Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday NY TImes Book Review

Check out the poetry reviews by Joshua Clover! Michael Palmer and other unlikely Times' authors finally get their due. More on this after my GRE General tomorrow morning.

I shoveled snow in Minnesota on Friday and bought a red polyester leisure suit there for $7.99 on Saturday. How can Thanksgiving be any better?

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Heard Brandon Brown and Brent Cunningham last night. Brandon's "translation" of THE PERSIANS by Aeschylus fascinated me as it made me re-think my idea of people who study classics. Maybe that sounds naive, but where I came from they never seemed so hip to anything after the birth of Christ. And to hear a playful piece that directly addressed the Iraq war, but still held on to pieces of its Hellenic artifice was, well, satisfying. It wasn't didactic, the language was pleasurable syntactically and sonically, and it gave me something to think about.

Brent's new book is beautiful. Ugly Duckling continues to make aesthetically pleasing reading materials. I thought, though, that Brent undermined his own reading. The majority of his work imitates the forms of philosophical or political documents, i.e. oratories etc. The work infuses these form with absurdities as a way of revealing the absurdity of the form itself. At least that's my take on it. My problem with the work, which is often hysterical and very entertaining, is I'm not sure what to make of it after that. Brent spoke a lot about pieces instead of reading them and this often took on a self-mocking stance, and that only seemed to make me question the point of the writing even more. I mean, it's very smart, well-written work, but it made me think, what more do I expect from writing? Is that enough?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Minor American Actor!

So you might have seen my brother Paul in the Powerbar commercial with the Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony. If you haven't and you'd like to, here's the link . Hit "Play Me" and then click on the "Carmelo Anthony Video" option. My brother is the stock boy at the end who dunks the Powerbars into the shopping cart and does the hula.

Astrological Explanation!

Ok so the remastered BORN TO RUN is released today as a special box set that includes a complete Concert DVD from London 1975 and a DVD on the making of the album. In all the press I spotted a possible astrological reason for obsession with Springsteen. BORN TO RUN was an obsessive effort -- it was the 3rd album Bruce made for Columbia. His first two were critical successes and commercial flops. If this album didn't make it, he would most likely get dropped from the label. The album has Spector-like "wall of sound" production with over-dub after over-dub. 18 hour days were the norm and I think it took six months just to record the title track to Bruce's liking. The album was completed on July 20, 1975 at 8am and the band went straight from the studio into a van to Providence, RI for a show. July 20, 1975 was my third birthday (Born to Run was Springsteen's 3rd album) and Providence is the town I ran to when I finally escaped NJ. So there's the explanation. Bruce is my Elvis. I sight him eating Ding-Dongs everywhere.

Monday, November 14, 2005

GRE for the New Millenium!

So on Saturday one of my answer choices for a theory question, though not the correct one, was "L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poetry." Maybe in a few years, it will actually be a correct answer choice. And everyone was worried about Seamus Heaney taking over the world of poetry when I was at Brown -- how little confidence they showed!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Cold GRE

Saturday I am taking the GRE Subject Test in English Literature as part of the process for applying to graduate school. I was a comparative literature major, so had some fears of this test, since I never had to do the survey thing. I started studying in July, though as early as February I made sure that all my pleasure reading were classics I had missed: "Invisible Man," "The Scarlet Letter," "Moby Dick" etc. The test, from the samples I have seen, is really about knowing a little about a lot of literature. I have a stack of index cards, two whole packages, which I think is 200, and most of them just have the first four and last four lines of famous poems, the characters and settings of famous novels and plays, and short distillations of certain famous people's poetics (i.e. Sidney, Arnold, Wordsworth). It's kind of a ridiculous way to go through literature, but I've had fun doing it. I feel like I'm preparing for Jeopardy. And it's given me a chance to re-read some Donne and remember how much I love him. His verbal contortions are impressive. A while back during my M.A. days I read the Arthur Marotti's John Donne: Coterie Poet. He talks about the early love elegies as performance pieces written to be read for his fellow law students at the Inns of Court. The book helped me understand my close readings of those poems differently: to see them as scripts for public performances displaying much social anxiety through the erotic. I recommend that book to anyone interested in the early, dirty poems of Donne. I love smart, dirty poems. I've got a cold, so I'm going to curl up with the Nortan Anthology, and nurse myself back to health before test-date.