Wednesday, August 06, 2003

I have a few moments before taking the commuter rail to Boston (to see Celtic play Kaunas of Lithuanian in a preliminary European Cup match). As Mike County noted at the Blackburn Tavern(?) on Sunday, riding the rails (& spending the afternoon in a bar) is also a good way to get some reading done. I'm taking...
* The Death and Life of Great American Cities (picked up in a book sale that Gerrit Lansing took me to at the Beverly Farms Episcopal Church {Thanks Gerrit.})
* & The Hidden Injuries of Class (a gift from Gerrit {Thanks again.})
* & (in case I feel too *closed in upon* by all that prose) Fanny Howe: Selected Poems.

I hope to finish those first two today & reread a section or two in the last. I'd love to hear what other's think about any of the books.

After reading the excerpts of my comments about Denis Johnson onAaron's blog, I feel compelled to note that Gerrit & a local writer Peter Anastas put me on to Johnson's work. (Some of you will know Peter's work from the book of Olson's letters to the Gloucester Daily Times that he edited.) Why mention this?
When I first moved to Gloucester & before I knew any of young(er) Boston area poets (except for fellow Emerson College alum Chris Rizzo!) whom I now see/read/hear/talk w/ regularly, Peter & Gerrit were lights in a dark forest.
Gerrit & I recently had a conversation about the evolution--even over the last eight years--of the *scene* that has been much discussed this week. I reminded Gerrit that our involvement w/ Boston-area poets began when he invited Amanda & I to one of the last Word of Mouth readings. (It was held in late '95 in the World Wide Building in Waltham.) Bill Corbett read an Isaac Babel short story. (Later, Peter Anastas put me on to more of Babel's work & a memoir about him & his disappearance written by a longtime companion.) In four years of attending readings at Emerson & in the Adams Room at Harvard, I'd never heard anyone read someone else's work. Gerrit read. Ange Mlinko read. Many others. Later or at about the same time, Gerrit put me on to Jim Behrle's reading series at Waterstones. It was there I heard & saw John Wieners for the first time. Also heard & met Diane DiPrima! & Eileen Myles! That lead us to Aaron Kiely's series at the Bookcellar. At about this time Patrick & Ariane (soon-to-be Doud) moved to Gloucester. Met them through Gerrit--as I've also met Ken Irby, Simon Pettet, & many, many, many others... There has also been the generosity of all who have opened their homes for readings & post-reading gatherings: Dan & Kate, Michael & Isabel, Joe & Molly, Bill & Beverly, etc.

Why go on about this? Chris reminds us that it is often not easy to find a community of like-minded but sufficiently diverse people w/ whom to read/discuss/eat/drink/etc. Sure many people cultivate isolation but many others want connections they can't find. In discussions such about community I want to avoid taking for granted the one I have now (but which continues to change). I also like to credit those who have made these connections possible. W/o them I'd be much more isolated & wld almost certainly find it much more difficult to continue w/ an active engagement w/ poetry amid the other pulls of life. Not that I wldn't. I can't imagine not reading & writing. But because of this community of friends who write & think, talk & drink, eat & listen, poetry is not (always) a separate life.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Bill Corbett's LeSueur review reminded me of this from Ginsberg's "City Midnight Junk Strains//for Frank O'Hara"...

"appreciated more and more/a common ear/for our deep gossip."

& this from Bill's review in the Phoenix...

"{O'Hara's} poems hold you attention the way gossip--meaty, juicy vitamin G--does."

& then

"Deep gossip is what Joe LeSueur, O'Hara's friend, roommate, and sometime sex partner gives uis in this memoir."


Monday, August 04, 2003

My posts are cloning themselves.
Congratulations to Amanda for winning the Dante's Ass prize for this week. As always the selection came down to a coin flip.
Aaron asked Mark about the lack of women in our small MetroBoPo scene.
Except for linking to Amanda, Christina, and Shin Yu, I'll leave further speculation to others.
Poetry discussed on Sunday at the Grand (Union Square Somerville), Descent of Alette (Notley), "The Quietist" & "Introduction to the World" (F. Howe), and Loba (DiPrima). Also discussed: surf poetry, wiffle ball, kale recipes, Bill Corbett's Boston Phoenix review of LeSueur's O'Hara book, chapbook design, & many other things.
Optional homework assignment: read Alice Notley's talk about "voice" in poetry. (I'll bring copies Sunday too.)


Sunday, August 03, 2003

I reread "The Quietist" & "Introduction to the World" before sleep last night.
Had painful dreams. Then had lovely dreams.
I'm know leaving the panopticon of the ghost city for the couch at the Grand in Somerville...a soft part of the hard city.

slan leat,