Eunoia : Christian Bok

In these freezing days in a house full of people coughing and spluttering I do not have my usual time to read. To keep me amused I dip into favourite books and read a paragraph or two before putting on the kettle to make another batch of hot lemon drinks. Those of you who have been readers of this blog for a long time will recall my admiration for this author and his cleverness in writing small stories where he uses only one vowel.

Here ‘a’ is his vowel of choice

Hassan can ask that a barman at a bar tap a cask and draw a man a draft (half a dram, a glass): marc, grappa and armagnac, malt, arrack and schnapps.  (Gamma Kappa Lambda) clack tankards and gawk at a gal, as a gal dabs at black mascara…

And later ‘o’

 Snobs who go to Bonn for bonbons know how to shop for good food: go to Moncton for cod, go to Concord for lox. Cooks who know how to cook coq d’or cook cochon d’Ormont or cochon d’Orloff, not pork chops or pork hocks. Cooks who do not know how to cook posh food do not opt to shop for lots of tools: no woks, spoons or forks, no pots crocks or bowls.

And one of my favourites (not related to food) where he uses only the vowel ‘u’ to create a gallery of sounds from nature.

Gulls churr: ululu, ululu. Ducks cluck. Bulls plus bucks run thru buckbrush: thus dun burrs clutch fur tufts. Ursus cubs plus Lupus pups hunt skunks. Curs skulk ( such mutts lurk: ruff, ruff.) Gnus munch kudzu. Lush shrubs bud; thus church nuns pluck uncut mums. Bugs hum: buzz, buzz. Dull susurrus gusts murmur hushful, humdrum murmurs: huh, hush.

I suggest you try reading some of these little gems aloud to your guests after a hearty meal accompanied by various suitable wines. A winner every time.

Eunoia won the Griffin Poetry prize in 2002

Christian Bök’s latest work is The Kazimir Effect a visual poetry project inspired by the Constructivist artist Kazimir Malevich. The TLS Supplement named it as one of the books of the year in 2021.

10 thoughts on “Eunoia : Christian Bok

  1. Did you review “Miss Wilmott’s Ghosts?” by Sandra Lawrence? I can’t think why else I would have ordered it from England? It’s mesmerizing, and well written. She was a famous and wealthy (for much of her life) gardener, photographer, and character.

    Sorry to hear about the coughing and hot lemon drinks. It sounds very damp and not at all fun. Hope the depths of winter are soon gone, and the weather improves.

    1. No I don’t think either of us has read that. Is it a biography/memoir? If so I would like.
      The guests have just left and the sun is shining and we don’t seem to be ill, so fingers crossed.

  2. You are in your winter now, how is the covid flu going, or are these your usual winter colds and such? Have you heard about the farmers uprising in Holland? Are you having any such unrest there Gert?

    1. There is still a fair deal of Covid about, but not with us ( so far.) Still some other nasty tenacious viruses, though. A very cold winter in Victoria and floods in Sydney.

  3. Sorry to hear you are somewhat under the weather down there. (It seems odd to be writing tis when the sun is shining brightly over here!) Returning to a favourite author sounds like the best way of finding solace – I hope you feel better soon!

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