Art of Traveling (a text of Dany Laferrière translated by Vadim Bystritski) — Before and After Francis Ponge

The Art of Traveling


The ultimate luxury in our increasingly gregarious world, 

the thing more and more refused to each other, is being

alone. That is why we need to have delivered to a small

local hotel the complete works of Balzac, then announce

to everyone our departure on a trip, severing all links and

making ourselves unavailable for a few days. We shouldn’t

need to go sight-seeing, because we live there. The hotel room

is booked for reading. If we want to have a drink or see people,

we may go to the barroom, later returning to a made bed to

slip between clean sheets and sip tea brought up by the room

service and so on until the end of Human Comedy

without skipping long scenery descriptions.


L’art de voyager

On choisit un petit hôtel de sa propre ville

en y apportant l’œuvre complète de Balzac.

On annonce à tout le monde qu’on est

en voyage, puis on coupe tous les fils

qui nous relient aux autres.

Inatteignable durant quelques jours.

Dernière luxe dans un monde

de plus en plus grégaire

où l’on refuse de laisser à l’autre le plaisir

d’être seul même pour une minute.

On n’a pas besoin de visiter la ville

puisqu’on y vit.

On reste dans la chambre pour lire.

Si on veut boire un coup et voir du monde,

on descend au bar.

Et après un temps, on remonte pour pour trouver

le lit bien fait.

On se glisse alors sous les draps propres

après avoir fait monter du thé,

et on y reste jusqu’à ce qu’on ait terminé

La Comédie humaine

sans sauter, cette fois, les descriptions

de paysage.

Art of Traveling (a text of Dany Laferrière translated by Vadim Bystritski) — Before and After Francis Ponge

Here Stood Mayakovsky — Travel Between The Pages

The Brooklyn Bridge literally loomed large in my Brooklyn family’s history for a century, so I was intrigued when I stumbled upon this impressive limited edition volume. The accordion-fold book Brooklyn Bridge with a poem by the 20th century Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky  and original woodcuts by Canadian printer and book designer Glenn Goluska . The award-winning […]

Here Stood Mayakovsky — Travel Between The Pages

Jorge Luis Borges — The Vale of Soul-Making

Two English Poems


The useless dawn finds me in a deserted street-
   corner; I have outlived the night.
Nights are proud waves; darkblue topheavy waves
   laden with all the hues of deep spoil, laden with
   things unlikely and desirable.
Nights have a habit of mysterious gifts and refusals,
   of things half given away, half withheld,
   of joys with a dark hemisphere. Nights act
   that way, I tell you.


Jorge Luis Borges — The Vale of Soul-Making

#1956Club – a great French artist considers his life and work… — Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings

Journals of Jean Cocteau – edited and introduced by Wallace Fowlie Today’s time travelling trip to 1956 sees me considering another great French artist – the most wonderful Jean Cocteau. I first encountered his works back in the mid-1980s, when friends dragged me off to a screening in London of two of his films, “Orphee” […]

#1956Club – a great French artist considers his life and work… — Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings

The Bunker: John Giorno and The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs

by Marcus D. Niski

During one of the most colorful and flamboyant phases of his creative life, William S. Burroughs was closely associated with his New York loft apartment at 222 Bowery both affectionately and aptly known as The Bunker. The scene of many legendary parties and encounters with fellow writers, artists, hangers-on, street urchins, fans and other innumerable dramatis personae, Burroughs somewhat reluctantly at times played the mulit-faceted role of raconteur, showman, marksman, chef, host and resident celebrity that would undoubtedly help to further cement the Literary Outlaw myth so closly associated with his persona.

In this warm and intimate film portrait below of his close relationship with William S. Burroughs, fellow writer and poet John Giorno recounts the heady days of The Bunker and the antics associated with Burroughs’ famous residency. The cast of creative and literary heroes and villains ranged from the Beats Herbert Huncke and Allen Ginsberg, to such luminaries as Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Terry Southern and Victor Bockris [who would assemble various conversational accounts of the goings-on at The Bunker under the title With William S. Burroughs: Reports from The Bunker], as well as various members of the rock and roll fraternity of royals including – Mick Jagger, David Bowie and punk icon Joe Strummer.

The term ‘The Bunker’ itself stems from the fact that the apartment had no windows as well as extremely thick concrete walls which isolated it from all outside noise. Burroughs saw this as the ideal circumstances for his writing – and indeed his marksmanship – and the building served as an extremely attractive location in which to unfold his daily creative and life rituals.

During a trip to New York in 2009-2010, I made a pilgrimage to The Bunker in search of the Burroughs mythos and the surrounding historic district of the Bowery. Indeed, the Bowery itself is known for its own colorful and unsavory history as a prominent site for men’s shelters that housed many of the cities homeless, poor and indigent residents and The Bowery Mission continues to operate until today as it has done since the 1870s just several doors away from The Bunker itself.

Below are some images that I took of the front entrance, the view looking up to The Bunker loft and a street view all taken on a particularity cold winter’s day. Looking closely through the wrought iron gates, it was fascinating to still see the remnants of the YMCA logo adorning the tiled floor just inside the door as the building had served as a working YMCA. Indeed, a fascinating history of the building has also been documented by the New York Times which can be found at the following link: New York Times history of 222 Bowery

Bunker[1] MN

Bunker [3] MN

Stills images copyright Marcus D. Niski 2009-2020

‘The Bunker’ undoubtedly remains an iconic and important architectural and cultural reference point to one of the great periods of New York’s 20th Century literary and cultural history. Given its proximity to CBGBs which played a seminal role in the birth of the American punk rock movement that spawned a whole generation of musicians and artists, it’s hardly surprising that a pilgrimage to The Bunker was also part of the neighborhood lore and ritual for so many of New York’s avant garde and outsider scene.

John Giorno’s (1936 – 2019) fascinating and eclectic life as a poet is also more extensively documented in the first part of the film as found on the Louisiana Channel at the following link entitled: John Giorno Interview: A Visit to the Poet

Literatur & Natur 24. September 2020 — Kunst und Literatur

LITERATUR & NATUR im nationalparkhaus wien lobAU MECHTHILD PODZEIT-LÜTJEN, WOLF RATZ und BEATRICE SIMONSEN vom Literaturkreis Podium lesen Texte von, zu, über Natur. Donnerstag, 24. September 2020, 18.30 Uhr nationalparkhaus wien-lobAU 1220 Wien, Dechantweg 8 Christl Greller (Konzept, Organisation, Moderation) stellt den Literaturkreis Podium und die Künstler vor. Foto © Dirk Simonsen: In die Weite gehen …

Literatur & Natur 24. September 2020 — Kunst und Literatur

Signpost — Liminal Narratives

The signpost is a liminal artefact. It points from where we are to where we dream of being. We are both here — at this grassy triangle on the edge of a Norfolk village — and (in our imaginations) at the destinations it advertises. And such fingerposts help us navigate in more ways than one. […]

Signpost — Liminal Narratives