By Deb A.
A gift to newlyweds from the state in the late 1930s, Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is now illegal to copy or print in Germany. But in 2016, 70 years after Hitler's death, the book will enter the public domain. One publication is already slated to hit the stores: a heavily annotated version designed by the Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich to set the record straight.
Christian Hartmann, the historian heading up the project, took a clinical approach to the hate-filled text, but still found the language and violence "nauseating". He told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung that although the original book was "full of errors and poorly written, with substandard editing," it must be taken seriously, as "one of the most important sources for understanding Hitler and his worldview."
The new edition will offer fact-checking, rebuttals, context and clarification that will give the reader more than an understanding of Hitler's worldview: the ammunition to refute it will run right alongside. The original text will no longer stand in the foreground; by enclosing it within the commentary, the IfZ aims to highlight the truth, which more often than not stands in stark contrast to Hitler's claims. Each of the over 3500 footnotes was heavily researched--references to Jews as "maggots" actually led to conversations with parasitologists--and even technically true statements were subject to intensive examination and elucidation. In many cases the commentary is longer than the actual text to which it refers.
Refuting Hitler's fear mongering and hate with pure facts brought Dr. Hartmann tremendous satisfaction, and he believes that offering an edition that challenges the polemics of Mein Kampf--as well as any uncritical versions that may appear on the market--is a national duty that is well worth a lifetime of finding his name linked to Hitler's on Google.
"Elizabeth" is the debut poetry volume of English poet, Charlie Baylis, published by Agave Press. Divided into two parts, the first section is a selection of poetry that has appeared in various journals and magazines, including the Pushcart Prize-nominated "Along the Westway" which originally appeared in Agave Magazine, Vol. 2, Issue 2. The second section contains his long poem "Elizabeth," a romantic, post-surreal work.
In this first blog installment, Charlie shares his inspiration, and gives us some insight into his literary process.
Italian and Spanish for spring (of course), spring is the season of new beginnings, so it seems like a good place to kick off my print career. I had a rough version of a different sonnet in my pocket and typed it up, but with new ideas on top, so it became a better poem (this is a good way to write, blend two pieces together and keep the best of both bits). It was my intention to write sonnets for each season; I managed three for winter (included later) but I got nothing for summer or for autumn (strange—as it’s such a poetic season).
Oh dear! I wrote ‘Archangels are playing in October leaves’ last time I checked October was not in Spring, perhaps these leaves have been around a while.
Eugene Gardens is a real place not far from where I live in Nottingham (it is in other things I’ve written too). If I take the bus to the city centre, the automated voice will say, at some point, ‘next stop Eugene Gardens.' I just thought the words sounded nice (but its actually quite a rough place).
"Along the Westway"
An Agave original! It’s thanks to this poem that this chapbook exists, as it forms the basis of my relationship with the lovely people at Agave. This poem has two important musical touchstones. Under the Westway by Blur, which gave me a location and a bit of sad feeling, then the two italicised lines (Maybe there’s nothing here for us/Maybe nowhere we belong) came from me mishearing Book of Revelations by the Drums, which I thought went, "'there’s nothing here/and when we die we die’ but actually go 'I don’t believe/ and when we die we die’." Being hard of hearing is a great way of avoiding plagiarism!
This poem contains a puzzle: to solve it collect up all the single letters (apart from a’s and I’s). It should spell a name. If you need more help look at the back cover of the book for a clue. The poem was originally addressed to someone I gave a very bad review, I guess it came out of guilt, but when I read it through I realize that I was thinking about someone else (I’m not helping by being vague – sorry!). I will say no more.
"In San Francisco"
I’ve never actually been to San Francisco, or anywhere near it. I hoped to make that clear by writing in the future tense but I’m not very good with grammar so that broke. Anyway, the poem is a vision of being in San Francisco. Half-way through, the poem gives away the name Federica, whom we met in "Primavera" and will meet again later, but I’m not going to tell you who she is!
I originally wrote this on blue card, then typed it up and gradually added more and more to it. One of its big influences is referenced in the poem in the line 'Phoenician girls will play in the sand as I read Son de Negroes en Cuba, FGL’ FGL being the magical Federico Garcia Lorca.
Under the title I originally put 'translated from the French of Stephen Mallarmé’ before I realized I’d been so unfaithful to the original that this could never be considered a translation. To see how much it differs, read a faithful translation. Mallarmé is really hard to translate anyway, not that I’m any great expert on translation, as you can read in my Exiles blog. I did manage to crowbar my muse Elizabeth in. This was going to be a substitute for the summer sonnet I never wrote for my four season sonnet sequence, but then I still didn’t have anything for Autumn.
Thank-you, Charlie! We look forward to Parts 2 & 3 on the blog this September. As a special treat for our readers, use coupon code Blog15 for 15% off your purchase of Charlie's book.
When I got an email asking me to share my Summer reading list, I was simultaneously elated and panicked. I will read anything, anywhere, but my literary path is rarely charted out in advance, and I tend to stumble upon what I end up reading. I hadn't actually put together and written down a summer reading list in at least 10 years, and now a list of books would be my introduction to the Agave world. We're now well into August, and I've had some interesting moments as I ready my way through that list:
How has your summer of reading been going? Are you happy with what you've been reading? Have there been any big misses? Let us know in the comments!
This is a curious time of year. July often passes in a flash, but August tends to feel like a bridge we have to trudge over to reach our real destination. A new season is just around the corner, but not quite close enough, and there's a collective sense that we're all just waiting for something. But what? To welcome in a month that truly epitomizes our complicated relationship with time, today we're giving you Kahlil Gibran's take on the passage of time.
Photo Credit: Alexandra Vacaroiu, “Dreams #7”
And an astronomer said, "Master, what of Time?"
And he answered:
You would measure time the measureless and the immeasurable.
You would adjust your conduct and even direct the course of your spirit according to hours and seasons.
Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.
Yet the timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness,
And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.
And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.
Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless?
And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not form love thought to love thought, nor from love deeds to other love deeds?
And is not time even as love is, undivided and paceless?
But if in you thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons,
And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.
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