“Ballets” by Richard Kostelanetz


An artist admiring intently, for days without sleep, a painting of the Holy Family eventually identifies himself with Christ on the cross.

In one of his opium dreams, the sleeping choreographer meets an angel who introduces him to other dancers already resident in ballet heaven.To initiate him into their different world, the other dancers imitate poorly his signature moves.

Two children of quarreling farmers meet at school and fall in love, necessarily leaving their homes, though underage. They secretly board a barge heading downstream, hiding beneath sacks of grain harvested from their families’ farms. When it sinks, they die.

The spook of a murdered woman returns to dance with her husband, who, in honor of the occasion, suddenly appears twenty years younger.

When a pilot who dies in an ocean crash returns to his fiancee as a ghost, she agrees to follow him to his submarine cave, where they are wed. Consummation becomes impossible, given their inhabiting different realms, until she too becomes a ghost and an infant is born.

Thanks to effects possible with videotape, we see on the small screen a man, obviously exhausted, continually climbing upwards to heaven and repeatedly passing a sign marked only with an infinity symbol.

Individual entries on Richard Kostelanetz’s work in several fields appear in various editions of Readers Guide to Twentieth-Century Writers, Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature, Contemporary Poets, Contemporary Novelists, Postmodern Fiction, Webster’s Dictionary of American Writers, The HarperCollins Reader’s Encyclopedia of American Literature, Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Directory of American Scholars, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in American Art, NNDB.com, Wikipedia.com, and Britannica.com, among other distinguished directories. Otherwise, he survives in New York, where he was born, unemployed and thus overworked.


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