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Cluster index: Tom Lowenstein

Messages of Bewilderment.

Tom Lowenstein: ‘But I’m pure and whole, aren’t I,
she submitted with childlike sincerity,
nor do I house material of any nature in my subconscious.’

‘Last kind words.’

Peter Riley: ‘The song was recorded in 1930 in a makeshift studio in Grafton, Wisconsin, and issued by Paramount Records as‘ Last Kind Words Blues’ on one side of a 78 rpm shellac disc with the musician’s name given as “Geeshie Wiley”. It’s not a simple lyric. It’s not about slavery, but slavery is there in it. It’s about the victims of war, but forgets that and after verse four goes off into transferable formulae (floating verses).’

To the muses.

Five Poems By TOM LOWENSTEIN.   O MUSE, WHEN I put my cuff to the sugar bowl and you come up smiling, how I love to play hide and seek with you, for aren’t we equally untrustworthy? And when you pretend sometimes to let me win, how charming but unsafe it feels to maintain, at […]

Reading Heine.

Tom Lowenstein: ‘In the bitterness of this self-preoccupation
you have contrived exquisite paradoxes
which are clinched with easily deployed rhymes.’

More delicate, if minor, interconnections.

Tom Lowenstein: ‘Landlocked I remain, balanced uncertainly in the margin,
but still facing outward to some theoretically out of reach infinity.’

Seven.

Tom Lowenstein: ‘Is it that you have gone back to your tower,
your precinct, the territory you value as your own
and in which I remain a stranger?

‘I’ve arrived in the faltering dialect
of my own solitude.’

After the Snowbird, Comes the Whale Pt 7, Sec 3.

Tom Lowenstein: ‘But the storytelling process also has to do with healing. And I believe that this may have been Asatchaq’s motive in launching the long unipkaaq. The people whom the storyteller might try to heal may have been out of reach. In the past, perhaps, a community that came together might well have achieved the reassurance that life was worth living, that social existence continued.’

After the Snowbird, Comes the Whale Pt 7, Sec 2.

Part 7, Sec 2: ‘As the wind hits the face, one apprehends cautiously the feeling of a double temporality, as though we, too, had labored across the ice: and at the same time as arriving, one were also waiting for the present: the now and the archaic collapsed into a conundrum in which ancient and modern periods were mutually identified: today encapsulated within the archaic and the archaic, like an icy calyx, carrying seeds of the present.’

After the Snowbird, Comes the Whale Pt 7, Sec 1.

Pt 7 Sec 1: ‘Yes. I want the story to continue at least until I’m restless. I get bored quickly. Perhaps this is a fault that marks my generation. Or isn’t it a personal fault? Impatience for a conclusion, like the rhyming couplet with which Shakespeare releases you from obedience to a difficult thought. The constraints, nonetheless, had been healing. I return to those limits. It is, afterall, the writer or the storyteller who does the work. Nothing else matters during the period of domination. It was a question of minutes, that sublime superiority.’

After the Snowbird, Comes the Whale Pt 6, Sec 8.

Tom Lowenstein: ‘I’VE WRITTEN A LOT about culture contact and the changes Asatchaq had seen in Tikigaq. But the word ‘contact’ doesn’t properly or adequately express the process. The word change is also misleading. Even during the traditional period change had been continual. And local culture had always been a slowly evolving phenomenon. Once the Caucasian American presence had been established, these changes in Inupiaq society were bigger and more rapid.’

After the Snowbird, Comes the Whale Pt 6, Sec 7.

After the snowbird, comes the whale pt 6, sec 7: ‘There’s the laugh of the skinboat owner which proclaims modesty and self-deprecation. There’s the laughter of chagrin which acknowledges pain as an unavoidable component of existence. There is laughter that rasps cruelly from the throat like knife blades. Wild, often hysterical, laughter reels out of the chest in great ribbons of ectoplasm.’

After the Snowbird, Comes the Whale Pt 6, Sec 6.

After the snowbird, comes the whale pt 6, sec 6: ‘The edge of the beach, the Point’s hook – changing as the tide erodes and builds it – is frozen, sealed down, hard to distinguish from the inshore sea ice, the chaos of the inshore rubble. Transitional and scarcely noticed. ‘Am I on the land or sea?’ the hunter asks in crossing. Does it matter? Transformation of environment which scarcely matters.’

After the Snowbird, Comes the Whale Pt 6, Sec 5.

After the snowbird, comes the whale pt 6, sec 5: ‘All things come in the particularity of language. When we say what we see, our mouths express things in concretion as the words materially fulfill themselves. Our words have the lexical weight of articulated pieces: harpoon pole, shaft, point, ropes and toggle. And so we give words to ice conditions as wind and water measure out coincident trajectories and transformations. Spring follows winter. Hard light hatches. We study the sun’s progress from the eastern hills out to the ice horizon…’

After the Snowbird, Comes the Whale Pt 6, Sec 4.

Part 6, Sec 4: ‘When the generation of our fathers is still active, we tend to project longevity, even immortality, onto its existence. We imagine it to be an omniscient regime that intensifies the childish sense we have of our own low status. But that experience is illusory. Tulugaq knew, as I did, that Pauyungin’s represented the last cohort to speak Inupiaq with competence and thereby knew things that only the old language could grasp. The language was what enabled the eye and the mind both to see and comprehend the complexity of existence. With the death of the language, the multiple realities residing within that complexity, would become inaccessible.’

After the Snowbird, Comes the Whale Pt 6, Sec 2.

Part 6, sec 2: ‘These changes came in the wake of a long historical process and language moribundity was not in local control. This is no-one’s fault. And the linguistic education mentioned earlier offered contact and familiarity with Inupiaq, but did not propose fluency. Language death remains a tragedy both for those who have lost it, and the world is thereby poorer.’