Friday, January 19, 2007

A Sop

Palm and Blade

How many days of drat-negligible striding about my “chambres” is allow’d? In a fit of antagonism towards “the writing life”? How many pull’d down impenetrables’ll I offer up—maps of Balkan suasions, curtailings, and griefs? (The music in the next room, Louis Armstrong, “I think to myself, what a wonder—” unh-unh, drag your red bean and ricely self up out of here . . .) A prepositional emphasis. A pile-up. Here’s the affliction—the books corralling me, thumping and sighing rubberly like dogs about my feet.

Iain Sinclair, Landor’s Tower or The Imaginary Conversations (Granta, 2001)

Andrew Epstein, Beautiful Enemies: Friendship and Postwar American Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Jenny Boully, The Body: An Essay (Slope, 2002)

Samuel Beckett, Collected Poems 1930-1978 (John Calder, 1984)

Blaise Cendrars, Moravagine, trans. Alan Brown (Peter Owen, 1968)

Calvert Watkins, How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics (Oxford University Press, 1995)

Wyndham Lewis, Wyndham Lewis on Art: Collected Writings 1913-1956 (Funk & Wagnalls, 1969)

Lytle Shaw, Frank O’Hara: The Poetics of Coterie (University of Iowa Press, 2006)

Antonio Tabucchi, It’s Getting Later All the Time: A Novel in the Form of Letters, trans. Alastair McEwen (New Directions, 2006)

Amanda Nadelberg, Isa the Truck Named Isadore (Slope, 2006)

Robert Steiner, The Catastrophe (Sun & Moon, 1996)

Samuel Beckett, Murphy (Grove, 1970)

Ezra Pound, Guide to Kulchur (Peter Owen, 1952)

Kevin Davies, Comp. (Edge, 2000)

Wyndham Lewis, Blasting and Bombardiering (Calder and Boyars, 1967)

Enid Starkie, Baudelaire (Faber and Faber, 1957)

Robin Blaser, The Fire: Collected Essays (University of California Press, 2006)

Jean Day, Enthusiasm: Odes & Otium (Adventures in Poetry, 2006)

Robert Steiner, Towards a Grammar of Abstraction: Modernity, Wittgenstein, and the Paintings of Jackson Pollock (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992)

Carrie Noland, Poetry at Stake: Lyric Aesthetics and the Challenge of Technology (Princeton University Press, 1999)

Thomas Gardner, A Door Ajar: Contemporary Writers and Emily Dickinson (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Andrew Duncan, Centre and Periphery in Modern British Poetry (Liverpool University Press, 2005)

Morton Feldman, Morton Feldman Says: Selected Interviews and Lectures 1964-1987, ed. Chris Villars (Hyphen, 2006)

Robert D. Richardson, William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)

Javier Marías, Voyage Along the Horizon, trans. Kristina Cordero (Believer / McSweeney’s, n.d.)

Julian Symons, Makers of the New: The Revolution in Literature, 1912-1939 (Andre Deutsch, 1987)

Béatrice Mousli, Max Jacob (Flammarion, 2005)

Pierre Joris, A Nomad Poetics: Essays (Wesleyan University Press, 2003)

Henry D. Thoreau, Journal, Vol. 8, 1854, ed. Sandra Harbert Petrulionis (Princeton University Press, 2002)

James and Elizabeth Knowlson, eds., Beckett Remembering Remembering Beckett: Uncollected Interviews with Samuel Beckett and Memories of Those Who Knew Him (Bloomsbury, 2006)

Max Jacob, Hesitant Fire: Selected Prose, trans. and ed. Moishe Black and Maria Green (University of Nebraska Press, 1991)

Roberto Calasso, The Forty-nine Steps, trans. John Shepley (University of Minnesota Press, 2001)

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals, select. and ed. Joel Porte (Harvard University Press, 1982)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, Vol. 1, ed. J. Shawcross (Oxford University Press, 1967)

Max Jacob, Le Cornet à dés (NRF / Gallimard, 2003)

Max Jacob, The Dice Cup: Selected Prose Poems, ed. Michael Brownstein, trans. John Ashbery, David Ball, Michael Brownstein, Ron Padgett, Zack Rogow, and Bill Zavatsky (Sun, 1979)

Emily Dickinson, The Letters of Emily Dickinson, Vol. I-II, ed. Thomas H. Johnson (Harvard University Press, 1958)

John Clarke, From Feathers to Iron: A Concourse of World Poetics (Tombouctou / Convivio, 1987)

All books I am reading, re-reading, intending to read, pawing at in lieu of reading, unable to read for Time’s shill exorbitance . . . There is another bunch on a shelf, books I think to write something about. The book that I am persistently reading (with few pages left) is Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day. It is not the case that reading that (long) book “allow’d” the unsightly, moronic, cantankerous, prelapsarian, and sense-dispelling accumulation detail’d here to occur: the pile is more or less stable—“add a book here, remove a book there.” The oldest book in the first pile is Guide to Kulchur. The newest book in the first pile is Mousli’s biography of Max Jacob.

Another rocketeer’s (three-finger’d) handful purchased today (the others’re temporary guests in my home, grâce à la bibliothèque, though the day’ll come, petulant and stormy with impatience, I’ll turn those out into the dull beastly roaring night to perish . . . though—often enough—’ll relapse and draw some back through the portal, re-readable, comforting, my antic burdens.)

Samuel Beckett, Dream of Fair to Middling Women (Arcade, 2006)

James Schuyler, The Letters of James Schuyler to Frank O’Hara, ed. William Corbett (Turtle Point, 2006)

Roberto Bolaño, Amulet, trans. Chris Andrews (New Directions, 2006)

There’re some books, too, at work, a small raft, a dinghy, a boatload, enough to tie up the canal at Panama, a man, a plan . . .

Morning with its flakes and drifts, stiffish the wind what makes the ice-gloves flex and mutter in the treetops. The whuttering of tires against the spank of snow. Emily Dickinson says, “That a pansy is transitive, is its only pang.” (Hence, I am certain, “spank.”) Dickinson, too, re: the unveiling of the “Minuteman” monument: “I have only a buttercup to offer for the centennial, as an ‘embattled farmer’ has but little time.” Nous sommes tous les “embattled farmers.” (“We are all embête’d phoques.”) Clubbed by sheer, shirtless Time. And, expiatory of my list and rile, Dickinson’s note to Higginson: “things that are—are ephemeral, but those to come—long—and besides,
The Flake the Wind exasperate
More eloquently lie
Than if escorted to it’s Down
By Arm of Chivalry.
I would love to know you ‘Ferns and Grasses” and touch your ‘Books and Pictures’—but it is of Realms unratified that Magic is made . . .” Eeyynhh.

Emily Dickinson and Louis Armstrong