From Feuntes’ “Myself with Others”

I went back to my notes from Feuntes’ Myself with Others, after I heard the news of his death.  They are as alive as they were some twenty-five years ago, when I wrote them down in a notebook whose pages have turned yellow and whose ink is a paler black.

Not his great work, and Feuntes’ literature not as monumental as Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s.  Still, a book of intimacies, to which one can return time and time again.


~~”One afternoon, on the beach at Lota in Southern Chile, I saw the miners as they came out, mole-like, from their work many feet under the sea, extracting the coal of the Pacific Ocean. They sat around a bonfire and sang, to guitar music, a poem from Neruda’s “Canto General.” I told them that the author would be thrilled to know that his poem had been set to music.

What author? they asked in surprise.  For them, Neruda’s poetry had no author, it came from afar, it had always been sung, like Homer’s.  It was, as Croce said of The Illiad “d’un popolo intero poetante,” of an entire poeitizing people.  It was the document of the original identity of poetry and history.”

~~”Nothing is shared in the abstract. Like bread and love, language and ideas are shared with human beings.”

~~”You start by writing to live. You end by writing so as not to die. Love is the marriage of this desire and this fear.  The women I have loved I had desired for themselves, but also because I feared myself.”

~~”Ancient peoples know that there are no words that do not descend from other words and that imagination only resembles power because neither can reign over Nada, Nothing, Niente…”

~~”No desire is innocent–because we not only desire, we also desire to change what we desire once we obtain it.”

~~On Maria Callas: “This woman I now saw, thinned down not by her will but by her sickness and her time,nearer every minute to her hone, every second more transparent and tenuously allied to life, possessed a hypnotic secret that revealed itself as attention.”

~~On Mexico: “Mexico is the sacred zone of a secret hope: the gods shall return.”

~~The language of the Mexicans springs from abysmal extremes of power and impotence, domination and resentment.”


About Taline Voskeritchian

Writing teacher at Boston University; translator (from Arabic and Armenian); prose writer; occasional editor; incurable wanderer.
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