Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Oh & about that *new seed* comment yesterday. Amanda thought a *grafting* metaphor might be more appropriate. I argued that it is the latency of *seed* that I was trying to evoke; nevertheless she might be right about *grafting* being a more apt metaphor.
This correction from Michael Carr:

"I write for myself and strangers. The strangers, dear reader, are an afterthought."

Thanks. I agree Mick. The strangers *do* indeed make it even better.

The last two books I've taught include significant strangers. In Frankenstein, Victor is first introduced as a "stranger" in Walton's letters to his sister. The Beowulf-character is called a "stranger"--and, indirectly, "the fish"--in John Gardner's Grendel.

Since I often blog about not blogging (due to time constraints), I'm apparently **in**.

Back to those recommendations.


Monday, November 24, 2003

Missed Nathaniel Mackey Thursday night. {Since M. County outed me as a soccer coach last week, I should publicly embrace that avocation: Last Thursday I was presenting awards at a soccer banquet. Despite my love for futbol, I'd rather've been at the reading.}

from "Song of the Andoumboulou: 20":
" I was the what-sayer./Whatever he said I would/ say so what./ Boated whether/ we came by train or by/ bus, green light/loomed on the horizon./ Where we were might've/ been the moon. . ."

{"/" indicates linebreaks; spacings are more or less accurate; I don't quite know how to format poems properly. I will learn when I have more time--fewer papers to grade and recommendations to write.}

Found Whatsaid Serif some years back at Mercer Books in Manhattan. A joy to reread. Shocking how poor a reader I was the first time around. I think Mackey's poetics must've been just enough post-The-New-American-Poetry-1945-1960-Book-I that I was baffled. But rereading now I wonder if it was just a lack of an adequate searchlight of the mind or ... or... . So much can get in the way of poetry that one later is knocked out by. {Ron Silliman had some words about this recently.} Whatever the reason--& perhaps it was that I came home w/ another bk that stole my mind; did I buy Spicer's Collected Books on that trip to Mercer?--I've only just been as turned on by Mackey's poetry as I'd been by his prose. (There was no lack of motivation to experience the poems. Based on Gerrit's word, a few essays, & Mackey's {thinly?} veiled appearance in bell hooks' Wounds of Passion , I wanted to read & grasp the poems as best I cld.)

Perhaps more on the old New American Poetry later. {Spicer from Bk II for what it's worth. {Nothing?}} More on Allen, {& then} Rothenberg, Quasha, and Joris as anthologists too might be necessary. But I say that--"more later"--a lot. More is seldom forthcoming. Where does the time go?

And so it goes.

"I write for myself and for others. The others, dear reader, are an afterthought."

These words are a close paraphrase of words written by Gertrude Stein. G.S.'s words appeared in the Boston Globe during my youth.
And how much has reading made any of us who we are? How much does reading change us? Guess that's the central question that binds the work of earlier this evening--recommendation writing--with that of later this evening--reading Whatsaid Serif? This weekend a good friend said that reading is more important than writing. Guess that's in my mind too.