Normally I’m personally against “re-blogging,” and posting quotes is essentially just a high-brow form of re-blogging. But damn if Nabokov didn’t just get me so well, and damn if I don’t want to put this on the internet:
We shall accompany Gradus in constant thought, as he makes his way from distant dim Zembla to green Appalachia, through the entire length of the poem, following the road of its rhythm, riding past in a rhyme, skidding around the corner of a run-on, breathing with the caesura, swinging down to the foot of the page from line to line as from branch to branch, hiding between two words [...] reappearing on the horizon of a new canto, steadily marching nearer in iambic motion, crossing streets, moving up with his valise on the escalator of the pentameter, stepping off, boarding a new train of thought, entering the hall of a hotel, putting out the bedlight, while Shade blots out a word, and falling asleep as the poet lays down his pen for the night.
-from Pale Fire (78)
I always cite Nabokov as one of my poetic influences, and as one of my favorite poets even though he is technically a novelist. His prose ambles so effortlessly and also purposefully. He mingles subjects and disciplines as if they were the same (see Luzhin Defense for lovely examples of this). His use of subtlety and nuance and foreshadow is awe inspiring. In short, I’m obsessed.
Enjoying Pale Fire poolside in Vegas this weekend (the poets guide to a weekend of indulgence), I couldn’t help but read the following passage aloud to one of my girlfriends lying beside me. While she tolerated my moment of awe, I delighted in the way his words rolled off my tongue beneath the din of splashing water and outdoor speakers blasting pop music. Nabokov sometimes really needs to be read aloud. And over and over.
And over and out.