Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mother Prepares Son For School

This just in from Mother:
My dear son,

I did a little background check on your two new advisors at Tokyo University. The first is a specialist in Russian and Slavic literature. I remember you reading Bulgakov, Babel and Zamyatin as an undergrad, but you might want to review here some of the lesser-known Soviet writers.

Your second advisor is apparently one of Japan’s most renowned and widely read translators of contemporary American (and British) fiction. I’ve compiled a list of some of the authors he’s translated; try to familiarize yourself with them before the semester begins, even though American (and British) literature isn’t your specialty. I suspect you’re only vaguely familiar with Paul Auster, Malcolm Bradbury, and Thomas Pynchon.

1. Steven Millhauser, novelist, short story writer. Won Pulitzer in 1997 for novel Martin Dressler. His short story “Eisenheim the Illusionist” was made into a 2006 film called The Illusionist.
2. Serbian-American poet Charles Simic.
3. Rebecca Brown, writer of gay and lesbian fiction.
4. Stuart Dybek, Polish-American from Chicago, acclaimed master of the short story.
5. Barry Yourgrau, multimedia writer and performer. Also writes for Huffington Post. Here’s his article from January of this year about the slaughter in Gaza.
6. Edward Gorey, writer, illustrator. Creator of the “Mystery” TV program intro.
7. Richard Powers, writer, addresses science-technology issues.

8. Ethan Canin, novelist, faculty at Iowa Writer's Workshop. Author of America America.
9. Malcolm Bradbury, novelist, academic. Author of famous polemical campus novel, The History Man. Here is David Lodge’s review of it.
10. Steven Erickson, surrealist/magical realist novelist, author of The Sea Came at Midnight and Zeroville.
11. British philosopher and novelist Colin Wilson, best known for The Outsider, a non-fiction work about the lives of various artists.
12. American Southern novelist and poet George P. Garrett, who served as poet laureate of Virginia from 2002-6.
13. Paul Auster. Here's CLR critic Garan Holcombe's not-so-favorable review of Auster's latest book.
14. Thomas Pynchon

Hope this helps.


Beholdmyswarthyface said...

Thank you, Mother. I don't know what I'd do without your help.

Anonymous said...

So glad to be of help to you son. You know I love literature and it is only second nature for me to share this stuff.

You are indeed my son. All my love, mother in Phoenix.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! It's a good thing you are not coming to Ohio State:) I will quit OSU and permanently be back in Beijing this June. Good luck with school. 桜の時季だね。楽しんで。

- LA

Beholdmyswarthyface said...

Lin An! Why are you quitting? Come to Japan! I'd like to hear from you, so send me an email!

Anonymous said...

Los Angeles

Anonymous said...

My dear grandson Ryan,

I wrote you a poem about my 50-plus years of life in Phoenix as an Armenian immigrant. I hope you like it. I will post it here on your famous blog, in the hope that one day the world will know of my humble little poem.

Your grandmother,
Grandmother Lillian Samajean, formerly known as Lillian Shaldjian


I walk once more on the desert floor and ask myself,
Have I been here before?
The sky above is bright
I see the eagle in flight
This day God’s given me I treasure
As it is one of wondrous pleasure.
For just a brief moment
I have peace and quiet
And my spirit soars

The pain I feel on earth,
I know will dissolve in heaven
As the struggles of mankind
Are left behind
And the glory of wind and rain and flowers blooming
From the prickly plants I see
So beautiful, so bright against the desert sky.

Lillian Samajean

Officer Notafage said...

It must take take a lot of courage to live off scholarships in the false world of academica. While you are living it up as a "book man" I thought I would share a poem written by my wife for a real man:

"Give Him a Guardian Angel"

Dear God I know You're busy
With all you have to do,
But if I can have a minute,
I'll try not to ask to much of you.

My husband is a policeman
And as he goes to work each day,
Please send a guardian angel
To walk with Joe along the way.

When he leaves, I say "Be Careful."
And kiss him on his sweet face,
But I can't be there to watch over him
All the time and in every place.

I know Joe's just one officer,
But he's serious about his job.
I know he'll try to stop
Those who murder, rape or rob.

I know this may sound selfish
And yes it may be true
But when I think about what he does,
I have to leave it up to You.

If it comes to saving another,
I know he'd give his life.
That's the way my husband's made
And I'm proud to be his wife.

So do me this little favor Lord,
Until you need him there with you.
Send him a guardian angel Lord
To help him make it through.

Anonymous said...

Did you write that yourself, Officer? That's quite beautiful. So filled with feeling. But it seems that in the last stanza you rhymed "Lord" with "Lord." Isn't there some kind of rule of prosody that bars such practices?

-Helen Cornthaugh