June 16, 1904, Dublin.
Perhaps the most famous day in literary history. It was the day many have followed who actually sat down, buckled in and read James Joyce’s Ulysses, cover-to-cover.
It is a monumental task, and one well worth trying.
The brawlers, and a squirrel, attempted the feat this year. We started at 7 p.m. on the 16th, and really had no hope of getting all the way to Penelope. We made it to the end of Proteus.
We continued with Calypso the 17th in the AM, though we’re sure all the purists out there would be scowling through mouthfuls of kidney and other flesh of fowls and what not at us not following the Bloomsday rules.
The Jameson did help a little.
In the end, we did our best, and made it past Aeolus, and had a bunch of fun in the process. Eric was voted “Most likely to read about farts or dumps” and no reading should every be done without the musical accompaniment of Mr. Nick MacMahon.
Next year, we’ll go for the whole tome.
‘Zounds! contributor and poet Ryan Buynak, Coyote Blood, also gave it a whirl, and gave us this reflection. Enjoy:
I read the first few pages and graves
of Ulysses today,
because it is June 16th, Bloomsday,
and because my friends
in Montreal and Berlin
and other places
are posting about it on Instagram,
so I feel the need to get it.
the action has me savvy,
especially after work
when I dig for the big copy
that I have had forever,
started and stopped,
given in to the prose
and given up on the poetry
of the piece of perfection.
this copy has been with me,
soaked in a tidal wave
on Fire Island that summer,
ripped by chicks that I have loaned it to,
and has seen bookshelves
in Florida, NYC, Montreal, Florida
and NYC, as well as
the backs of cars and the tops of bars.
this book by James
has given me whiskey,
nights, sexual candidates lost,
and tonight that is more recognizable
than the best commercials for soap
or broken noses and broken dreams.