18 October 2011
Bob Grenier on Etel Adnan
Small Press Traffic just posted a rich festshrift of work in tribute to Etel Adnan, featuring writing by Ammiel Alcalay, Cole Swenson, David Buuck, Jen Benka, Michael McClure, Stacy Szymaszek, Thom Donovan, and many others. You can find the project in its entirety here (and while you're there, you should become a member!). The following is Bob Grenier's contribution in full...
Straight from the heart (from the character for ‘Heart-Mind’ that possibly exists in Chinese (?)), a transformative/ ‘rocklike’/ unrepentently ‘naïve’ & ‘downhome-perceptive’/ playfully ‘logical’/ sternly educated/ fully knowledgeable/ ‘simple-steady’ Socrates-like person who goes about her work (painting, too!) & (without giving up on this Earth) teaches (in her writing, & by ‘personal example’) Embodied Intelligence & Fairness In All Matters (rarer & rarer), while passionately advocating for certain causes in which she believes (like the Rights of Multiple Kinds of Beings/Almost Anybody on Earth to Be Alive) . . .
A Whole Personage / Etel . . . I would like to walk with (& look round) and talk & walk with & sit down with (Anywhere, maybe in a street café), and speak together in order to try to know (living) what was Going On Around with (books &) the behavior of people, indicating/together what . . .
OR we might ‘explore’ together the World of the Dead (as Lawrence did the ‘parallel’ to Tarquinia) / City of Tombs (with such affecting rendition of lifelike features & faces that the (faded) colorful portrayal on the walls ‘rivals life’) on the opposite hillside . . .
Or we might go immediately to Greece, & revisit ‘grounds’ Henry Miller celebrates in his Colossus of Maroussi together, & try to ‘physically fathom’ what we should do . . .
Or we might be in Paris, When It’s Naked, and Etel might lead me to a brothel of her own choosing . . . for ‘pure Aventure’ . . . (doubtless we would Cling to Each Other, in part in order to avoid having to associate with Strangers !)
A Consummate Writer with an ‘advanced interest’ in real life & its mysteries . . . ! I really remember looking at a Cezanne with Etel (at the MOMA in NY) from afar—speaking to & with each other ‘about it’—then walking/pushing together closer to it, to look & talk some more (as people do) ‘about it’—to See It (& Be In Relation With It) from that spot . . .
An utterly-different-from-myself ‘Human Being’, with whom I feel an immediate Kinship—a ‘Stranger’ (like myself), and yet a ‘Native’ operative—with whom I wish to communicate, ‘now & forevermore’ . . .
May 19, 2011