Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Poem of a Life in Chicago

I'm in Ithaca until June 9 or so, but if you're going to be in Chicago on June 1 I recommend this:

"Louis Zukofsky: The Modernist Poet as Jew"
A talk by Mark Scroggins, author of "The Poem of a Life: A Biography of Louis Zukofsky"

Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies, 610 Michigan Ave.
Sunday, June 1 at 2 pm
Tickets are $20 | $15 for Spertus members, and $10 for students.
Call 312.322.1773.

As the unbelieving child of immigrants, Louis Zukofsky (1904 – 1978) sought to study his way out of his father’s Lower East Side sweatshop and to write his way into Western literary history. He did so by placing himself among the "high modernist" poets, whose conception of culture was often covertly or explicitly anti-Semitic. Dr. Mark Scroggins’ new book explores Zukofsky’s growth into one of his century’s most fascinating and complex poets, growth paralleled by his navigation of poetry and Jewishness, and his discovery of Jewish-inflected modernist poetics, which continue to influence and inspire contemporary poets.

Mark Scroggins holds an MFA and PhD from Cornell University and teaches literature and creative writing at Florida Atlantic University. A widely published author of poetry, essays and reviews, he has written on a broad range of writers, including extensive writing on poet Louis Zukofsky.

"terrific new biography"
—The New York Times

Can't be there as I said, but I'm thumbing my way through Oppen's Selected Prose, Daybooks, and Papers, so the Objectivists are certainly on my mind.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Suiting up.

With my sweetie right beforehand.

Waving from a crowd of cardinals.

Emily and our friends worked hard and in secret to surprise me with Sadie's costume. I was floored.

Me and the junior scholar.

The whole family: Emily, myself, Sadie, my stepmother Catherine, my sister Vanessa, and father Ron.

All's well that ends well.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Brussels and Paris, May 2008

A paper's-eye view of the audience at my "Beyond the Pastoral" panel.

Jonathan Skinner gets jiggy with his presentation on constraint and procedure as applied to ecopoetics.

A wooded path in a park near the conference hotel.

A bunch of ecopoets and ecoscholars meeting some actual eco.

The intrepid Dr. Skinner tries to figure out where the hell we are Friday night in Brussels.

An array of tasty Belgian beers at the bar beneath Cinema Nova.

Brussels street scene, late night/early morning.

The Manneken Pis. It's even more underwhelming in person.

About the last thing I remember looking at early Saturday morning.

Jack Collom and Franca Bellarsi read one of Jack's poems at the conference finale.

Me and a bunch of Canadian poet-scholars at a bar near the hotel on the conference's last night. From left: W. Mark Giles, Alanna Bondar, Adam Dickinson, and Jason Wiens.

Josh Weinstein and Alanna Bondar, my traveling companions in Brussels the day after the conference ended.

Une bande dessinee on a building in Brussels.

Crying over spilt candy on a Brussels sidewalk.

The ubiquitous Tintin greets us at the desk of the Sleep Well Hostel.

The bill of fare at a tavern called A La Mort Subite - "at the sudden death." The name apparently refers to gambling.

An honest-to-gosh arcade in Brussels (they're thin on the ground in Paris, though).

Josh notices a resemblance at the Bibliotheque National.

Hanging with a friend outside A la mort subite.

Better than a soapbox.

Some 70s-style lamps on a square in Brussels.

Posters on a pylon.

Tintin and Snowy, unofficial mascots of the European Union.

Vacant lot in western Brussels.

Video-game architecture in central Brussels.

Cinema Nova in the daytime.

Fence outside the Banque Nationale de Belgium.

View from one of several lounge chairs in front of a Notre-Dameish church in central Brussels.

Belgian waffles meet copyright infringement.

View the ruins, then roll.

The interior of the Middle Eastern restaurant where I had my last meal in Brussels.

One of many streets named for poets.

Alanna salutes a countryman's bookstore, where I found copies of George Oppen's New Complete Poems and his Daybooks, along with Paul Blackburn's posthumous The Journals.

The Scottish pub (?!) near the Pont Neuf where the No Tell Motel poetry reading took place.

The Seine, evening.

Obligatory Eiffel Tower shot.

From underneath, it's Space: 1999.

A not-entirely reassuring sign at the concession stand near the Eiffel Tower.

Terrifying anthropomorphic frite at the same stand.

Relaxed view of my cheap hotel room in Paris.

Notre Dame, site of a bread festival and... basketball?

The universal symbol pour un tabac.

What are these people gawking at?


Le Defenseur des Temps, il est cassé.

Enjoying a cliche at a Paris cafe.

View of the Centre Georges Pompidou, featuring an exciting-looking exhibition of Louise Bourgeois' work. Unfortunately, it was closed on Tuesdays.

Pucker up outside the Centre Pompidou.

View of the I.M. Pei pyramid at the Louvre.

Couldn't get into the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the Pompidou, but this spider, an example of her work, stalks the Tulieries.

Part of a remarkable floor art exhibit at the giant mall on the site of Les Halles. "The laughing mountain," "the course of the comma"?

Sculpture in the gardens near Les Halles.

I can now say that every time I go to Paris, I visit comic book stores.

Sculpture in the Jardin des Halles.

Gorgeous pastries at les Galleries Lafayette.

Sacre Coeur in the evening.

Close Encounters-style lighting near Sacre Coeur.

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