December 13, 2007

Nothing frightens me more than religion at my door

Jack Delano, train near Chicago, December 1942

* Bukowski poems to be translated into Persian.

"For the first time ever in Iran, poems by US poet and novelist Charles Bukowski are to be translated into Persian, ISNA news agency reported Friday. Ahmad Pouri, a renowned Iranian translator, has selected several poems by Bukowski which he is to publish soon, ISNA said.

"The novels and poems by Bukowski, who died in March 1994 at the age of 73, mainly dealt in an autobiographical manner with prostitutes, sex and alcohol, all items which have been totally taboo in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"It is therefore not clear whether the ultra-conservative Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, in charge of checking the biography of writers and the contents of local as well as translated books, is familiar with Bukowski's rather controversial background.

"The ministry had a similar problem last month with a novel by Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

"The translation of the novel Memories of My Melancholy Whores - although the term whores was changed in the title to 'sweethearts' - was first approved and the book even published but then the ministry realized that the book was 'promoting prostitution.'

"The book was immediately banned, but the ban just provoked more interest among Iranians and boomed on the black market where the book was and is sold at more than twice the initial price.

"Although the selected poems might have no sexual content, the first Bukowski book in Persian might have the same destiny as that of Garcia Marquez once the culture ministry is informed about the complete works and private life of the Los Angeles writer."

* Must see save from an international soccer match.

* The Caribbean's Populations makes Popmatters list of best indie pop of 2007:

"With their fourth album, Populations, Washington DC’s the Caribbean has further refined their unique style of mystery-pop, where melodies yield secrets and instruments are arranged into stunning minimalist architecture. For perhaps the first time, they’ve written a few songs that stand out as pop singles (especially the dynamite 'The Go from Tactical'), yet the album as a whole is a clarification of their vision. Within its framework lie not just catchy tunes, but ideas and questions, in the music as much as the lyrics. Surfaces that at first seem calm contain stretches of wildness and turmoil, making this a provocative experience."

* "The freedom of the press works in such a way that there is not much freedom from it." -- Grace Kelly


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