Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

Summer is ending.

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I’ve been reading some poetry by Alice Fulton recently, and simultaneously her lone novel, the Nightingales of Troy.  I love when poets write fiction, because it is truly the most beautiful fiction.  Aspects of Fulton’s fiction remind me slightly of Lorrie Moore, but this is more a comparison of subject matter (not to say that all writers writing wittily about women and their relationships with other women are reminiscent of Lorrie Moore, although in some ways that would be nice) than prose.

This book takes place sparsely over a century, but this passage is from 1999:

Your father’s hotel isn’t what it used to be,” she said when she returned.  “It’s like Père Lachaise up there.  Dark.  Really dark.  With bottles, syringes, and graffiti everywhere.  There was nobody at the desk, and somebody yelled down, Who youse looking for?  Then a big burly guy appeared.  He opened a drawer full of guns and knives.  I was thinking, if we get to choose our weapons, I’ll choose grammar.

Fulton makes for excellent nighttime reading, when summer is ending and the nights are so noisy.  I have been falling asleep reading How to Eat Supper (this hasn’t changed my dreams like I’d hoped it would–they’re not about food or anything).  I am learning so much from this book–this book is meant to be read and absorbed, not just glanced at, like other cookbooks, I think–and feel like all of my dietary habits are lackluster (popcorn for dinner, anyone?) and need to change.  The new semester is about to start, and all the new freshman are arriving with their little refrigerators and their excited parents with their “I’m a Pitt mom!” hoodies and I don’t wish I were moving into a dorm but I do wish I were going back to school (in a more substantial way).   The best thing about a new semester starting is it gives even non-degree seeking students (me!  hi!) a change to reevaluate and set new goals and work towards something different.  I wish I could buy a new Trapper-Keeper or planner or something exciting.  That would feel substantial.

My bookmarks, or wtf

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

I infrequently re-read books, but last night I found myself re-reading Carolyn Forche’s The Country Between Us.  Which is, of course, perfect.  I moved yesterday and my entire body hurts–I feel like I have been lifting weights for three weeks.  My thighs are bruised from balancing heavy boxes atop them and I really just wanted to look at something comforting last night.  I have read and re-read my favorite of Forche’s slim volumes of poetry, but I have turned to this one time & time again.  The last time I read this, I must have been in Toronto–a receipt for a bakery on Bloor was tucked inside (I bought 3 croissants–ambitious) as well as directions my brother distinctly scrawled down to help me find my way to OMC’s brothers’ house.  I love things like this–remembering when and where I last read something.  When I lend books to people they are amused by how much garbage I leave inside them.  It isn’t uncommon to find a picture or a postcard or directions or a recipe inside one of my books (or all of the above).  These usually begin life as bookmarks but eventually stay forever inside my books, which I love, because I tend to believe that my reading location flavors a good book that much more.  Memorable examples of this include reading Allende on a bus in Nicaragua and Ian Frazier’s Great Plains on a train in Poland.  I often forget where I might have been (physically and mentally) when I read something specific, but I can usually pin it down to a certain month, location and mood just by glancing at my accidental souvenirs.   A lot is happening right now, and I have very mixed feelings about much of it, so it was nice to find something so certain and specific in my past reading.

Biting off more than I can chew. All the fucking time.

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

I was hella stoked when I realized that the New Yorker had stolen James Wood from the London Review of Books. I fucking love James Wood, and while I fantasize about the day that I can subscribe to (and faithfully manage to read all of) the NY, Harpers AND the LRoB, that’s just not wholly reasonable because, uh, I work & school & sometimes leave the house, so I am stuck shelling out my hard-earned monies to the NY & Harpers and stealing my brother’s LRoB. This James Wood thing, though, it’s struck up a reasonable schism between my brother and I. See, we both love James. We collectively think he is a goddamn genius, and want him to come to Thanksgiving dinner and maybe, like, steal our mom from our dad so he can be our stepdad and maybe his genius will rub off on us or something. So, as a LRoB subscriber, my brother was so totally not pleased that AH HA!–I get James now, all to myself.

Last week, in the New Yorker, my future stepdaddy wrote about Jose Saramago’s new book Death with Interruptions with such moving conviction that I couldn’t help but immediately run to the fiction shelves and grab it for myself. I love when a review does this to me, when it ruins me and consumes me and motivates me (this one in particular motivated me so much that I had to pay a bunch of fines to check it out. I hate paying fines.). I started this today at work (shhh) and it is already so good that I want to fly home and curl up with a dog or two and ignore everything else and just read the night away.

This comes at a difficult time for me, because I’m also digging through Ben Snakepit’s The Snake Pit Book and his My Life in a Jugular Vein, Dean Young’s Embryoyo (which is so. funny.!) and this compilation of essays written by folks with eating disorders (Going Hungry). Additionally I am re-obsessed with the Stasi and have like fourteen related books on my bedside table that I need/want to read, and also school is kind of nightmare-ish right now, so that’s time-consuming too. I doubt I will have much to say about Ben Snakepit’s stuff, other than it’s neat & that I couldn’t write about my life every single day because it would retrospectively bore me to tears, so it’s cool that he was able to do that and not freak the fuck out and do something insane to spice things up like tattoo his entire face with a picture of the Taj Mahal. Or something. However, Going Hungry is killing me for quite a few reasons, and I will have no choice but to hash it out eventually. It’s sort of painful to read in large doses, but I’m getting there.

Lots on my plate. Not enough time.