Thursday, December 29, 2005

Short Takes

- Craig Teicher posts a nice response to me and to Seth.

- Read Coltsfoot Insularity, a collaboration between Jess Mynes and Aaron Tieger. Originally written on postcards to each other, the poems have the freshness and intimacy of two lonelinesses rubbing each other the right way. The individual poems aren't attributed but their styles are readily distinguished. Jess' poems are distinguished by a kind of surrealism of syntax—I kind of imagine this is what French hip-hop sounds like:
"It may be the
yarrow in his
fields Sealed pensive
purple under
its concern."

hip hop thud-thud passes
(yes, even in the sticks)
wild turkey scrum struts
feathers blue green
sheen electric in sunlight
                     the little ones
                     lose their way

people put me down
caust that's what's it
in this part of town
Aaron's poems are more conversational and diaristic, snapshots of a daily existence adding up into something numinous and barely glimpsed. :
         Got this
from a bookstore
had a section on

tasty hot dogs
on which I passed.

on the byways, sun
while shopping.
- Almost done with the first volume of Neal Stephenson's mammoth Baroque Cycle, Quicksilver. This is the kind of encyclopedic postmodern yarn I loved ten years ago, when I was infatuated with the likes of Pynchon and Barth. Turns out I still dig this kind of excess of immense prose that is saturated with ideas and sensuous details (you really get the muck and dust and incandesence of the 17th century all over your hands reading this book) while never actually disappearing as writing, never becoming the experience of blank pages on which a movie magically unfolds. He's not quite Pynchon (whose Mason and Dixon covers some of the same territory) but he comes close, filling the pages with letters, plays, philosophickal discourse, self-conscious picaresque, and indelible portraits of persons fictional and non. Most contemporary fiction bores me; historical fiction I'm used to thinking of as something of a cheat, a retreat from the here-and-now. But the fiction I get the most pleasure out of right now is historical fiction in a varied and flavorful prose.

- Hoping someone, maybe Jonathan, will eventually write "What I Saw at the MLA," or words to that effect.

- Raining.

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