Don DeLillo, Theresia Walser, Viktoria Tokareva, Sheema Kalbasi, Nadine Gordimer, Thomas Chatterton, Zinaida Hippius, Selma Lagerlöf, Jordi Lammers, Ferdinand von Schirach, Yevgenia Ginzburg

De Amerikaanse schrijver Don DeLillo werd op 20 november 1936 geboren in New York City als zoon van Italiaanse immigranten. Zie ook alle tags voor Don DeLillo op dit blog.

Uit: Zero K

“Everybody wants to own the end of the world. This is what my father said, standing by the contoured windows in his New York office—private wealth management, dynasty trusts, emerging markets. We were sharing a rare point in time, contemplative, and the moment was made com-plete by his vintage sunglasses, bringing the night indoors. I studied the art in the room, variously abstract, and began to understand that the extended silence following his remark belonged to neither one of us. I thought of his wife, the sec-ond, the archaeologist, the one whose mind and failing body would soon begin to drift, on schedule, into the void.
That moment came back to me some months later and half a world away. I sat belted into the rear seat of an armored hatchback with smoked side windows, blind both ways. The driver, partitioned, wore a soccer jersey and sweatpants with a bulge at the hip indicating a sidearm. After an hour’s ride over rough roads he brought the car to a stop and said some-thing into his lapel device. Then he eased his head forty-five degrees in the direction of the right rear passenger seat. I took this to mean that it was time for me to unstrap myself and get out. The ride was the last stage in a marathon journey and I walked away from the vehicle and stood a while, stunned by the heat, holding my overnight bag and feeling my body unwind. I heard the engine start up and turned to watch. The car was headed back to the private airstrip and it was the only thing moving out there, soon to be enveloped in land or sinking light or sheer horizon. I completed my turn, a long slow scan of salt flats and stone rubble, empty except for several low structures, pos-sibly interconnected, barely separable from the bleached landscape. There was nothing else, nowhere else. I hadn’t known the precise nature of my destination, only its remote-ness. It was not hard to imagine that my father at his office window had conjured his remark from this same stark ter-rain and the geometric slabs that blended into it. He was here now, they both were, father and stepmother, and I’d come to pay the briefest of visits and say an uncer-tain farewell. The number of structures was hard to determine from my near vantage. Two, four, seven, nine. Or only one, a central unit with rayed attachments. I imagined it as a city to be discovered at a future time, self-contained, well-preserved, nameless, abandoned by some unknown migratory culture. The heat made me think I was shrinking but I wanted to remain a moment and look. These were buildings in hiding, agoraphobically scaled.”


Don DeLillo (New York City, 20 november 1936)


De Duitse schrijfster Theresia Walser werd geboren op 20 november 1967 in Friedrichshafen. Zie ook alle tags voor Theresia Walser op dit blog.

Uit: A Playwright’s Worries (Vertaald door Claudia Wilsch Case)

“Often when I am working on a new play, my characters suddenly start acting more erratically than I had planned. They upset my designs; they thwart my intentions and ideas. This moment is a struggle, but always a fortunate one, because it signals the adventure of a play that is yet to be written. Once it is finished, the process starts again: I have created something that can only reveal itself in practice. Until it is staged, a play remains unformed; the same is true of the playwright. Sometimes I even think that each performance is actually an attack on the playwright, and that I have no other choice but to answer with another play.
When I give a play to a director, I tremble as I think of what is to come. On the one hand, it is a relief to know that from that point on, someone else’s imagination will propel the play, discovering things that I did not even know were there. On the other, I am anxious that a director might suddenly discover too much, might burden the characters with other people’s social tragedies, or impose deep meaning on an otherwise lighthearted play.
Novels are protected by the covers of a book, but plays are offered no such security. It has been said that each reader stages his own version of a novel. However, we don’t mean that a reader clips different passages from the book and pastes the end at the beginning, or that he cuts characters or entire subplots that he thinks will only distract him from what is essential, or that he suddenly inserts a topical newspaper article in the middle. A reader also doesn’t cover the margins of a book with the titles of musical numbers that he feels an urgent need to listen to while reading. And even if such a reader existed, he wouldn’t think to pester other readers with his private enjoyment.
A director is first and foremost a reader, the most influential reader a playwright has. All plays need a director who is sensitive to language, especially plays that don’t rely on a solidly constructed plot but instead use language to convey the action, plays where the characters are defined by the music of their language, plays where form and content cannot be separated, and plays where language itself determines the content. I don’t mean that plays should be celebrated obediently, or that directors should drown them in the kinds of musical sauces that have become popular recently, all the while believing they are taking the language particularly seriously. Both of these extremes signal an unwillingness by directors to confront language as an event onstage.”


Theresia Walser (Friedrichshafen, 20 november 1967)


De Russische schrijfster en scenariste Viktoria Tokareva werd geboren op 20 november 1937 in Leningrad (Sint Petersburg). Zie ook alle tags voor Viktoria Tokareva op dit blog.

Uit: Auch Miststücke können einem leidtun (Vertaald door Angelika Schneider)

„Bakowka ist ein Dorf, das an unsere Datschen-siedlung angrenzt. Ein richtiges Dorf mit Holzhäusern, aus Balken, die im Laufe der Zeit dunkel geworden sind. Das Dorf hat geschnitzte Fensterläden, Palisadenzäune, Vorgärten, ein ma-lerisches Flüsschen, Gänse, ausspuckende Männer und herumschreiende Frauen. Nach der Perestroika begann man, diese herum-schreienden Frauen >Farmerinnen< zu nennen. Sie brachten ihre selbstangebauten und -hergestellten Lebensmittel zu unserer Siedlung: Milch, Quark, Eier, Gemüse. Ich hatte schnell herausgefunden, bei wem man etwas kaufen konnte und bei wem nicht. Alles hängt vom >menschlichen Faktor< ab. Die sehnige Olga kaufte den Quark in der ganzen Gegend auf, er wurde bei ihr sauer, dann legte sie zweihundert Gramm frischen Quark obenauf und trug ihn aus. Die Leute probierten von oben — man wühlt ja nicht mit dem Finger bis in die Tiefe — und kauften voller Begeisterung die ganze Portion. In der Kü-che kippten sie den Quark in eine Schüssel. Dann kam das, was unten war, nach oben, stinkend und gesundheitsschädlich. Was kann man da sagen? Die kurzsichtige Olga kannte die Gesetze des Marktes nicht. Ein zweites Mal kaufte natürlich niemand mehr bei ihr. Und selbst wenn sie nun gute Sahne brachte und frische Eier, so jagte man sie doch mit deutlichen Worten von der Schwelle. Olga hatte so etwas wie Wett-bewerb nicht in ihre Rechnung mit einbezogen. Sie handelte nach dem Gesetz der Zieselmaus: raf-fen und ab in die Höhle. In der Datschensiedlung wohnten zwar Leute aus der Intelligenzija, doch Dummköpfe waren sie deshalb noch lange nicht. Man konnte sie einmal anschmieren, aber öfter auch nicht. Dann kam die dicke Irka, die polternd einen eisernen Karren hinter sich herzog. In diesem Kar-ren lagen alle Gemüse der Saison. Ihre Ware war nicht schlecht, doch ihre Preise hatten eine Null zu viel. Wenn ein Kilo Kartoffeln auf dem Markt zehn Rubel kostete, dann kostete es bei Irka hundert. »Na, nimm doch gleich tausend«, schlug ich vor. Irka sah mir misstrauisch ins Gesicht. »Na und?«, sagte ich weiter in naivem Ton. »Wenn einer Geld hat, was für einen Unterschied macht es da schon, wie viel er zahlt: ob hundert oder tausend?“


Viktoria Tokareva (Leningrad, 20 november 1937)


De Iraanse dichteres, vertaalster en mensenrechten-advocate Sheema Kalbasi werd geboren op 20 november 1972 in Teheran. Zie ook alle tags voor Sheema Kalbasi op dit blog


God speaks Hebrew (Fragment)

God is my father,
With his big brown lovely eyes,
The strict laws of my mother,
To grow up good, nice and humble!
Demanding school grades with only straight A’s!

God swims like a rolling fish,
Diverse of dolphins

He sneezed within me,
God and his kissable mouth,
Smiling with a wide-open heart!

God never cheats,
Never rapes,
Never hates

Sings in Hindi,
Persian and Russian,
Latin, Swahili and Sindi!
Can be understood in Semitic languages,
Arabic and Hebrew!

God walks in kimonos,
Sophisticated and elegant
Smells like iris and talks like English

He is a little Chinese village-man,
Rejecting the ism
He reborn the angels,
As they sing the symphony of cotton fields,
A freedom’s journey,
An escape from unformed yellow seeds

Crystal hands, crystal stars,
Crystal green gardens,
And my crystal laughter,
Essentializes the whole poem of life.


Sheema Kalbasi (Teheran, 20 november 1972)


De Zuidafrikaanse schrijfster Nadine Gordimer werd geboren op 20 november 1923 in Springs. Zie ook alle tags voor Nadine Gordimer op dit blog.

Uit:The House Gun

“They are watching it on the screen with their after-dinner coffee cups beside them. It is Bosnia or Somalia or the earthquake shaking a Japanese island between apocalytic teeth like a dog; whatever were the disasters of that time. When the intercom buzzes each looks to the other with a friendly reluctance; you go, your turn. It’s part of the covenant of living together. They made the decision to give up the house and move into this townhouse complex with grounds maintained and security-monitored entrance only recently and they are not yet accustomed, or rather are inclined momentarily to forget that it’s not the barking of Robbie and the old-fangled ring of the front door bell that summons them, now. No pets allowed in the complex, but luckily there was the solution that theirs could go to their son who has a garden cottage.
He, she–twitch of a smile, he got himself up with langhuor directed at her and went to lift the nearest receiver. Who, she half-heard him say, half-listening to the commentary following the images, Who. It could be someone wanting to convert to some religious sect, or the delivery of a summons for a parking offence, casual workers did this, moon-lighting. He said something else she didn’t catch but she heard the purr of the electronic release button.
What he said then was, Do you know who a Julian-somebody might be? Friend of Duncan?
He, she–they didn’t, either of them. Nothing unusual about that, Duncan, twenty-seven years old, had his own circle just as his parents had theirs, and these intersected only occasionally where interests, inculcated in him as a child by his parents, met.
What does he want?
Just said to speak to us.
Both at the same instant were touched by a live voltage of alarm. What is there to fear, defined in the known context of a twenty-seven-year-old in this city–a car crash, a street mugging, a violent break-in at the cottage. Both stood at the door, confronting these, confronting the footsteps they heard approaching their private paved path beneath the crossed swords of Strelitzia leaves, the signal of the second buzzer, and this young man, come from? for? Duncan. He stared at the floor as he came in, so they couldn’t read him. He sat down without a word.”


Nadine Gordimer (20 november 1923 – 13 juli 2014)


De Engelse dichter en schrijver Thomas Chatterton werd geboren op 20 november 1752 in Bristol als zoon van een koster. Zie ook alle tags voor Thomas Chatterton op dit blog.


The Advice (Fragment)

Tho’ rapture wantons in your air,
Tho’ beyond simile you’re fair,
Free, affable, serene;
Yet still one attribute divine
Should in your composition shine–
Sincerity, I mean.

Tho’ num’rous swains before you fall,
‘Tis empty admiration all,
‘Tis all that you require;
How momentary are their chains!
Like you, how unsincere the strains
Of those who but admire!

Accept, for once, advice from me,
And let the eye of censure see
Maria can be true;
No more for fools or empty beaux,
Heav’n’s representatives disclose,
Or butterflies pursue.

Fly to your worthiest lover’s arms,
To him resign your swelling charms,
And meet his gen’rous breast;
Or if Pitholeon suits your taste,
His muse with tattr’d fragments graced,
Shall read your cares to rest.


Thomas Chatterton (20 november 1752 – 5 augustus 1770)
Standbeeld in Bristol


De Russische dichteres en schrijfster Zinaida Nikolaevna Hippius werd als kind van uit Duitse familie geboren op 20 november in Beljov bij Tula. Zie ook alle tags voor Zinaida Hippius op dit blog.


Our Love Is One

A wave boils with its foam, freezing,
And dissipates – just only once,
A heart could not to live with treason.
No treason! Love is one for us!

We may be angry, may be reasoned,
Or false – but heart did not decline
To black adultery, to treason:
Our soul is one – our love is one.

In its monotony and emptiness,
All life could usually be gone…
And in this life as long as endless,
Our love is one, yes, always one.



I look at a sea – the greedy one and fervent,
Chained to the earth, on the depleted shore…
Stand by a gulf – over the endless heavens,
And could not fly to azure, as before.

I didn’t decide to join or slaves, or rebels,
Have no a courage nor to live, nor – die…
I feel my God – but cannot say my prayers,
I want my love – but can’t find love of mine.

I send to sun my worship and my groan,
I see a sheet of clouds, pale and cold…
What is a truth? It seems to me, I know, –
But for the truth I have not the right world.


Vertaald door Yevgeny Bonver


Zinaida Hippius (20 november 1869 – 9 september 1945)


De Zweedse schrijfster Selma Lagerlöf werd geboren op 20 november 1858 in Östra Emterwik in Zweden. Zie ook alle tags voor Selma Lagerlöf op dit blog.

Uit: Niels Holgersson’s wonderbare reis (Vertaald door Margaretha Meijboom)

“Hij las een paar regels, maar toen keek hij toevallig op.
Daardoor viel zijn oog op den spiegel, en toen riep hij hardop: ‘Kijk, daar is er nog een!’
Want in den spiegel zag hij duidelijk een klein, klein kaboutertje, gekleed met een slaapmutsje en een leeren broek aan. ‘Die is precies gekleed als ik,’ zei de jongen, en sloeg de handen in elkaar van verbazing. Maar toen zag hij, dat de kabouter in den spiegel hetzelfde deed.
Toen begon hij zich aan de haren te trekken en zich in de armen te knijpen en rond te draaien, en oogenblikkelijk deed hij daar in den spiegel het hem na.
De jongen sprong een paar keer rond, om te zien of er een of ander klein kereltje achter hem stond. Maar hij vond niemand – en toen begon hij van schrik te beven. Want nu begreep hij, dat de kabouter hem betooverd had, en dat de kabouter, dien hij daar in den spiegel zag, niemand anders was dan hijzelf.
De jongen kon maar niet gelooven, dat hij in een kabouter veranderd was.
‘’t Is zeker maar een droom – of verbeelding,’ dacht hij. ‘Als ik even wacht, word ik wel weer een mensch.’
Hij ging voor den spiegel staan, en sloot de oogen. Hij opende ze eerst na een paar minuten, en verwachtte toen, dat het weer over zou zijn. Maar dat was niet zoo: hij was en bleef even klein. Overigens was hij precies, zooals hij geweest was. Het lichte vlashaar en de zomersproeten op neus en lippen, de lappen op zijn leeren broek en de stoppen in zijn kousen, alles was precies eender; alleen was alles kleiner geworden.
Neen, stil te staan en te wachten tot het overging, dat diende nergens voor; dat merkte hij wel. Hij moest wat anders probeeren. En het verstandigste wat hij doen kon, was, meende hij, den kabouter op te zoeken en zich met hem te verzoenen.”


Selma Lagerlöf (20 november 1858 – 16 maart 1940)
Geïllustreerde uitgave


De Russische schrijfster Yevgenia Ginzburg werd geboren op 20 november 1904 in Moskou. Zie ook alle tags voor Yevgenia Ginzburg op dit blog.

Uit: Marschroute eines Lebens

 »Jetzt blicken wir uns in die Augen. Vor uns ziehen die gleichen Bilder aus der Vergangenheit vorüber.. . Vor zehn Jahren.. . Ich, eine blutjunge Anfängerin, gebe ihm, einem Analphabeten, einem Bürschchen, das gerade aus seinem tatarischen Dorf in die Stadt gekommen ist, Unterricht. Dieses Bürschchen ist heute Sekretär des Bezirkskomitees~.~


»Wieviel einfacher und leichter wäre für mich alles gewesen, wenn es die Gestapo gewesen wäre! Ich wußte ganz genau, wie sich ein Kommunist zu benehmen hatte, der ihr in die Hände fiel. Aber hier? Hier mußte man – ~ -~ sich erst einmal klarmachen, wer die Menschen waren, die. einen gefangen hielten. Waren es verkleidete Faschisten: oder waren es Opfer eines ungeheuren Betrugs, einer raffinierten Intrige? Und wie hatte sich ein Kommunist in seinem eigenen Gefängnis zu verhalten.. .?


Yevgenia Ginzburg (20 november1904 – 25 mei 1977)


Onafhankelijk van geboortedata

De Nederlandse dichter en schrijver Jordi Lammers werd geboren in 1996 in Venray. Zie ook alle tags voor Jordi Lammers op dit blog.


hoe noemen we dit lichaam

we gooiden onze namen in het dal en hoopten
dat het dal iets mooiers terug zou gooien

maar er kwam niets

we stopten bij een bergmeer, keken
elkaar oog in oog uit elkaars kleren
hingen onze spullen aan een tak en lieten
ons langzaam in het water zakken

je dreef op je rug alsof het water het gewicht uit je lichaam had gezogen

pas toen ik mijn vinger
aan een rotspunt opensneed
steeg uit de vallei een koor op
begon het uit volle borst onze naam te zingen

onze naam
zoals we die nooit
eerder hadden gehoord


Jordi Lammers (Venray, 1996)


De Duitse schrijver en advocaat Ferdinand von Schirach werd geboren in 1964 in München. Zie ook alle tags voor Ferdinand von Schirach op dit blog.

Uit: Strafe

„Katharina wuchs im Hochschwarzwald auf. Elf Bauernhöfe auf 1100 Meter Höhe, eine Kapelle, ein Lebensmittelgeschäft, das nur montags geöffnet hatte. Sie wohnten im letzten Gebäude, einem dreistöckigen Hof mit heruntergezogenem Dach. Es war das Elternhaus ihrer Mutter. Hinter dem Hof war der Wald und dahinter waren die Felsen und dahinter war wieder der Wald. Sie war das einzige Kind im Dorf. Der Vater war Prokurist einer Papierfabrik, die Mutter Lehrerin. Beide arbeiteten unten in der Stadt. Katharina ging nach der Schule oft zur Firma des Vaters, sie war damals elf Jahre alt. Sie saß im Büro, wenn er über Preise, Rabatte und Liefertermine verhandelte, sie hörte bei seinen Telefonaten zu, er erklärte ihr alles so lange, bis sie es verstand. In den Ferien nahm er sie mit auf Geschäftsreisen, sie packte seine Koffer, legte seine Anzüge raus und wartete im Hotel, bis er von den Terminen zurückkam. Mit dreizehn war sie einen halben Kopf größer als er, sie war sehr schmal, ihre Haut hell, ihre Haare fast schwarz. Ihr Vater nannte sie Schneewittchen, er lachte, wenn jemand sagte, er habe eine sehr junge Frau geheiratet. Zwei Wochen nach Katharinas vierzehntem Geburtstag schneite es das erste Mal in diesem Jahr. Es war sehr hell und sehr kalt. Vor dem Haus lagen die neuen Holzschindeln, der Vater wollte das Dach noch vor dem Winter ausbessern. Wie jeden Morgen fuhr sie mit der Mutter zur Schule. Vor ihnen war ein Lastwagen. Die Mutter hatte den ganzen Morgen nicht gesprochen. »Dein Vater hat sich in eine andere Frau verliebt«, sagte sie jetzt. Auf den Bäumen lag Schnee und auf den Felsen lag Schnee. Sie überholten den Lastwagen, auf der Seite stand »Südfrüchte«, jeder Buchstabe in einer anderen Farbe. »In seine Sekretärin«, sagte die Mutter. Sie fuhr zu schnell. Katharina kannte die Sekretärin, sie war immer freundlich gewesen. Der Vater hatte ihr nichts gesagt, nur daran konnte sie noch denken. Sie drückte ihre Fingernägel in die Schultasche, bis es weh tat. Der Vater zog in ein Haus in der Stadt. Katharina sah ihn nicht mehr.
Ein halbes Jahr später wurden Bretter vor die Fenster des Hofs genagelt, das Wasser wurde aus den Rohren gelassen und der Strom abgestellt. Die Mutter und Katharina zogen nach Bonn, dort lebten Verwandte. Katharina brauchte ein Jahr, um sich den Dialekt abzugewöhnen. Für die Schülerzeitung schrieb sie politische Aufsätze. Als sie sechzehn war, druckte eine lokale Tageszeitung ihren ersten Text. Sie beobachtete sich bei allem, was sie tat.“


Ferdinand von Schirach (München, 1964)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 20e november ook mijn blog van 20 november 2017.

Don DeLillo, Viktoria Tokareva, Sheema Kalbasi, Nadine Gordimer, Thomas Chatterton, Zinaida Hippius, Selma Lagerlöf, Ursula Ziebarth, Ferdinand von Schirach

De Amerikaanse schrijver Don DeLillo werd op 20 november 1936 geboren in New York City als zoon van Italiaanse immigranten. Zie ook alle tags voor Don DeLillo op dit blog.

Uit: White Noise

“We drove 22 miles into the country around Farmington. There were meadows and apple orchards. White fences trailed through the rolling fields. Soon the sign started appearing. THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA. We counted five signs before we reached the site. There were 40 cars and a tour bus in the makeshift lot. We walked along a cowpath to the slightly elevated spot set aside for viewing and photographing. All the people had cameras; some had tripods, telephoto lenses, filter kits. A man in a booth sold postcards and slides — pictures of the barn taken from the elevated spot. We stood near a grove of trees and watched the photographers. Murray maintained a prolonged silence, occasionally scrawling some notes in a little book.
“No one sees the barn,” he said finally.
A long silence followed.
“Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn.”
He fell silent once more. People with cameras left the elevated site, replaced by others.
We’re not here to capture an image, we’re here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura. Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies.”
There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold postcards and slides.
“Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We’ve agreed to be part of a collective perception. It literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism.”
Another silence ensued.
“They are taking pictures oftaking pictures,” he said.
He did not speak for a while. We listened to the incessant clicking of shutter release buttons, the rustling crank of levers that advanced the film. “What was the barn like before it was photographed?’ he said. “What did it look like, how was it different from the other barns, how was it similar to other barns?”


Don DeLillo (New York City, 20 november 1936)

Lees verder “Don DeLillo, Viktoria Tokareva, Sheema Kalbasi, Nadine Gordimer, Thomas Chatterton, Zinaida Hippius, Selma Lagerlöf, Ursula Ziebarth, Ferdinand von Schirach”

Viktoria Tokareva, Don DeLillo, Sheema Kalbasi, Nadine Gordimer, Thomas Chatterton, Zinaida Hippius, Selma Lagerlöf, Ursula Ziebarth

De Russische schrijfster en scenariste Viktoria Tokareva werd geboren op 20 november 1937 in Leningrad (Sint Petersburg). Zie ook alle tags voor Viktoria Tokareva op dit blog.

Uit: Leise Musik hinter der Wand (Vertaald door Angelika Schneider)

„In seiner Jugend hatte der Großvater gesungen: ›Gott, schütze den Zaren‹, als Erwachsener musste er singen: ›Wir stammen alle aus dem Volke‹. Aber was war schon dabei? Der Großvater hatte ein gutes Gehör und eine schöne Stimme und wurde sogar zum Vorsänger bestimmt.
Die Eltern der Großmutter waren Großgrundbesitzer gewesen. Nach der Revolution sagte die Großmutter immer, dass sie Landwirte waren. Das war gelogen, aber nicht ganz. Ein gut ausgebildeter Großgrundbesitzer kannte sich mit Landwirtschaft aus, und so waren sie, in gewissem Maße, tatsächlich Landwirte. Den Familiennamen Scheremetjew verkürzten sie um ein Drittel, so entstand der Name Schermet. Ein guter Name, der in den Arbeiter- und Bauernstaat passte.
Ariadna wurde auf den Nachnamen Schermet eingetragen, da der biologische Vater nicht anwesend war.
Es hatte ihn natürlich einmal gegeben, aber man hatte ihn, da er aus dem einfachen Volk war, aus der Familie gedrängt.
Der Vater hieß Alik. Jedes Mal, wenn sie sich zu Tisch setzten, hatte Alik den Platz des Großvaters eingenommen. Die Großmutter hatte sich darüber aufgeregt und gesagt: »Setzen Sie sich auf Ihren Platz«, worauf Alik verwundert die Brauen hochgezogen und gefragt hatte: »Ist es denn nicht völlig egal, wo man sich hinhockt?«
Die Großmutter hatte schwer aufgeseufzt. Ihr war klar geworden, dass es in Aliks Familie keinerlei Traditionen gab und dass Alik selbst ohne anständige Herkunft, sozusagen ohne Stammbaum, war. Anständig essen konnte er auch nicht. Er wusste mit dem Besteck nicht richtig umzugehen und verschlang das Essen derart schnell, als hätte er Angst, dass man es ihm wegnähme. Zudem trank er den Tee aus der Untertasse, ja er schlürfte ihn geradezu wie aus einer Pfütze.“

Viktoria Tokareva (Leningrad, 20 november 1937)

Lees verder “Viktoria Tokareva, Don DeLillo, Sheema Kalbasi, Nadine Gordimer, Thomas Chatterton, Zinaida Hippius, Selma Lagerlöf, Ursula Ziebarth”

Viktoria Tokareva, Don DeLillo, Sheema Kalbasi, Nadine Gordimer, Thomas Chatterton, Zinaida Hippius, Selma Lagerlöf

De Russische schrijfster en scenariste Viktoria Tokareva werd geboren op 20 november 1937 in Leningrad (Sint Petersburg). Zie ook alle tags voor Viktoria Tokareva op dit blog.

Uit: Alle meine Feinde und andere Erzählungen (Vertaald door Angelika Schneider)

„Ich sagte zu ihr: »Heirate den bloß nicht.«
»Er hat mich auch gar nicht gefragt«, beruhigte mich Lisa.
Das hieß, das Kind würde bei mir aufwachsen. Und Lisa wäre frei wie der Wind.
Aber ich fand eine Kinderfrau. Sie hieß Anna Fjodorowna Strelzowa. Anna Fjodorowna, Rufname: Anka.
Sie erledigte alles schnell und zuverlässig, war einfach wie geschaffen für diese Dinge. Ich bin Künstlerin. Und nur das. Hausarbeit deprimiert mich, ja sie bringt mich um.
Das, wofür ich einen ganzen Tag brauchen würde, erledigte Anka in vierzig Minuten. Wenn sie nur erschien, wurde es sonniger ringsum. Mit leichten, schnellen Bewegungen legte sie die Dinge an ihren Platz zurück. Sie schaffte Sauberkeit und Ordnung, schon allein durch ihre Anwesenheit Und erst ihre Krautwickel – das waren echte Kunstwerke.
Es tat einem geradezu leid, sie aufzuessen. Klein, sorgfältig zubereitet, schön anzusehen, mit einer besonderen Soße übergossen. Meine Krautwickel wurden immer groß wie ein Handteller. Ich drehte schon durch bei dieser Vielzahl von Vorbereitungen: erst das Hackfleisch anbraten, die Kohlblätter blanchieren, Reis kochen, Zwiebeln andünsten …
Wie viel lieber würde ich in dieser Zeit eine flirrende Birke malen, mit geflecktem Stamm …
Aber das Kochen war nur die eine Hälfte. Die Hauptsache war die Enkelin. Anka liebte meine Enkelin mit überirdischer Hingabe, und diese erwiderte ihre Liebe. Mein ganzes Haus war vom Boden bis zum Dach angefüllt mit idealer, gegenseitiger Liebe. Nur Anka konnte die Kleine füttern, beschäftigen, trösten, heilen und ihr etwas beibringen.
Eines Tages wurde meine Enkelin krank. Das Fieber wollte einfach nicht sinken. Das ging so eine ganze Woche lang. Das Mädchen lag apathisch da und lutschte am Daumen. Da versank Anka in eine Depression, ja sie wollte nicht mehr leben. Aber dann, von einem Tag auf den anderen, fiel das Fieber, und Anka fasste frischen Mut, ihre Augen funkelten wieder wie zwei grüne Edelsteine. Das Leben kehrte ins Haus zurück.“

Viktoria Tokareva (Leningrad, 20 november 1937)

Lees verder “Viktoria Tokareva, Don DeLillo, Sheema Kalbasi, Nadine Gordimer, Thomas Chatterton, Zinaida Hippius, Selma Lagerlöf”

Sheema Kalbasi , Nadine Gordimer, Viktoria Tokareva, Thomas Chatterton, Don DeLillo, Zinaida Hippius

De Iraanse dichteres, vertaalster en mensenrechten-advocate Sheema Kalbasi werd geboren op 20 november 1972 in Teheran. Zie ook alle tags voor Sheema Kalbasi op dit blog.

Middle East

I dreamt that I was innocent
my naked skin
in touch with reality
and my soul was in search
to hear your -worldly- murmur: Peace

I offered you my love
wrapped in honesty
(pure to catch up with you)
shrunk with disbelief

I -asking you: Know me

with your gorgeousness
as you played with the waves
breaking one after another
taking them into your hands
touching them one after another

I wanted to be called with your name: just

what color was Peace?
the one you chose to paint me?
the one you narrowed into my heart and nested in my grave,
what color was it?

I am longing in my grave
to receive the flowers
with your hand written note: rest-in-peace- Middle East



I don’t care if you are you and I am I. I am not some exotic flower. Whatever coat you have on, I will put it on to warm me… and the shoes however small… I will walk in them to balance our height difference. You don’t need to convert for me; I have already converted to you. You see I never had a religion to begin with. I was born naked from all religions but your love.

I know that was not the point. I know there is no conversion. There is no coat, no balance, no shoes but the naked truth of me finding you first, not you finding me. You, whom will never know who I was when I was sitting on the white sheets.

Y o u, not b e s i d e m e.

And the words that are already written. The words that are already said, are already felt, and are already gone.

And I try to take them back into my empty bowl of hands. To put my hands on the chest. The chest into rest. The rest in to the heart. The beat back to the soul. The soul, back to what it was before you.

Alas! I am 5.7

Sheema Kalbasi (Teheran, 20 november 1972)

Lees verder “Sheema Kalbasi , Nadine Gordimer, Viktoria Tokareva, Thomas Chatterton, Don DeLillo, Zinaida Hippius”

Sheema Kalbasi , Nadine Gordimer, Viktoria Tokareva, Thomas Chatterton, Don DeLillo

De Iraanse dichteres, vertaalster en mensenrechten-advocate Sheema Kalbasi werd geboren op 20 november 1972 in Teheran. Zie ook alle tags voor Sheema Kalbasi op dit blog.

Aging in the Words of a World

The sounds of spring,
Flying birds!
The Mud,
covering the ears!
Number of points.
Tears falling
Not seeing Life,
Living in self pity!
Later to learn,
To realize:
It is called a journey of souls!



The whole world
is a metaphor
for something else!
the sea, the sand, the voice of soft drinks.
Quiet voices.
The dark curly hair, long, black, soft
playing with the rhythm
Suddenly I saw her
In front of me, standing brown and tall,
and as I watched her walk through me,
Her eyes asked: What’s up? Haven’t seen me before?
and I fell in love
with her mouth, with her sight.
I blushed.
My inspiration
what to do?
         to do?
Talk? Walk? Make love?
The wind, the wind.
Looking at her,
The moon, the moon.
The face, her face
Spreading like a vine.
Sublime idea!
Cold dust, sweat.
To write a poem, a world of words
the shore of love.

Sheema Kalbasi (Teheran, 20 november 1972)

Lees verder “Sheema Kalbasi , Nadine Gordimer, Viktoria Tokareva, Thomas Chatterton, Don DeLillo”

Sheema Kalbasi , Nadine Gordimer, Viktoria Tokareva, Thomas Chatterton

De Iraanse dichteres, vertaalster en mensenrechten-advocate Sheema Kalbasi werd geboren op 20 november 1972 in Teheran. Zie ook alle tags voor Sheema Kalbasi op dit blog.


Dark Moods

Words attack

in gray letters

while sitting behind a desk,

arrive hanging from the robe,

the hands, and the thoughts.

Every part is injured

with no cure

and nothing to

swing open the mind.

The motionless floors

Cannot cover the pain that is

Dropping from the walls

-blood and the songs that are hammered

to the loneliness of a poet

And the multiplication of Sheema.

I am sure death has pierced your motionless body by now

Is your hair growing in gold?


Golden anything

My fragile nights bathed

in Wisteria

Freshened by Eucalyptus

Pools of anything but Sorrow

Thee my love, thee

Angels and wings of dreamy shadows


Waves of desire

Floating essences, flooding rivers

I am trembling, tremble

Oceans of passion, desire

My fragile nights.

Thundering anything

Waking from mirrors

In the corner of my eye

razors flooding to enter.

I ask my heart: Why?

And the pain becomes a rare visitor.


Sheema Kalbasi (Teheran, 20 november 1972)

Lees verder “Sheema Kalbasi , Nadine Gordimer, Viktoria Tokareva, Thomas Chatterton”

Nadine Gordimer, Viktoria Tokareva, Don DeLillo, Thomas Chatterton

De Zuidafrikaanse schrijfster Nadine Gordimer werd geboren op 20 november 1923 in Springs. Zie ook alle tags voor Nadine Gordimer op dit blog.

Uit: The Moment Before the Gun Went Off

“Marais Van der Vyver shot one of his farm labourers, dead.

An accident. There are accidents with guns every day of the week: children playing a fatal game with a father’s revolver in the cities where guns are domestic objects, and hunting mishaps like this one, in the country. But these won’t be reported all over the world. Van der Vyver knows his will be. He knows that the story of the Afrikaner farmer – a regional Party leader and Commandant of the local security commando – he, shooting a black man who worked for him will fit exactly their version of South Africa. It’s made for them. They’ll be able to use it in their boycott and divestment campaigns. It’ll be another piece of evidence in their truth about the country. The papers at home will quote the story as it has appeared in the overseas press, and in the back-and-forth he and the black man will become those crudely-drawn figures on anti-apartheid banners, units in statistics of white brutality against the blacks quoted at United Nations – he, whom they will gleefully call ‘a leading member’ of the ruling Party.People in the farming community understand how he must feel. Bad enough to have killed a man, without helping the Party’s,the government’s, the country’s enemies, as well.They see the truth of that. They know, reading the Sunday papers, that when Van der Vyver is quoted saying he is ’terribly shocked’, he will ‘look after the wife and children’, none of those Americans and English, and none of those people at home who want to destroy the white man’s power will believe him. And how they will sneer when he even says of the farm boy (according to one paper, if you can trust any of those reporters), ‘He was my friend. I always took him hunting with me: Those city and overseas people don’t know it’s true: farmers usually have one particular black boy they like to take along with them in the lands: you could call it a kind of friend, yes, friends are not only your own white people, like yourself, you take into your house, pray with in church and work with on the Party committee. But how can those others”


Nadine Gordimer (Springs. 20 november 1923)

Lees verder “Nadine Gordimer, Viktoria Tokareva, Don DeLillo, Thomas Chatterton”

Nadine Gordimer, Don DeLillo, Thomas Chatterton, Sheema Kalbasi

De Zuidafrikaanse schrijfster Nadine Gordimer werd geboren op 20 november 1923 in Springs. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 november 2006 en ook mijn blog van 20 november 2007 en ook mijn blog van 20 november 2008 en ook mijn blog van 20 november 2009.


Uit: Beethoven was One-Sixteenth Black



Anyone who is a reader knows that what you have read has influenced your life. By ‘reader’ I mean one from the time you began to pick out the printed words, for yourself, in the bedtime story. (Another presumption: you became literate in some era before the bedtime story was replaced by the half-hour before the Box.) Adolescence is the crucial period when the poet and the fiction writer intervene in formation of the sense of self in sexual relation to others, suggesting – excitingly, sometimes scarily – that what adult authority has told or implied is the order of such relations, is not all. Back in the Forties, I was given to understand: first, you will meet a man, both will fall in love, and you will marry; there is an order of emotions that goes with this packaged process. That is what love is.

For me, who came along first was Marcel Proust. The strange but ineluctable disorder of Charles Swann’s agonising love for a woman who wasn’t his type (and this really no fault of her own, he fell in love with her as what she was, eh?); the jealousy of the Narrator tormentedly following a trail of Albertine’s evasions.

Swept away was the confetti. I now had different expectations of what experience might have to take on. My appren­ticeship to sexual love changed; for life. Like it or not, this is what love is. Terrible. Glorious.

But what happens if something from a fiction is not interiorised, but materialises? Takes on independent exist­ence?

It has just happened to me. Every year I re-read some of the books I don’t want to die without having read again. This year one of these is Kafka’s Diaries, and I am about halfway through. It’s night-time reading of a wonderfully harrowing sort.

A few mornings ago when I sat down at this typewriter as I do now, not waiting for Lorca’s duende but getting to work, I saw under the narrow strip of window which displays words electronically as I convey them, a roach. A smallish roach about the size and roach-shape of the nail of my third finger – medium-sized hand. To tell that I couldn’t believe it is understatement. But my immediate thought was practical: it was undoubtedly there, how did it get in. I tapped the glass at the place beneath which it appeared. It confirmed its existence, not by moving the body but wavering this way and that two whiskers, antennae so thin and pale I had not discerned them.”


Nadine Gordimer (Springs. 20 november 1923)


Lees verder “Nadine Gordimer, Don DeLillo, Thomas Chatterton, Sheema Kalbasi”

Nadine Gordimer, Don DeLillo, Thomas Chatterton, Sheema Kalbasi, Selma Lagerlöf, Yevgenia Ginzburg

De Zuidafrikaanse schrijfster Nadine Gordimer werd geboren op 20 november 1923 in Springs. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 november 2006 en ook mijn blog van 20 november 2007 en ook mijn blog van 20 november 2008.
Uit: Get A Life

„His mother fetched him from the hospital. He opened a door of the rear seat of the car, to sit in there, right from the start he must begin to follow a certain conduct of himself, make it a habit for the time being, but his mother is like him (if that’s not a reverse order of inherited characteristics), she has decided on her own code of conduct in response to the threat he represents. She leans to open the door of the passenger seat beside her and pats it authoritatively.
He has a wife and child.
Whose life, whose risk is worth less than these?
Parents are responsible for bringing into the world their progeniture whether deliberately or carelessly and theirs is an unwritten covenant that the life of the child, and by descent the child’s child, is to be valued above that of the original progenitors.
So Paul—that’s him, the son—he has come home—oh differently, for the time being, yes—to the old home, that of his parents.
Lyndsay and Adrian are not old.
The ladder of ageing has extended since medical science, sensible exercise, healthy diet have enabled people to linger longer and younger before ascending to disappear in the mystery at the top. (‘Passing away’ is the euphemism, but to where?) Unthinkable that the son is preceding, ahead of them, up there. His father is about to retire at a vigorous sixty-five from managing directorship of an agricultural vehicle and equipment plant. His mother, fifty-nine looking forty-nine, a longtime natural beauty with no wish for face-lifts, is considering whether or not she should leave her partnership in a legal practice and join her other partner in this new phase of existence.
The dog jumps and paws at him, sniffs the cold hospital pungency of his bulging hold-all and the delivered suitcase with what his wife anticipated his needs might be here, in this phase of his existence.—Which room?—It is not his old room, it’s his sister’s that has been turned into a study where his father will follow whatever interests he’s supposed to have in readiness for retirement. This sister and brother born only twelve months apart due to excessive youthful passion or a mistaken reliance on the contraceptive efficacy of breast-feeding—Lyndsay still laughs at her ignorance and the opportunism of quick breeding! There are two other sisters, better biologically spaced. He has no brother.
He’s unique.“



Nadine Gordimer (Springs. 20 november 1923)


De Amerikaanse schrijver Don DeLillo werd op 20 november 1936 geboren in New York City als zoon van Italiaanse immigranten. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 november 2008.


Uit: The Body Artist


Time seems to pass. The world happens, unrolling into moments, and you stop to glance at a spider pressed to its web. There is a quickness of light and a sense of things outlined precisely and streaks of running luster on the bay. You know more surely who you are on a strong bright day after a storm when the smallest falling leaf is stabbed with self-awareness. The wind makes a sound in the pines and the world comes into being, irreversibly, and the spider rides the wind-swayed web.

It happened this final morning that they were here at the same time, in the kitchen, and they shambled past each other to get things out of cabinets and drawers and then waited one for the other by the sink or fridge, still a little puddled in dream melt, and she ran tap water over the blueberries bunched in her hand and closed her eyes to breathe the savor rising.

He sat with the newspaper, stirring his coffee. It was his coffee and his cup. They shared the newspaper but it was actually, unspokenly, hers.

“I want to say something but what.”

She ran water from the tap and seemed to notice. It was the first time she’d ever noticed this.

“About the house. This is what it is,” he said. “Something I meant to tell you.”

She noticed how water from the tap turned opaque in seconds. It ran silvery and clear and then in seconds turned opaque and how curious it seemed that in all these months and all these times in which she’d run water from the kitchen tap she’d never noticed how the water ran clear at first and then went not murky exactly but opaque, or maybe it hadn’t happened before, or she’d noticed and forgotten.

She crossed to the cabinet with the blueberries wet in her hand and reached up for the cereal and took the box to the counter, the mostly brown and white box, and then the toaster thing popped and she flipped it down again because it took two flips to get the bread to go brown and he absently nodded his acknowledgment because it was his toast and his butter and then he turned on the radio and got the weather.

The sparrows were at the feeder, wing-beating, fighting for space on the curved perches.

She reached into the near cabinet for a bowl and shook some cereal out of the box and then dropped the berries on top. She rubbed her hand dry on her jeans, feeling a sense somewhere of the color blue, runny and wan.

What’s it called, the lever. She’d pressed down the lever to get his bread to go brown.

It was his toast, it was her weather. She listened to reports and called the weather number frequently and sometimes stood out front and looked into the coastal sky, tasting the breeze for latent implications.

“Yes exactly. I know what it is,” he said.

She went to the fridge and opened the door. She stood there remembering something.

She said, “What?” Meaning what did you say, not what did you want to tell me.

She remembered the soya granules. She crossed to the cabinet and took down the box and then caught the fridge door before it swung shut. She reached in for the milk, realizing what it was he’d said that she hadn’t heard about eight seconds ago.“



Don DeLillo (New York City, 20 november 1936)


De Engelse dichter en schrijver Thomas Chatterton werd geboren op 20 november 1752 in Bristol als zoon van een koster. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 november 2008.

The Resignation


O God, whose thunder shakes the sky,

Whose eye this atom globe surveys,

To thee, my only rock, I fly,

Thy mercy in thy justice praise.


The mystic mazes of thy will,

The shadows of celestial light,

Are past the pow’r of human skill,–

But what th’ Eternal acts is right.


O teach me in the trying hour,

When anguish swells the dewy tear,

To still my sorrows, own thy pow’r,

Thy goodness love, thy justice fear.


If in this bosom aught but Thee

Encroaching sought a boundless sway,

Omniscience could the danger see,

And Mercy look the cause away.


Then why, my soul, dost thou complain?

Why drooping seek the dark recess?

Shake off the melancholy chain.

For God created all to bless.


But ah! my breast is human still;

The rising sigh, the falling tear,

My languid vitals’ feeble rill,

The sickness of my soul declare.


But yet, with fortitude resigned,

I’ll thank th’ inflicter of the blow;

Forbid the sigh, compose my mind,

Nor let the gush of mis’ry flow.


The gloomy mantle of the night,

Which on my sinking spirit steals,

Will vanish at the morning light,

Which God, my East, my sun reveals.



Thomas Chatterton (20 november 1752 – 5 augustus 1770)
‘Chatterton’s Holiday Afternoon’. Gravure van W Ridgway


De Iraanse dichteres, vertaalster en mensenrechten-advocate Sheema Kalbasi werd geboren op 20 november 1972 in Teheran. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 november 2008.

Mama In The War


You took us,

your children,

under your hands, mama,

beneath the steps of our home’s first floor,

to protect us from the bombs.


You never slept

and in the hot summer nights

your only mission

was our safety.


You are my president mama,

you and all those women,

who protected

and still defend their children

against the blinded-with-hatred

soldiers of death

…all around the world…


Under the bombs, you showed no fear.

The drastic
changes in our lives,

you took

quiet and peaceful

with your inner love and belief

and tried to dispel,

the terror of death

from the

filled-with-fear eyes

of your children.


You made a new reform of solidarity

and election of bravery

in our home.


You drove us to

the polished satisfaction

of holding each other’s hands

through the rough times…


In the deepest corners of my memory,

deep in my heart,

deep in my thoughts,

of blackout

and no candlelight,

I could see your blond hair,

brown eyes

and comforting face.


My vote goes to you, Mama.



Sheema Kalbasi (Teheran, 20 november 1972)


De Zweedse schrijfster Selma Lagerlöf werd geboren op 20 november 1858 in Östra Emterwik in Zweden. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 november 2006 en ook mijn blog van 20 november 2008.


Uit: Niels Holgersson’s wonderbare reis (Vertaald door Margaretha Meijboom)

Er was eens een jongen, die zoo ongeveer veertien jaar oud was, lang en mager en met vlashaar. Hij was eigenlijk een deugniet: hij had ’t meeste pleizier in slapen en eten, en verder hield hij van kattekwaad.

Nu was het een Zondagmorgen, en de ouders van den jongen waren bezig zich klaar te maken om naar de kerk te gaan. De jongen zelf zat in zijn hemdsmouwen op den rand van de tafel, en dacht er aan hoe heerlijk ’t was, dat Vader en Moeder allebei weggingen, zoodat hij een paar uur lang zijn eigen baas zou zijn.

“Nu kan ik Vaders geweer nemen en een beetje schieten, zonder dat iemand zich er meê hoeft te bemoeien,” zei hij in zichzelf.

Maar ’t scheen wel, dat Vader de gedachten van den jongen geraden had, want juist toen hij op den drempel stond, klaar om heen te gaan, bleef hij staan en keerde zich om.

“Nu je niet met Moeder en mij meê naar de kerk wilt gaan,” zei hij, “vind ik, dat je de preek ten minste wel hier thuis lezen kunt. Wil je me beloven, dat je dat doen zult?”

“Ja,” zei de jongen, “dat kan ik wel doen.” En hij dacht natuurlijk, dat hij niet meer lezen zou, dan waar hij lust in had.

De jongen vond, dat hij Moeder nooit zoo voortvarend had gezien. In een wip was zij bij den boekenhanger, kreeg het preekenboek, en legde het klaar op de tafel bij het venster, opengeslagen bij de preek van den dag. Ze zocht in den bijbel den tekst van de preek op, en legde ’t boek open naast het preekenboek. Toen trok zij den grooten leunstoel bij de tafel, waarin anders niemand dan Vader zitten mocht, en die ’t vorige jaar op de verkooping in de pastorie van Vemmenhög was gekocht.

De jongen zat er op den tafelrand over te denken, dat Moeder zich al te veel moeite gaf om de tafel in orde te maken, want dat hij niet van plan was meer dan één of twee bladzijden te lezen. Maar nu was het alweer, alsof Vader dwars door hem heen kon kijken. Hij ging op den jongen toe en zei streng:

“Denk er nu om, dat je behoorlijk leest; want als we thuis komen, zal ik je elke bladzij overhooren, en als je wat overgeslagen hebt, kom je er niet gemakkelijk af.”

“De preek is veertien en een halve bladzij lang,” zei Moeder, alsof ze de maat vol wou maken; “je mag wel gauw gaan zitten lezen, als je hem uit wilt krijgen.”

Toen gingen zij eindelijk heen, en toen de jongen hen in de deur stond na te kijken vond hij, dat hij in den val geloopen was. “Nu loopen ze er zich in te verheugen, dat zij ’t zoo mooi in orde gemaakt hebben, dat ik den heelen tijd met mijn neus in die preek zitten moet, zoolang ze weg zijn.”

carl_larsson selma lagerlöf

Selma Lagerlöf (20 november 1858 – 16 maart 1940)
Portret door Carl Larsson (detail)


De Russische schrijfster Yevgenia Ginzburg werd geboren op 20 november 1904 in Moskou. Zie ook mijn blog van 20 november 2008.

Uit: Marschroute eines Lebens


“Im Steinbruch erfuhr ich am eigenen Leib, was Zwangsarbeit ist. Es war Juli. Erbarmungslos trafen uns die ultravioletten Strahlen der fernöstlichen Sonne. Noch aus der Ferne ging von dem Gestein eine höllische Glut aus. Es kam hinzu, dass wir über zwei Jahre lang nicht einen einzigen Sonnenstrahl gesehen hatten und nach der Zeit in den Einzelzellen körperliche Arbeit nicht mehr gewohnt waren. Wir litten an Skorbut und Pellagra… … Und ausgerechnet wir mussten Erd- und Steinbrucharbeiten leisten, die selbst von Männern große Kraft und Widerstandsfähigkeit verlangen.”



Yevgenia Ginzburg (20 november1904 – 25 mei 1977)