Sunday, February 24, 2008

V as Soviet poster girl

I took this picture in April 1973 on the grounds of the University of California at Santa Cruz. It has always been one of my favorites among the (shockingly few) photos of her I possess. Remembering that time, I now think of a passage from Kingsley Amis' novel Lucky Jim:

As he left the bar with Christine at his side, Dixon felt like a special agent, a picaroon, a Chicago war-lord, a hidalgo, an oil baron, a mohock. He kept careful control over his features to stop them doing what they wanted to do and breaking out into an imbecile smirk of excitement and pride. When she turned and faced him on the edge of the floor, he found it hard to believe that she was really going to let him touch her, or that the men near them wouldn't spontaneously intervene to prevent him...

Monday, February 18, 2008


She liked this poem, I remember, even though she disdained the George Kline translation:

Once more we're living by the bay,
and clouds of black smoke drift, daily, above us.
Our own Vesuvius has cleared its throat;
volcanic ash is settling in the side streets.
Our windowpanes have rattled to its roaring.
Some day we too will be shrouded with ashes.
And when that happens, at that awful moment,
I'd like to take a streetcar to the outskirts
of town and find your house;
and if, after a thousand years,
a swarm of scientists should come here
to dig our city out, I hope they'll find me,
cloaked with the ashes of our modern epoch,
and everlastingly within your arms.
—Joseph Brodsky