Saturday, June 28, 2003

Thanks are due Jim Dunn
for hospitality, stories, kind emailed note, & wonderful poem to three Cooks.

I've devoted the last two nights to St. Peter & will devoted today to my favorite football team, Glasgow Celtic.

Posts to come:
* contemplating questions of class
* discussing _Justine_ & attempting to answer Aaron Tieger's question about the Leonard Cohen/Lawrence Durrell connection {I'm not sure my response will be very interesting or insightful}
* continuing revision thread (as per responses by Aaron, Mike County, and Michael {Mick} Carr}
* finally responding to M. Carr re: Wieners / email of some weeks past

before I sign off I want to say that the kids're alright...local Gloucester h.s. & just out of h.s. bands played yesterday in the Independent Church/U.U. basement {same spot in which Amanda & I'll be helping w/ readings soon.} Nick Telles (a GHS colleague's younger brother) is the embodiment of what's vital {and knowing!} about punk rock. Rock is *not* dead. His band--Espontaneo--gave me chills. Best $7 I've spent in some time. Though mentioning money in this context seems an act of simony.

{Explanation of *setting* for Wordsworth reading 6/21 as sent to Dave Rich}

As for the Fiesta setting...
I pulled the whole reading together Saturday afternoon. I'd been thinking about it for days but couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to do. I knew I didn't just want to read new poems (or old poems) because I knew that none of it amounted to very much & I didn't want to waste people's night (and mental/aural attention). While going through my poems & prose, I realized there where some things, both old & new, that I've tended to neglect, thinking they were distractions from the *real* work.

These neglected things--old & new--seemed suddenly to be the most vital but in desperate need of pruning. "Cell" (written as prose but heard by at least two in the audience as poetry) is an example of one such piece. In mid-reading I decided not read one other such piece (though I was going on a bit too long...) A few other such pieces (mostly prose) were in need of more than one afternoon of revision, though I've already gone back to them & will continue to do so this summer.

Then I got the idea to read only those translations of Lorca's Suite of Mirrors that seem to be as much about doubt as they are about belief. This (along w/ a certain measure of alienation from the world as given) seemed to be a theme of some of the neglected writing. That lead naturally--this chronology isn't quite accurate--to the selection from "Further Notes for Polis" (that Aaron Tieger thought might've been Lorca; I'm flattered). Creeley & Zac's poems fit the theme as well. Zac's poem offered a necessary bridge from the religious concerns of the poems to the imprisonment of "Cell" (though the "virus" idea is has serious religious implications). I could go on about why I selected each individual poem but you want to know about the setting--which came last.

I wanted to read the "infernal machine" passage of Lowry's _Under the Volcano_ but decided that would be too much so instead decided to evoke Fiesta (on the solstice!). The Zipper has long reminded me of the "infernal machine" & Fiesta's mix of the sacred & profane seemed right on for the fifteen pieces I'd planned to read. Why the "infernal machine"/zipper? They are nauseating. The pieces (esp. "The Cell" but others too) are nauseated. The idea of nausea & disquiet are of course linked in modern lit.: the former a favorite metaphor of the existentialists & the later is found in the title of Pessoa's prose. Nausea & disquiet vis-a-vis faith & the world-as-given were the emotions I wanted to create in the listeners. Fiesta & Lowry also evoke humidity--oppresive air--weather conditions appropriate to the feeling I wanted to created.

I wish I had a bit longer to develop the whole thing but am relatively happy w/ how it all came off.


slan leat,

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Like Mike County ( I know I sd I wld learn links & I will I will I will) I was unable to post yesterday because of changes to BLOGGERtm. I've also been experiencing difficulty w/ my internet connection from home so I've snuck into GHS to do some emailing & such.

I saved a note I'd meant to post yesterday but of course it's on my hard drive at home. It was about the reading I gave at Wordsworth Saturday, explaining the *setting* for the poems. I will post the explanation along w/ the pieces I read (w/ a setlist) sometime soon (hopefully today but given the connection problems, no promises).

Read book one of _Justine_ yesterday. Reminds me of Leonard Cohen. His songs not his prose.

Another observation: There's a lot of talk about the importance of *Alexandria* but I don't feel its whatness in the same way I've felt a city in other works (Glasgow, _How Late It Was, How Late_ for example). There are other pleasures in Durrell's novel, however, & I do like all the talk about the city's influence on the characters. It's something beyond them akin to fate.

I also read more of _The Descent of Alette_ yesterday. (Thanks Christina {}; hope all around you are being good to you today.) I like it more & more but will not comment just now.

Aaron Tieger ( jumped into the revision discussion. He's a non-destructive reviser. Talked about tinkering with words & commas--often having dozens of versions of single poem in which there're only small changes. But that isn't what he does so much now. Hm. Revision.

When I revised at the end of last week for the Wordsworth reading Saturday, I mostly cut things out and rewrote accordingly. I was definitely in the *mind* of the piece as I did so which felt good. But then again, most of the revision I did was of prose pieces (or what I thought of as prose pieces though some in the audience heard them as poetry).

A few days ago I said I would say more about *class* (picking up on a discussion begun this Sunday in Gloucester). I haven't eaten yet today & I think I should do so before I step into that particular minefield. But before I head off perhaps a few topics: education & money (esp. issues of having one but not the other), education as learning & education as job training (this is perhaps one corollary of the first), class & neighborhoods, class & whole cities/towns (i.e. when it is assumed you are of a class because of the neighborhood/street/ city/town/etc. in which you live), artists & experiences w/ class &/or money, class & class consciousness, blurry lines of class, telling the story of one's class/economic situation, listening to stories about another's class/economic situation, what-has-monitary-value & class...

O.K. that'll help when I come back to this train {wreck} of thought after eating. Anyone else want to chime in on any of those topics or others?
How about an on-line symposium on class & poetry?

W/ encouragement from Gerrit Lansing, I'm all for symposia. (Also would like one on polis: towards a green polis {Gerrit's idea}, polis vs. nomadism {Pierre Joris?}, etc.
O.K. time to eat.


Monday, June 23, 2003

The original Weiss post & response to my post has ignited further thoughts about class & such, first sparked by Mike County ( yesterday. Perhaps more to come. In the meantime thanks to everyone who came out to Gloucester from the Boston-area & to those who came across town. I'd like to say more but I'm preoccupied by thoughts of a response to the response.

Here's something I posted to the Buffalo Poetics list in response to a post by Mark Weiss about yuppies on the Fort (Olson's neighborhood). He responded to my note by insisting that Gloucester had been "yuppified" but conceeded that Gloucester is probably a nice place to live.

I know I'm a little behind on this thread, but I'd like to offer another
perspective on Gloucester, MA.

*There are "yuppies" in Gloucester but as far as I can tell they do not live
on the Fort. And there are far fewer young urban professionals & their
*shoppes* in Gloucester than in other nearby places like Newburyport, MA &
Portsmouth, NH.

*Perhaps you found no children on the fort because of the many grandparents
who live there.
Some year (perhaps this one) you should come to Gloucester on the last
Sunday of June when a statue of St. Peter is carried through the Fort while
these grandparents & their grandchildren throw confetti from second story
windows. {The celebration for San Pietro begins this Thursday: the sacred &
the profane are seldom closer!}

*Also, you perhaps did not find the Portuguese "slum" on the Fort because
Sicilian immigrants have been more visible in that particular area since the
early twentieth century. St. Peter's Fiesta, a Sicilian celebration, was
born in the Fort in the 20s. "Portugee" Hill is some distance from the fort.

*Recently, the culture of Gloucester (at least as I see it as a high school
teacher here) has been far more influenced by the arrival of Brazilian
immigrants than by a (non-existant) invasion of yuppies.

*As for fishing, my brother-in-law is a fisherman, though one who like many
others has been forced to supplement his income with other employment. If
you're looking for fishermen in Gloucester try the Jodrey State Fish Pier
(from the Fort go further into the inner harbor). Also, it must be said that
overfishing & the resulting regulations--not yuppies--*have* changed
Gloucester. In fact (much to the dismay of many pro-tourist politicians in
town) the decline of the fishing industry has not meant a yuppie invasion on
the scale many other seaside towns have experienced. As Olson predicted, the
A. Piatt Andrew bridge which extends route 128 into Gloucester irrevocably
changed the city. Gloucester citizens were "isolatos" no more...or at least
less so. But this change was already underfoot when Olson was writing.

*There is an excellent independent bookstore (The Bookstore) not far from
the Fort. (I met Olson's Danish translator there one summer day. I think I
also met the list's own Aaron Vidaver there too.)

*Dogtown, which comprises a significant portion of the interior of the
"island," will never (knock on wood; forgive the hubris) be filled with
cul-de-sac developments. Though you are likely to run into more off-road
cylists, Dogtown is still an excellent place for a walk. (Bring the Maximus
Poems poems with you ye Pilgrims...and perhaps Marsden Hartley's "Dogtown
Doxology" if that's your thing). Ravenswood is also quite wonderful.

*Gerrit Lansing lives in Gloucester!

*My wife ( might disagree w/ me about
this, but winters are hard in Gloucester--though, again, not because of the
yuppies. Not a lot happens here during the winters. But because of Jim
Behrle, Bill Corbett, etc. there are many exciting events & people in Boston
(a 50 minute drive or hour train ride from Gloucester). Yesterday, a half
dozen Boston-area poets came out to our apartment here in Gloucester for
food, drink, walks, music, & poetry.

If anyone wants to come to Gloucester let me know.