29 jul 2006

We closed on our first house (University City) and moved into our temporary apartment. Did the inspection for house #2 (Olivette). Needless to say, little time for blogging in all of uprooting. I can't even read. I am memorizing the complete works of Claudio Rodríguez and 2 books by Lorca. Diván del Tamarit and Romancero gitano. A lot of it is rememorization so it goes fast.

25 jul 2006

The apartment we are moving to, which had power finally yesterday, now again has no power. The carpets still have not been cleaned and we are having our movers come tomorrow. Aargh!

24 jul 2006

It's my week at No Tell Motel. I'm very psyched about this.

21 jul 2006

Add to that a re-occurence of my asthma. For whatever reason, I cannot seem to get enough to eat, either, no matter how much I actually eat. My stress levels are through the roof. I feel I am virtually always on the verge of breaking out in tears, yet somehow it's just that thought, and then nothing comes out.
The storm has knocked power out in much of St. Louis. The apartment we are moving into temporarily between our closing on the old house and the date when our new house is available has no electricity. Neither does the storage facility where we are temporarily putting everything that doesn't fit into the apartment. We are fine here at our first house, having only lost power for a few hours on Wed evening.

20 jul 2006

Look for me soon at No Tell motel.
We bought a house today in Olivette MO.

18 jul 2006

What if there were a poet who presented terrificly complex textual problems. Inauthentic or lost poems, poems in multiple versions, really bad editions, etc... Then wouldn't the criticims on this poet, after the poet's death, be devoted mostly to sorting out all these problems? The search for the "truth" of the poet Y's work would be largely a search for the best textual practices.

Suppose poet X also dies, leaving her literary estate in perfect order, with few if any significant textual problems. Then the search for the truth of poet X would be entirely interpretive, not textual. Of course, the search for the truth of poet Y's work would also be interpretive, but nobody would ever get to these interpretive questions. Or rather, all interpretive questions would be filtered through the lens of textual controversies. Did he really write Lost Paradise? How much help did he get from his collaborators? is the 1915 edition more reliable than the 1930 edition?

17 jul 2006

Listening to some of George Crumb's Lorca settings, as part of my project of studying Lorca's amazing *after-life* in US and Spanish culture. Joseph Cornell made a film taken from phrase of Lorca's / Guillén's ("Fábula de fuentes"). I love when I discover these magical conjunctions between my favorite artists--like when I discovered Morton Feldman had set to music my favorite text by Samuel Beckett. Things just seem to line up, make sense, making me think my aesthetic world view is totally coherent.

I have to track down this Cornell film.

13 jul 2006

Class notes

Modernity in poetry means looking for a particular tradition in the past. It's deeply traditional, radical in its search for
roots. That's why it has that super-erudite, scholarly dimension. Blame Ezra Pound. Or Robert Duncan.

García Lorca was something of a scholar of folklore. Not a very good one in the scholarly sense, but with good intuitions, a good understanding of what he was looking for and why it was important. Valente was quite a good scholar of Spanish mysticism. Claudio Rodríguez wrote a master's thesis on children's songs; not that far away in spirit from Lorca's lecture on Spanish lullabies (nanas).

The invention of an imagined past. That's typical of American poets. Schwerner, Pound. Eshleman in his caves. The poet-scholar is a very powerful model up to this day. We worry so much our culture is insufficient that we end up overcompensating. One can imagine someone becoming a sinologist under the influence of Pound, and then, of course, knowing vastly more Chinese than Pound ever did. I was about to say that Pound was the first American poet to be academic specialist in Romance languages, but I was forgetting about Longfellow.

12 jul 2006

I hate the "content mining" mode in criticism. It's not as though I never did it myself. There's a point at which everyone has to do some of it in some fashion, but I don't like it. They call formalism sterile, but what is really sterile is a mode that doesn't attend to form, the living breathing soul of the poem is its rhythms, its particular cadence.


The "seven times" rule. The chimney to your gas appliances cannot be more than seven times the diameter of the smallest duct in one of said appliances. Selling a house is not fun. Six and seven hundred dollar repairs lurk around every corner.
Million Poems.

I like the cool elegance of Jordan's Davis's recent poem, "Nightmute, or the Stowaway." The play between emotional detachment and engagement. This is only the first section:

"I got to talking
To the unregistered passenger
About the Beatles. He was a bit
Of a musicologist.

He liked the drones
And the diminished elevenths,
The fur and the claw.
We scanned to port for dolphins.

We were waiting for a feeling
Neither of us knew,

A measuring tape stretching
From the gun mentioned in act one
To the dramaturg
Flirting with the sound effect girl.

I had to laugh when she said
Her name was Constance Garnett --

'Where do I know you from
And while you're here,
What's with all the extra code
In the genome.'

Wish you were here."

6 jul 2006

I also have strong déjá vu. More so when I was younger, maybe. One such experience seemed to last almost ten minutes, but the typical one was for only a few seconds. It's kind of hard to explain to someone who's never had it. It's a sensation that that exact moment has been experienced before. It's not, in other words, deja vu as a mere metaphor for things happening over and over again.

Another psychic peculiarity of mine is that experience seems to be frozen in memory fairly quickly. That is, when I learn something new, it very quickly acquires the feeling of something I've known for a long time. I don't know if there's a term for this.

Every since I was a child, I've had an odd relationship to time. For example, I've always felt that the months from January to June were only one third of the year, and that the half-way point was August. I also feel that the span of time between nine and twelve in the morning is equal to that between twelve and five.
I noticed recently i am a mild synesthesiac. I see colors. Federico García Lorca, for example, is a bright, orangish red. (I don't mean the person himself, but his entire poetic work.) The number 4 is also red, I noticed when doing a sukoku puzzle recently. Even though the actual ink used was blue, the number 4 was still red.

I only recently thought about what color Lorca was. But I have the strong conviction of always having known it.

I say "mild" because most things have no color for me, and my impressions are often rather faint. People with stronger cases than I have might see more colors and with much stronger conviction. I'm not entirely sure.

2 jul 2006

Popular Song

What could be more popular
than a popular song?
Not this one.
Not that one.

The other one.
What makes a mouse
a distinctive mouse?
What markings?

If a mouse had wings,
and if it sang?
What made it popular?
The popular song?
My correspondent Javier de la Iglesia has a blog called Añalejo de indolencias. It's in Spanish, needless to say.

Añalejo = "Especie de calendario para los eclesiásticos, que señala el orden y rito del rezo y oficio divino de todo el año." An ecclesiastical calendar, in other words. Iglesia means church, so it's a calendar of Mr. Church's leisure-time thoughts.

Indolencias = laziness in the plural.

Javier knows a hell of a lot about American poetry, especially Pound and Olson, people like that.