That’s a Wrap

256 posts covering male authors, 256 posts covering female authors, plus one collaboration and one author of undisclosed gender.

I feel I’ve covered all my imprescindibles (along with a few questionables) so it’s a good time to stop.

I might start another tumblr where I post quotes from books I’m reading in real time or even a review blog after the summer, but don’t hold your breath.



Dalla stazione di Aulla

Giovanni Giudici

Inermi per esigui voli
A un nero ferro di mannaia
Di mezza mattina salticchiano
Dall’una all’altra rotaia

Nella tacita stazione
Dove aspettando aspetto invano
Mentre un loro fato estremo
Finge il mio vile cuore umano

Piccoli miei accorro a dirvi
Non scherzate sui binari
Non dissipate il tempo avaro
In quel cip-cip di conversari

Pane e padre madre e mare
Cibo e nido e il que serà -
Di che parlate o temerari
Passeri di sottile udito?

Nulla che annunci l’uragano
Passeri esperti degli orari
Il mostro non vi schiaccerà
Già lontano o mai partito
Sì che tranquillo al mite sole
Mi chiama il vostro buon coraggio:
Un’ora sia la vita intera
Un mondo il breve paesaggio

Gli occhi a un aereo fruscìo d’ale
Io volgendo all’improvviso
A quella per voi colossale
Tortora osante un paradiso

Che lassù tenta estranei amori
Tra una gronda e una querceta
E quaggiù ci lascia soli
Senza compagni senza mèta

Ma più in alto un chiaro verde
Dalla forra ecco salire
Verde que te quiero verde
Dove altri rami va a infoltire

Sovrastanti un bianco a chiazze
Muro di asilo o di ospedale
O uno sfarzo di terrazze
Fiori in fila a un davanzale

E più in là chiuse alla vista
Gialle case del paese
In se stessa chiusa ognuna
Desolata isola trista

Nessun suono - sempre e niente
Dove qui nessuno arriva
Cerchio a cerchio mese a mese
Mi allargavo a una deriva

Navigando la mia mente
Dove qui nessuno parte
Vacuo tempo ricavando
Nuovi cieli, nuove carte

(da Empie Stelle)


In Defense of Homosexuality

Kay Boyle

I speak of it as a thing with a future
At present badly done by amateurs neglecting
An opportunity to be discriminating

It being an occupation in itself
It should not be confused with reticence
Or the perceptions of a shy man
Nor should it be segregated on a question of morality

To fit the part the incentive
Must be more than casual
Rather a weakness at the very roots
An appetite which leaves one flat, an inability
To get into the dirt, thread worms upon a hook,
Wash a floor clean; a vacancy
Which cannot read a page without a recognition
Of the symmetry of the thumb lying along it;
A similarity of gesture as professional as the whore’s
And to the tough taste as flavorless
The loyalties of such are more perishable
Than the curst of an egg

A dislike of sweat and odor, of blowing the nose,
Of raising children clears the emotions to the hem of the garment only.
(O how sacred is the hem of thy garment hem of they eyelid hem of they hem
O how sacred art thou to me thou delicate-veined thou wild boy.
Benvenuto swathed in silks the limbs of his fresh one his virgin
And the boy went among the women as a girl and made free with them
And then told them that he was with child
And the women did lay their compassionate hands upon his belly
And upon his limbs and upon the flesh of his thighs
In commiseration, and then were their hearts rended with sweet anguish
And with terror as the rod blossomed in their fingers.)

By incentive is meant that fidelity to purpose
Which determines one to hold a parasol
Over tomato plants to shield them from the elements.
I prefer a rabbit neatly killed (to serve a purpose not create one)
Who under the knife blade peels like a ripe fig
The skin while still warm ripped in a piece from the royal satin flesh
Which it has lipped with intimate tenacity
Such a caress is worth a generation of these indecisions
We are asked to accept as celebrations of a genuine passion

Nor does this signify that man cannot be to man a complement
Rather than a reflection of his own devices
Or that one might surprise those generosities, not of the mind
But richer, warmer than, which women find it imperative
(but no less valid) to make use of.
Nor does this state an apprehension placing
Women as women, men as fairies with a finality
That permits no accident.

A cat is initiated by his mother’s lovers
A necessary preamble to the method and satisfaction of fathering kittens.
The human proceeds in the reverse direction
Establishing a home, hearth, fireside within those organs
Which respond like blind men to a lick of fire.
Put under glass come of them could be worn as cameos
Their femininity plumbed to the depths of
A tedious vocation as engrossing as bee-raising
And as monotonous to the outsider.


Almost Like Being In Love

Steve Kluger

TRAVIS: You just don’t understand.
GORDO: Don’t I? Travis, if you’d taken Trig with me like I asked you to, you’d know by now that it doesn’t matter if you like boys instead of girls because the formulas are all the same.
TRAVIS: I never said I like boys!
GORDO: Ever beat off to Penthouse?
GORDO: Ever collect baseball cards?
GORDO: How old is Barbra Streisand?
TRAVIS: 36. Three weeks ago.
GORDO:What do you need—a fucking blueprint?


Miss Macintosh, My Darling

Marguerite Young

Old songs she would sing, just as a matter of her usual routine, of nothing more, though she was not one to believe in the mockery of faith, not one to be, as she would have expressed it, the stumbling block in another’s path. Lo, she would lift her eyes to the hills from whence cometh help. Thou didst turn Thy face from me, and I was troubled, she sang. For Thou art my strong rock and my castle, so also be my guide. Thou hast covered me, and Thou hast numbered the hairs of my head, and Thou hast closed the wound of my side. Thou hast plucked out the arrows. Song of the shepherd who would lead all sheep home, losing none in narrow defiles, song of the Rock of Ages cleft for me, songs of the Rugged Cross, of the shaded valley, of the still stream, songs of those who reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man, of the lost soul, of the pinioned wings, of the lighthouse beam which lights the way to the poor wanderer tossed upon the rolling waves far from any harbor. Awake, thou lute and harp, she sang. I myself will awake right early. The waters have drowned us. The stream has gone over our soul.


Child’s Play [Takekurabe]

Higuchi Ichiyō (Higuchi Natsuko)

It’s a long way round the front of the quarter, where the trailing branches of the willow tree bid farewell to the nighttime revellers and the bawdyhouse lights flicker in the moat, dark as the dye that blackens the smile of the Yoshiwara beauties. From the third-floor rooms of the lofty houses the all but palpable music and laughter spill down into the side street. Who knows how these great establishments prosper? The rickshaws pull up night and day.

(from In the Shadow of Spring Leaves, translation by Robert Lyons Danly)



Luis Goytisolo

Las detonaciones, retornadas por los ecos del valle, formaban un largo trueno, y sobre las colinas, entre aquel humo que parecía emanar de los bosques, se divisaba el relampagueo de los cañonazos.


Terra di Confine [Piiririik]

Emil Tode (Tõnu Õnnepalu)

Si, è stato il sole a condurmi fin qui dal mio paese “da qualche parte su al Nord”, come si dice qui. Vengo da una terra dove il sole è un diamante raro, una favolosa moneta d’oro che si gira e si rigira al chiarore del fuoco, e la si morde prima di fidarsene.

(traduzione di Francesco Rosso Marescalchi)


Die Töchter Egalias [Egalias døtre]

Gerd Brantenberg

„Schließlich sind es noch immer die Männer, die die Kinder bekommen“, sagte Direktorin Bram und blickte über den Rand der Egalsunder Zeitung zurechtweisend auf ihren Sohn.

(Übersetzung von Elke Radicke und Wilfried Sczepan)


Scompartimento n.6 [Hytti nro 6]

Rosa Liksom (Anni Ylävaara)

Mosca si rannicchiava nella gelida e secca sera di marzo per proteggersi dal contatto del sole al tramonto, rosso e freddo. La ragazza salì sull’ultimo vagone, in coda al treno, cercò il suo scompartimento, il numero 6 e tirò un profondo respiro.

(Traduzione di Delfina Sessa)


Les Faux-monnayeurs

André Gide

«C’est le moment de croire que j’entends des pas dans le corridor», se dit Bernard. Il releva la tête et prêta l’oreille. Mais non : son père et son frère aîné étaient retenus au Palais ; sa mère en visite ; sa sœur à un concert ; et quant au puîné, le petit Caloub, une pension le bouclait au sortir du lycée chaque jour. Bernard Profitendieu était resté à la maison pour potasser son bachot ; il n’avait plus devant lui que trois semaines. La famille respectait sa solitude ; le démon pas.


Tagebuch über Carnojevic [Dnevnik o Čarnojeviću]

Miloš Crnjanski

Es ist Herbst, und das Leben ohne Sinn. Die Nacht habe ich im Gefangnis mit einigen Zigeunern verbracht. Ich ziehe durch die Kaffeehauser. Setze mich ans Fenster und starre in den Nebel und in die roten, nassen, gelben Baume. Wo ist das Leben?

(Übersetzung von Hans Volk)


The Man on a Donkey

H F M Prescott (Hilda Frances Margaret Prescott)

He cried ‘Mass!’ angrily, and told her, ‘God,’ but when she murmured
after him ‘God?’ he was not so much angry as amazed at the vacancy of her simplicity. It was not even, he thought, like pouring knowledge into the little cup of a child’s understanding, but into a pail that had holes in it. How could such a one learn to know the incomprehensible?
What in her twilight mind was God?
'The living God,' he said, and he spoke aloud, but more to himself than to her, the words that came into his mind. ' “I am the first and the last, and am alive and was dead, and behold I am alive for ever more.” '
She stared at him, with something of light in her look that was usually as vague and dim as the colourless, half transparent jelly fishes that bob about in the clear fringes of the tide as it slides in over a sandy shore.
'Sir,' she mumbled, 'what for did he this thing? What for?'


Armed with Madness

Mary Butts

There had been an apple once. There had been an apple tree. When it gave no more apples, it made fire, and a slice of its trunk had become a bowl cut out into birds. The bowl unless it was turned into fire again, would stop growing and last forever. Things that came out of time, and were stopped; could be made over into another sort of time.


A Glastonbury Romance

J C Powys (John Cowper Powys)

But there was a power now shining down upon Mr. Dekker that cared nothing for St. Paul. The soul of the great burning sun which illuminated that massive, iron-grey, bent head had many times ere this been roused to anger against him. Among the myriads of conscious beings peopling that hemisphere of our planetary orb who refused in that spring solstice to make the sort of grateful gesture towards this great Deity which the Powers of Nature demand of those they favour, this ruddy-faced man in shirtsleeves bending now over his potato bed seemed to that flaming heart the most obdurate and the most sacrilegious.