Sunday, November 16, 2003

The book, if I may so, is gorgeous. I stared and stared at it. I still stare at it. On my own shelves it fits nicely between Gilian Conoley and Hart Crane. I sold my first copy after the reading to a lovely woman named Norma who had brought half a dozen prepubescent girls with her who were taking part in some kind of arts project for their school. Three of them came up during the open mike and did a rap song about the Three Little Pigs. The reading was lovely and reasonably well attended, perhaps twenty folks. My old friend Sarah Avery, who curates the series there, gave me a very warm and generous introduction. My dad and stepmother were there and I basked in Fatherly Approval (it's like crack when it comes at you directly like that). Emily was there and she was dressed so beautifully that a number of people filing in asked her if she were the featured poet. There's a bagel shop attached to Cleo's and when I left I got a free bag of bagels. I realize my chronology is all screwed up but what can you do? I'm tired.

The next day we went into the city and I tried to visit the Jewish Museum on a Saturday; bad idea. Went to the Guggenheim instead but didn't much care for the main show there, a retrospective of James Rosenquist. Now I don't know much about art, but I know postmodern crap when I see it. It just all seemed so obvious, though I know in the 50s and 60s it must have seemed pretty radical. There was a fun exhibit on the drawings and caricatures of Federico Fellini, however, and I also liked the Kandinskys and Klees in the annex (was strangely mesmerized by one rather atypical Kandinsky, "Fern" [Far Away]). Overall a bust. I did have some fantastic Indian food though, and got to see some of Emily's close friends. Today we went to the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship where my ideas about religion were permanently warped as a child. Emily and I sat for a while on a bench there dedicated to the memory of my mother, Judith Montag Corey (1942-1991). The book is pretty much a work of mourning for her, so it felt like coming full circle. Very peaceful for a change. It will be strange to go on reading these poems for months and years to come; I'm already so far from where I was when I wrote them. That's what's amazing about the said. Adorno:
Expression that has been objectivated as language endures; what has once been said never fades away completely, neither the evil nor the good, neither the slogan of "the final solution" nor the hope of reconciliation. What accedes to language enters the movement of a humanness that does not yet exist; it is compelled toward language and alive only by virtue of its helplessness. Stumbling along behind its reification, the subject limits that reification by means of the mimetic vestige, the plenipotentiary of an undamaged life in the midst of mutilated life, which subverts the subject to ideology. The inextricably of reification and mimesis defines the aporia of artistic expression (Aesthetic Theory 117).
So now I have this book and pretty soon so could you. Barrow Street will have them next week and not long after that Small Press Distribution (with any luck) will start putting it in stores, including Amazon. In the meantime you can order direct from Barrow Street (just click on that link to the left). Or, if you're a poet with a book I want to read (you know who you are) send me an e-mail and we'll swap. I love swapping. Let me know if you want me to sign it for ya.

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