Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Market, the Telephone, the Dial. Chukovsky.

So, on Saturday I woke up sluggish and headed to the Market haus for some coffee. First, I stopped by a bin of free books & grabbed a coupla freebies that looked interesting. Stop, look, caffeinate.
That was my plan.

Kid's books. They were rilly good. One explained all about airplanes and ailerons, and how crop dusting is dangerous work. Another told bout an ebullient kid who did sound poetry. A child "who so relished the gift of life that is was almost impossible for Mother or the servants to get him to go to sleep." And, another, my fave, was about crocodiles and camels and galoshes and telephones & stuff.

My misspent youth has now led me to a state, or a striving, to minimalist behaviorism, which means I try not to take newspapers home with me, or anything I don’t absolutely need. My small apartment is decidedly not-so-minimally appointed.
So, I spend a lotta time trying to get rid of stuff & I find that it’s easier to part with things that I photograph. Christ, you know it ain't easy!

SoI took pix of the three books and left two of them there, at the market. I took “the Telephone,” by Kornei Chukovsky home. I liked it because ot the cover, and because it had a real phone dial in the book. Hunh! What’s a phone dial? Hey, what’s a television antenna?
Whither the Blaschka flowers? Where the Marianne Moore of yesteryear?

Everyday on tv they talk about antennas. Wtf? I think they’re like Emily Dickinsonian moors and waves. And converters. Government converters, the leading edge of the new socialism.

Turns out that Kornei, or Korney was “a complete man of letters” according to Yale Press. Wiki sez that “Chukovsky… published From Two to Five (1933), a popular guidebook to the language of children.” And “used his popularity to help the authors persecuted by the regime including Anna Akhmatova, Mikhail Zoshchenko, Alexander Galich, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. He was the only Soviet writer who officially congratulated Boris Pasternak on his having been awarded the Nobel Prize. His daughter, Lydia Chukovskaya, is remembered as a lifelong companion and secretary of the poet Anna Akhmatova."
Hot stuff, this Kornei. In the Wiki biz, they even have a caricature of Korney by Mayakovsky. And he was on a stamp too. Korney. Kornei. (Marianne Moore also. [not corny, on a stamp])

So, though my copy of the “Telephone” is old & beat-up, I took it home because most of numbers were worn away by happy capitalist kids dialing & re-dialing their little books to the bone . That’s cool. And it’s got a great cover. (by Peter Tempest) So now I got me some Chukovsky. (Albit, in translation.) And/or/but, I got an actual dial to play with. Dial, dial. Ring, ring. Sorry wrong number.

More to follow, later, about wrong numbers, and Franklin Rosemont.

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