lives. “There’s nothing [in my autobiographical fiction] which could wound the people involved.”
I had a rough idea of what we’d be talking about. I knew a number of refugees who’d come to the UK in the past. And I knew something about the UK’s current asylum system, from newspapers, from TV and from the radio. In particular I knew that it was neither generous nor efficient. But I’d never met anyone on the receiving end.
Now I have. And nothing has made me this angry in a long time. We bellyache about the abuse of human rights overseas. But there are thousands of people living here, right now, in one of the richest countries in the world, forced to live in poverty. They are denied basic rights and services which the rest of us take for granted. And this is not an accident. This is government policy. And we should be ashamed of it.
Long a prominent figure in literary and political circles in Russia as well as in Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Aitmatov, who wrote both in the Kyrgyz language and in Russian, was a hybrid in the former Soviet Union, a party member who nonetheless revealed the restlessness beneath the serene surface of Soviet life under socialism. Drawing on the realistic details of life in the villages of Kyrgyzstan, a mountainous remote province with China to its immediate east and south, and especially on the regional folklore, he wrote, if not allegorically or symbolically, then allusively about the wages of life in a society dominated by collective thought.
Being dead will not improve one’s verse; a bad poet is simply a dead bad poet – look at William McGonagall. Avoid clichés and large amorphous concepts; a good poem should be pared down to its muscle and carry no flab. If a word is taken away or altered then a good poem, a poem that looks effortlessly perfect, should be less than it was, or made other than was intended. That way we know we’ve done all we can – we can do no more than that.
La stanza di Virginia Woolf è inaccessibile alla maggior parte dei visitatori, ma non a Hermione Lee, che ha scritto una biografia di un interesse raccapricciante sulla scrittrice inglese. Sul Guardian, la foto della stanza in questione, con commento della Lee.
Postato da: IM