When Kierkegaard was eight, his father made his son eavesdrop on the conversations of his dinner guests, then sit in each of their chairs after they had left. Nicknamed ‘the fork’ at home, because that was the object he named when asked what he’d like to be, the seated boy would be tested. The father wanted to hear each of the guest’s arguments and thoughts through the mouth of his son, as though the boy was not just one man, but as many as ten. Almost word for word, ‘the fork’ recounted what these men had said, men who were among the finest thinkers in the city. The tale is chilling somehow. Not least because his father at the same age, raised his fists to the desolate sky of Jutland Heath, and cursed God for his suffering and fate. Not least because of the son sitting in each of those chairs, their backs straight and high, rising behind him like headstones, while the words of others poured from his mouth, his father at the head of the table, testing his son like God. Not least because when asked why he wanted to be a fork, Kierkegaard answered: “Well, then I could spear anything I wanted on the dinner table.” And if he was chased? “Well then,” he’d responded, “then I’d spear you.”
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Jane Monson's Speaking without Tongues, second selection, and launch tonight in Cardiff
Tonight former student Jane Monson launches her first collection, Speaking without Tongues (consisting entirely of prose poems), while Alison Bielski launches her latest, one of our skylarks, at the Wales Millennium Centre at 7 p.m. The event is free--say hello if you join me!
Here's a second selection from Jane's collection.