Hun 10, 2016

Notes on Gertrude Stein’s “Celery”

Celery tastes tastes where in curled lashes and little bits and mostly in remains.

A green acre is so selfish and so pure and so enlivened.

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[ bartleby ]

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D— Celery tastes tastes where in curled lashes and little bits and mostly in remains.

Those lashes could be curling as in the act of whipping. Perhaps this acre is not as pure as it feels in the mouth. So “lashes” are soft “on the eyes,” but those s-sounds from kind of seethe, for example: ending as they do in those fertile “remains”.

A green acre is so selfish and so pure and so enlivened.

What a redundancy of life in this one, and selfish of course stands out. This green comes at the cost of those remains, conceivably buried in the soil beneath.

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D— Something sounds quite technical now that you’ve highlighted it. If legal, perhaps pointing to an institutionalized injustice? As for “tastes tastes,” one of them could be a verb, and if grammatical, it should be the first. The celery is the one doing the tasting, eating of those lost, nameless bits, those buried remains. If these nameless had “tastes,” these would not now be distinct from the vegetable’s taste. And now the agency, the spirit, the subjectivity belongs to the celery.

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D— Odysseus also found herbs. And following Heracles and his (pre)Spartan boys, I came upon a wreath of celery. So pure! So enlivened! And maybe something that might account for the remains:
While she showed to the heroes the way to the nearest well, she left the child behind lying in a meadow, which during her absence was killed by a dragon. When the Seven on their return saw the accident, they slew the dragon and instituted funeral games to be held every third year. 

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D— Never thought of linking them that way, T—, one leading to the other. I’ve always somehow seen these subpoems as independent, linked in terms of theme and image. But yes, if they are courses in a meal...

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D— And lashes... Pip was to be led (then tied) by Ahab with “man-rope”