Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Picks and Kicks...

Courtney Fortune Band at the (petit) Mount Baker Theatre, January 11, 8 pm

The future of writing - Dasher

Borges Mirror Man

Charles Mingus: Triumph of the Underdog (Shanachie films) This is simply an astounding movie!

Judith Viorst - Necessary Losses (what we leave behind is who we are)

Burroughs Cut-up tapes (y mas)

Be safe tonight.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Amateur Woodworking

Ray McInnis, a friend and old Scot has an amazing project going on his website to trace the history of the Amateur Woodworking Project. Give it a look.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wonderful Evening

spent re-reading some Borges stories (The South, The Book of Sand) and a wonderful collection of stories, Tales of the Night, by the Danish Writer Peter Hoeg, author of the much acclaimed Smilla's Sense of Snow. That and a little wine was enough.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Forty Days of Rain or the Tale of Two Murakamis

Ryu Murakami's new book, Piercing, is a wonderful touching love story. The two lovers are a man who has a desperate Freudian desire to stab a woman with an ice pick, and a woman who likes to stab her own thigh with a Swiss army knife, and dissolve Halcion into her lover's food/drink and do strange things to them while they sleep. A match made in, well, hell. This is the dark vein of Japanese culture, and brings to mind the films of Takashi Miike, who perhaps voices the implosion of the horror that was nuclear half a century ago, and is now something quite else.

Another Murakami, far better known, & equally strange at times, and particularly in time, Haruki, has put out his tightest novel since South of the Border, West of the Sun. After Dark is is a wonderful book, full of youth at the border of life, and jazz, and love hotels, and Denney's restaurants, and a woman who moves between realms. The entire action takes place in the course of one night, that endlessly mysterious terrain.

Forty days of rain. Build me an ark of books.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Where are books going?

These people have ideas:
Institute for the Future of the Book if:book

if, book call me
ish-mail

Shampoo Planet

Douglas Coupland, the Vancouver writer who I believe actually coined the expression Generation X now has several wonderful literary, word-art youtube videos. Check out one of them below.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Anti-racist books

THE 2007 MYERS CENTER OUTSTANDING BOOK AWARDS ADVANCING HUMAN RIGHTS ANNOUNCED


BOSTON, MA (Dec. 5, 2007) - They definitely are passionate about books, and about social justice. For twenty-three years, the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America (www.myerscenter.org ) has identified books speaking of too-often erased histories and too scantily noticed ideas and strategies for a more humane future. Today the Center announced the 2007 winners:

  • Kenny Fries, The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory (Carroll & Graf)
  • Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, edited by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence (South End Press)
  • Sara Littlecrow-Russell, The Secret Powers of Naming, (University of Arizona Press)
  • Tina Lopes & Barb Thomas, Dancing on Live Embers: Challenging Racism in Organizations, (Between The Lines)
  • Micki McElya, Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America, (Harvard University Press)
  • Steven Salaita, Anti-Arab Racism in the US, (Pluto Press)
  • Alex Sanchez, Getting It: A Novel (Simon & Schuster)
  • Chip Smith, The Cost of Privilege: Taking on the System of White Supremacy and Racism, Camino Press)
  • Harriet A. Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (Doubleday)

The list is eclectic. “Any one of the winners is a stepping stone to deeper thought and renewed social justice activism,” says Loretta J. Williams, Director of the Center.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Look!

The first film to be (purportedly) constructed entirely out of surveillance videos.
Look

Advancing humankind's most notable achievements.
thanks to Miguel.

All Things Considered

If you are not a thing, beware.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Stuff

Nice day, sunny, cold wind from the north, that's BC north, friend.
Listening, or rather in and out of listening to a 25th anniversary recording of Terry Riley's in C.
I started out listening and re-reading Poe's Masque of the Red Death which I want to use for a class next quarter and during was thinking about the entire interaction of how music accompanies reading. Obviously a large terrain to explore -- wonder if anyone has worked on it? The effect of Ornette Coleman on reading Murakami for example.
So about an hour or so (how long is this piece anyway?) into in C I was thinking that damn, I'd give just about anything for a slip into F#minor, etc. Which is what I would do as a dadaist among them.
Recent picks (thanks to Cile for making me aware of these):
Danny Schmidt Enjoying the Fall
Antje Duvekot Big Dream Boulevard

Having lots of fun poking around youtube for bands I used to listen to in high school. Also thinking about the cultural effect if youtube went out of business tomorrow. Has anyone archived this stuff, or it simply all things are transient?


Monday, December 3, 2007

Change

Windy and rainy and warm. Reminds me of a Weepies song. What does not change is the will to change (Olson, Kingfishers), the wail of the wind, the spiral of the gene, the hand on the hammer, the plectrum.
Corn, and Grass...the new words of Pollan. A bit over-written, but messages we need to know. Food. Could it be simpler?

Friday, November 2, 2007

War & Peace (& war)

Waiting for godot to bring me my winter reading - the new Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of W & P. Sippin wine by the fire, turning pages. The life!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Back to Forth

Back from weeks in the wild of Montana, and quite a spectacular trip it was -- spent time in Glacier, Yellowstone, Swan Valley, Big Hole Valley, Red Rocks, Missoula and Bozeman. Fished with my old friend Tom Stone in Yellowstone. Have been lazy since I returned, about this blog anyway, but will get some new posts up soon. On trip read Ron Carlson's Five Skies & John Burdett's Bangkok 8. Pretty into these Burdett books now.
cheers all.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Picks

It’s a slightly cloudy, slightly cool day – a day when free furniture appears overnight down on Garden Street – futons, couches, swiveling office chairs. One crop of students out, another moving in as if the manifestation of some great wheel or assembly line.

A few picks and bits before I head off to Montana for two weeks.

All the Roadrunning – Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris. This CD is taking awhile to grow on me, but grow it does. There are some fine songs, “I Dug Up a Diamond” being one of my favorites. Knopfler and Harris’ voices are well matched, and Knopfler’s guitar work, though pretty understated here, is always excellent. And I have to thank the CD for bringing back memories of hitchhiking into Idaho one late March over Lolo Pass, 1970, picked up by a fellow in a pickup who had some wonderful smoke, and a bootleg tape of Emmylou and Gram Parsons. The sun was out, the scenery divine, and it was just one of those times where it all came together, and I thought, well, if heaven is like this, I'm gonna become a good man. I doubt this CD, even with accoutrements, will do that for anyone.

Witchi-Tai-Yo – I had this in vinyl and it disappeared in our move to Hawaii, so it’s good to have it back. Bought it back in my ECM craze. Jan Garbarek, Bobo Swenson, Palle Danielsson, & Jon Christensen. Features an incredible version of Don Cherry’s Desireless.

Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu – Bruce Cockburn. My favorite of the three. I’ve been listening to Cockburn for years, and while he can stray into pretentiousness, this is a fine, crisp and in some ways brilliant CD. While keeping a folk core, he interweaves world, jazz, rock, talking blues, etc. and his lyrics can startle, move even the coldest heart (one could only wish). Dubbed the Billy Bragg of Canada, he remains unabashedly political. This will probably soon replace Revelator as default in my car stereo for the upcoming road trip.

Thanks to David for the Cockburn and Knopfler/Harris recs.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Authenticity

George Graham, in a review of Gillian Welch's CD Hell Among the Yearlings makes two interesting comments. On Welch's sound -- "is a songwriter....who can authentically evoke the sound of old-time Appalachian folk and country music" and "her ability to create authentic-sounding old-time songs." Obviously both of these statements contain the root authentic, and are used in slightly different ways. "Authentically evoke" is a bit different from "authentic-sounding." I'm fairly sure of what is meant by "authentic-sounding" but not by "authentically evokes." The latter rings of channeling or some spiritualistic enterprise. But let's assume Graham means similar things. The reason these statements are even in the review is because Gillian Welch was raised in well-to-do Hollywood family, much like Randy Newman, and polished her "authentic" old-timey craft at the renowned Berkeley School of Music in Boston. This is also where she met her guitar playing collaborator David Rawlings This makes her an "interloper" as a friend calls it, into the real Appalachian music scene, compared to someone who might have emerged from a West Virginia hollow with a banjo and no formal education. Hence the terms "authentically evokes" or "authentic-sounding." What Graham is saying, in essence is that she's a fake, but a damn good one. OK. Does it matter?
That to me is the essential question. Does it affect one's interpretation and appreciation of her music to know that she wasn't a Kentucky coal miner's daughter? Does it somehow cheapen or otherwise taint what she has created?
Comments, as always, are welcome.

Energy Drinks

A poor excuse for a post, but a comment on my recent addiction to energy drinks to keep the flow going:

Friday, August 17, 2007

Strange Music

This post began evolving when my son Jordan brought home a Melodica. The prusuit of Melodica music led to the discovery of Augustus Pablo, a dub & Reggae artist who was perhaps the first person to use the Melodica as a serious instrument. They were apparently used, much like recorders, to teach music in Jamaican schools.


It continued to develop as we headed east to Missoula and visited a friend with an entire Javanese Gamelan in her daughter's bedroom (the daughter had been strategically relocated to Australia).



Then the party with the theramin (dealt with earlier).

And for some reason coming to rest with memories of seeing Artis perform in Seattle in the 70's around Pioneer Square. Thoughts of this remarkable performer brought memories of some wonderful youthful days in the town by the sound.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Picks

The Hours and the Times - a strange little dialog film about the fictionalized relationship between Brian Epstein and John Lennon during a trip to Barcelona shortly after the birth of Julian in 1963. What creates the drama is the sexual tension between Lennon and Epstein, who was gay. Great bathtub scene. And the faux pax of watching Bergman's The Silence, released in September, in April. Pesky details.

Inside and Other Short Fiction: Japanese Women by Japanese Women, edited by Ruth Ozeki, author of two really good novels - My Year of Meats and All Around Creation, who lives just up the road on an island off Vancouver, BC. Short fiction by new Japanese women writers. The story Piss by Yuzuki Moroi blew my mind, evading any and all expectations I had.

The Gods Drink Whiskey by Stephen Asma. What's a Chicago boy doing teaching Buddhism in Cambodia? Invigorating blend of Dharma and adventure. Intelligent, articulate, and investigative. Explores in some detail the horrifying effects of the Khmer Rouge on Cambodian culture. Chinese communism accelerated.

Bangkok Tatoo by John Burdett. WTF????

Monday, August 13, 2007

Billy Collins

I'm not a huge Billy Collins fan (New York School lite) but this (and others at this site) are "cute." And, unfortunately, true. (thanks to Miguel)
Forgetfulness

Theremins

They showed up, univited, at a party recently. One of the all time masters at work:

Back from Montana


and rested. Weddings, fires, dental floss, fishing, jazz, friends, family. Visited Joanie's brother's gravesite in Pony. Incredible place, Montana.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Balls & Strikes

Vancouver Public Library workers are striking. Strike blog here.

After considerable pressure by librarians, researchers and the public, Congress has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore its library network. In the fiscal year (FY) 2008 Interior Appropriations bill, the Senate Appropriations Committee orders EPA to
reopen the closed libraries. Last year, EPA closed its Headquarters Library in Washington, DC, to visitors and walk-in patrons. EPA also closed several regional libraries, the toxics and pesticides library and the Ft. Meade Environmental Science Center Library. The EPA is revising their library and website and asking for input. If interested go here. There is currently legislation aimed at weakening the TRI (Toxic Release Inventory) database.

View support by congressional district for Iraq War support.

The Hollywood Librarian trailer

Damien Jurado

For those of you who don't know the work of this extremely talented Seattle musician, here is an older song recorded live at the Tractor Tavern, Seattle. Enjoy.



And another, muy beautiful, from the knitting factory, nyc

Just in

The winner of the Bulwer-Lytton (who actually wrote the sentence "It was a dark and stormy night") Fiction Contest for pathetically bad writing was just announced. The winner is Jim Gleeson of Madison Wisconsin. Risking copyright lawsuits, his winning entry was:

Gerald began--but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash--to pee.

Want to read more (I don't) visit their site.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Read a Pack a Day

Thanks to Miguel for this. Tank Books of the UK is the launching a series of classics packaged like cigarettes -- same size, flip-top cartons with silver foil wrapping and sealed in cellophane. Speaking of little books, Hanuman Books were favorites of mine. Just 4.5 x 2.8 inches. I wonder if they are still in business???

Finds

Yusef Lateef - Eastern Sounds
Wolfgang Muthspiel and Brian Blade - Friendly Travelers
Matt Wilson -
Arts and Crafts

We had a friend stay with us this weekend who is one of those celestial forces that holds a universe of friends together, Moira Keefe, along with her husband Charlie Oates who tries to stay out of the way. Old friends from the Moms & Margaritas days in Missoula. Moira is very very funny. Check out the clips on her website if so inclined.

And speaking of Montana, we' re off in a few days. 102 in Mizzoo.




Thursday, July 26, 2007

PostModern Generator

Thanks to an anonymous commentor.
Now you too can sound like you know what you're not talking about with the PostModern Generator. The PomoGen can generate text that is as meaningless as it gets, yet has that "haze,"
that sheen of Heavy Theory. Deflect your own meaning. Why let the experts have all the fun? Will help you get into any lit and/or theory program, possibly even mean great scholarships. Go to
http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo or click here.

Book of the Day!

The Poetry of Richard Milhouse Nixon. My favorite:
My Position
Up to the Time
Has been
Quite frankly
Nobody
Ever
Told me
A damn bit
Of this.

I don't think that one's in the Kama Sutra.

Chains

How many times have you gone to the shelves of a library or bookstore searching for a particular item and found something totally unexpected and wonderful? Or searched for a website and found another equally interesting? Or were talking with someone about an unrelated topic and they mentioned a film they’d seen? Probably quite a few. The way this synchronicity, or chain of events ends in a new find (music, movies, books, trout streams) is an exhilarating component of life. It keeps us surprised, and open to what the world can give us. It happens to me almost every day. Avenue Montaigne, a movie that slipped into a discussion about Steve Goodman of all people, was a find. But a more unusual chain was this: read an insightful review on the life and work of Susan Sontag in a recent New York Review of Books by Eliot Weinberger. Had known his work as a translator of the Mexican poet Octazio Paz. Decided to see what we had in the library under his name, and turned up the amazing poems of Bei Dao, whom he also translates in conjunction with Iona Man-Cheong. Bei Dao, I find out, is a haunting, passionate and often disjunctive poet, who has been incarcerated as a dissident since Tiananmen Square. Powerful stuff. Published by New Directions, this led me to consider this remarkable and revolutionary press that has possibly opened more doors into experimental and international literature than any other. Their unassuming little black, white and grey publications have given birth to worlds, universes. Thinking about New Directions, and that concept, literally a new direction caused me to choose an alternate route to work today. In doing so, I ran into a friend and had a conversation I wouldn’t have had. The friend recommended another book. Cause and effect. Interdependent origination. New books. Life goes on.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Divisadero

I was tempted to let Pico Iyer, with his sprawling and sparkling review in The New York Review of Books (June 28, 2007) have first and last say regarding the Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje's latest novel, Divisadero, if one can in fact call this book a novel, a question I find less and less interesting as time goes by. But that would be letting the professionals, the paid men, go unbaited. And while I have no real complaints with Iyer’s review, it seems to fall short on several accounts.

Iyer calls Ondaatje a poetic writer, and gives a number of examples. And indeed Ondaatje is a stunning writer, a writer that can quite literally take your breath away, a writer who has copious tools at his disposal. And while this reference to poetic might have at one time been useful, the realm of poetry has so expanded, that I might offer a grocery list up as an example of poetic (say Ted Berrigan’s) language, especially if it contained Pepsi, and be correct.

Ondaatje is a writer who is, much of the time, unabashedly Mandarin in style. (A comparable, though quite different writer is James Salter.) The reader will not find a Joe, a Bob, or a Susie anywhere near this book. These people live in other towns and books. Rather we find Dorn, Roman, Anna, Marie-Neige, Claire, Coop, Mancini, Lucien, The Dauphin and others. The deliberate attempt at the obscure, and at sophistication in Ondaatje at times reminds me of what I began to dislike about Barry Lopez – a prose so overly baroque it became rococo, and its life artificial. Yet Ondaatje is too good for that, too alive, too flexible, too angry and too labile. The sections of the novel read differently, as if language was rendering landscape to the degree landscape renders the language. Coop's adventures gambling have a spare, isolate flavor, compared to the passionate and introspective opening, the sensualism and humor in France.

MicahelOndaatje is also an aphorist, and scattered throughout his novels are bits of found or discovered wisdom: Everything is collage, even genetics; There is a great history of people being given the wrong book at some key moment of their lives; We think in our youth, we are the centre of the universe, but we simply respond; There is a hidden presence of others in us. Who is this narrator who collects these scraps, these landsapes, these people? Who although not omniscient per se, seems to possess an authority beyond any one character, excel at discovery, natural history, exact researched detail, and have such great tolerance for randomness.

The story is an elaborate and erratic one, and as is Ondaatje's typical fashion, inhabited by persons displaced for a variety of reasons. It begins by following three characters – two sisters (Anna and Claire) and their step-brother (Coop) through childhood in rural California. A cataclysm of violence breaks this family apart and the novel as well. From here the threads run largely separate, and some, such as Coop’s, die out entirely. Other’s enter in mid-stream, and in what is perhaps a risky move, Ondaatje shifts the novel into the life of a dead writer (Lucien) that Anna is researching, and shifts locale from the American west to France.

The novel is a collage of sorts, although it moves in a very different trajectory than Mosley’s Socrates Fortlow books. Those vignettes tie together in linear time, and arc toward a more classic character development. In Divisadero, the whole of the book is shattered, and when you think the pieces will be woven into resolution, they begin to shift relentlessly. So much so, that it becomes obvious within a hundred pages that you have entered another book altogether, and other books (such as The Three Musketeers) play parallel roles as well. The world of space and time becomes not just malleable, but particularized as well – is it energy or matter? What is this creature Michael Ondaatje has created? Is it really a novel? Will it sell? When one has created a strange and miraculous creature do those things even matter? It is for readers and time to answer these questions, and pose others.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Do We Dewey?

Here's a public library that is leaving the Dewey Decimal system behind in favor of a more "Barnes & Noble" approach. The new Perry Branch of the Maricopa County Library District outside Phoenix. No card catalog, no numbers. Their director, Harry Courtright states that most people don't know what the numbers stand for anyway. Rather, books are shelved in subject "neighborhoods." For more on the story, click here.

2.0

I just attended an excellent presentation by Anne-Marie Deitering of Oregon State University entitled Learning 1.0 in a 2.0 World: Explore, Create and Share. It appears on her blog. Very innovative use of free web technology.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Socrates Fortlow

By Walter Mosley’s own admission, Socrates Fortlow is a violent man, a solitary man. Picking up the thread of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, and jumping coasts from New York to Watts, Socrates is an unlikely, but potent spokesman for the social situation of African Americans in today’s America. At times philosopher, moralist, father, friend, lover, survivor, and political commentator, Socrates is simply one of the most powerful figures in literature I’ve encountered in a long, long time.

We initially catch Socrates, whose mother couldn’t teach him to read, but thought naming him after a “smart” person would influence his future, living a near homeless life as a bottle and can collector in Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (1998). The trajectory traced in this loosely connected collection of vignettes is continued in Walking the Dog (1999). Socrates befriends a boy involved in a murder and attempts to heal him. He eases a cancerous best friend into death. He teaches countless people the worth of their lives. He gets a job. He gets a better job. He visits the ocean. He adopts a dog. But underneath it all the very earth shifts and heaves. There is no stability in the life of Socrates Fortlow.

Socrates is a violent man, and he wrestles with this violence ever day. It was violence that propelled him to murder two people and rape a woman. It was violence that kept him incarcerated for 28 years in an Indiana penitentiary. It was violence that kept him alive every one of those days. Socrates Fortlow is a study in male violence, and rather than being an outright condemnation of that violence, his tales are explorations, investigations of that violence. Socrates sees his act of murder and rape over and over in his dreams. He sees Watts in flames. He carries this around as he tries to better his life by getting a job at the Bounty Supermarket, by taking the boy Darryl under his wing. But it flares up like an errant spark and engulfs him.

It is my firm conviction that Walter Mosley, most noted perhaps for his Easy Rawlins novels, will go down in what we call history as one of the most influential black writers of the past (and possibly this) century, in a large part for these books. They moved me in a way few books can, and left me begging for a continuation. And even with another Fortlow book, which I am not aware is forthcoming; a continuation is all it will be. Death is the only conclusion to a life, and a life is a collection of moments, a pastiche. The moments that compose these books are among the finest rendered in contemporary fiction. I urge you to enter his world, spend a few hours. What you take away won’t leave you.

The Baby Lottery

There is a wonderful review of Kate Trueblood's new novel, The Baby Lottery, in the Seattle PI. Go here to read it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

We’re in Collage: Divisadero, Socrates Fortlow, Wolfgang Tillman

Many things have come together recently to turn my life into the obvious pastiche it is, or perhaps they’ve fallen out, or shaken out – regardless, I lie in pieces. In both sense of the word lie.

First has been travel – the displacement of going to DC, Chicago, and then more locally and recently Winthrop and Twisp. Driving up state highway 20 toward Rainy and Washington Pass listening to the Dead’s Europe Tour ’72 version of Jack Straw made a direct connection to the Dorn character in Michael Ondaatje’s newest novel Divisadero, particularly that sense of western space, that electric, cosmic distance the Dead, the poet Ed Dorn (who is captured a bit in Ondaatje’s character), and Kesey, Cassidy, Brautigan, McClanahan, Stegner et al captured, and that is currently exposed, explored and fractured by Richard Ford or Tom McGuane, or in this case, Ondaatje himself. So this cosmic space, and the electrical storms shattering lightning against the blackened sky and mammoth peaks objects of thought, desire, perception and consciousness drift, settling into transitory arrangements, only to break apart again.

Divisadero, a collage of sorts, a collection of stories connected primarily by place and character, but not moving towards any narrative conclusion, thwarting it even by plunging backward in time away from conclusion. And then collaged with that collage, the collections Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned and Walking the Dog by Walter Mosley which feature Socrates Fortlow, one of the more improbably protagonists in contemporary fiction. These “novels” are actually collections of vignettes, much the same as Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine, that again intersect character and place, in the case of Mosley, Watts. There is a trajectory to these two books however, a trajectory of growth in fact, but it was probably not mapped in advance. And the underpinning of this foolish exploration that few if any will read, was the exhibit by Wolfgang Tillman at the Hirshhorn Museum, an exhibit of photographs that was deliberated arranged as an extensive collage or installation. Tillman himself comments on the aspect of his work that compels him to explore placing certain photographs next to others, a drive more artistic, but perhaps not notably different that placing photos next to each other in an album. And this impulse or recognition of placement is not unique to art or albums. We place things on a table in certain ways, and as my wife Joan said recently what she reads is always influenced in some way by what she just read. Texts interact with texts, moments with moments.

So three novels and an exhibit. I want to explore details of each in future posts.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

LibraryThing

If you haven't checked out LibraryThing yet, take a look. It's an incredible resource for writers and readers to connect through their book holdings, interests, recommendations, etc. For example, I searched language poetry and retrieved a list of books tagged as language poetry, a list of the people who tagged them, a tag cloud of related tags, a list of related terms, and the last ten books tagged as language poetry. At 16,000,000 plus books, LibraryThing is becoming a very potent online tool.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Why Read?

A friend said to me the other day, he did, that he didn't understand how people could read popular literature when there was so much worthy literature (say Dickens) to read. And while we didn't have the time or desire to pursue this much further, it is an intriguing question, and deserves consideration. Particularly because I have, at times, had the same thoughts and compulsions, and yet also read the occasional page-turner myself.

There is obviously no easy answer, or perhaps even complete one, to this question, and notables such as Roland Barthes take up the question in books like The Pleasure of the Text. But then why read that?

Obviously we read for a number of reasons: to learn something, to be entertained, to enter another world, to experience the sensuality and musicality of words put right, to confront ourselves, to escape ourselves, and so forth. A writer typically reads with at least part of an eye on craft, and I confess that if there is little working in that area, I soon abandon the book. On the other hand, I'll tolerate minimal craft for good plot, characters, situations, humor, and so on.

But I think we can focus the question a bit more sharply. Why do people gobble up, in enormous quantity, the absolute crap that often ends up in the best seller lists, airport kiosks, etc.? Why aren't people reading work that is more profound, more worthy of being read. Certain writers, such as Mary Higgins Clark, James Patterson, and John Grisham have become literal factories, pushing books out in assembly-line fashion, and making certain people very very rich in the process.

Most of the "popular" books are genre books -- thrillers, mysteries, romance, science fiction, and so forth. Genre books are typically formulaic, predictable. The writer consistently and predictably manipulates the reader's emotions through a set of devices. Given that, people who read these books must want both the emotional manipulation and the predictability these books offer. They want to step out of their worlds into worlds that offer an escape, but an escape that is not too imaginative. I'm making judgements here, and with any judgements there are exceptions, but let's see where this goes. These same readers do not want to haggle with language. They do not want language that is obvious to itself, either by erudition nor syntax. Language in these texts functions as a conduit, and the more invisible the conduit, the better. The same is true of situations. In a genre book, the narration is typically straightforward, the situations non-bizarre. Airplanes do not turn into butterflies above our nation. They stay airplanes.

The questions underlying these desires -- for predictability, for non-confrontative language/syntax, for emotional manipulation, for escape, seem to be propelling this massive consumption of books which would better have remained trees. And the profits are feeding a giagantic machine that reproduces the same or similar code. Why people want this from their reading, or at least want it primarily and consistently, is beyond me.

Monday, July 9, 2007

More Poem

Here's another from the DC trip. This was on the juxtaposition of two paintings in an installation by John Baldessari at the Hirshhorn.

Two Men

after Fifi by Ed Paschke, Study for the Crucifixion by Thomas Eakins, adjacent

Is there more of a contrast? These

two men, the Christ head tipped into shadow, flesh

pasty, arms raised to the cedar planks awaiting

nails, and Fifi, leering, sensual, chin tipped head

thrust into the world, garish by nature, coiled

hair of pomegranate wire. One becomes a ghost,

a wafer when placed on the tongue dissolves, the other

sneers eat me at your own risk; I am virulent beautiful

disease. They both stare out at me. I will not wither,

I will hang on a wall, they say. I will not fall, I will rise

again.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Art in America, cont.

Overheard in the National Gallery Sculpture Garden:

"I'm really art-ted out." Young woman to her male companion.

"My dad is not a lawyer." Young man to another young man.

"How can time be a circle when there is no such thing as time?" Man in a blue vest.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

AC?DC

As part of my reportage on the DC/Chicago trip I'll toss a few poems that I wrote. Comments always appreciated.

Also, a book we all need to "check out" :: Upbeat by David Amram, Paradigm Press. Due out in October.

Art in America

Two black men push an untitled folded
iron circle (this could be a huge coin folded against

currency) by Ellsworth Kelly up a gravel

path adjacent to the Hirschorn Sculpture
garden. The rubber wheels of the cart bog

in gravel. The men sweat, strain, their muscles

bulge. One of the men wears a stained
shirt, the other sports a Wizard’s cap. These are

hard men but iron is harder still. The sculpture

is worth more than the men
will earn in a lifetime. Off to the right side

the trickle of water in a fountain, trick of light

and shade on red brick, people sitting on benches
talking. The men move slowly. Sweat runnels

down their bodies. Suddenly the symphony

of conversation in the garden is engulfed
by sirens, heightening as they close in, closer,

closer, so even the bent iron sings, a nest

of molecular hornets becoming more
and more enraged.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

ALA & Garrison

I'll probably have several ALA/DC related posts, but I didn't bring a laptop and computer time has been ridiculously hard to get. But...
I just attended the final keynote session, Garrison Keilor featured. I've long been a fan, for many reasons, and he didn't fail me now (a bow to the little feat). His talk was a somewhat rambling monologue of how he has related to, and existed in, libraries from youth to this day, including one funny story about a library where the librarians were men who all smoked pipes. But in a nutshell, and this is to do the entire monlogue a diservice (I'll link to it if it becomes available), he championed libraries as place: places that were true landmarks, and in some cases pinnacles, of democracy. Places that anyone could enter, read an astonishing diversity of work, sit in silence and think, write or dream (the only other places I can think of in a city to do this are churches, and to a lesser extent parks), and that in this librarians and libraries have a tremendous responsibility. In an age of political tough talk, machismo swagger, and outright threats, libraries and librarians are more authentic defenders of democratic liberty. At times moving, boring, whimsical, enlightening, hysterical, GK is a true American legend, and a champion of the word, the book as object, and like Kerouac, Whitman and others, the true, honest and generous American landscape.
Briefly, on other notes, I'm reading the latest novel by Michael Ondaatje (Divisadero) and was pleased to find a reference to the poet Ed Dorn. That alone, to my mind, makes it worth reading.
All for now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Off to ALA

I'm off early tomorrow to the ALA (American Library Association) conference in DC and I hope to be blogging a bit there. But most excitedly I picked up spankin new novels by three of my favorite authors at our local independent book store Village Books (shameless plug): Falling Man by Don Delillo, Devisidaro by Michael Ondaatje, and After Dark by Haruki Murakami. I look forward to many secluded hours tucked away with these and a glass (or two) of wine after the day's craziness eclipses.

And it is also my intention to use this blog to share current poetry, so here is the first of those:

Jersey Shore


I’m reading a book about a man who

died, but it shifts about

in time, so he’s not really dead. The book reminds

me of water. And yet that rectangular black

hole, the thud of dirt on the pine

coffin empty of soul is a metaphor that propels

the book forward from the beginning, Yes, he runs

up the beach laughing but there is the icy claw

of water on his feet, chased by the waves

on the Jersey shore, where he spends his boyhood, or

rides the bus with his brother, the slap of waves harder,

and the novel is a study of the novelist

who is not dead yet, but will be soon because he’s old,

the slap of waves harder now, even though the book sold

millions and millions of copies, made millions and millions

of dollars, and on its pages a solid black ink, and on its

pages that have now flown throughout the world, its dead

character lives, he dies but lives, and it is a paradox

this book that lives and dies with every moment, as we read

his words, see his face glow with joy, true joy like a candle,

hear his words, not like song, but more a drone, the hum

of life, the words, and those of others too, others too, those

he touched, who touched him, and they too voices that add

to the book, and they too live and die, are slapped by

the waves that shape the book, the waves from the Jersey

shore, the waves that continue even when the book is finished

and closed and laid on the table.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

James Lee Burke

Has remained one of my favorite mystery writers over the past twenty years or so. Up until recently the Dave Robicheaux books, set in New Iberia, Louisiana, have, to my mind, far outweighed anything else he's written. Part of this is due to their authenticity, and part to the extraordinary character development, particularly of Robicheaux, that Burke has developed over nearly 20 novels. But I'm beginning to have a subtle change of heart. I'm just finishing In the Moon of Red Ponies which is set in Montana, the Missoula area, and features Billy Bob Holland, a former Texas Ranger turned lawyer. Burke lives in the Missoula area, up Grant Creek, part of the year, and in New Iberia the rest, but his earlier Montana-based novels seemed excessive in their attempts to be authentically Montanan. They included so much local color, often crammed, jammed, exaggerated and compressed into what seemed a Montana Realtor's wetdream. Passages approached being ludicrous. Added to this was Burke's frequent tendency for non-stop action. Certain novels are so tiring to read that one can't imagine anyone actually surviving them. If the weren't shot they would die of fatigue. In In the Moon of Red Ponies however artistic balance is achieved , and it is, to my mind, an exceptional novel.

Burke's primary characters (Dave Robicheaux and now Billy Bob Holland) are morally complex, carrying with them acts of past violence they will never outlive, decisions that have gone bad, and demons that haunt their dreams. They are violent men who live by their own code, cutting Faustian deals when they have to. But they have huge hearts, are at times too trusting, and more often than not take the side of the underdog. And they fiercely defend their families.

Dialog is often cryptic in a Burke novel, to the point where one feels the speakers were either kicked in the head by a mule, or need to be. Burke has, over the years, mastered the art of insider dialect, much like Elmore Leonard. He also has the tendency toward ellipsis, so his dialog sometimes reads like a series of riddles or unintelligible remarks. These books are page turners in a sense, but you often have to earn them.

Another tradmark of Burke is his evocative, almost idyllic depiction of the natural world. At his best he's a stunning writer, and his followers rave about his poetic renderings. He creates an almost Edenic world where humans have trespassed, and the best humans, still tresspassers, attempt to undo the deeds of the worst. Nature to him is sacred, and he can be compared to the best nature writers and landscape painters who attempt to evoke a spiritual, pantheistic dimension from their art. It is no mistake that Holland and Robicheaux live in remote locations surrounded by nature, and often observe and comment on what they witness. "Through the side window I could see steam rising from the metal roof on our barn and, farther on, a small herd of elk coming down an arroyo, their hooves pocking the snow that had frozen on the grass during the night." (Billy Bob Holland at his home west of Lolo, Montana.)

It is probably no coincidence that there are similarities between the work of Burke and Cormac McCarthy. Burke was born in Texas, McCarthy now lives in Texas. They both attribute a spiritual significance to nature. They both investigate violence, and use it as an aesthetic. In In the Moon of Red Ponies Burke creates a character of such apparent evil, omniscience, and sociopathology that he approaches the mythic dimensions of Anton Chigurh in McCarthy's No Country for Old Men. Still, there are major differences, and Burke wanders on the more arable side of the fence far more than McCarthy, who when criticized for including substantial Spanish dialog in Cities of the Plain, stated simply that if one didn't like it one didn't have to read it. Accessibility is rarely that much of a problem in a Burke novel.

I actually met Burke once, driving with a friend and neighbor of Burke's, Dexter Roberts, up Grant Creek Road north of Missoula. He was jogging, and we stopped and talked. He seemed like a southern gentleman, gracious, and sincere. He had a darkness about him as well that I didn't see him out-running on that sun-sprayed mountain road. I wish him a long life and many more books.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Gals

I am an admitted slave to Divas, though not (necessarily) the operatic kind. Ever since I saw Odetta (yes, Odetta) at the Earl of Old Town in 1966, then in relatively quick succession Grace Slick, Joan Baez, Michelle Phillips, Janis Joplin, Nico, and Joni Mitchell, I have been enamored of the commanding woman with the voice of angels, or demons Patti Smith and her clarinet), onstage.

So…..

Gal Costa’s newest CD, her 36th if I’m not mistaken, Hoje reveals a woman at the peak of her talent, a woman who has been, and will hopefully remain a force in Brazilian Music. Born in Salvador, September 26 1945 as Maria da Gra├ža Costa Penna Burgos, Gal turned 62 this year, yet the songs on this CD still possess the seduction, the rhythmic edge (largely thanks to three outstanding percussionists: Daniel de Paula, Marcio Forte, and Cesar Camargo Mariano), and the powerful vocal ease and control she has always shown. The band follows her like satin clinging to a body, and at times gently leads, particularly keyboardist Cesar Camargo Mariano, who is a Brazilian musical archetype, once upon a time playing piano and producing Jobim’s historic album with Elis Regina, Elis e Tom. From her hippy roots, and after the political exile of her two favorite composers Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, Gal was faulted for becoming stodgy and traditional in her choice of music, to which she blamed lack of good material. Critics responded that she was ignoring a raft of new and emerging songwriters. Hoje (issued also as Gal Costa Today) is her answer, though hopefully not her final one. Check it out.

Lafeen's

As close to found poetry as I've come in awhile, the overheard conversation from the "old farts table" at Lafeen's Donut Shop.

"I like long wood."
"I like long wood too.
"Twelve inches is too damn short."
"I like it about fourteen."

(I could go on. OK)

"The wife likes it straight in but I like to twist it."

(They were talking about firewood. Maybe.)

Lafeen's, a great little slice of Americana that will one day be mysteriously trasnported into the depths of the Smithsonian.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Yes!

One of the most verily superb little movies I've seen in a long time was a film I watched last night entitled Yes. Written and directed by Sally Potter, who has previously directed The Man Who Cried, The Tango Lesson, and Orlando, among others, the film foregrounded an extramarital affair between an Irish scientist and a cook (previously a doctor) from Lebanon, and the issues it explored, brash and unflichingly, were those of ethnic and religious war, immigration, religion and love. One aspect of these investigations were the frequent narrations by housecleaners, maids and other "invisible" service people. A peculiar, and at times charming, at other times bothersome, feature of the movie is that nearly all dialog was in rhyming iambic pentameter. Use of verse gave the movie a quirky, archaic feel, implying a sense of timelessness to the relationships depicted. Thanks to fine performances and a lot of off and slant rhyme, this actually worked far better than it sounds like it might. Joan Allen, Simon Abkarian (who has worked primarily in France, but surfaced recently in U.S. cinema in Casino Royale) and Sam Neill are the primaries. Intruiging choreography/camera work and an excellent soundtrack, featuring original music from the multi-talented Ms. Potter, complimented the experience. Hints of household cleanser, chives, sexual secretions, oxygenated blood and mortar dust.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More to Cleveland Than

the Cavs. Larry Smith, via his wonderful efforts via Bottom Dog Press has just published d.a. levy & the mimeograph revolution. d.a. levy (pronounced in the mode of midwestern dialect da levy, as da bears, da bulls, etc.) was the most imaginative poet to ever not move from Cleveland (a city I have never been to and most likely will never go). "i have a city to cover with lines," as levy said, and try he did. Unfortunately Levy died and Cleveland remains. Hence the Ca(l)v(e)s. But levy did much more than write -- he was a force of poetry, readings, publications, a veritable onslaught against the dread daily grind of unimaginative drones that dull the imagination to death. This is to date the definitive work on levy, containing biographical information, interviews, critical work, and levy's own work (poems, drawings, letters). The book is smartly put together, includes a dvd film about levy by Kon Petrochuk. One of my favorite pieces is the interview with Ed Sanders, but there are many riches here. enjoy

Monday, June 11, 2007

His Inner Cat

Collected Krazy Kat Komics & review in June 14 New York Review of Books. "S'funna, but I dun't see no stomm. The sky is klee. Paul Klee?

Three Movies & a Weekend

This weekend I saw 3 movies and a lousy NBA playoff game.

The first was The History Boys. What a wonderful film! Focusing on a group of young men in 1980s Britain at Cutlers' Grammar School who are trying to get into Oxford or Cambridge, this coming-of-age film touches on two uncommon themes. The first is the joy of imagination and learning, and the second is an uncompromising, boisterous and bouyant exploration of adolescent sexuality. The primary vehicle for both of these themes is Hector, an incongruous, somewhat bumbling gay or bi-sexual teacher in his 60s, who teaches General Studies, a loose-fitting coat that includes poetry, theatre, sexuality, and antics. Emotive and expressive, Hector is unapologetic of his "misdeeds," highly critical of where education is heading (a quantifiable sterile regurgitation), and genuinely affectionate towards his students. Throw in a new teacher who is to "ready" the boys for the entrance exam, and a demonic head-master, and a marginalized history teacher, and you have the stew. The ending is a bit predicatable, but the film is totally worth a net-flicks account, a good bottle of chardonnay, and a new sofa.

The second was Spiderman 2. Another wonderful film, although a bit silly and overplayed at times, it's primary exploration is the dark complexity of superherodom, and more specifically, the choices Peter Parker is forced to make (or feels he is forced to make) to fulfill his role as Spiderman. This movie manages to upend many cliches, and quite accurately present Peter as a conflicted soul. And who could hate Peter? What's the matter with you Harry Osborn?? Just cause he killed your dad. There are some very moving scenes -- the subway for instance.

The third was Shaun of the Dead, which interestingly enough was ranked higher by IMDB voters that either of the other two. I didn't finish Shaun of the Dead. I didn't find it all that funny, or interesting, but was more bothered by something else entirely. I was bothered by its use of zombies. To contextualize this, I have been thinking a lot about human violence over the past several years, and having numerous discussions to that extent. My own observations indicate that humans have always enjoyed the privilege of allowing themselves to do violence against other humans who have been categorized as sub-human. There are many ways this has been accomplished over history: through race, religion, mental retardation, criminality, gender, and so forth. Whatever the mechanism, the sub-humanized humans are then available for whatever forms of torture, death, etc. the "real" humans feel warranted. Zombies, along with most video-game villains are to my mind the latest crop.
I have to confess that I do not rule out violence in movies, books, music or anything else carte blanche. I think violence has a place in art, a profound place, and can be used for aesthetic, emotional (or hyper-emotional) and moral purposes.
I have also found in my discussions with others about violence that many people believe we are by nature violent, and that violent urges are as innate as the desire for sex or food. To these people, violent video games, violent films (such as Kill Bill), or even sports, often have the purpose of draining off, in a safe fashion, some of these violent urges. Many of these same people would argue against theories that claim excessive violence desensitizes, or heightens violent urges. I am not certain I subscribe to these views.
But in trying to sum up, and I'm drifting afar afield, what bothered me about Shaun was that zombies were used to display, often in a comic fashion, aggression and violence to human-like (I read sub-human) creatures. Given the lack of any real tension or horror in the film (unlike Romero's Night of the Living Dead), zombies were merely creatures to hack apart and spurt blood. While it would be easy to dismiss Shaun of the Dead as a light-hearted comedy, silly, studpid, or even a sweet evolution to adulthood for loser Shaun, I came away with a yet darker vision of contemporary pop culture than I had before I saw the movie. Luckily the other two gave me hope. Now if only the Cavs can win one game.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Authors, Authors

Two (relatively) recent finds for author interviews (video and print) are Authors@Google and Powell's Author Interviews. Sherman Alexie, the current interviewy (interviewee?) (weepY?) tells of hitting Virginia Tech the night of the shootings to hype his novel Flight. If you know of, or have read this novel, which features a young "terrorist" you understand the situation. Alexie said he didn't mention the book. Not once. Also of morbid coincidence is the fact that Kurt Vonnegut, who Alexie quoted in epigraph, died a week before that. And then oddly I just talked with Bruce Beasley about his new project, paradoxology, (according to the Greeks) and two-headed cows. I saw one once, in Montana. It had to be put down.
And at least one old stand-by, The Paris Review Interviews, these are the benchmarks, the nuts and bolts of author interviews, typically author-to-author. The entire interviews available via .pdf for download.

I Prefer Fords

A singer I have become overly enamored with lately is Frazey Ford of the Be Good Tanyas. Her breathy/breathless vocals possess a casual, almost careless sensuality, and an oft-slurred precision that is at times vocalese, at times jazz, yet always girded with the underpinings of lonesome, Appalachian, old-timey music. Ford prefers minor keys, and her best performances, to my mind, songs like "Scattered Leaves," "Rain and Snow," or her own "The Junkie Song" all contain predominent minor tonality. This is a band, that in an age gone blitzy with humor and prozac, are not afraid to confront human fraility and despair. One of their most amazing songs, not sung by Frazey Ford but by Jolie Holland, who has since left the band for a solo career, is Townes van Zandt's "Waiting Around to Die." The depth and emotional power in a song like this is terrain we typically steer away from. It does not laugh-track well in a culture gone silly with flip cynicism or raw anger. Yet it is the underbelly of Iraq, the failing of our health care, the pain that is rampant worldwide. Last night I watched Stephen Colbert hack out "Smoke on the Water" on a V-neck guitar and realized that more people were watching him than would ever watch the Be Good Tanyas. There might have even been a few who thought it was music. And then I thought of Paris Hilton alone in her jail cell and I put on "Waiting Around to Die" again. Just something about that song I guess.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Bowie, not Jim, not David

When I was in high school in the early 60's in Chicago I spent a fair amount of time in the Hyde Park area. My cousins lived there, and a particular cultural and artistic vibrancy existed that was absent in much of the city. Musically, I stumbled on at least several public outdoor events, some at a park area along Lake Michigan referred to as "The Point," that involved musicians associated with the AACM. It was at one of these that I first heard the great Lester Bowie play his horn. Last night, out of pure randomness I played a CD called Zebra by Jack DeJohnette featuring Lester Bowie. It's lovely, minimalist, repetitive melodic music, designed and produced by Tadayuki Naitoh, among others. Several hours later my son called from New Jersey, having just returned from a concert at the Blue Note featuring Jack Dejohnette, Larry Goldings and John Scofield. I had no idea he was going to the show.
It is perhaps a bit strange that I grew into young adulthood with the Art Ensemble of Chicago as my favorite jazz band. Not your typical entry into jazz, but one that has served me well. And Lester Bowie has remained a favorite, his Avant Pop album is simply fantastic. So Lester and Jack DeJohnette will float through this day.

***********************

You've gotta check out:

The Weepies

whose Deb Talan wrote the song "Tell Your Story Walking" after reading

Jonatham Lethem's

Motherless Brooklyn. Which you should also check out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Idiom/Didion

Remember, all that wander are not lost. Although I followed a car with that bumper sticker once and began to wonder.
Finished the Didion, and have to say that The Year of Magical Thinking is a potent book, and geological in structure, created out of repeated elements/sediments, phrases/conglomerates, volcanic ruptures, techtonic shifts, the composite and fragile of a life, a family, a marriage. I hadn't read Didion before, although owned Slouching Towards Bethlehem for a number of years. People sometimes live with you who are silent. Speaking of silence, no woman has ever said "Liverwurst" to me the way Ingrid Bergman did in Spellbound last night. (Has anyone written more screenplays than Ben Hecht?) And the line by Peck that she looked either like a librarian or a school teacher was great culture. Shock.
And speaking of women, a form of women as Creeley has sd, Sandy Hurvitz. What does Sandy Hurvitz mean to anyone? I thought of her the other day in a conversation with someone about Jim Pepper. Sandy, who changed her name to Essra Mohawk in the early 70's, was a Zappa discovery. Her first album, Sandy's Album is Here at Last, is hit and miss, though she had a somewhat thin, dreamy voice, peripatetic (all who wander are not lost), and the backup band Zappa assembled, jeremy steig (flute), jim pepper (tenor sax), donald macdonald (drums) and eddie gomez (bass) was quite terrific. Sandy/Essra is a Philly girl, was once Uncle Meat, and wrote a song, Change of Heart, which was a hit for Cindy Lauper (another Philly girl), whose Time after Time was a hit for Miles Davis. It all comes back to jass.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Didion/Idiom

I am struggling through the last several pages of Joan Didion's memoir through the lens of grief and death, The Year of Magical Thinking, now a Broadway play starring Katherine Hepburn, and when I say struggling I don't mean that the writing is poor -- it's an obsessive attempt to process grief and mourning -- but that it's an obsessive attempt to process grief and mourning, and thus not the most pleasant thing to read. But as is typical, it's driven me in tangential ways to order, via the Blockbuster account, Panic in Needle Park (Al Pacino's 2nd film), which she co-wrote with her now deceased husband John Gregory Dunne, as well as Hitchcock's Spellbound, to which she compares the recurring vortexes in her life. And now I also see that Blockbuster, in their over-anxious urge to please, has shipped Shaun of the Dead and Laurel & Hardy: Sons of the Desert/The Music Box/Another Fine Mess. I have to admit we are glad to be out from under the compulsion of Six Feet Under (all five seasons in six weeks) and I Love Lucy. So it's off to the races, as they say. Whoever They are.

Careful with that Ax Eugene

Was thinking this morning of those early morning bikes to work, Wodruff Nursery, in Eugene, OR along the Wilamette River, mist rising, herons rising, fish dimpling the surface, late 70's. Difficult, outdoor work, the scent of bark mulch. Who was I reading? Spicer, Duncan and Helen Adam come to mind, the early goths. Often I am permitted to enter a meadow. One of the truly great lines of poetry. And music, wooden music, CSNY. Several outdoor Dead concerts, in Hillman's terms, the entry in a mythical celebration, and Patti Smith and her clarinet, and the Talking Heads, the perfect blend of order (Tina, Chris and Jerry) like a perfectly wound swiss clock, and DB like swiss cheese through it all. Cheers, all.

Monday, June 4, 2007

First Step

Well as they say, whoever they are, the road to paradise begins with one step. This then is that step.
I've been deliberating a blog for several years, and have created a few via courses I've taught, and had my students create others, but I really didn't want to commit until I felt I had a good idea of a focus, or foci, and until I felt I could keep a consistent flow going.
My foci aim to be library/information science matters, poetics/poetry/writing, the arts, music, and anything else that is too slow to flee. As Ed Dorn said of his revered Rolling Stock, "If it moves, Print It."
If any faithful readers emerge, I sincerely hope we can share work and ideas.
Imua.