Hans Ostrom (1954): 'My favorite philosopher is Spinoza'

Hans Ostrom, is sinds 1983 verbonden aan de Universiteit van Puget Sound in Tacoma, een stad in de Amerikaanse staat Washington. Hij schreef en redigeerde vele boeken, waaronder literatuur-anthologieën, tekstboeken, artikelen en verhalen en meer dan honderd gedichten. Hij verzorgde vele cursussen, zoals ‘creative writing’, hedendaagse Amerikaanse dichters etc.

Ostrom was mederedacteur en leverde bijdragen aan de vijfdelige The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African-American Literature (edited with J. David Macey; Greenwood Press, 2005). Zijn The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976-2006 (Dog Ear Publishing, 2006) werd door de winnaar van de Pulitzer Prize en dichter Karl Shapiro aangeprezen als "genuine American poetry at its best."

Zie zijn uitvoerige CV, zijn lemma op Wikipedia. Vele van zijn gedichten zijn hier te vinden.

Niet bij die gedichtenverzameling, maar op zijn weblog, publiceerde Hans Ostrom een drietal gedichten, waarin Spinoza voorkomt. Hij schreef over Spinoza in dit blog:

"My favorite philosopher is Spinoza. I've been reading him (his work) ever since I took that history of philosophy course, and I plunged into Ethics again about a year ago. --Not exactly light reading. But the line of argument is elegant, and the thinking is cool, as in chilly. God is the substance, goes one part of the argument, and everything else (pieces of reality large and small) comprises attributes of God. Evil springs from human misguidedness and mis-perception, not from Satan.

The poet in me likes the fact that Spinoza earned his living as a lens-grinder in the Netherlands, where his Jewish community excommunicated him. Later, a colleague encouraged him to become a Catholic. Unfortunately, the colleague's argument (I take great liberties with the paraphrasing here) was something like "all the popular people in Europe are converting to Catholicism!" Spinoza politely told the fellow that when he (the friend) came to his senses, he would know how ridiculous the invitation and the argument were."

Ik neem hier een van zijn gedichten over; voor de andere verwijs ik naar zijn weblog.






Rubber Bands

I bought a bag of rubber bands. What a paltry
confession! The purchase paid retail homage (one
dollar) to simple binding and flexibility in this age
of monstrous, rigid packaging. I thought of all those
times we searched a whole abode like jonesing addicts
for just one thing: paper clip, shoe lace, thumb tack,
rubber band. Benedict Spinoza proved to my

satisfaction that anything which is, is an attribute
of the only substance (God), which includes
rubber bands, which in repose are lazy bracelets
and flaccid circles. I admit I bought a bag

of rubber bands because they were so much
themselves for so little money. Like cats,
rubber bands stretch profoundly and then
return to their original composure and serenity.


Hans Ostrom



Niets mis met snelbinders, net als met de bijbel!

Pas nu stuit ik toevallig op dit blog (ik hoopte een nieuw gedicht te treffen):
A Spinoza/Rubber Bands Re-Post

So someone in the Netherlands re-posted something from this blog--a brief homage to my favorite philosopher, Spinoza, followed by a poem I'd written about rubber bands and in which I mentioned Baruch--or Benedict.

A Spinoza/Rubber Bands re-positng doesn't happen every day. Well, at least not to me. Yes, yes, I know there are more pressing matters out there, but still: Spinoza, rubber bands, re-posting.

And thanks to those folks in the Netherlands.


Ik leg dit hierbij even vast... het ís gezien.