Sebald the poet

Sun, blue sky, sharp shadows on the church and other buildings. I stand at the kitchen window looking across the immediate rooftop to the buildings behind. And behind them, I know, though I can't see, are courtyards, gardens even, and then another wall of buildings on the next street. I like the idea of these secret courtyards, mostly hidden from the street, until out walking you catch a glimpse of them through an open doorway. Maybe the concierge is there with a brush and a bucket, scrubbing the cobbles. Don't try to get past her. She will protect her domain. Such spaces between buildings exist all over Paris, grand and humble, private.

When I was in London I bought a collection of Sebald's poems called Across the Land and the Water. I began reading it a couple of days ago. It begins with poems he wrote as a student, in England and travelling in Europe, and that's the part I've read so far. It is recognizably Sebald, even-tempered, landscapey, ironic, human actions observed with no-comment detachment. It's the voice that feels already authentic, as if he weren't trying to write poems, simply to say best what he feels. It feels stripped of style and that, I guess, is the sign of consummate style, from the outset.

I finished my draft translation of one Cixous book yesterday, and am going back to revise the translation of another, Chaptre Los. 

In a week we head south for Christmas.