Sunday, May 29, 2011
This came in the post last week and - in a sense - it had taken twenty years (more or less) to arrive. A long and interrupted journey from a tutorial in Oxford via a houseboat on the Isis to a shared house in Bristol and then years of silence when suddenly ...
Anyway, I'm now in a position to unveil The Walrus who has been an intermittent correspondent on this Blog - Ian take a bow. Here's his first collection and it is delightful (in the fullest sense of that word). It's a book whose very title is redolent of the British Empire and secondhand shops (how rightly they go together). It's a world of condemned arcades and Arcadia, a late 1970s feel when coffee came in mugs not styrofoam. Yet the 1880s too ... fading regalia, end of an era and end of the pier amusements. Or those wet afternoons in Weston in the 1930s, betcha money & Betjeman. A whiff of gas at the back of the chalet & deckchair gaudiness. And, of course, a nod to Wallace Stevens’ Harmonium I’m sure.
There are some major poems ('Chain Letter', 'It Takes A Man' to name but two), poems that I feel outright jealousy towards ('The Prophecies', 'Gods of the Near Future') and 'Windows' which would be the one I'd take to a desert island.
I think this volume is terrific and it seems John Ashbery and Mark Ford do, too. And I'm aware that Peter Gizzi has given it the thumbs up as well. With names like that weighing in you know this is someone to watch.
I was lucky enough to be given my copy. You'll have to buy yours - but you won't regret it.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
A dream the other night: I'm in a classroom teaching Derrida to students and drawing diagrams on the board in chalk. I'm explaining his theory of 'let' in tennis in terms of the clinamen. How the ball hits the net and falls on one or other side or springs out of the court. I'm astonished that no one has focused on this aspect of his work. It also occurs to me (still within the dream) how Derrida must find Wimbledon fascinating.
" Can I have the two mores that are left?"
(E. asking if she can eat the remaining Chipitos in the bowl)
Currently reading: You Are Not A Gadget (Jaron Lanier), Letters & Collected Poems (Dylan Thomas), bits of HERmione and Asphodel (H.D.).
Sold one drawing - the skull:face torso to the left - and three copies of apri'll.
The package containing a volume of Heidegger sent on from the U.K. has still to arrive - it's now three weeks or more. I'm starting to think that this is part of the point: belatedness ...
Each day I change the labels on The Index (few people notice, I suspect). On Sunday I talked to a worried visitor - disturbed by the names Brian ... Keith ... Charlie ... Bill ... Mick. She obviously assumes it is some kind of memorial. "The Stones?" I suggest.
E. asks to hear 'Bogus Pomp' as we're driving to her piano lesson and keeps pointing out the 'good bits' (her ear is spot on). One of my daughters appreciates Zappa! Ah!
Pierre or The Ambiguities, Herman Melville.