In love with Daniil Kharms

daniil kharms

daniil kharms

Maybe this just continues my tradition of falling for emotionally unavailable totally checked-out men, but in the case of Kharms, who cares.

Daniil Kharms (1905-1942) is a writer of short fiction, a poet, a diarist, a playwright– all of those things but none of them. As his translator, Matvei Yankelevich, says in the intro to Today I Wrote Nothing, “…in many of his best works, Kharms tests the waters of oblivion and then dives into negation, perhaps knowing that nothingness and infinity are one and the same.”

George Saunders wrote in a review of Kharms’ work a few years back (paraphrasing here) that in the process of trying to pound a nail, Kharms vaporizes his own hammer. Unknown

I love how his pieces feel strange but not, never, artificial. I never see the “writerly” or workshop-y move. It’s as if he’s too honest to actually be a writer.

Here’s one of his short pieces.

Blue Notebook #10

There was a redheaded man who had no eyes or ears. He didn’t have hair either, so he was called a redhead arbitrarily.
He couldn’t talk because he had no mouth. He didn’t have a nose either.
He didn’t even have arms or legs. He had no stomach, he had no back, no spine, and he didn’t have any insides at all. There was nothing! So, we don’t even know who we’re talking about.
We’d better not talk about him any more.

WRITING CLASS RI
WRITING WORKSHOPS RI

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