variously noted

Michel Butor is still not dead and was in New York on Friday. He looks like Santa Claus:

michel butor looks like santa claus

(in this picture, his wife is explaining something to him.) Will attempt, with the help of his translators, to get some of his poetry into print in English and possibly an interview – despite his old website, he evidently hates the Internet, good man.

Also, there’s an article in the New York Times about Brian O’Doherty, which mentions, in passing, Aspen 5–6 which he put together, and which seems like, in retrospect, maybe the best single (well, double, but) issue of a magazine ever.

my favorite subway ads

are these ones from some college:

gibbs narrative 1

gibbs narrative 2

There’s something about the chains of logic evident in these little narratives that I love: the weird defeatism which reminds me so much of the little stories of Robert Walser, like this one:

The Robber

A pretty woman loved a robber. She was rich, gave parties. Of him it can be supposed that he lived in a hut.

She wore loafers as well as high-heel shoes, and she thought well of him because he was brave, and fair match for hundreds. What an interesting affair.

She had a cage full of lions and tigers and tubs full of snakes. What had he got? Countless sins on his conscience. But at least he wasn’t dull. That decided it.

His overcoat was threadbare enough, it’s true, but she went about with unbelievable chic.

They met partly in the mountains, partly at the railway station. He consigned all his loot to her by bank draft.

Sometimes he’d visit her, and on such occasions he wore an impeccable suit. His behavior was always very polite.

He read Stendhal, she read Nietzsche. This is no place for explanations, even if requests come in for an entire year.

She never permitted intimacies. Their relations remained platonic, and rightly so, for otherwise she’d have lost his spirit of enterprise.

He was a Napoleon! And she? A Catherine the Great, perhaps? Not in the least.

She was the proprietor of a grocery who had three children, and our robber was a decent, reasonable young man, who was in love with the little woman, came into her little shop now and then and chatted with her.

The tigers and lions, the polished bootees, dazzling parties, the impeccable suits, the hundreds he was a fair match for, the relationship full of sacrifice, the whistlings, signals, and shaggy hair, are figures of fantasy.

The person who hatched them now glances at the dial and things it is time to get up from his desk and go for a little walk.

(October 1921: Das Tage-Buch. SW 18.)

(p.32 in Robert Walser, Speaking to the Rose: writings 1912–1932, trans. Christopher Middleton.)


  • An effort to put Finnegans Wake into a wiki full of annotations.
  • Ron Silliman goes to DC & thinks about aura w/r/t Sandra Day O’Connor and the Air & Space Museum.
  • And there’s an opening at Pavel Zoubok tomorrow night for a show of Ray Johnson, May Wilson, Al Hansen, Buster Cleveland, and John Evans, but their website is not so up-to-date. Hopefully they are busy doing other things. Some information here, for the moment. More Al Hansen on show at Andrea Rosen.
  • Coming up: an Eva Hesse show at the Drawing Center.

foucault quoting roussel on stars on the head

(specifically Impressions of Africa:)

“The third performer at the gala of Incomparables, Bob Boucharessas, four years old, bears on his forehead the star of imitation: ‘With an astonishing mastery and a miraculously precocious talent, the charming tot began a routine of imitations executed with eloquent gestures: the various sounds of a train starting up, all the calls of barnyard animals, the grating of a saw on ashlar stone, the sudden popping of the cork of a bottle of champagne, the glug-glug of liquid being poured, the fanfare of a hunting horn, a violin solo, the plaintive melody of a cello – these formed a dazzling repertory able to create for anyone who would momentarily close his eyes the total illusion of reality.’ “

(Michel Foucault, Death and the Labyrinth: the world of Raymond Roussel, trans. Charles Ruas, p. 49)

(connected: this and this.)

ciel, michel butor est vivant !

It turns out that Michel Butor is still alive. Not only is he alive, he’s coming to New York! which possibly I am the only person excited about. An ad in the print version of the Brooklyn Rail declares that he’s appearing with Brian Evenson on Friday the 28th of April at 7pm at Roebling Hall, 606 West 26th Street in Chelsea. Hosted by BR fiction editor Donald Breckenridge.