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Of Architecture: The Territories of a Mind by Vladimir Azarov, Nina Bunjevac

A lively collection populated by historical icons, each poem a story about the potency of imagination, territories, border-crossings of the mind – among them: the madness of a king who wants to be a swan, Michelangelo chiselling a heart that beats into his David, Tsar Peter with his three pet dwarfs acting as generals in the army, Vera Zasulich who became the world’s first woman terrorist, Robinson Crusoe hunting for the footprints of Friday, Michael Jackson pretending he is Marcel Marceau as he woos Marlene Dietrich in Paris… 
From the Introduction:
“A profound point becomes apparent as one explores Azarov’s juxtaposition of lovely bones: his is a classically trained mind just entered its eighth decade of life, still vibrantly trying to come to terms with that which we all ultimately face, the terrifying awareness of our own inescapable date with the black void of non-existence.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781550965599
Publisher: Exile Editions, Limited
Publication date: 05/01/2016
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 4.75(w) x 7.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Vladimir Azarov is an architect and poet, formerly from Moscow, who lives in Toronto. He has published Seven Lives, Broken Pastries, Mongolian Études, Night Out, Dinner With Catherine the Great, Imitation, Of Life and Other Small Sacrifices, The Kiss from Mary Pickford: Cinematic Poems, and Voices in Dialogue: Dramatic Poems – and with Barry Callaghan, Strong Words, translations in an English/Russian bilingual edition, of Anna Akhmatova, Alexander Pushkin, and Andrei Voznesensky. Nina Bunjevac of Yugoslavia deals with themes of the immigrant experience, loneliness and nationalism. Her work has appeared in Mineshaft magazine (USA), Carte Blanche (Canada), Asiatroma (France), Giuda and InguineMah (Italy), Komikaze (Croatia), Balkan Women in Comics (Croatia) and Best American Comics (USA). Her debut collection of comics was Heartless (2012), followed by Fatherland (2014) which was released in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., and translated for release in Germany, France, Czech Republic, Spain and Croatia. Edward Kay is an award-winning Toronto-based writer with an eclectic background in live-action and animated television comedy, as well as fiction and journalism. Like two of his literary heroes, Roald Dahl and Oscar Wilde, Edward is one of the relatively few writers to have a successful career writing for both adults and children.

Read an Excerpt

Of Architecture

The Territories of a Mind

By Vladimir Azarov, Nina Bunjevac

Exile Editions Ltd

Copyright © 2015 Vladimir Azarov
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-55096-574-2




    swans the colour of snow-pearl
    circle the indoor pond
    on the upper floor
    of the Residenz Palace in Munich,
    their lean necks
    looping in obeisance at midnight
    before the King's little punt
    as it noses through dark waters
    to an embankment where lackeys
    in royal livery hurry past a bamboo
    fisherman's hut to help him step out to join his tethered
    falcons and peacocks on a carpeted slope
    under an echoing arched ceiling
    and an artificial illuminated rainbow
    (he calls himself the Moon King)
    entering a grotto –
    his secret kingdom –
    to a violin's mournful tune
    and the water's babbling –
    the two in morbid harmony


    out of his closet
    of arcane memorabilia
    he comes disclosing his fractured inner self
    he comes a soul whose
    servants cannot ease his acedia
    he comes to engage his restless fantasies
    he comes on the spoor of his treasures
    he comes to be among his beefy Rubenesque
    under azure-blue skies
    flying figures lit up by flaring torches,
    susceptible to music's ministrations
    to the disputation between Van Dyck and Jordaens
    all this helps him to forget his aloneness
    as he surveys an old Flemish
    landscape of
    cold silver water
    walls roofed by red riffled tiles
    brick chimneys smoking
    the wings of mills wheeling against
    a pale sky confluent with the far horizon –
    all reflected in a river along with
    a man
    a boy
    a horse
    a dog
    a herd of black
    spotted cows, a green meadow
    heavy with dew


    the King feels a clamminess on the breeze –
    he examines various canvases
    then wipes away a spot of candle grease from and old oil
    sprackled by time
    dabs a handkerchief to his eye –
    kindly servants offer him
    a crystal glass
    he sips
    a little wine sighing
    taut, highly strung, he sleeps
    watchfully, his blood starts,
    forcing awake his high-voltage yodelling mind
    the King's brain sparks bio-signals
    he swans forward,
    has shocking fantasies –
    of how he might commit murder and how
    to sit down and die –
    how to forget the royal court's routine
    Europe's bloody wars
    the burghers' taxes the peasants' taxes


"Ludwig II," said Richard Wagner "is so soulful and lovely, that his life must melt away in this vulgar world ..." The young, handsome Bavarian King Ludwig was truly besotted with Wagner's music and wanted to become his patron. He offered to take all the financial burden away from Wagner leaving him free to create his art in an ideal atmosphere. To this end, King Ludwig installed Wagner in a beautiful villa close to the royal castle of Hohenschwangau.


    obviously wistful, sudden vigour transforms into
    images of architecture –
    Herrenchiemsee –
    Baroque and Rococo –
    a sparkling ornamental blast –
    fanciful, intricate, a sanctuary:
    morbid and mutinous by temper he has had
    his refuge built
    by a thousand peasant artisans
    as a scenic dream,
    green woods wedged between white-capped Alps
    sculpted castle towers
    a nest of palaces
    erected to rescue him from
    meddlesome demons


    the King absent-mindedly strolls
    down long mirrored rows
    of hollowed out rooms
    led on by
    haunting soprano sirens in full flight
    the Valkyris
    of the Nordic Sagas
    join him
    so pale, so dignified
    in his dreams,
    led by Lohengrin –
    by the King of the Nibelungs.


    the Swan King smiles, enraptured by echoes that
    resound through the lime trees
    and above his castle towers
    crenellated walls that reverberate around
    his royal aloneness
    reading Schiller aloud
    to the cows
    flaunting his aesthete's soul


At this time, Wagner's happiness was further enhanced by a meeting with a lady who was to become the third and last great love of his life. Ludwig requested the presence of the conductor and piano virtuoso Hans von Bülow and his wife Cosima. When Cosima and Wagner fell in love, Hans was prepared to sacrifice his unhappy marriage to the greater glory of Wagner's music.


    who, wearing blue and white swan feathers,v     strangled his doctor
    and sat down in the dark lake
    waters at Schloss Berg on Starnbergersee
    to drown himself at dusk, saying,
    "Eternity and infinity, I am in eternity and infinity."



    Memory of sun seeps from the heart.
    What is it? – Dark?


    The wind herding white cumulus clouds

    Not into coming rain
    But into trembling silhouettes
    Around a land of
    Gesticulating ghosts.
    Almost transparent as they turn into a crowd
    Not huge but all too real
    Of faces that I remember.
    With pounding heart I am aware of
    The presence of their absence,
    Bliss of airy footprints, unreal
    Crowd smirking, gossiping, laughing,
    O yes! they come to me
    Like this young woman
    Dalila? Why does she sing? Not talk?
    Behind her a muscled, mischievous boy
    Who must, it seems, share his every anecdote.
    His laughter still infects me
    As he asks, Are you actually in hockey's
    Cradle? Canada?
    I remember snow, hockey sticks, a puck,
    Your stutter — stride,
    Drunk, tipsy,
    Decades ago.
    Your only joy was hockey,
    A bright blond girl cries
    As she models in her mind a caricature

    And I cry out to her! I don't look anything like that!
    Then a discreet well-to-do young
    Lady gets all my attention hi hi and I hear

    What is Hecuba to him? Or he to Hecuba?

    As an actor interrupts
    Hamlet's monologue,
    While a curly black-haired guy hurries up to me
    Tuning his guitar to Pushkin's elegiac couplets,
    Singing to Akhmatova's oseless slut

"Who ever said that one was born just once?" says Jacques Derrida in Presence and Absence. "As I gaze out into the world I can say the world is present to my observing eye. Presence is, therefore, the main predicate for a text's meaning (its sense or its reference), despite the fact that this meaning is always absent and in need of reconstruction through reading or interpretation. In this way gaps, absences and deficiencies of all imaginable kinds are subordinate to a principle of presence."

    A modest smiling fellow pressing in on me,
    So close my breathing has become his breathing!
    Who's he? So familiar! His guilty smile
    My younger face in the morning's mirror!
    I AM YOU!
    A silence hangs no words the crowd thins
    All disappear
    All melt into the air    all withdraw
    The elegant girl waves her pale hand
    Ghostly silhouettes wheel
    Across icescape
    Ascending to the white sky's absence,
    Counter to gravity, counter to memory

"If the present moment can be repeated (i.e. remembered) then, preceding the present moment, is the possibility of its being repeated in memory (i.e., memory itself as repeatability). So memory precedes and exceeds the present moment, which we will have remembered. Memory, as tradition makes quite clear, ends up associated with death and the memorializing of the dead, or mourning, in a way that takes us back, always and from the beginning, to the second moment's absence."



    our mind rocks in a cradle inside
    a round skull
    a box a drawer
    this naked breakable
    bone cranium
    the impact of completed thought
    this shell encases
    the inwit of our industry
    the ground zero of our thinking,
    our silver-grey cerebrum
    of many
    a vascular

    a cerebrum responsible for our
    conscious though divided
    hemispheres, left and right
    that house living functions
    such as speech
    the recognition of objects
    and memory, and etc.
    thalamus and hypothalamus
    the geometric centre of this spatial entity
    that regulates
    hunger thirst
    sleep body-temperature divination
    water balance blood pressure ...

    2     a bio-electronic
    turned-on electric
    unceasingly accumulates
    our thoughts
    and stores them at the ready
    thinking matter
    radiating sparks
    pulsing trembling breathing
    beating striking chiming
    lying sitting eating drinking
    multi-functioning while acutely conscious
    of what is good
    to exercise
    to jog jump to leap spin
    to dance waltz
    a sensual material that needs
    sleeping yawning awakening
    making new business
    talking crying whispering
    laughing trolling
    subconsciously making love
    and consciously
    giving birth to a small spinning


"How does the physical brain rise to the psychological mind? How many Kings command that brain?"

"In Descartes' dualism, all phenomena is explained in terms of two distinct and irreducible principles, mind and matter, their only connection being the intervention of God."

"The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk hidden below water."

— Sigmund Freud


    an iceberg
    in the deep dark recesses of a saturated
    the iceberg as lighthouse
    as if lit from within an underwater station
    the one-seventh of its bulk a myth
    by Albert Einstein
    plus presumptive Freud's
    '10 percent myth'
    i.e. just 10% of our iceberg brain
    is ever used!
    and why?
    so that we might survive
    our own probes and proclivities
    and because of our fallow bio-God
    as it turns out
    we are not only limited in our ability to think as a form
    of play but have
    forgotten our
    ancient abilities that were once
    there with the roaring stegosaurus
    our own rock drawings
    but then the thinking world got more
    not just seeking bee smell as bees do,
    no! no! no! but using all our
    supply of brain cells
    skeptical critical
    crying out, Now!

    that was the '30s myth
    back in the time of Einstein/Freud
    our modern
    minds are
    on the edge of more and more incredible
    potential untapped
    information streams
    of course, it's true
    many neurons are
    but in some cases,
    an iceberg's deep bottom line
    is ripe and ready
    to serve any abstract
    irrational or rational command
    instinctive or intuitive intimate
    poetic ravings or
    rhythmical rhyming
    lines ornate stanzas ghazals
    or just plain narrative
    but no matter the way
    it is a stream
    of energetic consciousness
    that is on the march
    sustained by a semi-hidden
    using 100% of our
    iceberg's hemispheres


Excerpted from Of Architecture by Vladimir Azarov, Nina Bunjevac. Copyright © 2015 Vladimir Azarov. Excerpted by permission of Exile Editions Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

An Introduction Edward Kay xi

I Of Madness 1

II Of Memory 15

III Of Mind 23

IV Of Architecture 35

V Of Words 51

IV Of Geometry 69

VII Of the Queen of Enlightenment 79

VIII Of Deconstruction 95

IX Of a Footprint in the Heart 109

X Of Music 121

XI Of Pop 131

XII Of the Future 139

XIII Of Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna 147

XIV Of Catherine's Volga Guests 169

XV Of Fidel Castro 181

XVI Of Terrorism 187

Acknowledgements 194

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