Friday, May 28, 2004

Feeling sleepy. Bill Clinton may be in town: he's giving the Cornell commencement address tomorrow at 9 AM. Emily and I are planning to go to pretend he's still president for an hour or so. Though you can't go home again: my feeling is that Bush & co. have made the egregiousness of American foreign policy in general more visible: they didn't invent it. Which doesn't mean there isn't a qualitative difference between their depredations and those conducted under Clinton: the destruction of any semblance of international cooperation has definitely made us much less safe than we were. Anyway, he's probably being whisked in and out of town an hour before and an hour after the speech, but who knows? Maybe he'll come into the Bookery for a browse after dining at Moosewood. Though he doesn't strike me as a big fan of vegetarian food.

Browsing through some poetry books tonight: Drew's book Sugar Pill reads like a witty attempt to comprehend the world by an anthropologist who just woke from a deep sleep: "I guess the ground used to be a more formidable barrier", he muses. I love the procedure of the first section of Eric Baus' The To sound: surrealist prose poems grasping (literally) at birds and sisters are periodically broken down into their constituent phrases in a page-as-field arrangement. I will keep reading. Also, I'm finally breaking down and buying the store's copy of In the American Tree. It really is a useful and comprehensive survey of what I can't help but call the most important movement in American poetry since the New Americans. We can't understand our present moment (which is not quite the moment of this book) without them. I'd love to teach a seminar on Language poetry; maybe I'll do it someday. "What Was Language Poetry?"--a question that pushes us toward asking the more urgent question, "What Is Poetry For Now?"

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