13 March 2010


yesterday the poetry anthologies i ordered online arrived, yay! i've been wanting to get into more poetry for ages.

while browsing through them, i found myself remarking that ever since going into hr, i have left behind other things. my use of language and vocabulary is limited to certain countries, certain professions, certain concepts. there are so many words i don't use, so many sentence structures i don't get to construct. i want a new canvas, a new palette..

Contraband, by denise levertov

The tree of knowledge was the tree of reason.
That's why the taste of it
drove us from Eden. That fruit
was meant to be dried and milled to a fine powder
for use a pinch at a time, a condiment.
God had probably planned to tell us later
about this new pleasure.

We stuffed our mouths full of it,
gorged on but and if and how and again
but, knowing no better.
It's toxic in large quantities; fumes
swirled in our heads and around us
to form a dense cloud that hardened to steel,
a wall between us and God, Who was Paradise.
Not that God is unreasonable--but reason
in such excess was tyranny
and locked us into its own limits, a polished cell
reflecting our own faces. God lives
on the other side of that mirror,
but through the slit where the barrier doesn't
quite touch ground, manages still
to squeeze in--as filtered light,
splinters of fire, a strain of music heard
then lost, then heard again.

reading lolita in tehran

i found the following entry in my journal, which i opened to write in after a long two years! this might have been my first time to write of books. i thought i would post it here, not just to add to my book posts, but also to remind myself of 'living' literature.

march 2006

"this is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience"

"...has learned that every individual has different dimensions to his personality... Those who judge must take all aspects of an individual's personality into account. It is only through literature that one can put oneself in someone else's shoes and understand the other's different and contradictory sides and refrain from becoming too ruthless... If we had learned this one lesson from Dr A our society would have been in a better shape today."

"...words literally rose up in the air and descended upon us like a fine mist, touching all five senses."

Nietzsche: "whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you."

Flaubert: "You should have a heart in order to feel other people's hearts."
"This respect for others, empathy, lies at the heart of the novel... Lack of empathy was to my mind the central sin of the regime, from which all others flowed."

"You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place, I told him, like you'll not only miss the people you love but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way again." [this is EXACTLY how i felt when i left cairo!]

this was a beautiful book. in many ways. to live like that, to LIVE literature, that is something i am unable to do. most of the time, when i read, it is to escape. so there must be a distinction, separation between fiction and reality. i do not 'inhale the experience' i guess. or perhaps, i inhale and then exhale! whatever, it was beautiful and it taught me stuff, showed me stuff, provoked reactions and made me want to read some books. what more could i ask of a book?

i'm glad i came across this entry, it was nice to be reminded of my enjoyment of azar nafisi's book and prose. i remember that while reading it, i thought it was far better than 'the child that books built' by francis someone, which was also a kind of book-led autobiography. it had none of the charm or engagement of 'reading lolita' however. it has an awesome title though, which i will use someday.. :)

08 March 2010

film and arts festivals

march and april host hk's annual international film festival, and the arts festival, yay.

this year's iff is showing 3 idiots as well -a much better choice than previous indian movies shown! browse through the films and book your tickets here.

you can view the arts festival website here, and take your pick of theatre, dance, opera or music performances. enjoy :)