Saturday, May 19, 2007

oh hi, just back from the ballet. true. someone Beth knows in our homeschool cooperative, learning that Beth likes dance, invited us. she and her husband go regularly. I believe she danced for a well known dance company, at any rate she's involved with dance even now. I've been to ballet once, for The Nutcracker many years ago. for that performance, I sat something like 3 miles away (I didn't measure accurately). despite that, it was a compelling spectacle. this evening we were an easy tomato toss from the orchestra pit: great seats. the Wang Center was renovated in the 90s, I think. you enter into this little concourse that's just crazy with sculpture and painted ceilings and all sorts of gold-leaf gimcrack. it looked like Versailles. Beth said it was like being in a Faberge egg. I love that. I love that intensity of atmosphere. this concourse, whatever it's called, was packed with people who were in various refreshment lines. I just wanted to stare up at the cherubim on the ceiling. wouldn't you? I can't speak of the dance particularly. certain moves are obviously difficult, athletic, physically demanding, which are easy to appreciate. I don't particularly care about the lines and such. oh, the ballet was Giselle. the 1st act featured really lovely autumnal colours, especially a lot of pumpkin orange. my other ballet experience may be the only other time I've witnessed really full tilt theatrical scenery and costumes. at intermission we sallied forth into the concourse, tho I guess I should use the word lobby. Beth wanted a glass of wine so I gallantly stood in the theoretical line, which was constantly interrupted by people going somewhere, or just kind of taking space in a talkative way. the 3 oz tipple of white Bordeaux was 7 bucks, which, friends, is roughly the treatment you expect in a dark alley. and I'm pretty sure the bartender thought I was a brown shoe, or maybe a map with an X on it. it's the same honour as drinking weasel piss beer at Fenway for whatever a cup. is it a Puritan necessity to remove the pleasure from pleasure? minor point. now, I went for the full thrill of my grey suit, which I don't wear often. this definitely is part of that Puritan necessity, and I learned it from my father. yet I was surprised at how casually many dressed, tho plenty did dress up. by the way, the seats were as roomy as Fenway, which is to say not. Giselle was like The Nutcracker in that the first act was the story and the 2nd act was the mushroom trip. I have to read the synopsis again but star-crossed lovers and such, and Giselle dies. 2nd act features ghostly spirits, who mediate a bit, sweep the bad suitor to hell and allow the good one to posture histrionically. really, it's great visual stuff, moody, engrossing and weird. very 19th century. everyone was hitting laudanum back then, washed down with absinthe. I like the music quite a bit, tho I don't recall the composer. my glance thru the scorecard has yet to find mention of the composer's name. I wish things like ballet and symphony and opera weren't such rare experiences. tho jinkies, some years ago someone I know got freebie Celtic tickets and invited me along. the Celts were in their apparently permanent post-Bird crappiness. we sat somewhat back of the basket, low but at an angle that only allowed good view of one basket. the PA was full throttle hype-noise. it was the fakest fun you could imagine. and those seats cost 75 American dollars. I cannot think of a bigger waste of funds. so whatever the ballet tickets cost, there was some reward. I quibble not at all. please contribute to the Allen and Beth Want to Go to Ballet All the Time Fund.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I just read a book on the Crusades, a history of pleasant, reasonable people acting pleasant and reasonable, and got a hankering to read more of the Knights Templar. I walked over to the library in the rain yestreen in search of a simple history. I came home with a motley crew. one is the book that Dan Brown was accused of plagiarizing for Da Vinci Code, one is about the secret society at Yale, Skull and Bones, and one seems to connect the Trilateral Commission, Freemasons, and pyramids. nothing overly scholarly here, one might infer. well inferred. truth up, I'm not into conspiracy. I think of the JFK conspiracy connoisseurs in Slacker (could Linklater make another movie half as good?). connections turn into torrents of implacable force, without the supple initiative of Guy Davenport's linkages. I feel no satisfaction in grassy knoll, whate'er the truth. it just doesn't seem to matter. the book from which D-Code was bestsellerized came out in 1982. what gets me is how utterly new all this stuff became under the force of Brown's book. presumably millions of living humans had already been titillated by the possibility of J Christ, family man, and all the rest of it. yet D-Code hit like a revelation, didn't it? curious. I don't even want to read the one in which freemasons and pyramids unite in some totalitarian death match. so long as I know who poisoned the wells, blah blah blah. the Skull and Bones book may actually be reasonable reportage, in a New Yorker sort of way. it's no stretch to think that networking occurs. what the hell is "information"? isn't that a prime consideration, writer-wise? things "happen", then language "interprets". and poetry is a working within the concepts of language, yet is not "informative". try on a conspiracy, in which vital force presses drastic distinctions. language becomes unified idea, a political dreariness of import. LANGPO is disappointing in its academic view of politics, as if political motives were only for the overly educated. so they tripped about with language... I'm not attacking LANGUAGE poetry, which greatly influenced my own understanding of poetry, but the political veneer in which some of it has been wrapped has proven pale, classroom activism. which is to say, point blank, that political activism is active language. not activating language, which is what we call bad poetry anyway, but language in its active life. poetry is not the same as hype, tho even poets need publicists.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

hey, I belong in an alphabet with famous people! (This index)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

having now read a lick of IN RI, I point to its purchaseability, namely here. not that I've DYI'd up a storm myself, but that vertical integration of the creative process seems important, especially as opposed to the Please Please Me School of Poetry, which transcends SOQ, Langpo, Flarf and you name it. what I mean is that the critical onslaught suits categories and shrinkage, but not me, for one. any effort to disengage from those terms is applaudable. look: one of my hands is applauding even now! I ramp up this verbiage for more specific reason, tho. Henry takes us into early colonial history, Roger Williams, Salem Witch trials and such. I'm keen on those areas of concerns, those seedlings. I would say Henry cavorts with a quite graceful reading of Crane and Olson, by which I mean, a guarded sense of romance within a historical context: hard facts and poetic wonder. he's on record about Crane, I'm less sure of any Olson claim, but the point isn't what his antecedents are, but a vision of the neighbourhood in which he wanders. I really like the size of the book too, seems about 5x8. I did indeed pocket it, and read it during enforced waiting. I have yet to declaim the Italian version, that demands more private circs than Starbucks, but to that I look forward. so 2 reasons to try the book: that its DYI deployment is worthy of support (as all such efforts had ought to be), and just that the unique nature of this tributary to the big river is worth a read. or you could follow the crowd.

Monday, May 14, 2007

just a quick note re Henry Gould, whose In Re now is my possession. this is not a review, I haven't read a lick of it yet, but I want to note once again the project that Henry has launched upon. it is a grandiose scheme of history and reminiscence and mystic whatsis. he's taking the modernist Big Poem into strange lands that bow to formality yet tweak it. that's a rasty encapsulation that I offer only as a stepping stone into the river, whoop. this here book includes an en face translation into Italian by Anny Ballardini, which right there makes a fetchingly different turn on expectation, and don't forget to call it collaboration. I've dabbled in Italian enough to like reading it aloud, not so much understanding (comprehension is overblown), but look: that added music. Henry speaks on his blog on the size of the book: truly pocket-sized. I have a few Dell editions, notably Whitman, that do fit in pocket, and that's a treat that I make use of. like, my last jury duty, I had Whitman with me on the train, and waiting in the jury pool. so I'm really thrilled to have this addition to my Gould library, and look forward to my swim. and with a glancing ref to Shanna Compton's dyi theory, I want to laud Henry's own Do It Yourself.