Saturday, March 16, 2019



Dear Mr. Sulzberger, notE below links to six entirely vacuous thus superflous pieces from your soft-core Arts & Leisure section. The so far absent serious piece on Handke's theater, e.g. might have run instead






Saturday, March 02, 2019

Edward Mendelson: Auden on No-Platforming Pound



Fri, Mar 1, 4:22 PM (17 hours ago)

Dear Ed,
How wonderful to come on your account of Auden’s so rational way of dealing with the Pound/ Random House matter, if only I liked his poetry as much. Pound played a brief exemplary guiding role in my life, and a much longer and deeper one in the lives of various acquaintances of my youth – there is probably a piece though not by me on those various kids that went to visit, pay obeisance whatever to their guide post at St. Elizabeth during his years of safe keeping there. A felow by the name of Frank Versace, back at Haverford was the first.
       My real introduction to modernism occurred I suppose during my junior year abroad via a great Shakespeare scholar’s seminar at university of Munich during my first semester. The second semester, in Berlin, meant Georgy Lukacs and Brecht. In between Ionesco and Paris and a lot of theater.

Senior year I wrote the two good essays of those four years, one on the Ur-Faust; the other on Mauberly.  My affair with Pound included his early work,Personae and early cantos, but particularly his Abc of Reading, his exemplary way of assisting artists and founding magazines as centers of creativity of that kind, he sharpened my ear which had been pretty much under the influence of Whitman since I was introduced to his work at Oakwood School, by a great teacher - Yoshiro Sonbanmatsu  - who also introduced us at an early age to Funagain Finnegan,  there was a time I knew the Anna Livia Plurabellesection by heart - and it probably is still locked up in my brain and who knows what event it would take for it to burst forth to my own immense surprise. It was The Abc of Reading and Pound’s idea of a magazine that came to mind during an early winter orgy in Fairbanks in 1960 after I had dropped out of grad school  - prospect of being part of a department for the rest of my life had made me go dead – and I was dwelling on what adventure to pursue after nine months of forest fire fighting and geological surveying in that by and large immense pristine environment, and while so pondering the possibility of driving a nitroglycerine truck in the Venezuelan oil fields or diving for conches in the south sea, what I really loved, that adventure in the literary trade came to mind.  The publisher of the magazine, Michael Lebeck was one of those Poundians that had traveled to D.C and he too went mad in his way -
, - I myself had no interest and was then also not really aware of the depth of Pound's insanity and Lebeck's I might sense now that I can read certain indications   – I think folks who are mad for beauty often go mad, and I imagine that aside of whatever sufficient psychoanalytic explanation for the phenomenon there are neurological ones that go back to the moment that you found your mother the most beautiful object in the world as you were being suckled.

Metamorphosis then also published a goodly section from that progeny of well endowed Bavarian beer vessels, Fred Seidel  hisFinal Solutions, who and Pound, in his account, hit it off during his visits. So for how long was Pound mad ? Apparently in some ways forever, but then also not.  Beats me.

Cerf I met once. He dragged Frank Sinatra to Elaine’s as part of an attempt to sign up his biography - they were introduced to that hell hole by Random House author William Styron with whom I and my then best friend, fellow Elaine’s regular Frank Conroy, had become acquainted – best conversations about Faulkner, ever, and we then all sat down way in back, Frank’s friend, the painter Sven Lukin , too. Don’t remember a thing about Cerf but Sinatra was awfully well behaved, nor did his body guard need to intervene. At the end of the evening, prior for a night cap at his regular Jilly’s ,he invited those present to join him on his 707 that was going to London in another week. I who was then I think briefly the representative of Suhrkamp Verlag via the Lantz-Donation agency had to beg off, so did my date, an actress who was starring in Butterflies are Free . However , that brief and pleasant encounter with Sinatra would have the consequence about 25 years later during a heavy downpour in Santa Rosalia, Baja Sur: at a bar at a motel a distinguished Roman senator type Mexican voiced the line “old blue eyes” as a Sinatra song started up, and we fell into a conversation: as a young man this now head of the Federales de Caminos[highway police] of the state of Baja Sur had been a waiter at the 21 One Club and had served Sinatra who had been well behaved and tipped well. That encounter led to my visiting Mulege during a Todos Santos weekend and deciding to live there for some years instead of the arid Bahia des Los Angeles where I would have had little to diverge me from my work.  Best ever,
Michael Roloff-------


Sunday, February 24, 2019

RE; ADORNO MENTION in "Reading in an Age of Catastrophe Edward Mendelson"

Reading in an Age of Catastrophe

Dear Ed,

Your commendable Reading in an Age of Catastrophe

that touches on numerous matters that I endorse – e.g., Eleanor Roosevelt is my proudly remembered high-school graduation speaker - however rubs me at the wrong spot with its Adorno jibes . Let me explain.

I might easily have become a pianist or musician of some kind, and a happier person all around.
 We had a grand on the second floor of  our place outside Bremen

My father’s mother Omi Paula Roloff was friends with quite a few of the stars of German classical music; my father was Furtwangler’s ear that he would consult after a performance to get an honest evaluation; the one matter he took pride in  first son was my affinity to Mozart. My mother’s mother Alexandra Einsiedel-Alvensleben was a concert quality pianist married to someone –  Werner von Alvensleben - whose knowledge of music didn’t extend beyond the Radetsky March , so I was told. We had a then 40s state of the art record player and the appropriate collection. All I did was bang around the grand that no one played – Omi A. had left her bombed out apartment in Berlin and, apparently wanting to die, was bed-ridden, a wish I recall as exerting a weird and I imagine forbidding spell, as is appropriate in a child. I eventually taught myself to read music from the scores in the house but failed to ask to be taught and made no effort in that direction. There was no model.

When the US Army liberated us in Spring 1945 and the local chapter of the OSS made our place “off limits” to everybody else’s parties, this residence of long-time Hitler opponents some of whom had survived the siege of Berlin in their respective Gestapo prisons, started to resound to their  music; and there was the Radio in the American Enclave Bremen that played the blues and I was introduce not just to the jiggaboo dance music which Adorno analyzes with such blinding brilliance

but also the work of the auteurs of the time, which are not Adorno’s subject - best as I can tell he only takes a few swipes at the “soloing” that occasionally interrupts the rigidities. Adorno found, and I think it continues to hold true, that everything is syncopated in this country just about anywhere you point your ear for a listen, everything jingles.

Little, badly educated, me who may like scholarship but finds university campuses too arid readied an Adorno Reader in the late 60s as editor at Farrar, Straus, Susan Sontag was going to write the introduction. After I left the firm a nincompoop killed the project. However, I was now acquainted with the author and when we came to discuss the Jazz piece I indicated my reservations and promised to play him some of my individually beloved auteurs.  – Adorno, if you take another look at this utterly brilliant piece – I cannot imagine any American intellectual,  perhaps Fred Jameson, of being  capable of such finely analytic work – it addresses the dance music part of Jazz, and in that respect this dancer must confess to having been as much of a Jiggaboo as any of the so profoundly industrialized of the upper class in hopping around to “the Jerk” – that music's then newest iteration - in the mid-60s – at the first disco, Arthur ‘s,  as was Bobby Kennedy with someone aside Rose hopping next to him, and Jackie with one of those Russian ballet masters – a week during which so memorably I happened onto Bobby two other times, so that by the third time, he running into me waiting in the lobby of the hotel Carlisle, gave me the kind of really hard look that you might to someone who is tailing you: the day or so after Arthur’s  I had come face to face with him - nearly collided - on 8th Street as he was campaigning for Abe Beame for mayor.

An distraught and shaky Adorno while we had lobster at the Frankfurter Hof where I had been once before in fall 1950 just prior to emigrating and seen Orson Wells scoot out the moment he entered as the band struck up “The Third Man” theme that haunted him wherever the so recognizable went in Europe during those days. Adorno was shaken also by German students giving him , one of the theoreticians of their revolt, the kind of hard time that reminded him of the thirties, and so he might not have gone mountain climbing the fall of 1969 and died of a heart attack and never have the opportunity to hear me play MonkBud Powell, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Ornette Coleman, Ron Carter, Art Farmer, Freddie Hubbard, James Moody, Bud Shank, Guenter Schuller, Horace Silver,Max Roach, Herbie Hancock, Jusef Latif, Dave Brubeck,  John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Red Garland,Ahmad Jamal, Winton Kelley, Charlie Mingus, Marian McPartland, Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson,Jimmy Smith, Dexter Gordon, Charlie Parker,Kenney Dorham, Freddie Hubbard, Art Blakey and discuss the why and wherefore of atonality in some of that music. –   Negative dialectic prevails. I recall Adorno writing rather favorably of certain American classical music critics .
 I hope you find his Amorbach as touching as do I. Anyhow, what can you expect of a such a serious intellect but to come out looking a bit like Mr. McGoo! The German students knew of Adorno’s proclivity for affair with beautiful young women but apparently not of his near-sightedness, and so when they pressed a balloon figure with breasts into his arms he first thought they were giving him a bouquet. I think that’s how that story goes. Best,  Michael r.


Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Dear Mr. Sulzberger, happy New Year, re: Peter Handke

Dear Mr. Sulzberger, happy New Year,

re: Peter Handke's theater & your theater staff total fateful and telling innocence of his work.  Your paper did not even acknowledge his receipt of the Ibsen Prizenor of the Muehlheim as the best German play

see for  all of these and  further drama references

There has been no mention of Handke mature dramas since

or any of the great premieres in Germany or France. Of
your reviewer rabble -Neil Genzlinger, Elisabeth VincentelliAlexis SoloskiSusan Fales-Hill, Peter Libbey, Amanda HessMichael Paulson. Brantley,  only Matt Wolf in his review of Handke director Klaus Peymann's Stuttgart KING LEAR production mentions that Handke did the translation  of the Fool's songs, and thus the sorry lot
seem entirely innocent of Handke's work and have never addressed it at the Times or theirf previous hovels of employ. 

And just look at the total incompetence of the literary critics who have murdered Handke's work in your pages


Michael Roloff

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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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