Thursday, December 30, 2004

Hello from Philadelphia en route to NYC. Have had a wonderful time here visiting with the Nozes and my job-seeking buddies Brian Teare and Richard Greenfield. Also met Joyelle McSweeney and her husband Johannes Goransson (met their friend Srikanth Reddy too) for drinks and they told us about their new press, Action!, which will be bringing out a book of translations by Aase Berg (a young Swedish poet) and a book by blogland's own Lara Glenum. You can read more about it in a letter Joyelle sent to Eduardo Corral. I also had the very great pleasure of meeting my visionary new editor, William Gillespie (of Spineless Books), and the man who made my dreams come true, the brilliant and voluble Christian Bök (he's a handsome devil, too). Got a new mock-up for Fourier Series that is, if possible, even more beautiful than the first. This is practically an art book, folks. William's investigating printers right now for the rather unusual cover; hopefully it will be in print and available before AWP at the end of March, but it could take much longer.

Nothing substantive to say on my way out the door to NYC (where Emily's visiting friends), but I do want to put in another early advance plug for Sarah Gridley's new book Weather Eye Open, which I managed to get a copy of from the UC booth even though it's not officially available until April. I've raved about her work before—for years, really (we were cameradoes at U. Montana)—but this book delivers on her earlier promise and then some. Lyric intensity of the first order, with a keenly detailed eroticism haloed by melancholy, like a more saintly and sensual Sebald—sung in the key of pastoral, too. I will take the liberty of quoting one of my immediate favorites that I read on the train coming home last night—damn hard to choose between poems facing each other in the first section, "The Body Is Placed, but the Spirit Is Emigrant" or "Rus in Urbe." The precise incongruities of the first offer more immediate pleasures; the second cuts deeper. I'll go with the second:
Rus in Urbe

A conscious
liar, an inasmuch reserver of the truth, perhaps
you too are a hoarder. Perhaps no higher than a worm
spinning your march of raw silk shrouds.

The clock is inflicting more points
than a cruse of solar marigolds. Rain is unveiling
your favorite inventory. Let no one blame you. Into well's
moss-lit emporium, lower your private damages.

Look softly: Neptune's methane wreath
sets no red loose. Finished seconds sculpt the hour a shell
of when it was. Let winnd come up to rusk the cells, rake since demolished
crowns and keels. Impalpable shepherd
you have won: less crowd

more pasture

Sarah will be teaching for a semester at Iowa this spring, I believe. Lucky, lucky Iowans.

Right. Off to New York. Will maybe post once more before the year turns over.

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