Alejandra Pizarnik: poet of mists and shadows

Reading Alejandra Pizarnick (1936-1972) is like standing by the drystone wall leading towards Hardcastle Craggs from Hebden Bridge in the darkening evening, just before Crimsworth Terrace. And looking up the valley, a valley draped in mist, a subdued greyness like a gauze hanging there with the surreal shadows of the hills, just about visible. And then, looking at oneself, a dense pith of darkness, there and not there, again just barely visible. That is what her poetry is like, all mist and shadows, slippery yet sharp as a knife edge, grazing against the sky, sometimes brushing the sky and at other times kissing it.

Foul Dust

This brings me to the recent act of terrorism enacted by the Nigerian State, when it deliberately murdered, in cold blood, its own citizens who were protesting peacefully and duly, against police brutality. As if this act was not gross enough, the purported President, demonstrated both by his delayed response and his tone-deaf speech, that he and his other accomplices, were no more than an occupying force: detached, alien in spirit, and without moral compass.

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

I have to say, very clearly at the outset, that I am very afraid indeed. In fact, I am terrified at the prospect of what will happen in the United States, in the aftermath of the November elections. I am even more full of fright since Donald Trump’s failure to affirm, like any other leader…

Lies, Lies, & Alternative Facts

In Philip K Dick’s (1928-1982) Beyond Lies the Wub, we have a particular paradigm of lying, of deception. The Wub is described as “a huge pig. It must weigh four hundred pounds”. And, it was dirty and “flies buzzed about its flank”. Nonetheless, its physical appearance distracted from its intelligent ploy which was to replicate itself…

COVID19- Pathologies of Power

On 26 April 1942, Hitler passed a law that gave him absolute power, of life and death, over every citizen of Nazi Germany. The law read “In the present war, in which the German people are faced with a struggle for their existence or their annihilation, the Fuehrer must have all the rights postulated by…

COVID19 and the Re-emergence of Tyranny

This is the hardest blog post I have written yet. I had started out aiming to write about the re-emergence of tyranny in the context of the COVID19 crisis but I was ambushed by events, specifically by the brutal and intentional murder of George Floyd, a black man, by a white policeman in Minneapolis, aided…

COVID19- The Plague of Athens 430 BC

At this time of the year, usually, I would join J in Hebden Bridge. The walk from the station would take me up the hill towards Hardcastle Craggs winding upwards, skirting past the bowl of Hebden Bridge and then snaking towards Peckett Well, before turning to the slip road aiming for Midgehole. In late April…

COVID19: Via Dolorosa

The Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering, runs 600 metres from the Antonia Fortress to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and is believed to be the route that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. There are today, nine Stations of the Cross. I am thinking of this today as we approach Easter,…