Sunday, March 06, 2005
tomorrow it will be cold again... but
at least it's the birthday of two truly great literary weirdos...
donald barthelme who shook my hand once... and georges perec who
they say we got over 50 today and i believe
them.. i saw the sun out my window... and i heard dom washing
his car... yes washing his car down there below... and some birds
chirp.. and did i mention i saw the sun through my window while
i processed student paper... and the cat rolled over to show her
disgust that neither of us were out there...
ah... the birth of a most useful word...
wonder of wondersuckers
... a good word for the resistance...
up against the wall, wondersuckers!
Saturday, March 05, 2005
it feels great to have been read
out loud in texas
... thanks, chris
... just found via nytimes... expresses some opinions
that i would not generally accept... but does seem to be a window
into some kind of "mainstream" "conservative"
catholic world that a "mainstream" "lefty"
catholic like me might want to peek into from time to time...
Friday, March 04, 2005
New York Times > 'Dr. King's Refrigerator': Thinking Outside
...Like ''Middle Passage''
and ''Oxherding Tale,'' nearly all of Johnson's novels and stories
showcase African or African-American characters through the windows
of slavery, manumission and segregation. But instead of filling
his characters' heads with chastening spirituals and dreams of
freedom, Johnson explores the meaning of freedom itself, arming
his protagonists with doses of Kant, Hegel and the Bhagavad-Gita
as he watches from the sidelines to see how they make out.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
o spring... loren gives good
sometimes when i'm down in deep grey
february i shoot for the light... this usually involves buying
something to wake me up... i suppose i could try to pray... walk
that desert for awhile... and i do... do that... but i also sometimes
turn to books and music for some light... and so today the light
came in the form of a big brown box from daedalus
... containing books... Action Jackson
... a kid's book about Pollock
making Lavender Mist
the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence
... The Essential Joseph Cornell
Reflections and Shadows
a memoir by Saul Steinberg with Aldo Buzzi...Ray Johnson: Correspondences
and music...Odetta sings Ballads and Blues
over the years i've heard plenty about her... but have never heard
her until just... this... minute... and she sounds fine... enough
to start a movement...
do actual people really Google
heard in class just now... i can't
find my place on earth - i just can't find it...
Rebellion of E.E. CummingsBut when it
comes to the poetry of the twentieth century, perhaps the most
useful distinction is the one between parents and children. Some
poets present themselves as fathers or mothers -- thoughtful,
serious, eager to claim authority and accept responsibility. Others
are determined to remain sons or daughters -- playful, provocative,
in love with games and experiments, and defiant of convention
in language as in life.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Lens - Underground
...One of the worst
things they did to me in high school was teach me literature.
I'm all for reading and learning about symbolism and synecdoche;
what I didn't like was the way we went about applying them. Too
often we approached a book like a code breaking exercise, as if
all we had to do was read the novel, apply the allusion secret
decoder ring and out would pop the book's 'real' point.
... and that's the truth... one
of the worst things... and i'm busy trying to undo it... and they
find it so hard to let go of... this tendency this... fetish...
NEW! Review of John Ashbery
... Selected Prose... which i'm
working slowly through not becuase it's a slow and tedious job
but just the oposite... it makes me stop to think or look something
up every page... and jack kimball writes:In Selected Prose John Ashbery is self-effacing,
continually turning to textual evidence to deliberate over telling
details and human ingenuity in the telling of details. Many of
the essays take up a poetics of human accumulations, of 'minute
observation' and of 'the strange position of elements.'
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
this morning we began discussion of a
place on earth
... and i just happened to be seated next to
a kid who had a very old very strange edition of the book... turns
out it's the first paperback edition of the first edition... i've
never seen this one before... where did you get this?
a used bookstore in missoula, montana... (must have been on a
college visit)... only cost three bucks... borderline berry completist
that i am, i promised ten plus a used copy of the counterpoint
edition... i'm supposing that nobody else in a hundred mile range
would care to make such an offer...
this volume is a bit raggedy but not too bad... and seems kind
of rare since none are available for comparison over at abebooks....
the cover... front and back...
a good day for one berry bookhunter
Monday, February 28, 2005
The world's curse is a man who would
rather be someplace else.
... Jack Beechum
in "The Bringer of Water" by Wendell Berry
from a Speech
by Bill Gates at the National Education Summit on High Schools
...By obsolete, I mean that our
high schools even when they're working exactly as designed
cannot teach our kids what they need to know today.
Training the workforce of tomorrow
with the high schools of today is like trying to teach kids about
today's computers on a 50-year-old mainframe. It's the wrong tool
for the times.
Our high schools
were designed fifty years ago to meet the needs of another age.
Until we design them to meet the needs of the 21st century, we
will keep limiting even ruining the lives of millions
of Americans every year.
only one-third of our students graduate from high school ready
for college, work, and citizenship.
other two-thirds, most of them low-income and minority students,
are tracked into courses that won't ever get them ready for college
or prepare them for a family-wage job no matter how well
the students learn or the teachers teach.
This isn't an accident or a flaw in the system;
it is the system.
vendler on ashbery at The
New Republic Online
...Unlike many other
'experimental' poets, Ashbery has resisted the notion that poetry
need not communicate intelligibly; but he has also resisted tethering
poetry to the expository flatness of the assertion of doctrine
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