These days I spend a little of every day dreaming of Chile, where I'll be teaching a poetry workshop next summer if all goes well and enough students enroll. The pile of books beside my bed has gotten very Chile-intensive lately. Right now, each night before I fall asleep, I read a little of Isabel Allende's My Invented Country.
At the book's start, Allende thrillingly captures what's unique about her homeland's geography:
"This elongated country is like an island, separated on the north from the rest of the continent by the Atacama Desert--the driest in the world, its inhabitants like to say, although that must not be true, because in springtime parts of that lunar rubble tend to be covered with a mantle of flowers, like a wondrous painting by Monet. To the east rises the cordillera of the Andes, a formidable mass of rock and eternal snows, and to the west the abrupt coastline of the Pacific Ocean. Below, to the south, lie the solitudes of Antarctica. This nation of dramatic topography and diverse climates, studded with capricious obstacles and shaken by the sighs of hundreds of volcanoes, a geological miracle between the heights of the cordillera and the depths of the sea, is unified top to tail by the obstinate sense of nationhood of its inhabitants."
Doesn't that sound incredible?
And while we're on the subject of South America, this is too good not to share: Bruce Springsteen in Sao Paolo, opening last Wednesday night's show with a rousing song by local hero Raul Seixas: