Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mathematician and Poet

     Should I do it?  Should I do a blog post on a novel by Brazilian poet Hilda Hilst (1930-2004) that I have begun to read but don't yet know how to understand?
     Hilst's novel, With My Dog-Eyes, newly translated by Adam Morris (Melville House, 2014), attracted my attention because its narrator is a mathematician and a poet.  Here are the lines with which the novel begins:

      from   With My Dog-Eyes     by Hilda Hilst

       The cross on my brow
       The facts of what I was
       Of what I will be:
       I was born a mathematician, a magician
       I was born a poet.
       The cross on my brow
       The dry laughter
       The scream
       I discover myself a king
       Sequined in darkness
       Knives striking
       Time and wisdom.

     The narrator/math professor, Amòs Kères, likes the work of Bertrand Russell and is given a leave of absence by his dean because students have complained of fifteen-minute disconnects that have been occurring in his classes.
     I am in a tug-of-war -- wanting to read more of Hilst's experimental prose and yet annoyed that  "mathematician" is once again chosen by a writer as the profession of weirdness.  But I will read on, and report more later.

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