1940s Pennsylvania Railroad travel poster featuring the T1, the last steam locomotives built in the U.S.
It’s a delectable morning
the sun lights up the countryside
bees are gathering honey
a butterfly delicately alights by a mimosa
sheep are bleating
in the distance bells are ringing
everything is calm and peaceful
Read a poem by Georges Perec, who was born on this day in 1936.
It’s unlikely that your somewhat erratic editors at Writers No One Reads will be able to provide a massive 2014 Book Preview in the near future, but in the meantime, possibly more to allay our own concerns in that regard than yours, we will, as should be expected, erratically share what we’re reading.
Originally published in 1969, Stanley Crawford’s Travel Notes has been out of print for decades until being rescued from oblivion by Calamari Press. Travel Notes is a strange novel capable of making any reader feel the surreality of being a tourist. It’s a work of baroque imagination, full of invention and absurdity: there is a linguist whose invented word has the capacity to destroy the world; a conspiracy of mail carriers in an abandoned city; a seaside resort where the beaches are lined with mausoleums; an oxymoronic line of hermit janitors… In the end, the book proves to be more than the sum of its parts, making it a welcome addition to Crawford’s sadly unread body of work. (SS)
The Auden-Mann marriage certificate, 1935.
“The story is usually told that Erika Mann arrived at Malvern only very shortly before the wedding— having, it is said, first got off the train at the wrong station (Malvern Link instead of Great Malvern) and greeted the only man on the platform with the words ‘It is so kind of you to marry me!’ Another version of the same story has Auden arriving just in time for the train, rushing up to the first woman he sees, throwing his arms around her neck, and exclaiming, ‘Darling, how lovely to meet you!’- whereupon the woman scampers in terror. Austin Wright’s account shows that neither anecdote is true, and that Auden met Erika Mann a few days before the wedding; though the true story is almost as comic as the fictitious versions.
'She was invited over during the summer term,' recalls Wright. 'Again I was taken— playing Pylades to Orestes— and we were to meet her at a village pub some way away. (Wystan drove right over a small central village green, dragging a huge white stone under the car.) And there she was. She was nine-tenths a man- I mean no pun. But it couldn’t have gone better- for the homosexual Wystan, ideal. She insisted on driving us back to Malvern- yes, she had a license and was an international car rally driver.’ […]
On 15 June, the marriage took place […] there was no celebration, though Austin Wright recalls that a bunch of flowers and cabbage leaves were tied on to the radiator-knob of Auden’s car. Auden then drove Erika to the Abbey Hotel at Malvern, where she was staying, and returned to school to continue his day’s teaching […] Auden wrote to Spender: ‘I didn’t see her till the ceremony and perhaps I shall never see her again. But she is very nice.’
Some days later, a telegram arrived at the Downs. ‘MEINE LIEBE DEINE LIEBE ALLE MENSCHEN GLEICH.’ (My love, your love, all people the same.) It was unsigned. Austin Wright remembers that Auden ‘couldn’t understand what was meant by it’.”
"There is a certain charm, too, in the fact that the train is an obsolete mode of transportation, much as literature sometimes suspects that it is an obsolete form of communication."