Friday, December 30, 2011

late, as ever


So, I won. I don't know what to say about that right now: I don't think I ever will. I owe a few folks interviews, and I'm procrastinating on a deadline, but I need a poem right now. How about this one?

Poem Written in A Copy of Beowulf

At various times, I have asked myself what reasons
moved me to study, while my night came down,
without particular hope of satisfaction,
the language of the blunt-tongued Anglo-Saxons.

Used up by the years, my memory
loses its grip on words that I have vainly
repeated and repeated. My life in the same way
weaves and unweaves its weary history.

Then I tell myself: it must be that the soul
has some secret, sufficient way of knowing
that it is immortal, that its vast, encompassing
circle can take in all, can accomplish all.

Beyond my anxiety, beyond this writing,
the universe waits, inexhaustible, inviting.

--Jorge Luis Borges

8 comments:

JCF said...

"Saloprix", I kinda tipped you. :-X

But as I think the moderators there think I'm nuts, I'm not sure they will follow up on my request they interview you!

All the best to you, Jesmyn. If you're feeling any kind of "Now What?" post-euphoria letdown, it's to be expected. Name it, claim it...move on!

Congrats again---here's to a 2012 that brings you your NEXT Big Dream! (Your T-Wall family is cheering you on)

With all fondness (and 6year-mellowed lust ;-)), JCF

JCF said...

Ooops, how could I forget?

LOVED "Where the Line Bleeds". *Just* got my hands on "Salvage": woot!

SO knew you had it in you. SO did. :-D

Anonymous said...

I think you need to reconsider listing voodoo as one of your hobbies. Do you know how dangerous that stuff is? Have you read Anne Rice's The Feast of All Saints? The book is a chore, so I would suggest watching the movie. I turned to Jesus, and maybe you should too.

anitaprentice said...

Just want to say how much I liked "Salvage the Bones." It is quite unique, and also reminded me throughout of many American classics, from the Grapes of Wrath to Sounder to Killing Mr. Watson. Thank you for writing it. I am looking forward to reading "Where the Line Bleeds."

Rhonda said...

Jesmyn, I'm trying not to finish Salvage because I don't want it to be over--you know, read a paragraph, go back, read it again, turn the page, read it, get halfway down the next one and go back . . . two steps forward one step back. At least I have your first novel to look forward to. What you do with language makes my eyes pop: "Death are . . ."--or "were"--something about fish (don't have the book with me; it's on my night table) is right up there with "My mother is a fish," far as I'm concerned. I almost quit about 30 pages in b/c I wasn't sure I could handle the puppies, handle the book, but I'm proud to say I am not only handling it, I don't want to stop.
Your sensibility is pure and original, and you communicate it so vividly, you stun me on nearly every page. This is what I want from all art: surprise. And that's what I'm getting from Salvage. Thank you for everything you're putting into your career, your art. You're DOING IT! Congratulations.
(And please at least consider becoming a Goodreads author. Millions will want access to you, and they can have it with minimal hassle on your part:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/confirm/1676417.Jesmyn_Ward)

Rod Palmer said...

Your acceptance speech helped me connect my brother to my writing. Since his death, nothing I wrote (a novel and a stalled attempt at a novel) felt worthy. For some odd reason the power went out this morning so I'm on my battery powered smartphone discovering the latest NBA winner. I am deeply proud of you - for the reasons for which you write - for recieving validation for justly honoring and channeling your brother towards your purpose. I would not have tied my brother to issues of worthiness in my writing without you. Thank you. If you harbored the hope that your particular success could profoundly affect one person, you have. Again, oddly at the completion of this post the power is back on. ;-)

CAW said...

Congratulations! I've just finished Salvage The Bones and am not surprised of your win. It was a special treat to read it after returning to Seattle from the New Orleans Writers Conference and my experiences there, as a sort of extension of the place. My favorite parts: when Esch's feelings toward Big Henry begin to shift, "you with your big hands, your legs like tree trunks..."and the final four paragraphs, which satisfied my deep need for good and poetic endings that is so rarely satisfied. Well done--Cheers from an appreciative fellow writer in Seattle!

it's me ...Twinkie Chan! said...

Jesmyn! Were you once, by any chance, an intern at Manus & Associates in Palo Alto? I was the intern coordinator at the time. I am no longer in the book industry (and have not made time to read books anymore...) but I was browsing in Kepler's today and came across Salvage the Bones. And then I read about the National Book Award! I bought Salvage and am so excited to read it. I'm so happy to find out you're being amazing, and can't wait to hear what's next!

All Best,
Stephanie