Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The poet’s grandmother

with 3 comments

Josef Kainar

I was nineteen when, in my hometown, a young academic gave a public lecture; it was during the first months of the Communist revolution, and bowing to the spirit of the time, he talked about the social responsibility of art. After the conference, there was a discussion; what I remember is, the poet Josef Kainar…who, in response to the scholar’s talk, told this anecdote:

A little boy takes his blind grandmother for a walk. They are strolling down the street and from time to time the little boy says, “Grandma watch out—a root!” Thinking she is on a forest trail, the old woman keeps jumping. Passersby scold the little boy: “Son, you’re treating your grandmother so badly!” And the little boy says: “She’s my grandma! I’ll treat her any way I want!” And Kainar finishes, “That’s me, that’s how I am about my poetry.”

Milan Kundera, The Curtain

Written by nevalalee

July 17, 2016 at 7:30 am

3 Responses

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  1. thanks for sharing, that made me chuckle

    Luke Otley

    July 17, 2016 at 7:42 am

  2. @Luke Otley: It made me laugh, too. And I also spent a lot of time wondering why “grandmother” is so much funnier than, say, “mother” or “son.”


    July 17, 2016 at 8:51 pm

  3. I’m going to pretend the grandma knew and was humoring her grandson. It’ll make me think more kindly on both of them.

    Morgan Hazelwood

    July 18, 2016 at 1:25 pm

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