Friday, April 29, 2005
Thursday, April 28, 2005
my friend Isaac, the 10 year old writer I know, is reading Dubliners. only just started, but I can see the gears grinding about ficion of such sort. certes he's down with action/adventure, but there's a palpable draw towards all sorts of literature. he likes the formal rumble of Shakespeare and English poetry, however much he likes the poetry itself. its fascinating to see such a receptive intellect in one so young. what I mean by receptive intellect, he hears the differences. I don't mean he's about to write an MFA paper on Joyce. he doesn't get it in that sense. but he's a sponge, and is sensitive to words going around and about. he's not yet at a stage of rewriting, but a critical factor of sorts is at work. which is not to say we didn't play a few games of Hangman together.
I stopped reading Here Comes Everybody regularly as its repetitions started to cause a blur. asking the same questions of everyone has its value, and then it has its weakness. I still think it is an excellent project. Jukka's take is fascinating. he says he's only been writing for 3 years. jinkies!!! well indeed, there's that freshness to his work. I took up painting 3 years ago. so I approach it as someone with mature artistic sensibilties (grant me the mature part: I've been writing for 35 years). as a dumbass American, I'm fascinated by ESLs (a joke someone told me: what do you call one who speaks 3 languages? trilingual. what do you call one who speaks 2? bilingual. what do you call one who speaks one? American). to work in a 2nd language adds this special tension and let us say shift. Jukka as editor has wideranging taste. cerainly is an energetic fellow.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
more Richard Thompson. here's RT doing a Britney Spear song. haha, of course, but in fact, he does it straight. in further fact, he turned it into a personal RT song. that speaks to this fuzzy thing authentic that I brought up earlier. years ago I saw a solo concert by Paddy Keenan, who was the piper for the awesome Irish folk group the Bothy Band. at one point, he played, of all things, "O Susanna". you'd think that old war horse (not that it aint a nifty song)was the crinkliest thing possible for someone of his virtuosity to play, but in fact it was completely new. his playing was a re-recognition of every note. at another point in that concert, he was fussy with his pipes. his reeds were being obstinate. suddenly he rolls into "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik", a substantial portion of it. again, it's a stunning, wonderful reconfiguration. poets, we are challenged to bring something. I will call it the authentic. it is this charge across the light years, personism plus, to you, and even you... who's willing?
listening to a song by Richard Thompson, Vincent Black Lightning 1952 (hit Listen To Him Now link). the studio version is scintillating, this live version likewise. my eyes popped out when I saw him sing it in concert. he is of course a wonderful guitarist but the vocals really get me. his voice is something to get used to. it's kind of odd, and there can be a snarl in it that's a bit too direct. however he's made the most of it. like Clapton his vocals have gotten better over the years. there's a lot of strength in them now. more importantly, there's a lot of feeling. much singing is an effort to put the song across, there's a kind of push, a mechanical process. I think RT commits to something authentic. but me no buts about the use of the word authentic. we live in a world in which we believe in things. a lot of poetry is written mechanically, with some kind of push towards the reader. that's unavoidable, I know it. I just want to acknowledge the okay emotion. this song just now brought tears to my eyes. it did the same last night. this is just where I am. I'm a little tender now. I don't want to write about that. I don't want to write with that. I do want to feel it can be true to what prevails. I guess I'll leave I at that. don't forget to catch RT live, whether solo or with his always dynamic group.
Monday, April 25, 2005
been reading Schuyler's diaries, which are lovely. they aren't especially gossipy but I wish they were so. there's a surprisingly scornful few words about Edwin Denby, no doubt after their relationship had faded. Schuyler rarely shows that kind of eruption. he admits some irritation towards one of Porter's (I think) young daughters, then says never mind to that, I'm the adult and I don't want to ruin this friendship. very sweet. I like the pictures. there's a portrait fo him as a child, looks like one of the Little Rascals. Schuyler in his Navy uniform appears to be 12 years old. a shot of Schuyler in his 20s with his hair pomped like the singer for Flock of Seagulls. a few shots of Ashbery smiling. from his poetry one surmises Ashbery a remote, cool person. he wasn't so when I met him at Franconia but it's an impression one gets. a couple of pictures of Joe Brainard wearing a sterioded Barnaby Street tie or some such. there is definitely something about Brainard. Anselm Berrigan has a couple of really nice poems about Brainard. the book also has an extensive list of Dramatic Personnae, which is rather gossipy. I don't know the social history of the New York poets, so it's revelatory in an unimportant way to read of the relationships, this person with that. a pleasant read. a book to own (which I don't) as diaries read best scattershot.
that linguistic profile probably don't mean a lot. television certainly leveled our regional differences. I read somewhere that skillet is a southern word and that I should be saying spider. I'd never heard of spider at the time. now I'm not so sure that a spider isn't something different, a skillet with legs, for use in a fireplace.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
this appeared on Wryting-L but I neglected to point it out. luckily Lanny Quarles thought to. Jim Leftwich is very perceptive as critic and John Bennett is fascinating as subject (could go vice versa, as well). reading Leftwich (alogn with Peter Ganick), by the way, opened up a portal for me, a sense of a longer work that has been important to my own work.
I say below that Instant Red came out of my reading of A&G. well that's ridiculous, at least in much sense. I meant I was excited in reading the book, and felt a drive towards more narrative. but if Schuyler sloughs off the fancy stuff, IR revels in it. altho Guenevere (aka Gee Gee) is happy to throw in a little style, as Tom Sawyer also liked to do, the novelist restrains himself from overloading the framework. which is the children, in the world that they see. a tender, alert effort on his part. in IR, just so you know, ye who bother with it, I simply want to play around with these goofy characters, Kirk Douglas, Fu Manchu, Bao Dai, etc...
time to get serious. out goes blogs of Henry Gould, Karl Merleau-Marcuse, and Steve Till, for quiescence. all may come back when life returns. newly in are Shanna Compton and Jordan Davis. Shanna's is a busy scan around. with Jordan, I'm just admitting that I'm envious: funny, arch, cryptic, bright. I keep thinking I should be envious of Kasey Mohammad but his blog rarely makes use of his best attributes. that's why it took me 30 years to return to college.
mention someone on your blog and they're guilted into mentioning you, that is, me. now, it feels icky referring to a post about me but plunge on captain of this instant, is what I say. David uses the term 'theatre of isolation'. just as Ginsberg was theatrically public, one can be theatrically isolated as well. or theatrically private (perhaps Plath, if you get me). that I wrote, and still do, in a theatre of this particular condition is just the way I ventured. I won't try to assess the virtues of this, that would just be theatrical. when I read "Easily Perfected" at Christina Strong's a week ago, I noted spontaneous approval. it's a poem I love, even having written it, and I felt the moment of giving it, in this instant, to Tim, but still. I knew only 3 people there and hadn't even mustered my most sociable note, so it's the naked little poem on its own. the Instant Red piece I have going on yet another blog (it's not written on the blog, unlike R&S, for instance), came out of my reading of Alfred and Guenevere. (am I about to tangent with centripetal force or will I bring this back to some initial 'point'? blimey, I dunno!!!). that novel throws away the fancy stuff. the important themes reside below the surface, mostly, only scarsely poking up disconcertingly. an effort on Schuyler's part to free himself from the exigencies of the novel. Ashbery notes in his intro that the original publisher included quaint illustrations under the inpression that the book was intended for children. I remember reading that version years ago, and yes, the illustrations hearkened more to Madeleine or whatever pleasant children's stories. so that I wondered some if I was getting the book right. Brainard maybe would've been a likelier choice for illustrations, if illusrations were needed. and I'm sure I have a point here, even if I haven't unravelled it. I know there are social exigencies to be wary of, poetrywise. that the influence of influence can overwhelm. O'Hara seems to've been pretty darn social, but think: O'Hara was napkin poet par excellence. he wrote poems and forgot about them. I think that forgetting was a way to detach the social influence. a way of letting go of the specific impulse, there 'midst all those New York geniuses. does that make sense? I mean, does what I posit? because I see the possibility of freezing in place thru too much positional discussion of the sort artists will produce and engage in. O'Hara's freedom exists in his letting the poems go. write it then throw it in a drawer. is there a fresher poet than O'Hara? I think of 2 Lowells. one the New England isolato, the other the learned literary craftsman. there's an impulse in Lowell to labour earnestly within the social circle of 'The Classics', and there's an impulse, contrary, to rifle his ex-wife's letters and crack up. to my eyes, the earnest labourer won, but I note that Lowell pushed towards the outer circle. eccentric. one sees the same with Plath. I wonder if I am even surrounding a point here. I don't want to be theatrical. limits are what each of us are in. thanks to David for the notice.