Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dis-Quieted

I live a pretty quiet life. And I read a lot. Right now I am reading The Book of Disquiet, by Fernando Pessoa, as part of a research project and because I kept hearing good things about it, namely from poet Sarah J. Sloat, at her beautiful, quiet blog, the rain in my purse.

Yesterday I wrote about the meditative silence of an art piece in Chicago, a soundscape called Prairie. Today I write about "disquiet," or an unsettled, anxious feeling, a lack of peace. But I feel perfectly at peace reading Pessoa, whose narrator goes back and forth between tenderness for his everyday life and the uneasy sense of its utter meaninglessness.

"I feel love for all of this, perhaps because I have nothing else to love or perhaps too, because even though nothing truly merits the love of any soul, if, out of sentiment, we must give it, I might just as well lavish it on the smallness of an inkwell as on the grand indifference of the stars."

Recently, I came to the disquieting conclusion that I trust the indifferent universe more than I trust most individuals. The universe makes no promises to me, suggests nothing but indifference. Individuals, on the other hand,...

And speaking of inkwells and Sarah J. Sloat, she has a new chapbook out, Inksuite, from dancing girl press, cover art by Emmanuel Polanco. Poems about typefaces and books and reading.

So this is a day of book covers. My son saw The Book of Disquiet sitting (quietly) on my desk and wanted to read it, based on its cover.  The butterflies and swirlies are silver, shiny. The gray and black are matte. Ah, shiny vs lackluster. It fits.


8 comments:

Cathy said...

Well of course it's easier to trust our deepest fears than anything else. That doesn't mean there isn't magic.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Cathy. When I trust deeply, and I do, sometimes, it's not about fear. Not at all.

seana graham said...

I know of Pessoa without having read him. Have to bump him up the list a little.

Trust is a funny thing. It is easy to trust when it doesn't matter much. I am not entirely sure I trust myself on some things, so trusting others seems a bit of a stretch.

I liked Sloat's blog quite a lot.

Kathleen said...

I love that insight, Seana!

SarahJane said...

Thanks for the mention Kathleen. I love Pessoa, and his prose is a good complement to his poetry (which I prefer). I do love that cover - mine is different, a photograph of a man in a suit on a Lisbon street who has failed to catch a ball. It is also an excellent cover.
http://alonzosubverbo.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/lisboa-1957-by-gerard-castello-lopes/

Kathleen said...

I saw that cover, too, Sarah. Wonderful and--disquieting!! I will, eventually, check out Pessoa's poetry. I can see The Book of Disquiet is fragmented and may go on forever... I was fascinated to learn more about his life.

nene said...

Kathleen, once again thanks for these intro's to good reading.

Your like a pocket full of change (coins), unexpected. :-)

SarahJane said...

For a long time I didn't notice the ball behind him.