A mattress made to resemble a canoe, paddling upstream against death

Broad Street (The Death Of Literature Using An Old Wardrobe) ©MAIERMOUL
Broad Street (The Death Of Literature Using An Old Wardrobe) ©MAIERMOUL

Some of these stories were especially interesting, such as the one presented by Rene Daumal, who reflected on the death of literature using an old wardrobe.

His spectacle concluded with the following wise words, uttered by a puppet meant to be the Phantom of the Opera: “Properly considered, literature comes alive when someone, sitting down to write a simple letter, hesitates for a few moments, wondering how to make what he proposes to say credible. And in the worst-case scenario– taking into account that people will one day cease to write letters– literature will still never die, that is, as long as the poets know how to read as well as how to write: Poets will never die, precisely because they die.”

Death, the language of death, language, and the death of language were the most common themes of the performances at the Malabar. And when word came of Jacques Rigaut’s disappearance in Palermo, a dramatization of his death by Georgia O’Keeffe became a favorite among the portable audience.

It was narrated in a cruel an coldhearted manner, seeing that Jacques Rigaut was presented on stage going mad and finally throwing himself grotesquely onto a mattress made to resemble a canoe, paddling upstream against death. Tasteless and unfair, it provoked critical responses. Frederico Garcia Lorca’s stood out in particular; without ever having personally met Rigaut, he decided to rise to his defense and put on one of the Bahnhof Zoo‘s loveliest ever puppet shows.

-Enrique Vila-Matas, A Brief History of Portable Literature

Danny Byrne’s review at groovy genius magazine Music and Literature