Tuesday, November 20, 2018






The advertised Santana started to materialize in the evening in ever stronger bursts until turning into a fierce steady storm, between 50 and 75 miles I judged. I started to worry about the tin roof of the shed being torn off, and what then of my papers spread on the tables, and that the huge Juniper tree at the edge of the shed might snap - the soughing of wind in needles was a feature of my childhood sound scape, a re-assuring susurrus as the lapping of waves on a shore, though I could not recall having experienced this kind of wind in Northern Germany. Vornbach-am-Inn, in South-East Bavaria, at the edge of the Bohemian forest, had a visitation one winter that flattened half the fir trees in the forest – now that was impressive, however I had been secure in the fortress monastery with its three feet thick walls and had slept through the event. Sleeping during this kind of wind in present circumstances seemed impossible. - I had also heard of the famous event in Siberia that had flattened the trees in the whole huge area – I had not only heard but read about it - momentous events of that kind inscribed themselves impressively on me, I recall their making me feel awfully little, memories and thoughts of that kind infused my nervousness. However, when the roof seemed to hold and the Juniper did not snap, around midnight, I decided to take a chance and laid down on my pad in the south east corner of the main space of the shed.  If the insecure cement blocks started to cave I would have a few seconds to bound to my left and onto the kitchen area which was secure,  solid ground. – I lay down, the wind, rattling the adjacent garage door, the pepper tree whipping huge scratches on-to the tin room like a berserk drummer’s brushes, an analogy that made the sounds, the cacophony, more interesting; though I had to admit that brush work of that kind had invariably been of the most delicate kind, brushes were used to accent – compared to the amazing drum solos I had heard, from just about all the great jazz drummers of that era.
   The way I lay, my head slightly elevated my sightline, to the west-northwest, during daylight it would reach as far as the crest of Deer Creek Road, at about the spot where my dirt Houston Road diverged from it as I saw a spark, electrical, yes there was a box there on the light pole as I noticed that the electricity which had been flickering was now no more: the electric clock on my night table would show when the box blown… as a slight glow burst into flames and what became known as the Deer Creek Fire was on its way. And I stood up and went to the far west window to make out what was transpiring, an instant conflagration at the ridge that the wind swept into the canyon where it propagated itself “in leaps and bounds” was the expression, it leapfrogged in the form of red hot embers that set an array of fires – I sure had never seen or imagined anything like it.
   I had fought fires in Alaska, there the chief danger was from hot-spots that the fire dug in the permafrost when it went underground, you might step inadvertently into a hotspot – that advertised itself with white hot ash – and have your foot blown off.
I had been dropped in front of a line of advancing flames in a grass-lake, a thin wave of six foot high flames and had not been worried in the least, that was straw burning and it barely singed my eyebrows as I walked into it and beat it down. The idea of confronting a wind-driven chaparral fire in the same manner was nothing short of terrifying. Dense Chaparral brush burnt hot and thick and smokey: Would the Swiss hippie contingent at the bottom of Deer Creek Canyon who lived by a spring that was sheltered by a fine set of California Live Oak survive was an instant thought, would the fire suck up all their oxygen if the Oak Trees did not protect them? I had now gone outside to the steep edge of the DeWitt property. The wind was not driving the fire in our direction but straight down into the canyon – swiftly was not the word, I think within 15 minutes the entire canyon was aflame down to the PCH.

Having stayed up late to watch the conflagration reach PCH and leap to the ocean and then subside I woke late of course and immediately wanted to check what if anything the fire might be up to; but, on stepping outside and rounding the shed to accomplish the view from the veranda escarpment front of the main house, what if my landlord, all 6 feet 6 beanpole Ysbrand DeWitt, gun-nut and photographer of porno shoots, an oedipal case if ever I had realized the moment I saw him flinch when his father Maarten had called him while ringing the cowbell – instant transport back to the lowland farmers of my youth it had been - garden-hose in hand and spraying across the edge of the deck… Pissing to put out the fire? which I noticed was creeping up along the canyon edges, half a mile across it was midway up and threatening Dick Clark’s  TWA Kennedy airport terminal style fortress compound, though it looked as though the fortress’s immediate surround had been cleared – Dick Clark a millionaire of American Bandstand Fame our nearest wealthy neighbor, Ysbrand telling me that nonetheless Dick Clark had been observed scooting away in his car, a jeep if I recall correctly.    
   The fire obviously was no longer propelled by Santana winds from the north east, which only rolled night-times down from Nevada and Utah, accelerating all the way, but was now assisted by the ocean breeze nudging it upward both to the right and left of the canyon – if the wind would change to an easterly or westerly the fire would be driven into Ventura or the  Malibu part of Los Angeles. At Deer Creek Canyon it basically straddled county line, the big divide. We live at the mercy of the jet-stream and in Malibu at the whim of the wind.
   On our eastern side the fire was threatening perhaps the oddest of the invariably odd structures that the individualists who lived in these unincorporated parts of Ventura had erected: a three-story-high palisade tower built of logs…. not plain old log-cabin logs but of logs that had been laminated with a precious extra shiny plastic that made the tower glisten like a jewel in the year-round sun. - What was the purpose of this structure? Who had it built on seeming no-man’s land? A deer look-out? Perhaps, not many deer, but some Lynx and my beloved coyotes, I had spotted on Deer Creek Road driving my 1974 Malibu sedan.
   The fire – brush, chaparral fire –surrounded the structure on all sides. You need to appreciate the density of this chaparral, it is not navigable like ordinary woodsy brush, it is dense, great for rabbits and coyotes, not permissive of larger animals. The area around the tower had not been cleared the advisable 75 to 100 feet, but some clearing had occurred during the construction process, 20 to 40 feet which however is not enough distance to protect a structure from a chaparral fire. It is not just the flames, but the heat that an intense chaparral fire throws out that endangers everything near and dear - as it did in this instance, with the fire all around within 20 to 40 feet  the entire laminated three story structure had been baked from all sides and instantaneously burst altogether all three stories into plastic enhanced flames, in other words: the all around heat had heated the entire structure to the point where it exploded and imploded, burnt spectacularly and collapsed in a heap of cinders.
   Whoever the owner had failed to avail himself of the services of the only two useful workers in them thar hills, my friends the Sanchez brothers who made a good living bulldozing 100-foot clearings around these often hugely expensive properties that their owners wanted to protect from the inevitable wild-fire.
During my first week in them thar hills I had lived with the Peacock of the two Sanchez brothers - he was such a one and had a collection of them prancing in his property – who told me that Ysbrand DeWitt was looking for someone to look after his aging parents while he was at work. Aside the Sanchez brothers [the third had been the Mayor of nearby Oxnard which had a huge Mexican strawberry pickers populace] I could not think of a single useful person in these hills once old Maarten DeWitt, Ysbrand’s Dutch milk-boy to wealthy and lucky flower farmer, had expired of an aortic aneurism at age 88. A retired hoofer at the inception of Houston Road, whom I rather liked for her New York humor and hoofer spirit, had built herself a fairly normal two story Dutch-style big craftsman house; the retired, perverted weird primary school graduate WW II palm tree gunner Georgia beekeeper Marvin Bell whose garage I would rent in a few years, had a built a normal ranchette type house; Suzy, L.A.’s most expensive brain surgeon’s millionaire divorcee sought to turn a magnificent improbably huge Adobe structure at the edge of Breadloaf valley into a “party haven” and she and her closest girl friend both flew to Mexico on weekends to get laid {in Suzy’s own small plane}, it’s triangular guest house I occupied when she needed someone to look after the property and her two Lhasa Apsas…  I for once smart enough to avert her overtures: fucking your divorced super-horny land-lady could not end well - I loved the guest-house and the view of Breadloaf valley all the way to the the Camarillo madhouse, the top of Bony Ridge nearly toppling us each time there was a serious tremor, until it was sold from out under me and I moved a half a mile west along Boney Ridge road to Marvin Bell’s.
 Where I lived was just a hop-skip whence the Manson gang had hung out, an area rife with crack dealers. The Swiss hippies must have had foreign sources, I liked the blonde and spry head of the family, they partied at night where they resided at the bottom of Deer Creek Canyon, at the spring, the inception of the creek, under cover of the live oaks, cocaine - I had had my fill of it in New York, Ysbrand’s wife to be, a dental assistant, the hugely overweight 23 year old daughter [“I an American girl” singing}
of one of the richest men in the peninsula,
supplied the laughing gas and would be the death of poor foolish Ysbrand - I had never lived among a collection of such odd and useless folk - who found me, working 12 to 16 a day as a writer scholar [I didn’t tell them that I was pursuing a second analysis and contemplating becoming a shrink} and who did a lot of walking on the dusty chaparral paths – “bizarre” Suzy’s word for me. One of the men whom I came to know at Neptune’s Net, the local surfers’ eatery at the bottom of Yerba Buena Road, whence I dropped down for my morning coffee and the papers [an L./A. Times then ambitious to become the nation’s best] was in the business of towing cars and had the kind of tow-truck onto whose bed you could pull a car, he careened up and down exceedingly tricky dangerous Yerba Buena. Lots of folk with mishaps who ventured into these canyon roads. Neptune’s net was run by what I told myself was the “Elaine of West Virginia Crackers”, that is she was a good business woman and had a sense of humor but didn’t take any gaff, with her two cracker brothers, the aboriginal American angry whit men, they were so angry their prominent neck veins had visible stents, they were so near bursting.
On the road down to Breadloaf Valley - where the Sanchez brothers’ father had been the foreman before the farm had become part of the St. Monica Mt. Preserve - one of Hollywood’s most imaginative production designers had assembled a Shangri La of sorts, a wonderland of fantasies some of which had been part of productions, others were superfluous rejected designs. My own favorite beings in the area were the Quail – what I loved most about them was that their young seemed to roll after the mother in the dusty paths as though they were still inside their eggs.
   With the fire at most an hour I judged before it would reach the shed I decided that I better pack my computer – I had one of the earliest, a Leading Edge, and the most important manuscripts. Ysbrand objected that I ought to help him save the property. I did not feel that the German-built brick and boulder main house stood in danger, unless the surround of spruce trees caught fire. But one more garden hose was not going to save my shed or anything else. But as I was packing the Ventura County Fire department finally showed up, about 12 hours after the fire had started, and in sufficient force to stop the fire cold on both canyon sides. There were of course fires in or around Malibu nearly every year, major or minor, but the one in Deer Creek was my only dangerous call.




I had lucked out, most improbably, and found myself living in an unimaginably – I could not even have imagined a more idyllic spot: a Dutch flower-farmers former flower shed at the end of an agave-lined dirt road at 1500 feet above the Pacific Ocean, a pepper-tree sprinkling pepper corns and a Juniper dripping sap onto the tin roof; song-birds, Colibri; a south-facing beach and the swell from the south-sea storms pounding at long intervals, a distance-muffled sound that spelled what the former inhabitants of these hills, the Chumash, had called Ma-li-bu – huge carpets of water, wave-swells breaking in stages, the ultimate whale-tail slap onto the beach is was what did it. Windows at the south, ocean facing, and on the west mountain sides.
I had lucked out, most improbably by taking a side-road to escape Los Angeles Freeway madness – madness the experience of finding myself in ten-lane traffic after years it seemed in the sanity of  Wild West Billie the Kid world – dirt roads, gravel. From the pacified Wild West via Interstate 10 via and 29 Palms to unpacified traffic madness, I had been terrified. How do I get out of this and to the ocean? Ah, there was a State Route, # 23, that would do the trick, and what a tricky mountain road # 23 turned out to be that evacuated me onto PCH and the beach in Ma-li-boo; Malibu  part of an itinerary that was designed to take me North. - I had been in Malibu, nearly 20 years ago, to visit a room mate whose mother had a beach house – an experience that had not made Malibu part of prospects of mine.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018


also see the weekly standard's irmscher piece

As the translator of three Hesse novels – Beneath the Wheel, Peter Camenzind and, with conviction, DEMIAN  – perhaps you will allow me to comment on what I regard as the customary superficial manner in which Adam Kirsch discusses the work of German language authors.
       I came to translating Hesse, via Roger KIein, Harper & Row editor, as someone who had translated some Brecht,  stylistically demanding later Ernst Juenger with Louise Bogan, and as a Musil translator [ also a dissertation subject, to whose work I was drawn notby the customary literary references but via my interest in physic, A. Mach] and thus I found Peter Camenzind as well Beneath the Wheel to be stylistically anachronistic  thus unrewarding  on the linguistic level, whereas Demian, written under the aegis of a Jungian analysis -Kirsch absolutely needed to note as much if he read the book - that familiarized this translator with the concept and practice of projection, was also stylistically more agreeable.
 Thus what I chiefly find lacking in Kirsch’s reductionism of Hesse’s life and work to an on-going adolescent revolt is not only sufficient note he takes of the development of Hesse’s lead characters from Camenzind to via Emil Sinclair and Goldmund and beyond, -by way of the wild civilizationally unhappy  Harry Haller, the Steppenwolf, who goes  - prophetically it evidently seemed to Hesse’s American followers through a wild drug- & sex filled revolt against modern life

[“ The story in large part reflects a profound crisis in Hesse's spiritual world during the 1920s while memorably portraying the protagonist's split between his humanity and his wolf-like aggression and homelessness.[1]]] Kirssch also fail to note Hesse's– his development as an artist from moderately realistic beginnings to the very considerable complexity of Steppenwolf and to the amazing formalism of Narciss and Goldmund. That is, maybe you never find another story but your adolescent trauma but you can find ever more beautiful and interesting ways of telling it & that is where your efforts and neglect of your wife are then devoted to!
 However, Kirsch is spot on in noting that Hesse never wanted followers, I recall editing a selection of Hesse letters for Farrar, Straus, a firm to which I then brought two of my translations and 20 Hesse titles after Roger Klein ended his own life prematurely, letters where Hesse keeps advising all those who beseech him that they are asking the wrong person. Hesse I think will be an author who will continue to be fruitfully read , as he was by the American kids of the 60 and 70, who project their own wishes onto a writer who certainly knew a thing of two about projecting within the on-going American night mare. Sincerely, Michael Roloff, Seattle

Monday, November 12, 2018

Cynthia Ozick’s CRIME & PUNISHMENT

Re Cynthia Ozick’s CRIME & PUNISHMENT
Ms. Cynthia Ozick use of a history of recent assassins and then segue of her focus to a writer and one of his most famous novels CRIME AND PUNISHMENT elicits a twofold comment,  first on assassinations, then on the novel, the first novel to make an impression on me as a youngster  - both part of my comments obviously running under the aegis of “thou shalt not kill” a matter that some authors who regard themselves existentialists regard as a big hurdle proudly leapt, act gratuits? in their lives and their books. - I also want to remind of Brecht’s great and playful Lehrstueck The Measures Taken that addresses this forever conundrum of within a revolutionary situation. – Note how cleverly Brecht deals with the House Un-American committee!

1- Assassinations have become routine under fascist regimes or as they develop and maintain their hegemony. The NAZI party was an assassination party, most famously of Rathenau; Obama was an assassination president who routinely blew a lot of wedding parties of CIA designated grrists to kingdom come and thought doing so was “a no-brainer” helping a whelp hosts of vengeful grissts; Peron was an assassin; no end of US supported dictators have been assassins; Stalin most famously of Trotsky; the US sought to assassinate Castro numerous time – assassination having become a routine state instrument would seem to me to be a more important subject than tying the variety of disparate assassins to Dostoevsky and one of his major characters - a good analyst might have cured him and Raskolnikov of their confusions… in which case of course we might not have those hair raising novels!... Lincoln’s assassination, McKinley’s , Kennedy’s … all committed for alleged idealistic vengeful reasons – the word assassinate of Arabic origin and Muslim practice--

a member of the Nizari branch of Ismaili Muslims at the time of the Crusades, when the newly established sect ruled part of northern Persia (1094–1256). They were renowned as militant fanatics, and were popularly reputed to use hashish before going on murder missions.

– Thus “oh how awful” when they do to us what we do routinely!...  There is the murderous overthrow of the Iranian regime in the early 50s, the numerous US assassinations in Central America, I forget how many thousand Swedes St. Olaf killed during his conversions to the murderous Christian faith! Then there is Che Guevara killing capitalist whore-mongers instead of trying to re-educate the irredeemable. Himself assassinated by the CIA. What would a trial of Osama bin Laden have been like, if you see what I mean. But it might make for an interesting political play within that important post-WW II German tradition that reaches back as far as Buechner.

.2. Ms. Ozick’s wonderful reading of the novel reminds me that Crime and Punishment was the first novel to make a lasting impression on this avid reader of fairy tales and sagas about a decade into my traumatic childhood – reading it this would-be killer of his emasculating [Ms. No] governess [she had tried to force feed an otis media bed-ridden me and a kick had left her moaning on the floor; what’s worse, the grandmother to whom I rushed to report what had transpired, it seemed not to matter ] and thus I realized that I felt guilt ridden qualms, and must have not been entirely uncaring for the governess,  and thus Crime and Punishment would seem to be a worth while educational tract as all the other matters that it is.

Sunday, November 11, 2018



Uwe Johnson (1934–1984) grew up in the small town of Anklam in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. At the end of World War II, his father, who had joined the Nazi Party in 1940, disappeared into a Soviet camp; he was declared dead in 1948. Johnson and his mother remained in Communist East Germany until his mother left for the West in 1956, after which Johnson was barred from regular employment. In 1959, shortly before the publication of his first novel, Speculations About Jakob, in West Germany, he emigrated to West Berlin by streetcar, leaving the East behind for good. Other novels, The Third Book About AchimAn Absence, and Two Views, followed in quick succession. A member of the legendary Gruppe 47, Johnson lived from 1966 until 1968 with his wife and daughter in New York, compiling a high-school anthology of postwar German literature. On Tuesday, April 18, 1967, at 5:30 p.m., as he later recounted the story, he saw Gesine Cresspahl, a character from his earlier works, walking on the south side of Forty-Second Street from Fifth to Sixth Avenue alongside Bryant Park; he asked what she was doing in New York and eventually convinced her to let him write his next novel about a year in her life. Anniversaries was published in four installments—in 1970, 1971, 1973, and 1983—and was quickly recognized in Germany as one of the great novels of the century. In 1974, Johnson left Germany for the isolation of Sheerness-on-Sea, England

's interesting piece on ANNIVERSARIES


den Uwe hab ich durch seinen damaligen Lektor bei Grove Press, Fred Jordan kennen gelernt und fuer Metamorphose inteviewt, -

das Interview hab ich als PDF und versuch es separat hochzulotzen -

gibts auch bei Suhrkamp, auch die Ursula Molinaro Uebersetzung vom DRITTEN BUCH ueberarbeitet. Die eresten Buecher waren zu demanding allgemein, und Jahrestage mit dem NY Times Zeug las sich als zu zeitgemaes. Ausser dem war der Uwe dem Suff verfallen und extrem paranoid. Da kommt nichts mehr war die Helen Wolf Meinung als Uwe ihr Autor und als Harcourt Brace Lektor arbeitet.


    Uwe Johnsons Roman „Jahrestage“ wurde 48 Jahre nach Erscheinen ins Englische übersetzt, und das Goethe-Institut macht großen Bahnhof in New York. Eine Figur wie Gesine Cresspahl kommt dort gerade zur rechten Zeit.

Gute Bücher haben immer ihre Zeit. So sollte es jedenfalls sein. Der Markt für sie aber ist weniger unbestimmt. Da ist die Zeit für ein gutes Buch möglicherweise schnell vorbei. Oder noch gar nicht angebrochen. Und so ist es nicht ganz müßig zu fragen, warum Uwe Johnsons „Jahrestage“ erstmals jetzt vollständig ins Englische übersetzt wurden, 48 Jahre nach Erscheinen des ersten Bandes, 35 nach Erscheinen des letzten und fünfzig Jahre nach der Zeit, in der dieser Roman spielt – zwischen dem 21. August 1967 und dem 20. August 1968. Was hat es damit auf sich?
Verena Lueken
Redakteurin im Feuilleton.
Die Amerikaner haben, was Bücher angeht, immer schon einen immensen Exportüberschuss zu verzeichnen, während die Deutschen auf diesem Gebiet eher im unteren Mittelbereich liegen. Aus der aktuellen belletristischen Produktion wird sehr wenig für den englischsprachigen Markt übersetzt. Aus Gründen, die nicht immer durchschaubar sind, entdecken die Amerikaner dann aber plötzlich einen deutschsprachigen Klassiker für sich und sind selbst erstaunt, warum es so lange gedauert hat. Vor einigen Jahren war das Stefan Zweig. Davor Joseph Roth. Davor W.G.Sebald. Jetzt ist es Uwe Johnson.

Großer Bahnhof, aber wer wird es lesen?

Seine späte Würdigung durch die Amerikaner ist besonders rätselhaft, spielen doch seine „Jahrestage“ in New York. Die „New York Times“ hat eine der Hauptrollen. Vermutlich war einiges, wenn nicht vieles – die Schlagzeilen aus der „Times“ sicher, die Dialoge wahrscheinlich – ursprünglich Englisch und wurde von Johnson ins Deutsche gebracht. Es nützte offenbar nichts, obwohl sich das Ganze deutlich kurzweiliger liest, als die Länge von mehr als zweitausend deutschen Seiten, die im Englischen auf 1720 schrumpften, vermuten lässt. Es gab Versuche, in den siebziger Jahren, in einer längst vergriffenen Ausgabe. Übersetzer und Verlag gaben damals auf, als Uwe Johnsons Schreibblockade das Erscheinen des letzten Bandes um mehr als ein Jahrzehnt verzögerte. Umso heroischer das Engagement des Verlags der „New York Review of Books“ und aller Beteiligten für den neuen Anlauf und die vollständige Fassung. Immerhin neunhundert Seiten, so der Übersetzer Damion Searls, waren bisher nicht übersetzt, der Rest wurde gründlich überarbeitet.
Bei der Buchvorstellung im New Yorker Goethe-Institut wurde die Frage „warum jetzt?“ weder gestellt noch beantwortet. Wahrscheinlich gibt es auch keine Antwort außer dieser: Der Verlag hat es eben jetzt gewagt. Damion Searls hat, neben vielen anderen Dingen, die er tat, eben jetzt die Übersetzung des Riesenwerks abgeschlossen, das am Abend in zwei broschierten Bänden im Schuber für dreißig Dollar verkauft wurde. Ein Schnäppchen. Dazu gibt es bis zum Ende des Monats ein Filmprogramm, unter anderem mit Margarethe von Trottas Verfilmung, eine Zeitung, eine Installation, eine Playlist mit Songs der Zeit, eine interaktive Wanderung durch das New York der Gesine Cresspahl, der Hauptfigur, alles produziert, arrangiert, organisiert vom Goethe-Institut. Großer Bahnhof also, aber doch – wer wird das Buch lesen, das hier „Anniversaries“ heißt und von einem Autor stammt, den selbst in New York niemand kennt?

Die etwa sechzig Menschen, die ins Goethe-Institut gekommen waren, um den Übersetzer im Gespräch mit der Schriftstellerin Renata Adler und der Literaturwissenschaftlerin Liesl Schillinger zu hören, kauften zurückhaltend, aßen und tranken aber gern, was danach geboten wurde. Auch dafür wird das Goethe-Institut in New York geschätzt: Es gibt immer freie Drinks.

Dass niemand nach Sinn und Zweck, dem öffentlichen Interesse und dem Zeitbezug fragte, sondern sich alle damit zufriedengaben, über ein Buch informiert zu werden, das in seiner Anlage einmalig und seiner Zeit voraus war, das von Deutschland, und zwar von beiden Teilen, ebenso handelt wie von New York in jener Zeit und von seiner stolzesten Zeitung und den Nachrichten dort, immer wieder aus dem Vietnam-Krieg – es spricht nichts dagegen, das für ein Zeichen der Reinheit des literarischen Interesses zu nehmen. „Auf Augenhöhe“ mit Tolstoi nannte Searls das Kapitel, das während der Heuernte in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern spielt.

Und dann gab er den Zuhörern doch noch einen Hinweis darauf, was dieses Buch so wertvoll für einen Zeitgenossen macht – dass Gesine Cresspahl eine alleinerziehende Frau ist, eine Immigrantin, berufstätig und ständig aktuell über die Zeitläufte informiert und nachdenkend: Das ist eine großartige Frauenfigur, ein Vorbild, so Searls, umso mehr, als sie von einem Mann erfunden wurde. Das alte New York ersteht dadurch nicht wieder. Aber der Geist der Gesine Cresspahl ist angekommen.

I got to know Uwe via Fred Jordan at Grove Press for whom I was doing outside work in the early 60 and then did an interview with him in  New York and in Boston at my fellowMetamorphosis place and published the interview in Issue # 3, it has been translated into German and published by Suhrkamp; I myself have a PDF that Tom McGonigel made for me from the Issue # 3 in the NY Public Library. I saw Uwe then in Berlin and he was helpful in apprising me of the lay of the land of East German Lit circa 1970 where I was the first American Scout [for Sam Lawrence at Atlantic Monthly, and then for him at Knopf] to venture , Aufbau Verlag, a Herr Kaspar who told me had become a communist, not as so many did as Russian POWs, but as an American prisoner of war picking cotton in Arizona with what he described as American black slaves. One of the more memorable days I must say in every respect. And Aufbau then sent me all the books I wanted and I read them at my German haven that year, Villiprott, outside Godesberg, while my retired OSS/CIC/CIA CORS OF ENGINEERS  stepfather was memorably once once again engaged in spy work amongst all bevy of spies that circles the US First Secretaries abode, while getting himself a masters in German lit.

In Berlin Uwe was a severely depressed alcoholic and I always regretted, once I did a psychonalyis that Suhrkamp had not put him in contact with their own great author analyst Mitcherlich - [Inability to Mourn, the Fatherless Generation ]- and once more memorably in New York, early 70s, I gave him a ride back from a reading from TWO VIEWS at Columbia to the Iroquis Hotel, for those who don't like the stiff Algonquin fees. TWO VIEWS made me think about the spy business in Berlin, my mother had been such for the German 20th of jury resistance as of 1933, and finally been entrapped and fortuitously survived the siege of Berlin in her Gestapo prison; through her and my OSS stepfather I had made early acquaintance with Rainer Hillebrandt of the Kampgruppe gegen Unmenschlichkeit, a concentration camp survivor who had founded a group to fight their now operation by the Soviets, whom OSS/now CIA was turning into a terrorist organisation to blow up East German invfrastructure - and Rainer later ran the Checkpoint Charlie museum - and I - who had declined a CIA invitation in Berlin  in 1957 - wanted to talk a bit about all that with Uwe who - judging yby TWO VIEWS knew his way around these matters in Berlin - however, the mere mention of Rainer Hillenbrandt and Uwe leapt out of my Pontiac Firebird convertible, top up, and lumbered, his alcohol fattened being,  just like a Rhino was my impression,  toward the Iroquois. Deeply paranoid, and for reason judging by Kaspar's reaction when I divulged to him that his list of writers matched the one that Uwe had provided me.  No wonder of course that his wife might have an affair, writers are problematic husband and wives, but if they come home drunk at night... Also re-wrote Ursule Molinaro's pretty good translation of that extremely demanding text THIRD BOOK ABOUT for Fred, and it would be great if maybe the NYRB could do those first perfect novels as a boxed set???  Michael Roloff


Friday, November 09, 2018


Der Fall “His Majesty Enzensberger – HME“ erfordert so etwas wie eine „Kritik der Reinen Intelligenz“ - von einem Feld zum anderen jagd sie, weder Windhund not menetekel Dackel erwischt

mit der ich zum ersten mal bei Ruth Landshof-York
einer diesen intelligenten Berliner Freundinnen meiner Mutter Alexandra – Lexi – von Alvensleben, 1961 in New York Bekanntschaft machte – ein guter Zuhoerer bemerkte ich - der verwandte Graf York, der für Chase Bank arbeitete, hatte die Lesbischen Jüdin geheiratet um ihr in der USA zum Überleben zu helfen   – eine Bekanntschaft an die sich die Enzensbergerische Intelligenz aber gegenüber Blubach‘s Die vielen Leben der Ruth Landshoff-Yorck. Insel Verlag, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-458-17643-5
nicht erinnern wollte – eine Intelligenz dessen Erinnerungsvermögen sich manchmal unglaublich dumm einschränkt waehrend sie von ziemlich weit Links beinah zur Reaktion gewandert ist. Inzwischen viel gescheit provokantes
 The Civil Wars

Beim 1066 Princeton Treffen der Gruppe 47 bemerkte ich dass die Intelligenz ganz schnell noch Chinesisch zu ihrer Sprachkenntnissen addierte; und auf meiner berühmten 1971-2 halbjährigen Frachter Hellenic Splendor Reise halb um die Welt war die Intelligenz die

verfasst hatte angenehmer Compadre, trotzdem die Mannschaft eines solchen Frachters alles anderes als dumm ist. Trotz der Freundschaft von Robert Silvers und HME und ihrer Zusammenkunft in Cuba machte nur New Left Review Vorabdrucke dieser brisanten Essays – ach, ja auch sein schönes Nelly Sachs Essay hab ich als Einführung von meiner Nelly Sachs OH THE CHIMNEYS übersetz; sowie die schöne Einführung zu der Neuausgabe von de Las Casas Short History of the Indies. Als Geschenk dafür bekam  ich bei der Gründung von Urizen Books

seine Mausoleum Balladen die zur 1075 New Yorker Zeit Arbeit in New York Public Library erforderte.

auch hier wollte kein Schwein was vorabdrucken oder rezensieren

aber sein Verhöre von Havana hatte ich wenigsten ans BAM gebracht.

Es dauerte bis 2017 bis das NYRB Notiz von Enzensberger sowie von der Frankfurter Schule nahm
fasst sie!

und es gibt Leute wie Elizabeth Ruge für die Robert Silvers sowie NYRB Vorbildlich sind – nur aus großer Weite ist das möglich.

Das die Intelligenz dann ihr Titanic Gedicht an einen anderen Amerikanischen Verlag gab ohne mich davon zu benachrichtigen nahm ich ihr Übel – nur der Wunsch dass jemand Dr. Charlotte Pommer für mich in München auffinden könnte

hat uns wieder in Verbindung gebracht, die Frau die zusammen mit Dr. Albrecht Tietze meinem Vater das Leben retteten als die Gestapo ihn im Berliner Polizei Hospital einlieferte. Daran und dies berühmte Pommer Manuskript wollte HME sich dann nicht erinnert als es zur Frage eines Endorsements kam. Auch dem Castroschen Cuba war er ja nicht lang treu – also eine er huschende treulose Intelligenz, dem Handke Neid ganz ekelhaft verhasst. Aber einer meiner Lehrer! Er und ich trafen einen Amerikanischen ex-Justizminister beim PEN  so um 1077 herum der mit Handke dann im Karst noch auf Justiz für Serbien in der Morawischen Nacht warteten! Ich erinnere mich auch, dass ich als ich Amerikanischer Suhrkamp Agent einmal bei Unseld uebernachtete am folgenden Morgen Unseld und HME sich ueber Nacktphotos von Kommune 2 im Kursbuch stritte, welches ab dann von Enzensberger verlegt wurde.



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MICHAEL ROLOFF exMember Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website


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