Sunday, August 17, 2014


They'd come around and
They'd ask
"You finished you
2nd novel yet?"


"Whatsamatta? Whatsamatta
That you can't
Finish it?"

"Hemorrhoids and

"Maybe you've lost

"Lost what?"

"You know."

Now when they come
Around I tell then,
"Yeh. I finished
It. Be out in Sept."

"You FINISHED it?"


"Well, listen, I gotta go."

Even the cat
Here in the courtyard
Won't come to my door

It's nice.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Amazon sent me a raven to protect the Realm

Dear KDP Author,

Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This was a time when movie tickets cost 10 or 20 cents, and books cost $2.50. The new paperback cost 25 cents – it was ten times cheaper. Readers loved the paperback and millions of copies were sold in just the first year.

With it being so inexpensive and with so many more people able to afford to buy and read books, you would think the literary establishment of the day would have celebrated the invention of the paperback, yes? Nope. Instead, they dug in and circled the wagons. They believed low cost paperbacks would destroy literary culture and harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many bookstores refused to stock them, and the early paperback publishers had to use unconventional methods of distribution – places like newsstands and drugstores. The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if “publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them.” Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion.

Well… history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Fast forward to today, and it’s the e-book’s turn to be opposed by the literary establishment. Amazon and Hachette – a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate – are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market – e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive. (falta mencionar writing and editing: el trabajo real. btw, books can't be resold within the Amazon realm)

Perhaps channeling Orwell’s decades old suggestion, Hachette has already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices. So far those parties have paid $166 million in penalties and restitution. Colluding with its competitors to raise prices wasn’t only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to Hachette’s readers.

The fact is many established incumbents in the industry have taken the position that lower e-book prices will “devalue books” and hurt “Arts and Letters.” They’re wrong. Just as paperbacks did not destroy book culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books. On the contrary, paperbacks ended up rejuvenating the book industry and making it stronger. The same will happen with e-books.

Many inside the echo-chamber of the industry often draw the box too small. They think books only compete against books. But in reality, books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive. (dice que promueve competition, pero la batalla es por eliminar la competition que compite incluso en definir sus propios precios).

Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that’s 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger.

But when a thing has been done a certain way for a long time, resisting change can be a reflexive instinct, and the powerful interests of the status quo are hard to move. It was never in George Orwell’s interest to suppress paperback books – he was wrong about that.

And despite what some would have you believe, authors are not united on this issue. When the Authors Guild recently wrote on this, they titled their post: “Amazon-Hachette Debate Yields Diverse Opinions Among Authors” (the comments to this post are worth a read).  A petition started by another group of authors and aimed at Hachette, titled “Stop Fighting Low Prices and Fair Wages,” garnered over 7,600 signatures.  And there are myriad articles and posts, by authors and readers alike, supporting us in our effort to keep prices low and build a healthy reading culture. Author David Gaughran’s recent interview is another piece worth reading.

We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between large companies. Some have suggested that we “just talk.” We tried that. Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store. Since then Amazon has made three separate offers to Hachette to take authors out of the middle. We first suggested that we (Amazon and Hachette) jointly make author royalties whole during the term of the dispute. Then we suggested that authors receive 100% of all sales of their titles until this dispute is resolved. Then we suggested that we would return to normal business operations if Amazon and Hachette’s normal share of revenue went to a literacy charity. But Hachette, and their parent company Lagardere, have quickly and repeatedly dismissed these offers even though e-books represent 1% of their revenues and they could easily agree to do so. They believe they get leverage from keeping their authors in the middle.

(the idea itself of talking about "writer in the middle", where they shouldn't be according to amazon, is the problem. writers are naturally in the middle, and in the middle of the constitution of the price, even if Amazon only notes (supra) the side dwellers of plusvalor).

We will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices. We know making books more affordable is good for book culture. We’d like your help. Please email Hachette and copy us.

Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch:

Copy us at:

Please consider including these points:

- We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.
- Lowering e-book prices will help – not hurt – the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
- Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.
- Especially if you’re an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.


Thanks for your support.

The Amazon Books Team

Monday, August 4, 2014


by Najwan Darwish

The whole story is fabricated. Never have I believed the game that tells us you were slaughtered, and that your blood poured all the way to the Mediterranean only to be consumed by the sea. I am sure the story is all fabricated: Merriam Kershenbaum and Shlomo Ganor every night at 7.30.

Al‐Hurra (Free) [TV], al‐Arabiyya (the Arabian) [TV], and A‐ljazeera (the Peninsula) [TV]. Taken together: the Free Arabian Peninsula. Merriam Kershenbaum and Shlomo Ganor. I am sure they are also fabricated.

The bills placed into my mailbox by a person I do not know. The name of my family in three different languages. They, also, are fabricated. This woman who loves me through my email.

Haifa, too, is fabricated. This is why I never go down the street, and I only look at the sea from a perpendicular angle. Our friendship was in no one’s account. No one took the time to fabricate it; this is why it remained true. Oh! I forgot, all truths are fabricated. This is why I enjoyed sharing with you all your Araq, apples, nuts and other things.

Nothing pressures me. This is why I am not torn when I see our land that has been stolen from us. The robbery was fabricated, checkpoints are fabricated and the soldiers are a bunch of kids who still wet themselves. The elderly
Greek Orthodox women crossing into the Bethlehem checkpoint this morning are, also, fabricated. “In the name of the cross!” is said in a fabricated way. Good Friday is fabricated. The Byzantine‐tunes at the Maronite church in Nazareth is fabricated. My enemies are fabricated, and my relatives are the epitome of fabrication. Inferno is fabricated, and Paradise is fabricated with even greater skill and contempt. (Damn! Is Fairouz’s voice also fabricated?)

No nightmares haunt me, nightmares are fabricated. I do not suffer any disorders with my biological clock. I have no old enmity towards the sun, I do not suffer because of my inherited nature. All of these labels are fabricated.

I, too, am fabricated. Not because of who I am, but because all of the pronouns are fabricated. I do not hate collaborators; see how I listen to their news commentators without vomiting?

I am not afraid of the alarm clock, or even AIDS and atomic weapons. I do not suffer a phobia from ringing door bells or ringing phones. The world will not end tomorrow... all of these are fabricated news.
I am tired of 21st century romanticism: romance mixed with the “shit” of consumers from all social classes. If you wanted to live you too must be tarnished with it as well. This is also another fabricated theory.

Rejoice and be merry! The boxes filled with defeat that are stacked up under your grandparents’ beds are fabricated. And you have been wailing all those years about losing your homelands. Dude! (Woe! As said in Classical way) Loss is fabricated. A big lie formed by robbers of your existence.

Merriam Kershenbaum Shlomo Ganor Al‐Arabiyya al‐Hurra al‐Jazeera And that leper who holds the remote control.

Cockroaches and collaborators are nice creatures. Look at how gentle this one is, and how sweet the ugliness of that one’s face is. Our stereotypical ideas about their cheapness are fabricated.

A sedated group of men sit in the living room listening to the “Voice of Israel”. A respectable group of women make “Tabbouleh” and think about the future after having buried our public dignity. Don’t worry, these are all fabricated.

We cannot respect a few trees in front of our homes, leaving the mountains for those who set up the nets in our naps.

On the 22nd of April, 1948, Haifa surrendered. The date is fabricated. On the 8th of December, 1917, a few Effendis carried their white flag and a picture was taken of them as they surrendered Jerusalem. The event truly took place, but the picture is fabricated. You can, at any given time, gather a few Effendis and ask them to carry a white flag and march with it to Jaffa Gate to take a picture.

The time is 11:30 just before noon on the first of April 2010. Everyone went to sleep and awoke, and I am still up. Pillows are fabricated. In two weeks I will be going to Beirut. The Visa is an enormously fabricated obstacle. Oh, Our Lady of Lebanon, pray for us (though we know your prayer is fabricated.)

In a while I am going to sleep, as my wacky friend rides the bus from Nazareth. Words in Hebrew are flying around her like flies because she thinks the language of the enemy is a corpse, so I tell her: This is a fabricated ideology, the language of the enemy is a sexless robot. She bursts into a wacky, fabricated, laughter. We burst into laughter. Oh god, we won’t die. We run into eternity as our flip‐flops tap along. Eternity is fabricated. Everything that proceeded was a fabrication. Everything to come is also a fabrication. And each creature is raising it's arms like a tree in this fabricated poem.

Translated from the Arabic by Susan Hamad

Monday, July 21, 2014

BAR #2 !

Primera entrega del nuevo issue de BAR #2
- Liliana Colanzi, Alfredito (fiction)
- Thibault de Montaigu, An excerpt from Zanzíbar (fiction)
- Bernardo Carvalho, História de Amor (fiction)
- Ishion Hutchinson, Vers de société (poetry)
- Ken Harvey, The Invisible Mourner (fiction)
- Sam Rutter, sobre Carlos Labbé (review)
- Victoria Liendo, Bn(f) (bookstores we love)
- Busto, Entre difuntos (essay)

Imagen: Amaya Bouquet, "Judith", fotografía toma directa.

Leo y Presentação

Este jueves 24 a las 19hs leo un texto que escribí sobre Luciana Rondolini y Walter Andrade para Arta en Miau Miau, sobre las Filósofas del Bling y "Adorno en Los Angeles".
Bulnes 2705 esq. Cerviño


Presentamos ARTA/08
ARTA /08 revista trabajó en forma conjunta con los artistas visuales Walter Andrade y Luciana Roldolini y los escritores Rodolfo Biscia y Pola Oloixarac.
En ésta edición, se rompió con la caja de diseño (dossier / imagen separadas), que se trabajó en las anteriores publicaciones.
En ARTA 08, la edición de textos e imágenes es simultánea. Conviven en dobles páginas. Pero los objetos textuales y visuales continúan siendo autónomos. Se construyen entre ellos diálogos o puentes pero ninguno se circunscribe al otro.
En forma dialógica las dos entidades ponen en suspenso categorías, pensamientos e impresiones sobre el arte.
Entre horizontes de semblantes y fantasmas, se entrecruzan las Filósofas de Bling, que se posan en la evanescencia del tiempo de la imagen.

beij xx

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Conferencia sobre la Nada

por Pola Oloixarac para Revista Ñ

En los años que siguieron al fin de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, cuando Estados Unidos se instala como la policía del mundo, la pregunta por el arte se vuelve un tema de gobierno: ¿qué clase de espectador es el ciudadano democrático del nuevo orden mundial? Adolf Hitler venía de hipnotizar una de las culturas más refinadas de Europa a través de pantallas y micrófonos; como ejército triunfante, Estados Unidos debe refinar las líneas de fuerza de su propia intifada cultural con una estrategia de comunicación –un ars poética- diferente del universo fascista. ¿En qué sentido el ciudadano democrático es diferente al berlinés rubio de 1933 o del campesino ruso de 1917? ¿Qué clase de arte debemos fomentar para producir buenos ciudadanos de EEUU y, por extensión, nuevos habitantes de la democracia global que patrullamos?

Las reuniones comienzan en 1941, en el Comitee for National Morale, donde asisten luminarias intelectuales como Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson y el grupo Bauhaus, que nuclea artistas exiliados de la guerra. Al Comitee le sigue el Congress of Cultural Freedom, una de las vías privilegiadas de la CIA para invertir dinero en iniciativas artísticas anticomunistas. Como demuestra Fred Turner en The democratic surround (University of Chicago Press: 2014), la colaboración entre intelectuales y servicios secretos genera una prescripción: un arte que "juega con las reglas de percepción", un arte de formas indeterminadas, donde ni la voz autoral ni la cadencia de un final sean reconocibles, donde el mensaje en última instancia dependa del espectador. Espacios, más que obras, donde el sujeto democrático pueda transitar a sus anchas para construir en su mente (individual) un sentido que la obra no proporciona directamente por sí misma. Que podamos reconocer estos aspectos como parte esencial del paradigma artístico en boga es apenas una muestra del éxito del proyecto curatorial de la CIA.

En los años 50, la trayectoria de John Cage influido por Bauhaus es decisiva: en 1952 da el primer happening: alguien sube una escalera, otra persona deambula, Cage mismo lee; sólo el espacio parece justificar la reunión de estas acciones disímiles. El arte de Cage condensaba la nueva estética del complejo industrial militar norteamericano en busca de su ars poética opuesta al realismo soviético: cabe al espectador ejercer su libertad dando un sentido a esta nueva forma de arte liberada de la forma y de una voz "autoritaria".

La trama oculta de esta trayectoria, que pone en perspectiva la historia de las vanguardias del siglo pasado, encuentra tratamiento estético en la obra de teatro musical de Miguel Galperín, del jueves 12 al domingo 15 de junio en el CETC.

Como un cover de la "Conferencia sobre Nada" de John Cage (donde la "Nada" se sustituye por la música y el arte contemporáneos), la obra de Miguel Galperín visita la paleta del artista post Cage y repiensa la tradición de la ruptura como una bomba asordinada desde los cimientos del Teatro Colón.

Con una puesta elegante de un V-jay que rehace la grilla vertical de las "Conferencias" de Cage y Wilson virada a la oscuridad, el foco humano es Marcelo Delgado, reconocido compositor y director musical –un cover, él mismo, de Galperín. "El Teatro de arriba es evidencia o espejismo", dice Delgado, que deviene marioneta de sí mismo en un trabajo de distanciamiento erudito y muchas veces críptico que enumera y versiona el canon de lo moderno: la mezcla de discursos sin sentido, la disolución de la cadencia ("no sé cómo termina ni cuándo"), reposiciones de la famosa obra 4.33 para piano, como demostraciones concretas de los procedimientos estudiados por la Conferencia.

El trabajo en pianissimi de técnicas extendidas de la flautista Patricia Da Dalt atraviesa fantasmal el oído en zoom que pide la obra. La CIA –que también es la sigla del Campo Intelectual Argentino- surge por primera vez como la autora desdibujada de los procedimientos que la crítica especializada todavía evalúa como rupturistas y modernos, fascinada en los oasis de sus bibliografías vetustas. La obra se postula como una apuesta punk dentro del Teatro Colón que ubica al CETC como locus underground, donde se funden subsuelo y subversión.

"Inteligencia Artificial es lo que nunca necesitó a otro", le dice al público Marcelo Delgado. La estética cageana de la curaduría de la CIA es lo que requiere todo el tiempo al espectador para completarse –y sin embargo, lo deshumaniza.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Dry air, steam baths, variegated rodents, lean white men dressing like it's 1929: I'm loving Banff. Super brainy conversations with excellent scholars and artists: plus, now I know how to act when encountering a Grizzly Bear (play dead) and how to act when locking eyes with a Black Bear (make eye contact, then look down; slowly slip away, Lot-style). Shoe-gazing mathematicians roaming around, and a jazz festival to boot. Really excited to give a talk tomorrow.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Travel Fantasy! Extática lectura de BAR en la Feria deli Libro de BA

Join us this Sunday from 7 pm in the Zona Futuro at the Feria del Libro in Buenos Aires.

Featuring readings of best and latest work by emerging and established writers from the Americas, as well as a musical performance by Fernando Montes Vega, Travel Fantasy is an unmissable journey through language and space.
With readings by:

Anna Kazumi-Stahl
Iosi Havilio
Thibault de Montaigu
Edgardo Cozarinsky
Lucas Mertehikian
Martín Felipe Castagnet
Martín Caamaño
Tryno Maldonado

WHERE: Zona Futuro, Feria del LIbro     WHEN: 19:00 -22:00

Anna is a fiction writer and PhD in literature. Born and educated in the USA, she has lived in Buenos Aires since 1995 and writes short stories and novels in Spanish. Her short story collection Catastrofes naturales was published by Editorial Sudamericana in Buenos Aires in 1997.

Author of the novels Opendoor (Entropía, 2006), Estocolmo (Mondadori, 2010), and Paraísos (Mondadori, 2012), Iosi's work has been included in the anthologies Buenos Aires Escala 1:1, La joven guardia, and Madrid, con perdón.

Thibault is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in L'Officiel, l'Officiel Voyages, l'Optimum and Milk Magazine. He has written four books, the most recent of which Zanzibar was published last year by Fayard Editions.


Tryno has published the collection of short stories Temas y variaciones (2002), the novel Viena roja (Planeta, 2005), an anthology of Mexican writing Grandes hits, vol. 1 (Almadía, 2008) and Temporada de caza para el león negro (Anagrama, 2009), which was among the finalists for the XXVI Herralde Prize.

Born in Buenos Aires in 1980, Caamaño is a musician and writer. Caamaño studies Literature at the University of Buenos Aires, translates Portuguese and contributes to various magazines writing on cinema, music and literature.

Edgardo is a writer and filmmaker. Among his more than twenty books, the only ones translated into English are Urban Voodoo (prologue by Susan Sontag), The Bride from Odessa and The Moldavian Pimp.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


by Pola Oloixarac for the NYT International

BRASILIA– “I'm sorry Neymar, I won't cheer for you this time” is an unexpected song to hear in a soccer-crazed country about to play host to the biggest sports tournament in the world. Neymar is Brazil’s reigning soccer god, the home team is one of the favorites to win the coming World Cup and its five championships are the most of any country. In the caustic style reminiscent of Musica Popular Brasileira during the dictatorship, these lyrics by Edu Krieger reflect widespread discontent in the lead-up to the first match, less than two months away.

“Não vai ter Copa” (we will stop the Cup) is the rallying call for protesters, who have been in the streets regularly since last June. These days, Brazilians are more likely to be caught up in protests against sweeping corruption and wasteful spending than in the renewal of national rivalries that come up every four years. Billions in public money are being spent on stadiums unlikely to be used after the Cup, while the state neglects investments like a new train station for São Paulo.

“During Carnival, every block burst into ‘Não vai ter copa.’ It was the music of the Carnival,” said João Paulo Cuenca, 35, a writer and filmmaker from Rio de Janeiro. The mood that accompanies the tournament every four years is sour this time around. “Every World Cup, Rio gets filled with painted streets, competing with each other. Now, it’s like the Copa didn’t exist.”

Soccer is the strongest socializing bond in Brazilian life so it’s not surprising that the World Cup has become a catalyst to express discontent. The signs of corruption abound: stadium construction projects wildly over budget, scant infrastructure improvements and poor public services.

In a country without a strong tradition of political engagement, people may not follow the news, but everybody reads the sports section. There they learn, for example, that the Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia, which was demolished and rebuilt, cost 17 times more than estimated by FIFA, the World Cup’s governing soccer association. There are reports that the stadium roof still leaks and that the government is diverting money meant for other projects to solve the problem.

Since this is an election year, the World Cup is shining a spotlight on the Worker’s Party, which has been in power for 12 years. After two terms of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and four years of his protégée, Dilma Rousseff, Brazil has become the world’s eighth-largest economy. Showing off lavish new projects to an international audience was one reason Brazil courted the tournament; holding a successful Cup is a test the Worker’s Party is desperate to pass.

The higher expectations of the population are another challenge for the party. The social programs fostered by Lula have turned 40 million poor Brazilians into consumers, the new “C” class, and they and the traditional middle class are asking for better health care and education. But Rio de Janeiro has become one of the most expensive cities in the world, and average Brazilians feel they are paying too much for too little. There is the sense that the World Cup is not for them. “Copa pra quem?” (Whose Cup is it?) is another protest slogan.

The World Cup also coincides with the 50th anniversary of Brazil’s coup d’état, a sensitive topic for President Rousseff, who was jailed and tortured during the dictatorship. The excesses of that military past are echoed in the pacification steps in poor neighborhoods in advance of the World Cup. What began as an effort to uproot the drug cartels in the shantytowns has grown into a repressive occupying force, backed up by tanks. Tens of thousands of families have been evicted, and many people feel they have been pushed aside to make the Cup a success.

Bruno Torturra, a 35-year-old journalist from São Paulo, has founded Media Ninja, an organization devoted to covering the protests and police and gang violence overlooked by most media. “People recall the day when the army confiscated our rights in 1964, and on that very day national troops stormed Complexo da Maré and brutalized the poor,” he said. Now, he added, “people are being literally tortured and killed.”

Videos of tanks sharing the narrow streets with children and girls being kicked to the ground by the military police are making the rounds in social media under the hashtag #NaovaiterCopa. There are worries that the repression will worsen. FIFA is pushing for what’s called the “Copa law,” allowing any protester to be treated as a terrorist, jailed without trial.

This authoritarian approach is copying other Latin American governments, raising concerns about individual rights. A law criminalizing protest is being considered in Argentina, and the protests in Venezuela have been marked by police brutality and the jailing of students on terrorism charges. Today’s left-leaning leaders show an alarming willingness to adopt the brutal techniques of the old right.

When the protests began, President Rousseff, who faces re-election in October, pointed out that they were a sign of an improved and changing Brazil; these days, people do think they deserve better.
With quintessential Latin American panache, President Rousseff has resorted to the ultimate populist move: She knows that if Brazil wins the Cup, all will be forgotten. In the end, it’s all up to Neymar and the soccer fans.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Soirée de honor argentina en París


 por Pola Oloixarac para Revista Eñie

La ensayista Beatriz Sarlo llegó puntual, de rigurosas perlas japonesas, con una falda de tajo tanguero que dejaba entrever sus ya legendarias piernas. Ricardo Piglia sorteó las distinguidas multitudes engalanado en un trois pièces, el look intacto que hacía furor durante sus magnos días de Puán. Cual Justin Timberlake plateado, Ricardo tomó ágil posesión de la silla y comenzó a firmar sus libros pacientemente, inquiriendo el nombre de cada lectora con un parpadeo gentil.

Aconcagua humano entre los stands, Alberto Laiseca era de suyo un espectáculo impar. La eminencia de Camilo Aldao cruzó con lenta majestad los pasillos del Salon mientras los niños se arremolinaban a su paso, atraídos y fascinados ante su presencia sobrenatural (la littérature, c’est ça). A unos metros de la estela que dejaba Lai caminaba distraído César Aira, la mirada distante en lo alto como un Napoleón miope que escruta la batalla en lontananza, los estandartes editoriales multiplicándose infinitos, conversando con su amigo el mago-poeta Arturo Carrera.

En la cena de gala Martín Caparrós se encontraba en su elemento profundo. Departía con una copa de Pouilly-Fumé en mano y degustaba la exquisita combinación del foie aux truffes con su propio francés añejado, que domina como pocos. Ya ubicados en la amplia mesa circular, enjoyada de escarapelas, el bigote de Caparrós y el del Turco Asís generaban un extraño mandala.

En otra mesa Sylvia Molloy conversaba muy animada con Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, que se había delineado los ojos muy punk, y Ariel Schettini, que consultaba una misteriosa app en su teléfono que le decía cuántas personas (¿lectores, escritores?) había dicho la palabra frenchkissing esa noche. No se veía por ningún lado a Mariana Enríquez; su espíritu darkie (nunca emo) la había llevado a pasear por el cementerio Père Lachaise. Daniel Link llegó un poco más tarde: su conferencia sobre Copi, la supernova exiliada cuyas obras siempre están en cartel en alguna parte de Francia (toda drag tiene su Evita) lo había ralentado en las medianías de Paris Huit. Al llegar desplegó su abanico mientras recobraba el aliento, e intentó desviar la atención de la prensa francesa, en vano; vencido por la insistencia, comentó que sí, entre sus condiciones de contratación había exigido viajar con su gata Tita Merello y la gata no habría asimilado “el agua tan dura de Paris” dado que es “artera a su aristocracia intestinal”, a lo que agregó “perdón pero me tengo que ir”. Para entonces, un deportivo Martin Kohan ya se había retirado a sus aposentos; no es fobia, expliqué entonces, súbita vocera de la biopolítica especializada: es una técnica depurada para evitar los paparazzi. Por suerte Alan Pauls clavó los talones de sus Nike azules y recibió con aplomo el impacto de las fans.

Pero la pompa máxima fue cuando entró en escena Edgardo Cozarinsky –mistérico, con unos antifaces negros que exorbitaban sus ojos cerúleos. Todos elevaron su copa hacia Edgardo, que intentó zafarse de su destino de divo de la noche pero los franceses, con buen tino, lo escoltaron a su sitial para que no pudiera escapar. La noche estalló en aplausos; “nadie como él ha sabido unir el refinamiento de la alta cultura argentina con el arrabal”, comentó Josefina Ludmer, de estricto negro y diamantes. A la par del Salon habían organizado una muestra de los primeros documentales de Edgardo, una máquina mágica que permitía a los parisinos entrar y salir de Buenos Aires. “París está transfigurada. Al fin caemos en la cuenta de que, caminando por París, uno siempre es un fantasma entrando o saliendo de Buenos Aires”, comentaban los visitantes locales.

A la hora de los quesos, algunos se fueron al Flore (tan obvio) o al Deux Magots (l’horreur). Siguiendo a Edgardo que, como buen porteño, es un parisino de fuste, los autores caminaron por el Sena iluminado en lo que debió ser una de las noches más bellas del mundo. Por el río oscuro se deslizaba una pequeña embarcación con guirnaldas de lucecitas de Fogwill; el que comandaba el timón era el hermano de Fog, marino, y su hija Vera.

En suma, París era una fiesta, y no en el sentido Hemingway o Vila-Matoso del término. O quizás ya no era París: era Roma o Bizancio, y nosotros los godos.

Un estrépito los distrajo de la maravilla. Había siseos, gritos; no se entendía bien. No era francés; tampoco era el terciopelo de las gargantas argénteas.

 “¡Es un debate que nos debemos como sociedad!”, “¡Hay que abrir el debate!”  (bis)

El misterio cacofónico se disipó rápidamente: ¡era un generador automático de frases de Ricardo Forster! Un trineo de fabricación nacional, con partes chinas pero ensamblado en Tierra de Fuego, lo venía empujando entre los pasillos del Salon; como se habían olvidado de apagarlo, el muñeco generador automático de frases de Ricardo Forster había continuado camino por las callecitas de París. “Déjenlo, ya le va a tocar cruzar la Île Saint-Louis”, dijo Edgardo, su voz ronca de malevo abisal, que ya preparaba una de sus bombas ninjas para desaparecer sin dejar rastros. Todos guardaron un silencio educado lo que duró la proclama del muñeco, que venía sin traducción al francés (color local) y cuya estela de humo terminó devorada por el runrún de la noche.

El muñeco generador automático de frases de Ricardo Forster era bastante gracioso y de vanguardia tecnológica para la industria del cotillón, pero no era nada comparado a lo que vendría. De lejos parecía una comparsa, pero no era carnaval; tampoco se trataba de emular actitudes brasileras, en tanto el asunto revestía un delicado cariz nacional. Se venía un ser gordísimo (“la Cultura es un asunto muy UOM”, comentó Ariel Schettini, sin dejar de chequear su app), como el Hombre Malvavisco de los Cazafantasmas pero con la cabeza enorme de alguien que no había leído nadie pero que… ¡era Ernesto Laclau! Aullaba:

“¡Significante Vacío! ¡Significante Vacío!”, su probóscide subía y bajaba como el Pájaro Loco.

Rodrigo Fresán y Cecilia Szperling se miraron incrédulos; Luisa Valenzuela acarició al loro azul sobre su hombro, tranquilizándolo. “Cómo les gusta Lacan a los argentinos, es surreal. Para mí es el tipo que meaba borracho el palier de mi edificio cuando niño”, comentó el escritor Thibault de Montaigu, que después de ser vecino de Jacques se mudó a Buenos Aires pero había optado por París para no perderse la fête.

¿A qué venía ese alboroto? ¿Trajeron piquetes, Moyanos, paros docentes, para sumar más color local? Alguien susurró: No, no, es todo una perfo, por “Casa Tomada”, de Cortázar Julio. Es la perfo oficial.

Empezaba la puesta en escena de “Eva Perón” de Copi por una drag de lustrosa peluca caoba y cartera Louis Vuitton.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Argentina's Fading Diva

by Pola Oloixarac for The New York Times

BUENOS AIRES — After a decade in the public eye, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has started to fade in her starring role as Argentina’s diva. With her party’s loss of key districts in the midterm Congressional elections, her dream of re-election in 2015 for a third term as president — “Eternal Cristina,” as her acolytes say — comes to an end. But she will not go away without putting up a fight.

After her party, the Front for Victory, performed poorly in the primary elections in August, Ms. Kirchner set about to recapture the public imagination, though her administration was flooded with bad news: inflation is unofficially at 20 percent to 25 percent, public debt is swelling while central bank reserves are falling, and a growing discontent has created factions inside the party, which until now had behaved under the whip of “la Señora.”

Ms. Kirchner needed to stir the lingering ashes of her romance with the people, who had rewarded her with 54 percent of the vote just two years ago.
She gave a rare interview to a celebrity journalist, a baron of the yellow tabloids. She dropped nine kilograms. She switched from skirts to black leggings, updating the widow’s uniform she adopted after her husband, Néstor, died in 2010. Internet memes featuring Ms. Kirchner as Catwoman made the rounds in social media.
Suddenly, the comeback froze. Her bespectacled face was seen, for the first time without makeup, in a dark car entering a hospital. It was as if the pop star of the movement were entering rehab.
Ms. Kirchner needed brain surgery to remove a blood clot in early October; it was reported that she had fallen and hit her head. The circumstances of the fall remained mysterious, but doctors prescribed a 30-day rest period. Without her leading the charge, her candidates seemed adrift.
The campaign was surrounded by scandal. A hidden camera showed a Congressional candidate, Juan Cabandié, trying to get out of a traffic ticket by arguing that he was a son of desaparecidos (the disappeared, victims of the 1976-1983 dictatorship, resurrected as moral bishops in the Kirchner board of virtue). A 22-year-old transit officer lost her job, but was rehired after the public outcry. The episode exposed an abusive political caste.
Protective of her political legacy, Ms. Kirchner was careful in delaying the choice of her dauphin. She overlooked high-profile candidates such as Daniel Scioli, governor of the mighty province of Buenos Aires, whose stoicism in the face of the humiliations he suffers at her whims makes him a possible 2015 loyalist successor.
As for her vice president, Amado Boudou, corruption scandals have made him persona non grata. Mr. Boudou goes every day to the presidential palace, the Pink House, but he no longer has Ms. Kirchner’s ear. “The only thing he can handle is a motorbike,” said Congressman Felipe Solá, referring to the acting president’s hobby. Mr. Solá is part of the Peronist “renewal” faction aligned with Sergio Massa, Ms. Kirchner’s former cabinet chief, an up-and-comer who has promised to pursue a market-friendly economic approach. Mr. Massa was the darling of the recent election, winning roughly 44 percent of the vote.
Argentina recently negotiated a loan with the World Bank for $3 billion, which would give Ms. Kirchner’s administration some breathing room. “Under these conditions of inflation, with no anti-inflation plan and such low reserves, it would be a miracle if she makes it to 2015,” said Pablo Schiaffino, an economist who lives in Buenos Aires. “It’s like a car running out of gas.”
When she was first elected, Ms. Kirchner told the country: “We deserve a new story for ourselves.” She delivered on that. Since 2008, she has woven a dramatic story line infused with villains, éminences grises and corporate powers seeking to dethrone her. With postmodernist swag, the narrative flew free from accountable issues: recently, after a train crashed in the Once Station, the government announced that it was taking over the railroads. The Peronist party had nationalized them in the 1940s, and privatized them in the 1990s. The party’s position swings to the left and to the right, but the train cars are the same as in the 1940s.
Ms. Kirchner aspires to go into history as Argentina’s biggest reformer, and some of the legislation passed on her watch supports her case, including the Universal Child Allowance (a stipend for poor families), gay marriage laws and more money for scientific research and university education. She could try to position herself as the leader who never cut back on welfare-state spending and propel herself to a glorious comeback in 2019, becoming the country’s populist icon of the 21st century, overshadowing Evita Perón.
But the economic clock is ticking. If Ms. Kirchner manages to sustain the bloated state spending two more years, she’ll secure the glory — and let the one who replaces her worry about paying the bills.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Rosario !

Mañana empieza un seminario de tres dias en la Facultad Libre de Rosario.
Parásitos, parodias, monstruos y exploraciones al alto Pacú, el matambrito de cerdo de río, manjar rosarino muy selecto en sus apetitos.

Friday, September 20, 2013

En Cornell


A celebration of Latin American, Latino, and Spanish writing
A.D. White House, 20-21 September, 2013


FRIDAY, September 20

3:00     Opening remarks: Edmundo Paz-Soldán

3:15     Across Genres

Chair: Bécquer Medak-Seguín

Rafael Acosta: “Allá lejos se oye un ruido”

Christina Soto: “Mapa blanco”

Pablo Brescia: “Para llegar a D. F. W.”

Fernanda Trías: “Bienes muebles”

Francisco Díaz Klaassen: “El campeón de damas estilo libre”

5:15     Keynote Speaker
Cristina Rivera Garza: “Desapropiadamente: Escribir en comunalidad hoy”

SATURDAY, September 21

9:00     Breakfast

9:30     Works in progress
Chair: Geraldine Monterroso

Gustavo Llarull: “Fuga”
Martina Broner: “Fuego”
Mercedes Cebrián: “El Genuino Sabor”

10:45   Between Poetry and the Lyrical Essay
Chair: Pablo García Piñar

Mandy Gutmann-González: “Turn”
Ana Merino: “Extinción de las sirenas”
Melissa Castillo-Garsow: “From the Xochitl fields”
Janet Hendrickson: “Selecciones (traducidas) del Tesoro de la lengua castellana de Covarrubias”

12:30   Lunch

1:30     The Short Story Today
Chair: José Andrés Rojo

María José Navia: “París por la ventana”
Rodrigo Hasbún: “Tanta agua tan lejos de casa”
Sebastián Antezana: “Proteo, cazador”
Rodrigo Fuentes: “La mano de Fátima”

3:15     Across Genres II
Chair: Dafna Hornik

Liliana Colanzi: “Alfredito”
Antonio Díaz Oliva: “¿Sueñan los escritores latinoamericanos con libros digitales?”
Rafael Lemus: “Efrén”
Pola Oloixarac: “Expedición Langsdorff”

5:00     Keynote Address

Mario Bellatin: “El libro fantasma”

5:45     Closing Remarks

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Omnia Caro Tenebrarum

por Pola Oloixarac
acerca de STOA, Luciana Rondolini & Diana Drake en MiauMiau

The living and the dead at his command,
Were coupled, face to face, and hand in hand
Virgil, The Aeneid, VIII 483-88
En cuevas de rocas como éstas, Cicerón reporta (Aristóteles constata) la metafísica oscura de los piratas etruscos. Sus dominios se extendían por el Mar Tirreno a los bajos de la Gallia Cisalpina hasta Alalia y el Latium, antes de la coalición de Cartago; comenta Herodoto que sus barcos blandían enormes arañas de oro o pulpos gigantes como emblemas. Ataban los barcos en formaciones rocosas de alumbre, resquicios de fondo marino elevado a la superficie de los hombres; bajaban con sus sogas a las grutas devenidas tumbas.
(Estas grutas no son ajenas a la atracción por los seres humanos. No son indiferentes a lo orgánico. Es la voz de la tundra, recubrir a los seres de sus excrecencias, sin distinguir proveniencia alguna. La cueva imita los insectos que se adentran en expediciones íntimas, en formaciones de cristal que parasitan.)
Comandados por su rey Mezentius, los piratas etruscos extendían las sogas y disponían al condenado vivo vis-à-vis el cuerpo de un muerto. Se los ataba de modo tal que brazos, piernas y ojos coincidieran en todo detalle, las bocas rozándose; la muerte del cadáver se inoculaba al vivo a través de un proceso misterioso que fascinaba a los etruscos porque en él veían la transmutación explosiva de la paleta cromática, los enrojecimientos y amarillos perseguidos por tonos negros, la red venosa dibujándose; una mancha verde en el abdomen, que se expandía en hinchazones, los pactos de lo duro y lo blando deshaciéndose, el negro vencedor devorándolo todo.
La tiniebla se acelera sobre el cuerpo del vivo, a quien los etruscos no dejan de alimentar para no interferir con las fases sagradas de la comunión pictórica entre vivos y muertos. Eventualmente, los gusanos precursores se abren paso uniendo ambos cuerpos a través de la zona abdominal, preñada de seres diminutos; cuando el negro pinta ambos cuerpos, dejan de llevarle comida.
Pioneros experimentales de la vanitas, los etruscos meditaban sobre la naturaleza terrenal a través de sus obras. En sus Confesiones, San Agustín se despega del horror que entumece las plumas de los cronistas previos y comenta filosóficamente que es la naturaleza del humano estar atado a un cuerpo que se pudre. Teóricos y agentes de la imagen-movimiento inexorable, el mapa de los etruscos se funde hasta desaparecer en el mapa de Roma.
Till chok’d with stench, in loath’d embraces tied,The ling’ring wretches pin’d away and died.
Es probable que el sufrimiento moral y estético fuera el verdaderamente intolerable –que la metafísica implacable del método los matara de horror. Las instalaciones de vanitas etruscas en las cuevas no descartan esta posibilidad: el vivo enfrentado a su espejo, observando de cerca su nuevo rostro como habitante del ultramundo. Adoradores de la simetría en las gemas (su gusto por pulpos y arañas, seres donde la simetría cabalga entre dos mundos, el de la forma radial de los organismos inferiores y la bilateral hacia la que tendió el humano), los etruscos sembraban estos monstruos bifurcos en la piel interior de la gruta. Creaban seres nuevos con ocho extremidades, y poblaban la cueva.
Virgilio comenta su novedad (tormenti genus); la técnica elidía las pasiones bajas del torturador y traía la innovación de la muerte por contagio, horizontal, contigua. El ἀγών (la lucha humana, trivial) se transforma en “agonía”: la contienda entre dos se introyecta a uno solo, el condenado devorado por la muerte que le viene desde adentro, que tiene delante y enfrenta.
Estoicas, las rocas de la cueva observan impasibles la decoloración de las fases de las nuevas criaturas, las declinaciones de la vida alumbrándose y descomponiéndose. Los filósofos de la Stoa, que soñaron con imitar la roca, habían aceptado que el saber implicaba desterrar los éxtasis del ἀγών y volverse una forma de la prosa –el lugar del hombre en la frase del mundo. La muerte por la muerte misma –sin la mediación de un verdugo.
La cueva, la soga y un espectador vigilante, el que trae el alimento.
Quid memorem infandas caedes, quid facta tyranni effera?
Di capiti ipsius generique reservent!
Mortua quin etiam iungebat corpora vivis
componens manibusque manus atque oribus ora,
tormenti genus, et sanie taboque fluentis
complexu in misero longa sic morte necabat.
Publi Vergili MaronisAeneidos
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Stoa. Luciana Rondolini-Diana Drake en miau miau. Bulnes 2705. Hasta el 27 de agosto.Agradecimientos: Esteban Bieda, Gabriel Catrén y las artistas.
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english version -> Buenos Aires Review