Tuesday, September 04, 2007
just received The Light Sang as it Left Your Eyes by Eileen Tabios (Marsh Hawk 2007). it is compellingly subtitled 'Our Autobiography'. the cover consists of Warholian reverberations of 2 images: Eileen and her father. one infers that the our of the subtitle refers to father and child. which, surely, it does; it's a lovely embrace. Eileen goes it further, tho, by linking herself to the daughter of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, who shares Eileen's birthday. just to add a neat Guy Davenport-like coincidence, the birthday is September 11. all this I gleaned from my first scantest scan. I intend no review at this time, and am limited just now as Beth is currently in the process of reading the book (she cooked, hence I washed dishes, hence she had 1st dibs). (what's a dib, btw, and is a plurality thereof really somehow better?). I am inspired to write a few Tabiosian words, generalities upon the phenomenon. Eileen has invented, I here declare, a new genre, which might be called Gallimaufry, or, perhaps, And The Kitchen Sink. I chose those terms for their sense of inclusion and variety. like her previous brick, I Take Thee, English, for My Beloved (Marsh Hawk), Eileen utilizes stylistic variety: prose, hay(na)ku, collaboration, etc. I like how process is so close to the surface. and she does not divorce her blog writing and connections from her poetry. which, too, proposes process as a central energy of the work. that how the poem and book arrived to its life is as important as what its life 'is'. this is consistent with the poets who interest me. I don't mean in the sense of I went to Yaddo and breathed the free air sort of processual undertaking. I mean Eileen lets ideas happen, gives them free rein in the composition. Eileen's gestures around 'the subject' form a space that is the subject. all this is evident by early fresh glances. I look forward to digging in in earnest.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
so now I'm reading American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever (Simon and Schuster 2006). it's about those famous folk of Concord, down the road. the Bloomsbury reference is probably apt, a buzzing little socio-artistic conclave. I haven't tried too hard but the only one of interest to me among the Bloomsburies is Virginia. I catch a more righteous buzz from Concordia (as I think Bronson called the town). the interrelationships and interconnections of those American eccentrics is fascinating. it's hard to avoid a slavish respect, see the worth of these people without exceeding. Bronson Alcott resembled his friend Henry James Sr, loaded with ideas but lacking in practicalities. tho there's a picture of him sitting on a bench with some apples, and the caption indicates that Bronson would offer apples to passersby, who then were required to listen to his theories (he said hi like the spider to the fly). I didn't know Thoreau met Poe, and have no idea how that would have turned out. I read a bio of Whitman that rendered Thoreau's visit to Whitman as a competition of sorts, giving victory to Whitman for having it more together. which I think meant more boldly confident in his assertions. whatever. it's funny to think of this village of teeming intellectual curiosity since now the town is no such thing. it is a well-heeled, very pretty town with wonderfully dreamy homes but whatever intellectual ruction exists is kept indoors. as is the case mostwhere in the US. utopia now has more to do with nice lawns and stock options than anything Fruitlands or Brook Farm might've aimed for. why isn't there intellectual fervour? hm.
this n that. read The Godfather by Mario Puzo. I've seen the movie bunches of time tho not recently. it's pretty faithful to the book. not surprising as Puzo wrote the screenplay with Coppola. much of the movie's dialogue (which is good) comes straight from the book. Coppola wisely excised some superfluities. Sonny's lover, hardly a plot point in the movie, pointlessly pairs with a Vegas surgeon, and there's overmuch of Johhny Langone too. tho it is intimated in the movie that Luca Brasi is a terror, all we see is a big lug. he doesn't do much narratively in the book, but stories are told of his viciousness, very creepy. Coppola got the right actors for the job. I have no idea if Abe Vigoga or the guy who played Clemenza are what you call good actors, they fit in the movie. James Caan, Robert Duval and the guy who played Solozzo are perfect. Diane Keaton in the movie and Kay in the book suck life from the respective works. the horse head scene in the book is surprisingly undersplayed. in teh book, Woltz thinks logically that if these people are willing to kill a $600,000 horse, they might mean business. the movie plays more on the horror. the dramatic highpoint of the movie is the attack on the 5 families. in the book Puzo is just tying up loose ends. think of Lord of the Rings, where it seems like they didn't have the book handy when they were working up the script. The Godfather stays true to the book, probably because there's so much life in the tale and the people. I also watched Dracula, Bela Lugosi's version. being one of those movies that I saw as a child, it will always have its authenticity as a horror flick. the stiff stage acting works oddly in it favour, everyone seems transfixed. Lugosi is extremely mannered and that bemused smile of his really unsettles. when he vamps out, he always does so slo-mo, his hands tensely poised. he draws slowly towards his victim and just as you start to get a sexual vibe, the scene changes. the book is quite rollicking, which I didn't expect. the movie skipped much of the book's plot, really just made it a star vehicle for Lugosi. Coppola's version sticks close with the book. whereas the Lugosi vehicle gains atmosphere via dry ice, Coppola pulls out all the tools of movie magic, to little more effect. he's got Gary Oldham and Anthony Hopkins hamming it up, Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder barely registering, but Stoker's plot (not always making sense) bounds long. worth watching if not respecting. my father saw the play some time late in Lugosi's career when morphine had I guess taken its toll and Lugosi was playing an exaggerated imitation of himself. Lugosi in Plan 9 is almost funny, but more tragic really. it's an artist thing in which the manners of the art remain but not the soul. I also watched 300 again. I found myself wanting to see its visual flair, its translation of comix art to cinema. the democratic pieties are plangent. it comes down to the split between those willing to work on their abs and pecs and those not. and who wouldn't want to get out the spear and sword and get some hearty exercise? I scanned the graphic novel some time ago and found it faithfully rendered by the movie and low octane as a reading enterprise. it's a preposterous story but transmogrified into a cinematic experience, it has some gumption. with its same old comix artwork, the book hasn't much to offer.