Jimmy's Reviews > Language Death Night Outside: Poem. Novel

Language Death Night Outside by Peter Waterhouse
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Mar 23, 2011

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bookshelves: and-a-half-stars, male, austria, novel, reviewed-in-the-style-of, year-1980s

I saw the black night of the cover. I saw the white strips across the cover. I saw the obsolete newsprint aesthetic of the cover. I read the title of the book “Language Death Night Outside” as an enjambment of foreign terms. I read the subtitle of the book “Poem Novel” as an enjambment of like objects. I read the name Peter Waterhouse as the enjambment of Peter Water House. I read the bio of the author who grew up in Vienna. I read the first pages of the book. I read the words of the book taking shape as identical beginnings. I read the prose of the book as dense blocks of text. In the density of the text, I read the silhouetted sorrow of the author. In the density of the text I felt the encroachment of the bodies of the city. In the city of words, I felt the streetlights tracking my eyes as they moved across the page. In the letters on the page, I saw the identity of the author crouched up in a tiny scrawl. In the density of self identity, I read the wishes of the words themselves. I read the words "I saw the poem loosen the homogeneity of water.” I read the words “I saw the poem loosen language from the compulsion to identity" I read the words "I thought of the temperature of the doorknob. I thought of the slenderness of the doorknob.” I read the words “I thought of the movability of the doorknob. The doorknob was substance.” I read the words “The doorknob was without breath. I praised the breathlessness of the doorknob." I thought of the doorknob. I thought of the cold breathlessness of the doorknob as a universal experience, as an object without a need for translation. I thought of the translations of poems embedded in the book as specimens in a lab. As quiet repositories of an alternate reality. I thought of the translator of the poems and the speaker of the book as the same person. I thought of the translator of the translator of the poems, Rosmarie Waldrop, as a twice removed agent of language death. For the first time, I thought of “language death” as an enjambment of its own, after reading the term “language death” in another book. For the first time, I thought of “language death” as an enjambment of its own rather than two terms in a list “Language / Death / Night Outside”. For the first time, I considered and rejected the idea of enjambing the middle words as "Language / Death Night / Outside". For the first time, I saw the narrator as separate from the writer Peter / Water / House. For the first time, I saw the narrator standing off to the side of the author’s biography. I saw the narrator standing off to the side of the city, an impartial observer, a cold doorknob. I saw the distant narrator narrating the cold events of discrete units. I saw the cold units become the discrete sentences I was reading. I saw the complete sentences as textbook examples. I saw the textbook examples become teaching moments, set off from reality. I saw the reality of words transformed into thinking exercises. I saw the set apart-ness of the narrator as a way of pulling inwards, denial, disease of thought. I saw the brakelights shining in the city, and the “differently red” poppies set apart in a field. I saw the repeated words as brakelights, lighting down the page. The repeated words enticed me to repeat the words. The repeated words lulled me in a contentment of language. The repeated words bored me at times to ignore the words completely. I read the repeated words repeatedly. I read the repeated words repeatedly but did not understand them. I read the repeated words, though not the same sentence, repeatedly. I read the words describing the words repeating as a slow unveiling of intuition. I read the words canceling each other as a plain of plain facts. I read the book in slow increments towards the last repetition. I read the reviews of the book describing the book as transformation, as ambivalence, as architecture. I read the blurb on the back of the book set apart from the book. I looked at the whiteness of the back cover of the book. I closed the book in an illusion of having experienced the book.
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Reading Progress

March 23, 2011 – Shelved
August 27, 2011 –
page 45
35.16% "I thought of the temperature of the doorknob. I thought of the slenderness of the doorknob. I thought of the movability of the doorknob. The doorknob was substance. The doorknob was without breath. I praised the breathlessness of the doorknob."
September 5, 2011 –
page 66
51.56% "I saw the poem loosen the homogeneity of water. I saw the poem loosen language from the compulsion to identity..."
September 25, 2011 –
page 114
89.06% "The fact that, a ways from the slowing car with the shining brakelights, the differently red poppies stood in a field was the signal that the eyes will continue, that comparisons will sometime, soon, come to an end, that the encounter will be found in this direction, that the aimlessly wandering pilgrim will come through this remote landscape with a promise that is untranslatable."
Started Reading
September 29, 2011 – Finished Reading

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