27 jun 2003

Still in Madrid, blogging from traditional literary cafe comercial.

15 jun 2003

This is strange. I can blog from Spain. I won´t do it too much, though. I have many better things to do here.

9 jun 2003

"Bemsha" (TBFKAJMB), along with "Julia's Poems" and "Poesía con nombres propios," will be going on a brief hiatus. These logs will be back up sometime in the first week of July. I've been blogging pretty much without interruption since beginning of last September. No sign of New York Times Story yet.

8 jun 2003

Here's a new poetry blog that actually talks quite a bit about poetry. Welcome, Dan Tessitore. Comments about the reception of Billy Collins are quite astute.
Language Hat on Julia's Lady Bug poem. Mr. Hat is an astute critic of poetry.

6 jun 2003

Do I need to point out that this is not really a picture of me? I don't want to be accused of misleading anyone. Actually I look nothing like that at all.
In case anyone was wondering what I look like I thought I'd post this picture of myself:

Do I need to point out to those unfamiliar with this blog and its context (i.e. other blogs I am reading) that the poem below is not really by R. Edson? I do believe that it is far superior to Edson's actual poems, but that is another matter altogether.
I came across this Long Nosed PB poem. It was written by Russel Edson many years ago and just so *happens* to coincide with the theme of the hour. I hope you like it. (It is actually a Long Nosed PB SQUIRREL poem.)

'There once was a squirrel puppet who wanted to be a real squirrel. By squirrel puppet I mean a puppet made by squirrels, in the image of squirrels. But what the devil is the word for a female squirrel? A hen, a cow, a bitch, a mare? Before this story can be told--how the squirrel's nose grew whenever it told a lie, how the squirrel puppet was almost turned into the puppet of a donkey or mule-- this question must be resolved. Because, you see, this particular squirrel puppet was a

"Long Nosed Pinocchio Squirrel Bitch"

5 jun 2003

Welcome (back) to St. Louis David! All is forgiven. Too bad I'm off for Spain on Wednesday of next week. We won't have time to hang out until I get back.
I got an e-mail from a reporter at the New York Times. She is doing a story about bloggers who are possibly disappointed with the size of their audience. I wrote back to say I wasn't unhappy with my readership. She had taken my comment about "competition with Ron Silliman for traffic" as referring to myself. I was referring, of course, to Jim Behrle and with his friendly and I assume good natured daily rivalry with Ron.

She called me about an hour ago. Look for a story in the Times by Catherine Greenman on blogs, sometime in the next few days.

4 jun 2003

I might have mentioned the Enigmatic Mermaid before. It is a pretty cool blog by a Brazilian translator, written about half in Portuguese and half in English. It's fun to read the Portuguese; I don't speak it but have a good "passive" knowledge. I found it because she has a link to "Bemsha Swing" (formerly JM's Blog).
Stump the bloggers 2 (last answer was James Schuyler)

Up at the "Mansion"
Davy sat on the bed lighting a cheroot
Peter talked of Agnes in the arcade.
A thing or two "lifted" there.
People whistling in corridors
riffs from "Ecuador."
You could see the mold
from which the jelly was pressed.

3 jun 2003

During the rest of the day, I'm going to try to think of a poem for the other blog. Julia is picking up her glasses today, a little nervous about wearing glasses to school tomorrow for the first time.
I've been noticed here: "Bemsha Swing: Desde algún lugar del norte y en inglés. Jonathan Mayhew quién además lleva en forma paralela otro blog orientado a la poesía, ese sí en español."

and here:

"...and Jonathan Mayhew makes/notes this interesting observation in Bemsha Swing (that gets my vote for coolest weblog name): "Monk liked working within forms, not exploding them. Especially the 12-bar blues. Imagine if William Carlos Williams had written sonnet after sonnet." Monk, consistently misunderstood in his lifetime and beyond, is often mischaracterized as having been too far "out" there for his contemporaries. He was surely ahead of his time. But he was, in fact, a classicist in many ways who never lost touch with the roots of his music, the forms upon which his admittedly unique music was built. He never (and never sought to) completely lost sight of jazz landmarks as Ornette Coleman sometimes did. Poets seeking to be on the cutting-edge of poetics would do well to consider his music in the context of the evolution of jazz composition. Plus it's damn good stuff. Incidentally, most listeners think of "Bemsha Swing" in its incarnation from Monk's famous Brilliant Corners album. Great stuff. But you owe it to yourself to hear it on the earlier OJC release."

I'm glad I have one vote for coolest blog name, after having had least cool blog name forever.

Jim asks about my compulsion to retranslate. I suppose it is a form of "showing off." And yes, I do think a book with, say, one poem in Spanish and 60 different translations of it would be an excellent idea, a way of "working through" the poem. And I do understand the impulse to say "Archie is doing it all wrong." What a horrible, overblown performance Carroll O'Connor turned in week after week. I would never do this with Barney Fyfe, though. You can't mess with perfection.

It used to bug me when I'd be listening to a jazz radio station and they would play some version of a monk tune with a wrong (and invevitably less interesting) rhythm. Or someone doing "Someday My Prince Will Come" in a faux Miles Davis style--with identical instrumentation, but much worse. Translation is kind of like that. The translator needs to have some flair, some critical/poetic edge. In the absence of that, endless repetition in the hopes of hitting on some brilliant solution. Hofer's versions, although often superb and quite justifiable, are very literal, almost "crib-like." Thus they seem to incite my impulse to mess around with them. (I happen to like literalism in translation, by the way.)

Maybe all this makes me a deeply strange person. But what is this compulsion to compete for blog traffic with Ron Silliman?

2 jun 2003

Not much time to blog this week, in advance of trip to Spain. I am teaching myself to draw.