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Archive for the ‘Russell Edson’ Category

CV1_TNY_03_17_14Liniers.inddSOUNDTRACK: YASMINE HAMDAN-Tiny Desk Concert #359 (May 24, 2014).

Yysamineasmine Hamdan is a Lebanese singer-songwriter.  The three songs she plays here are sung in Lebanese (I assume).  Sung with just the accompaniment of one guitar, Yasmine sings and sways her way through these beautiful songs.  It’s actually fun to just see her move while she sings, she’s so loose and relaxed and yes, sensuous.

The most interesting thing is that Hamdan had only just met guitarist Gabriel Gordon when they traveled down together from New York that morning. They’d never rehearsed together, so the interesting guitar lines he’s playing sound great even though they might not be what she intended.  (I wish there was a little more information about this partnership in the blurb).

“Beirut” is a song form the 1940s and she does some interesting vocal things by using her hands around her mouth.  “Deny” and “Shouei” are beautiful songs that Hamdan has written and the two of them sound just great together.

[READ: May 27, 2014] “Long Story Short”

I have been one of those readers who doesn’t really know what to make of Lydia Davis, so I found this article very interesting and helpful.  It allowed me to appreciate her super short stories a lot more.  For yes I have mused about why “she doesn’t call them poems or fragments.”  The answer: “She prefers the deeper associations of the word ‘story’.”

I was interested that she is considered “one of the most original minds in American fiction today,” and I tend to agree that she is because no one else really writes like her.  Her Collected Stories has “some two hundred pieces” in just over 700 pages.  This is thirty years worth of work.

But I also liked seeing the succinct comment “like many things that Davis writes, [a letter] had started out sincere and then turned weird.”  In this case the letter she wrote to a frozen peas manufacturer was published as the story “Letter to a Frozen Peas Manufacturer.”

I didn’t know much if anything about Davis, so this article acted as a biography as well.  She dated writer Paul Auster and while he write his traditional stories, Davis struggled to do the same.  Her stories never came together or seemed to be about normal things, as her mother commented: “Why don’t you write about your travels or something more cheerful?”  But it was when she started reading very short stories by the poet Russell Edson (of whom I’ve never heard), that she hit upon the idea of writing very short stories and “The Thirteenth Woman” was her first successful attempt. (more…)

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