James Joyce fans unite, for Bloomsday is upon us. I couldn’t find any direct flights to Dublin from BTR, so I’m going to celebrate Leopold Bloom’s perambulations for the first time here in Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge Gallery at City Park is hosting a celebration (.doc file) featuring LSU’s Joyce scholar starting at 6:30 pm (free admission) and then Culture Candy takes it late night with a fund-raiser at Red Star downtown, which kicks off at somewhere between 9:00 and 9:30.
A portion from Ulysses, Episode 8 (Lestrygonians):
From Butler’s monument house corner he glanced along Bachelor’s walk. Dedalus’ daughter there still outside Dillon’s auctionrooms. Must be selling off some old furniture. Knew her eyes at once from the father. Lobbing about waiting for him. Home always breaks up when the mother goes. Fifteen children he had. Birth every year almost. That’s in their theology or the priest won’t give the poor woman the confession, the absolution. Increase and multiply. Did you ever hear such an idea? Eat you out of house and home. No families themselves to feed. Living on the fat of the land. Their butteries and larders. I’d like to see them do the black fast Yom Kippur. Crossbuns. One meal and a collation for fear he’d collapse on the altar. A housekeeper of one of those fellows If you could pick it out of her. Never pick it out of her. Like getting L. s. d. out of him. Does himself well. No guests. All for number one. Watching his water. Bring your own bread and butter. His reverence. Mum’s the word.
Good Lord, that poor child’s dress is in flitters. Underfed she looks too. Potatoes and marge, marge and potatoes. It’s after they feel it. Proof of the pudding. Undermines the constitution.
As he set foot on O’Connell bridge a puffball of smoke plumed up from the parapet. Brewery barge with export stout. England. Sea air sours it, I heard. Be interesting some day get a pass through Hancock to see the brewery. Regular world in itself. Vats of porter, wonderful. Rats get in too. Drink themselves bloated as big as a collie floating. Dead drunk on the porter. Drink till they puke again like christians. Imagine drinking that! Rats: vats. Well of course if we knew all the things.
Looking down he saw flapping strongly, wheeling between the gaunt quay walls, gulls. Rough weather outside. If I threw myself down? Reuben J’s son must have swallowed a good bellyful of that sewage. One and eightpence too much. Hhhhm. It’s the droll way he comes out with the things. Knows how to tell a story too.
They wheeled lower. Looking for grub. Wait.
He threw down among them a crumpled paper ball. Elijah thirtytwo feet per sec is com. Not a bit. The ball bobbed unheeded on the wake of swells, floated under by the bridge piers. Not such damn fools. Also the day I threw that stale cake out of the Erin’s King picked it up in the wake fifty yards astern. Live by their wits. They wheeled, flapping.
The hungry famished gull
Flaps o’er the waters dull.
That is how poets write, the similar sounds. But then Shakespeare has no rhymes: blank verse. The flow of the language it is. The thoughts. Solemn.
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