Books I got* in May
First of all, this lovely and astonishing chapbook by Marni Ludwig, picked by Susan Howe for the 2011 Poetry Society of America chapbook fellowship:
One of the best things about being in an MFA program is that you get to know actual poets who are actually amazing who actually go on to publish things in beautiful ways. I was in workshop with Marni last year and completely in awe of her. You can read the title poem at Jerry Magazine and purchase a copy of the chapbook here.
Also look out for her first book, Pinwheel, picked by Jean Valentine for the 2012 New Issues Poetry Prize.
Other poetry I picked up in April:
This is the 1974 New Directions edition of Helen in Egypt, which was first publised by Grove Press in 1962. I am in the midst of reading it and it is spectacular. It begins: » Read the rest of this entry «
PAUL SCHMIDT ON A WORD RIMBAUD USED OFTEN: SEASON — SAISON
All periods of time have ends to them, and these fatal endings we anticipate. A period of time–a day, an hour, a year–and this will end, we say; all this will end, the season will turn, and all will be over. We look in vain for some eternal moment, for happiness, felicity, that state of bliss that will go on for ever and ever. Is not happiness defined only when no term to its extent is imagined? So Rimbaud thought, it seems to me. His seasons are those stretches of time that open unawares and close painfully in our lives. That summer, those two years in the city, this love affair, that month in the country–these are the true, the organic epochs of our lives; the dates that mark their endings are our true anniversaries. Are not these the seasons Rimbaud wrote of: the implacable turning of season, and the denial of happiness implicit in their movement?
Aptly, spring has begun. The sun is hurting. And I have just turned in my thesis.
LIST ONE: BOOKS PURCHASED IN MARCH
First set: Works by Beverly Dahlen, my latest, and certainly an, enduring obsession
RELIGION. I have taken to reading the Bible again, and by that I mean Pessoa‘s The Book of Disquiet. It is a monumental work and, in Richard Zenith‘s curation, rather a mammoth one too. So I read it on and off, though I ideally I tell myself I should read a passage every day as one does, if devout, a Bible. But maybe I am more devout in spirit than in practice, and therefore a true Catholic towards this book.
Pessoa: So why do I keep writing?
Pessoa: Because I still haven’t learned to practise completely the renunciation that I preach.
(A Factless Autobiography 231)
DIVERS. For three years I have written monthly posts about the books and movies I read and watched in that time. I’ve become more and more lax about the writing of these, being both late and unhelpfully brief about them. The point was to force myself to think carefully about what gives me pleasure and what doesn’t. Laziness is bad for thinking.
Now that I’ve become less invested in writing a blog that is read and more interested in having a place that keeps track of my interests and complaints and confusion, I’ve decided to switch to this format for my blog writing: a (hopefully) fortnightly gathering of my thoughts and readings. This first divers post of 2012 will have to summarise two months instead of just two weeks, so bear with me.
MUSIC. I don’t ‘follow’ music. » Read the rest of this entry «
. . . an interview I read a few years ago in the New York Times Magazine with the writer Mario Vargos Llosa about his novel The Bad Girl. In the interview, Vargos Llosa explains that he made his main character a translator to explain the man’s lack of personality and why he’d need to go groveling after the Bad Girl. A translator, according to Vargos Llosa, is an inhibited “intermediary” whose life is “curtailed” and “mediocre.”
My question after reading this was how many translators does Vargas Llosa actually know?
In the poetry world, I’ve found translators usually are the bad girls—the poets most likely to put themselves in dodgy situations in other languages and enjoy it. To disappear for years into other cultures and live in situations that would make their parents cringe but that also leaves them aware of the world in a way that makes them live, think, and take risks they never would have otherwise.
That’s from a short piece Idra Novey (amazing poet and translator) posted on the BOA blog. It’s a short, but fierce piece, and I rather like it.
As for putting oneself in dodgy situations, I’ve been translating a book by Marguerite Duras. » Read the rest of this entry «
I used to think of my poems as children and comforted myself about my total lack of maternal feelings with the idea that I was a rear-er of poems. I love and cherish my poems. When they’re bad, it’s only because I haven’t taught them right from wrong. When they’re ugly, it’s only because they’re pubescent and I haven’t found them the right diet pills and pimple cream. (Yeah, that’s the sort of mother I’d be.) » Read the rest of this entry «
A lovely note last night saying I’ve been included in the editors’ choice for ‘The Ten Best of Soundzine’ – thank you, Charles, Gene, Phill and Annie, and many congratulations on your tenth issue. This is a wonderful set of editors, and they’ve just invited a new poetry editor to the team — Mary Meriam. » Read the rest of this entry «