So a student in my workshop had a line that blew my dome off last night:
"though it was ash
of my puppies I sowed soft."
I'd grab his shoulders and shake him for joy, but he is a tiny man and looks like a petite, french cabin boy.
Promise of the day:
I'll sleep between your shoulders
like a jackknife.
I've been reading Anne Carson's Glass, Irony, and God (1992). I bought it many years ago when I was a wee little pup and between then and now, I confused it with one of Louise Gluck's earlier books, which was rather dry and retchid, so I hadn't gone back to it until now. "My bad."
It's separated into 6 parts: The Glass Essay, The Truth About God, TV Men, The Fall of Rome: A Traveller's Guide, Book of Isaiah, and The Gender of Sound.
I was taken by The Glass Essay, The Fall of Rome, and the Book of Isaiah
(not liking The Truth About God or TV Men). I've not yet made it to the final Gender essay (later today, though).
from The Fall of Rome:
What is the holiness of the citizen?
It is to open
What is the holiness of empire?
It is to know collapse.
Everything can collapse.
when their rhythm becomes
For, if you think about it,
all first hatred of strangers
contains this idea of death,
of your death which will one day walk up to you
in just such a fashion.
What is the holiness of conversation?
to master death.
Well, a stranger is someone
who takes dread a little too seriously.
From The Book of Isaiah (second page):
Yet I have invented sin, thought Isaiah, running his hands over the knobs.
And then, because of a great attraction between them-
which Isaiah fought (for and against) for the rest of his life-
God shattered Isaiah's indifference.
God washed Isaiah's hair in fire.
God took the stay.
From beneath its meat wings the nation listened.
You, said Isaiah.
I cannot hear you, Isaiah spoke again under the Branch.
Light bleached open the night camera.
God smashed Isaiah like glass through every socket of his nation.
Liar! said God.
Isaiah put his hands in his coat, he put his hand on his face.
Isaiah is a small man, said Isaiah, but no liar.
Ans so that was their contract.
Brittle on both sides, no lying.
Isaiah's wife cam to the doorway, the doorpost had moved.
What's that sound? said Isaiah's wife.
The fear of the Lord, said Isaiah.
He grinned in the dark, she went back inside.
There is a kind of pressure in humans to take whatever is most beloved by them and smash it.
Religion calls this pressure piety and the smashed thing a sacrifice to God.
Prophets question these names.
What is an idol?
An idol is a useless sacrifice, said Isaiah.
But how do youknow which ones are useless? asked the nation in its genius.
Isaiah ponderd the various ways he could answer this.
Immense chunks of natural reality fell out of a blue sky and showers of light upon his mind.
Isaiah chose the way of metaphor.
Our life is a camera obscura, said Isaiah, do you know what that is?
Never heard it it, said the nation.
Imagine yourself in a darkened room, Isaiah instructed.
Okay, said the nation.
The doors are closed, there is a pinhole in the back wall.
A pinhole, the nation repeated.
Light shoots through the pinhole and strikes the oposite wall.
The nation was watching Isaiah, bored and fascinated at once.
You can hold up anything you like in fron of that pinhole, said Isaiah, and worship it on the opposite wall.
Why worship an image? asked the nation.
Exactly, said Isaiah.
A memory fell through him as clear heat falls on herbs.
I'd like to have a conversation about this book but I'm not really in the mood to blog about it. But don't you want to be reading this book, too? You can borrow my copy next week if you ask nicely. Or at all.
This weekend I might be writing the essays it seems I'm not getting done this week. But if you're you, not me, and don't have to write essays, you can choose between two things this Friday:
The Burning Chair Readings
can’t believe it’s
Maureen Alsop & Jean Valentine
Friday, November 30th, 8PM
Jimmy’s No.43 Stage
43 East 7th Street
Between 2nd& 3rd
New York City
Maureen Alsop’s recent poems have appeared or are pending in various
publications including: Barrow Street, Typo, Margie, Columbia : A
Journal of Literature and Art and Texas Review. Her poetry has been
thrice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is the 2006 recipient of
Harpur Palate's Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry and The
Eleventh Muse 2006 poetry prize. Her first full collection of poetry
Apparition Wren is available through Main Street Rag.
Jean Valentine won the Yale Younger Poets Award for her first book,
Dream Barker, in 1965. Her most recent collection, Door in the Mountain:
New and Collected Poems 1965 - 2003, won the 2004 National Book Award
for Poetry. Author of eight additional books, Valentine has received a
Guggenheim Fellowship and awards from the NEA, The Bunting Institute,
The Rockefeller Foundation, The New York Council for the Arts, and The
New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as the Maurice English Prize,
the Teasdale Poetry Prize, and The Poetry Society of America's Shelley
Memorial Prize. She has taught at Columbia, Sarah Lawrence College, NYU,
and the 92nd St. Y, among other places.
O Dewey Decimalists! Dear Bibliographic Enthusiasts!
This Friday Lynn Xu, Josh Edwards & Brian Waniewski will
Assign Call Numbers!
Discover Esoteric Subject Headings!
Defy the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules!
Friday, November 30th, 7pm -- FREE!
Lynn Xu received her MFA from Brown University. She was selected by
Fanny Howe to receive the 2007 SLS Fellowship to St. Petersberg, by
Anne Carson for the 2006 Greg Grummer Prize, and by Lyn Heijinian for
the 2004 Eisner Prize. She was also a finalist for 2007 New California
Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared in The Canary, Phoebe, UDP's
6x6, Swerve, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, JUNE, was published by
Corollary Press. She likes water. Likes gold. These are not competing
species so she is very happy.
Joshua Edwards lives in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he is a Fulbright
fellow. He co-edits The Canary and Canarium, a new press. His work has
appeared recently in Practice, Vanitas, Northwest Review, and
elsewhere. He loves his girlfriend and her name's Lynn Xu.
Brian Waniewski was educated at the College of William and Mary, the
Technische Universitaet Berlin and The University of Iowa. He has
posed as a garden designer in Africa, a food consultant in Europe, a
futurist in New York and an academic in rural Virginia, where he built
by hand a timber-frame cabin in the woods. He has written poems for
many years and is currently at work on a novel, which chronicles the
religious conversion of a young egoist.
Only at Pete's Candy Store
709 Lorimer Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
"L" to Lorimer, "G" to Metropolitan.
Oi, it's 9am, work begins.