Anthony Rudolf - Tuesday 1st Febrary

We've a fantastic set of events lined up for the first half of 2011 (see our programme page for details), and our first event offers the rare opportunity to hear and to pose questions to renowned poet, literary essayist and translator Anthony Rudolf. As anyone who has read his remarkable recent 'welcome return to poetry' from Carcanet, Zigzag, will know, this is an event not to be missed.

Born in London in 1942, Anthony Rudolf is the author of a well-received memoir The Arithmetic of Memory and wrote the first extended study in English of Primo Levi. As a literary essayist, Rudolf has ranged widely, from Balzac and Byron to F.T. Prince and Borges. In 1998, he turned to fiction, and in a period of four or five years wrote a book of prose fables, The Mermaid from the Azores, and around that time began writing essays about visual artists, including R.B. Kitaj (National Gallery, 2001). Rudolf has recently completed a long autobiographical meditation, Like the Picture of Somebody Reading.

He has translated several books of poetry from French and Russian, and has edited various anthologies. His reviews, articles, poems, translations, obituaries and interviews with writers have appeared in numerous journals. Rudolf is an occasional broadcaster on radio and television and founder of Menard Press. His most recent book is Zigzag : five prose/verse sequences.

The event will feature a Q&A session following the readings.

Tuesday 1st February, The Punter, Open Mic floor spots, books for sale. Doors 7.30pm Readings 8pm.

KAFKA'S DOLL (extract)

Smiling at the mother, the couple asked her the child's name, which turned out to be Dora. They spoke to her. Then the man questioned her. 'I've lost my doll,' sobbed little Dora, in complete despair.

Without pausing for thought, the man invented a story to explain the disappearance of the doll. 'Your doll has gone on a journey. I know, because she wrote me a letter.'

[...]

That evening, after supper, the man sat down to write the letter which the little girl believed he had left at home. He was a writer and his name was Franz Kafka. His girlfriend's last name was Dora, like the child's. Her first name was Diamant.

[...]

Franz treated all forms of writing equally seriously. By pretending that he had received a letter from the lost doll, he was playing a serious game. If the doll was real for the little girl, then the doll was an aspect of the world's truth, and so was the letter from the doll.

[...]

the end must be exactly right; it must supply an answer to the little girl, explain why the doll won't be coming back, meaning why the story and the storytellers won't be coming back. After all, we know that what is lost is not always found; and that the replacement - the found object which was the story - cannot continue any longer than its maker allows it to. He, like the doll, must move on. The end game had arrived.

Anthony Rudolf (from Zigzag)