Tuesday, February 15, 2005

While I've been Awol....

...I've seen too many over-priced horrible rooms and one beautiful one under-priced. Cross your fingers, say a prayer.

I've also made it to the Berkeley library with Kevin Killian to help him organize the Spicer collection. Spicer wrote mostly in pencil in child-like handwriting. I saw the handwritten version of Psychoanalysis: An Elegy -- a favorite of mine. There's something strange about rummaging through a poet's papers. I at first was awe-struck -- a feeling of doing sacred work but soon it seemed very ordinary. That's not to say it wasn't fascinating but as I was going through Steve Jonas' letters to Spicer's (which came one a day and were fat with speed language) I realized that the scene Spicer was in wasn't that different than the current poetry community. Jonas was always sending Spicer three or four new poems in a letter. At the rate he was going many weren't that good. Spicer from what Jonas wrote seems to not have replied very often and the silence Jonas took as a commentary on the work. But the fact is there were many letters from Jonas that have only been open now by the archvists. I guess still a commentary for the work: slow down. And then Spicer's letters to Blaser were similar in some ways to Jonas' letters to him: 'why haven't you replied yet, Robin? what do you think of the new draft?' And it's very comforting every now and then to see a BAD Spicer poem. The guy was human.

I'm about half-way through Williams' Paterson and it makes me think over and over again that Post-Modernism is a sham. Everything that I thought LANGUAGE poetry invented Williams already did. The only thing that is different is the tone. There's no Kurt Cobain 'everything's a joke' attitude in the work. Maybe that should just be a marker of Late Modernism -- meaning NOW. Reading this book is like learning your grandparents had kinky sex and loved it at a moment when you still believe that you invented the missionary position.

David Larsen is a genius. His performance in Jocelyn Saidenberg and Brandon Brown's series at New Langton arts was to say the least extraordinary. I'm not sure if I can quite describe it but I'll give it a go. First of all he recites them. Most of them memorized but even the read ones seem memorized. Something like Edward Gorey meets Black Sabbeth meets the Meet Puppets meets Homer. "The Basket of Blood" involved a basket of blood and a homemade mask. I'd have to see him do it all again and keep a notebook in my hand to really be able to sketch it out for you here. I just went for the ride.

Thursday Caroline Bergvall. Always good.

As for my book, I'm debating when and where to put dashes.

I'll be back -- M.


Joseph Massey said...

Magdalena, I had a dream we were in summer camp together, last night. I think we only met once, a long time ago. But it was an amusing dream.

I'm jealous you got to sift through all of that Spicer correspondence.

Anonymous said...

great ..thanks for sharing.....

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