Wednesday, September 29, 2004

It's always fun to get a new batch of books at the Bookery. Today the standouts are Louise Matthias' Lark Apprentice, which has a blurb from good buddy Richard Greenfield, and some Pressed Wafer chapbooks: City Point by Jim Behrle, August Letter to My Wife and Daughters by Joseph Torra, backandforth by William Corbett, In Residence by Beth Anderson, The World of Difference by Seido Ronci, and Cinema Yosemite by Del Ray Cross. I wish we had room to display all of these; maybe I can work something out. Happy too to see some re-orders of books that were purchased: Marcella Durand's Western Capital Rhapsodies, Geoffrey Dyer's The Dirty Halo of Everything, Renee Gladman's The Activist (a personal favorite), and the beautiful Rumor edition of Lorine Niedecker's New Goose.

Reading "A" in earnest now. The sonnets of "A-9" are so intricate and beautiful, even as they make me feel like I have to master both Spinoza's Ethics and the first chapter of Capital to truly sound their depths. I seem to have set myself up to read most of the big longpoems (where did that locution come from? Why "longpoem" and not "long poem"? What's the provenance of that?). But it's impossible to do justice to The Cantos or "A" in a single chapter; I'll have to be very selective, without being so selective that it looks like I'm disregarding whatever's not convenient to my argument. I'm not going to master these poems in the time I have (or a lifetime, for that matter), nor—and I hate to admit it—am I particularly interested in straight scholarship, crucial as it is. I'm looking to generate useful ideas from/for reading. I think generation, in all its notations, is the only real defense any of these textual monoliths can offer for themselves beyond their aesthetic appeal (which is considerable). For now at least, I'll leave it to others to do the glossing.

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