27 mar. 2011

A Form of Women


I'm resuming my series 9000 books of poetry. I just read A Form of Women, by Creeley, published in 1959. I picked up the first edition cheaply in New York. I'd read all the poems before, but there is something different about reading them in the first edition.

5 comentarios:

Joseph Hutchison dijo...

I love this observation because it's true for me too. I'm not a collector by any means, by something about the first edition of a book transports me back to the time the book first appeared. I read One Hundred Years of Solitude in the Avon paperback edition, then two decades later found a cheap first edition hardback. Read that first edition was an even more luminous experience than the initial reading. I kept thinking what it must have been like to read that book before the air had gotten clogged with accolades and interpretations—when a "clean" reading was still possible! This will not be possible in the future, when books no longer exist as printed objects but only as digital readouts on Kindles and Nooks, divorced from history. The new technology, space-savingly convenient and (in some ways) greener than the old—won't it be somehow more divorced from history?

Vance Maverick dijo...

Joseph identifies a useful trick to play on the reading mind, giving the illusion of a fresh reading -- no doubt he wasn't really innocent of the book's reception history on rereading, but found himself able to imagine a time when he might have been.

I took Jonathan to be highlighting the collection, i.e. the first edition rather than the first edition. He says he's read these poems before, but not in a volume which was composed of them only, in sequence. A webpage with the same text would do as well, if we could clear our minds of the external linkage implied by its being a webpage.

In other words, how to clear our minds and read texts (as if) freshly?

Jonathan dijo...

It's both really. The physical book and the poems in that order.

Vance Maverick dijo...

(Also, Joseph, were you rereading it in Spanish? If not, the experience was hardly unmediated.)

Joseph Hutchison dijo...

If I were reading it in Spanish, Vance, the experience would be mediated by my imperfect knowledge of that language. Just as my reading of "The Waste Land" at age 16 was mediated by my ignorance of Eliot's allusions. Come right down to it, my ignorance is about all that truly belongs to me.