Eddie Watkins's Reviews > The Poet Assassinated and Other Stories

The Poet Assassinated and Other Stories by Guillaume Apollinaire
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's review
Oct 04, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: french-fiction
Read in November, 2009

Written with such knowing innocence and off-the-cuff verve, these stories could be nothing less than infectiously charming. There's nothing else like them. While riding the various ripples and waves of early Modernism like a cubist surf jockey with a top hat, Apollinaire infuses his writing with a refined Medievel primitivism and a fairy tale spontaneity; but within the jauntiness are embedded wounds, emotional depths, and wisdom - all qualities you'd expect from the man in this photograph, where the headwrap hides a serious schrapnel wound suffered in WWI.

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10/11 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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message 1: by Kimley (new)

Kimley I love Apollinaire. I've got a cool old recording of him reading one of his poems, Le Pont Mirabeau, I think, with some Satie music in the background.

Eddie Watkins That sounds nice. I'm sure I've never heard it.

I actually used to be kind of cool toward Apollinaire, but now he's near the top.

Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion This is one review (with pic) that eclipses the book itself, hitting me over the head like a crack pipe searching for overalls.

message 4: by Eddie (last edited Nov 12, 2009 04:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eddie Watkins I'm feeling humorless today. Earlier while doing Tai Chi in a mound of ginkgo berries, as rain and squirrel piss dampened my meditative brow, Apollinaire and his retinue strolled by and dubbed me Poet of No Consequence aka Empty Interlocutor, then pelted me with rancid caramel until my toes curled. So you should understand if I'm in no mood to engage in silly badinage.

Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion Very nice.
People are often at their funniest when feeling humorless! And most lucid with bandages wrapped around their heads!
(Me, I feel most alive at the morgue!)

Eddie Watkins If it didn't make me feel so shitty, I'd prefer to always have a fever and live inside my own mind. Fevers make of my mind an enormous cavern filled with voices where gravity is much less than that on the moon.

And I've always preferred funerals to weddings, though my own wedding should prove to be more enjoyable than my own funeral, unless that is you're able to transport me to the middle of a forest as I'm dying (didn't I ask if you could do that for me?).

message 7: by D. (new)

D. Pow I think fevers are one of the best ways to access the numinous.

There is a wonderful book I always recommend to folks about WWI culture and the birth of Modernism that has some cool stuff about Apollinaire in it:

Eddie Watkins D. wrote: "I think fevers are one of the best ways to access the numinous."

Absolutely! and hopefully that doesn't invalidate the authenticity of the numinous, as some try to do when it's accessed through drugs.

I used to try to describe to people what fevers make the inside of my head feel like, but I gave up years ago. Unfortunately, I don't get fevers that often, but when I do I do my best to savor them.

That book looks very interesting. Thanks D.

Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion Interesting. I've never seemed to be able to elevate myself much when fevered. The voices I hear are normally more related to paranoia and distress to match the physical condition.

You'll have to hang around on Earth until I can hang up the cleats and move off to somewhere more rural.....around here the best we could do is Fairmount Park or Wissahickon and I doubt that's too good. Not to mention I have no wheels.
But we still have plenty of time to work out the details if the all-important task rests on my shoulders. And are we assuming you beat me to the punch?

Eddie Watkins There's often definitely some paranoia and distress mixed in with the voices, but over the years I've learned to deflect those negative aspects so to access the numinous. But then even as a kid I managed to enjoy the feverish paranoia, at least once it started to subside a bit.

That's right, you don't drive. I'll try to die mid-Winter and you can hook me to a sled and drag me to Rittenhouse Square and dump me behind some bushes so the rats can naturally recycle me.

message 11: by Eddie (last edited Nov 12, 2009 07:23PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eddie Watkins I also know I've experimented with more drugs than you, which is where one can learn some numinous-access tricks of the trade. Though meditation is probably better for that, really.

message 12: by Kimley (new)

Kimley Donald, that book looks interesting though I'm not sure what to make of his premise:

"Ekstein (history, Toronto) begins by arguing that the ballet The Rite of Spring prefigured the mass psychology that was necessary to the waging of the war."

As a "balletomane" myself and someone who has seen the original choreography of this piece performed, I'm not sure what to make of this statement. The piece is certainly powerful and rousing and disturbing but conducive to war? How does he get to that or am I misunderstanding? I'm guessing it's more about a breaking of cultural boundaries that he's talking about that seeps into the rest of society?

I think I need to read this!

Matthieu How could I have missed this thread?!

I (cautiously) enjoy fevers, Eddie. Often the dreams they produce frighten/enlighten me.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio I like smoking pot still. Fevers? Meh, not so much. I can reach the numinous rationally, too, believe it or not.

Matthieu I've never smoked pot.

message 16: by Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (last edited Nov 13, 2009 09:27PM) (new)

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio It's worth a shot. I've enjoyed it a lot over the years for the most part. It can lose its charm from time to time. Some people like it, some don't.

Matthieu I've never really had any desire to try it. I have no problem with it... I guess it just never appealed to me. Alcohol took its place.

message 18: by Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (last edited Nov 13, 2009 10:14PM) (new)

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Oh, I leave plenty of room for alcohol, too.

Pot culture is terrible of course. I'm curious if that's what's put you off about it. Since it's not direct experience that repels you, I can only think that it's seeing "the representatives" of the drug and how fucking obnoxious and stupid they are.

Eddie Watkins Wish I had time to contribute something here, but I'm marooned at my parents for the weekend with little free time or space.

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