T. S. Eliot, Bart Chabot, William Self, Thomas van Aalten, Jane Smiley, Vladimir Vojnovitsj

De Engels-Amerikaanse dichter en schrijver T. S. Eliot werd op 26 september 1888 geboren in St.Louis, Missouri. Zie ook mijn blog van 26 september 2006 en ook mijn blog van 26 september 2007.



(No. 1 of ‘Four Quartets’)

T.S. Eliot


Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?

Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.
So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.




Death by water


Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
And the profit and loss.
A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.





To you particularly, and to all the Volscians
         Great hurt and mischief.
Subterrene laughter synchronous
With silence from the sacred wood
And bubbling of the uninspired
Mephitic river.
The accents of the now retired
Profession of the calamus.

When the bridegroom smoothed his hair
There was blood upon the bed.
Morning was already late.
Children singing in the orchard
(Io Hymen, Hymenaee)
Succuba eviscerate.

By arrangement with Perseus
The fooled resentment of the dragon
Sailing before the wind at dawn
Golden apocalypse. Indignant
At the cheap extinction of his taking-off.
Now lies he there
Tip to tip washed beneath Charles’ Wagon.



T. S. Eliot (26 september 1888 – 4 januari 1965)
Portret door Gerald Kelly, 1962



De Nederlandse  Dichter en schrijver Bart Chabot werd geboren in Den Haag op 26 september 1954. Zie ook mijn blog van 26 september 2006 en ook mijn blog van 26 september 2007.



De dood accepteer ik niet

De dood accepteer ik niet
op een dag
ging het mis
het regende herfst
een uitgelezen dag om jezelf
te verhangen
op zich misschien
niet zo bijzonder
je hebt allemaal weleens
zulk soort dagen?
maar dit was anders

voor mijn hoofdpersoon
mijn ik
want dit was de zoveelste dag
van het zoveelste jaar
de zóveelste keer
ik voel me januari
de zon heeft de kracht van een waakvlammetje
goed genoeg voor deze planeet
maar niet voor mij


wij liepen aan zee


wij liepen aan zee
mijn vader mijn moeder en ik
zomer 1958
ik was vier

– de wind
mijn h

schoon – schijn ik
te hebben gezegd

– godallemachtig – riep mijn vader uit
hij keek mijn moeder aan
– het zal toch geen dichter
wezen, he? –


Bart Chabot (Den Haag, 26 september 1954)


De Engelse schrijver, criticus en columnist William Self werd geboren in Londen op 26 september 1961. Zie ook mijn blog van 26 september 2007.


Uit: The Principle


Still, this particular evening, walking into Gary’s Place, I was struck by change. The DJ had just segued in a new track. It was a high-energy number I recognized from way back in the late 1980s, from the time before I was called. Or rather, it was that old synth racket done in the new way, to an inexorably slow beat, with a full orchestra and choir. Still, the clientele reacted just as the pumped-up poseurs of the last century would’ve done; pulling themselves upright, preening and parading into the center of the dance floor, where they separated into groups of eight and began to dance the quadrille. Retro-classicism — now who’d ever have imagined that was going to happen?
    It was then that I saw her — and she saw me. Absurd, that with her come-hither eyes, tossing her horsehair locks, she should think she was so unique. But then I guess young women of her age are always the same, lost in the high noon of their own good looks. She was without a partner and beckoned to me, calling out “C’mon old timer, you look spry enough to turn a calf!” Almost to spite her, I walked out on to the floor and took her hand. “Hi,” she breathed. “I’m Tina.” And then we whirled away beneath the little galaxy of the mirrored ball.
    I confess, I danced all night with Tina. Under her pompadour wig, pancake makeup and hooped skirt, she was a devilishly attractive girl. She also flattered me, saying “You’re mighty spry for a big ol’ bear, aren’tcha?” And giving my upper arm a squeeze, breathed in my ear “You must do a lotta work out on the range to keep up a build like that.” I could see where she was coming from right away. Still, I preferred to dance, because when we stopped and went to the bar for refreshments, Tina began to talk the most fearful, narcissistic trash.

Despite all the many important advances we’ve made in my lifetime — from the first woman president, to the first woman to walk on the moon — there remain hordes of young women like Tina. Will they ever learn that their youthful beauty is just that? A garment to be put on for a few, brief seasons, then torn away by Nature herself? Will they ever understand that neither a whale-spermaceti plunge bath in Aspen, nor a golden-monkey-gland injection in Shanghai, will guard them forever from the ravages of time? I doubt it, and so Tina prattled on, about this lover who was big in Hollywood, and that one who owned a hair salon in London, and the other one who absolutely swore blind that he was going to put Tina on the cover of the Wall Street Journal.
    The only time Tina stopped talking about herself was when, on our eighth trip to the bar, she noticed that I was drinking mineral water. “Are you on something?” she leered into my ear, and when I denied this she tittered manically and trilled, “Oooh! I geddit, you must be a goddamn Mormon or something” — a remark I studiously ignored. And so the night went on, with quadrille after waltz after foxtrot, until, with the lights of Vegas looking pallid against the sharp, lemon light of morning, the bewigged revelers tumbled out of Gary’s and onto the Strip.



William Self (Londen, 26 september 1961)


De Nederlandse schrijver Thomas van Aalten werd geboren in Huissen bij Arnhem op 26 september 1978. Hij debuteerde op 18-jarige leeftijd met een verhaal in het ter ziele gegane literaire tijdschrift ZOETERMEER.. Daarna volgden vier romans ( Sneeuwbeeld (2000), Tupelo (2001), Sluit Deuren en Ramen (2003) en Coyote (2006). In januari 2009 is bij Nieuw Amsterdam de vijfde roman gepland: De Onderbreking. Van Aalten werkte ook korte tijd voor VPRO TV ( Waskracht! 2000 – 2002). Schreef artikelen voor VARA TV-Magazine, Vrij Nederland en 3VOOR12 deed lezingen en voordrachten. Hij interviewde Denis Johnson (Crossing Border) en David Lynch (VARA TV-Magazine). Van Aalten schreef scenario’s voor twee films: Dum Dum Boys (2002 VPRO TV, regie: Marcel Visbeen) en L’Amour Toujours (2008 Ultravista Productions, regie: Edwin Brienen).


Uit: De Onderbreking


Wat doet u met mijn map?’
‘U hebt hem zelf op de balie laten liggen. Daar kan ik niks aan doen. Ik zag het als een hint, alsof u wilde dat ik de verhalen las.’
‘Natuurlijk niet.’
De bruine map ligt te smeken om door mij opgepakt te worden, maar de ijzig koude hand van de receptionist weerhoudt me. Het lijkt of de vingers aan het leer vastgevroren zitten. De man legt met de andere hand zijn peuk op de rand van de asbak en kijkt dwars door me heen.
‘U wilde dat ik de verhalen las, zo simpel is het, meneer de schrijver.’
‘Hoe komt u daarbij?’
‘Het heeft zo moeten zijn. Laten we eerlijk zijn, er klopt iets niet.’
‘Wat klopt er niet?’ Ik voel dat ik rood word.
‘Alsof het normaal is dat een nacht zo lang duurt, vol sneeuwstormen en ruisende radio’s. Daar… de verhalen… U wilt dat wij ze samen lezen.’
‘In de ruis liggen de verhalen verscholen?’
‘Doet u mij een plezier en leest u uw verhalen voor. Het zal ons helpen.’
Ik denk na over alle lezingen die ik heb gegeven waar geen hond geïnteresseerd was in mijn verhalen. Deze eenzame man is een liefhebber van mijn werk en is nieuwsgierig. Bovendien: ik kan toch niet slapen.”



Thomas van Aalten (Huissen, 26 september 1978)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Jane Smiley werd geboren op 26 september 1949 in Los Angeles en groeide op in een voorstad van St. Louis. Zij studeerde o.a aan de universiteit van Iowa. Haar eerste roman Barn Blind verscheen in 1980. In 1985 won zij de O. Henry Award voor haar verhaal “Lily” en in 1992 de Pulitzer Prize for Fiction voor haar bestseller A Thousand Acres, gebaseerd o[ Shakespeares King Lear. Haar novelle The Age of Grief werd in 2002 verfilmd als The Secret Lives of Dentists. Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005) is een studie over geschiedenis en aard van de roman, in de traditie van E. M. Forster’s seminal Aspects of the Novel. Van 1981tot 1996 doceerde zij creatief schrijven aan de Iowa State University.


Uit: Good Faith


“THIS WOULD BE ’82. I was out at the Viceroy with Bobby Baldwin. Bobby Baldwin was my one employee, which made us not quite friends, but we went out to the Viceroy almost every night. My marriage was finished and
his hadn’t started, so we spent a lot of time together that most everyone else we knew was spending with their families. I didn’t mind. My business card had the Viceroy’s number in the corner, under “may also be reached at.” Buyers called me there. It was a good sign if they wanted to see a house again in what you might call the middle of the night. That meant they couldn’t wait till morning. And if they wanted to see it again in the middle of the night–well, I did my best to show it to them. That was the difference between Bobby and me. He always said, “Their motivation needs to be tested, that’s what I think. Let ‘em wait a little bit.”

Bobby was not my brother, but he might as well have been. Sally, his sister, had been my girlfriend in high school for about a year and a half. She was the first person I ever knew who had a phone of her own. She used to call me up and tell me what to do. “Now, Joey,” she would say, “tomorrow wear those tan pants you’ve got, and the blue socks with the clocks on them, and your white shirt, and that green sweater I gave you, and I am going to wear my blue circle skirt with the matching cashmere sweater, and I’ll meet you on the steps. We’ll look great. Have you done your algebra problems? When you get to number four, the variable is seven, and x equals half of y. If you remember that, then you won’t have a problem with it. Did you wash your face yet? Don’t forget to use that stuff I bought you. Rub it in clockwise, just a little tiny dab, about the size of the tip of your pencil eraser. Okay?”


Jane Smiley (Los Angeles, 26 september 1949)


De Russische schrijver en dissident Vladimir Nikolajevitsj Vojnovitsj werd geboren in Doesjanbe op  26 september 1932. Vojnovitsj is beroemd vanwege zijn satirische proza, maar heeft ook poëzie geschreven. Toen hij in het begin van de jaren 1960 voor de Moskouse radio werkte, schreef hij ook de tekst voor een kosmonautenlied, “Veertien minuten voor de start”. Tussen 1951 en 1955 diende Vojnovitsj in het leger van de Sovjet-Unie.

Zijn magnum opus, Het leven en de buitengewone avonturen van soldaat Ivan Tsjonkin speelt zich af tijdens de WO II en beschrijft op satirische wijze de alledaagse absurditeiten van het leven onder een totalitair regime. “Tsjonkin” is tegenwoordig een bekend personage in de Russische populaire cultuur en het boek werd verfilmd door de Tsjechische regisseur Jiří Menzel. In het werk Moskou 2042 schetst hij met veel zwarte humor een satirisch toekomstbeeld van de uitwassen van het totalitaire communistische sovjetregime diep in de 21e eeuw.

Tijdens de periode van stagnatie onder Leonid Brezjnev werd besloten Voinovitsj’ werk niet meer uit te geven, maar de schrijver werd wel zeer populair in de samizdat en in het Westen. Vanwege zijn werk en zijn activiteiten binnen de mensenrechtenbeweging werd Vojnovitsj in 1974 uit de schrijversbond van de Sovjet-Unie gezet. In 1980 werd hij gedwongen naar het Westen te emigreren en vestigde hij zich in München. Gorbatsjov gaf Vojnovitsj in 1990 zijn Russische staatsburgerschap terug en sindsdien bezoekt de schrijver zijn vaderland regelmatig. Vojnovitsj heeft vele internationale prijzen gewonnen, waaronder de Staatsprijs van Russische Federatie en de Sacharovprijs. Sinds 1995 is hij ook actief als beeldend kunstenaar. Het werk van Vojnovitsj is inmiddels in dertig talen vertaald, waaronder het Nederlands.


Uit: Monumental Propaganda


Porosyaninov read slowly, smacking his lips together loudly as though he were eating cherries and spitting out the pits. At the same time, he lisped and stammered over every word, especially if it was a foreign one.

As Porosyaninov read, the core of Party activists listened in silence, their faces tense, their thick necks and the backs of their skulls shorn in semi–crew cuts.

Then they asked the speaker questions: Would there be a purge of the Party? And what should they do with the portraits of Stalin, take them off the walls and rip them out of the books as they had done many times before with former leaders of the Revolution and heroes of the Civil War? Porosyaninov involuntarily turned his head and squinted sidelong at the portrait of Lenin, then shivered and said that no purge was expected and there was no need to go overboard with the portraits. Although a certain number of individual actions taken by Stalin had been incorrect, he was and remained a distinguished member (that was the phrase the speaker used) of our Party and the world communist movement, and no one intended to deny him due recognition for his services.

Aglaya Revkina, who had been through so much in her life, proved to be unprepared for a blow like this. As they were leaving the club, several people heard her declare loudly, without addressing anyone in particular: “Such filth! Such terrible filth!”

Since on that particular evening the street was not covered in filth—in fact, it was cold and there was a blizzard swirling the snow about, so that everything could more accurately have been described as pure white—no one took Aglaya’s words literally.

“Yes, yes,” said Valentina Semenovna Bochkareva, the planner from the Collective Farm Technical Unit, backing her up. “What people we put our faith in!”

Elena Muravyova (secret-agent alias “Mura”) reported this fleeting dialogue to the local department of the Ministry of State Security, and her report was confirmed by Bochkareva herself during an interview of a prophylactic nature that was conducted with her.”


Vladimir Vojnovitsj (Doesjanbe, 26 september 1932)


De Nigeriaanse schrijver Cyprian Ekwensi werd op 26 september 1921 in Nigeria geboren in Minna. Zie ook mijn blog van 26 september 2006.