Sunday, June 27, 2010

Che the novella is a small press fiction Best Seller

Readers, I thank you for making Che.: A Novella In Three Parts a fiction Best Seller.
I count Leslie Scalapino and Jane Unrue as especially friendly shelf mates.

We can encourage literary--and herefore cultural--evolution by challenging those we know to read writing that is itself the writer intensely-reading passages of attention anew. (There's a good bit about Borges' writing-as-reading in today's New York Times Book Review I recommend.) I'm grateful to the intrepid readers and writers among us, who bear in it what's human and most lasting.

The page almost quivers (I don't blush saying so) to be film, to be dance, to be love loved and given to. The breathing thing, uplifting, to be part & entire. Summer night. . . and even the bedamned skunk musk is almost perfume. Refuge, hunger, thirst. A drop placed where it belongs. You who are reading it now. . . I thank you.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Jackie Saccoccio: Motherwell, Balcomb Greene, film; and the novella as such. Begin Again, Be New.

I almost passed over them. Page 152, New York magazine, the images within and amalgamation of Jackie Saccoccio's wall to wall 15' painting. What seemed mostly spray, blurred subway car graffiti, became a shape of movement, and then movements themselves, scenes and cultures freeze-framed in their 21st Century. They are somewhat Syriana montage, Balcomb Greene ("Champs de Mars", "Thunder Over the Sea", "Gertrude", "The Island" and Greene's women), or Robert Motherwell's Spanish Elegies. And in the wee spaces: some stilled-breath like Stieglitz saw, Pollock peeled open to the brain for pictures inside, a filmography of confusion, love, war, perfection, imperfection, restlessness, the post-post-post modern eternity; shadow of body, ghost, [K]lansm'n, breast; a city's trance dance at the peak of its inability to turn back.

Here's how New York magazine's Jerry Saltz put it: "located somewhere between a flickering film still, a weather system, and an ammonia-filled primal swamp. Angled sheens of color and foggy white transparencies, echoing dripped latticeworks and vertical pillars of brawny painting, provide structure and organize it architectonically and symphonically, with repeating motiffs, perceivable progressions, and. . . you go figure out the rest."

Guernica, Picasso. This sort of thing. I don't know Saccoccio's work beyond this. But I trust the one interaction, as I would hope a reader would trust a page, a passage, a word.

And I think, after having almost passed it by--returning to find what is found there, what human beings suffer and die from the lack of each day/ decade/ century (you were on to it, William Carlos Williams, doctor that you were--), that these still-blurs are what can center us again, unite us, reveal the common bond--by lust or lack, by devastation or deed, by myth and memory/ memorial. Through our friendships or through false foes: an inkling, inkwell, wellness through it all--finally. Celebration. A wet celebration, surmounting.

Friday, June 25, 2010

D.H. Lawrence, Garrison Keillor, Charles Wright: As Clouds Go By

First there were these words, by D.H. Lawrence (my compadre in general resemblance, I was once told by someone who was hooked on Lawrence): "[W]here the still warm air is full of the scent of pinks, spicy and sweet, and a stack of big red lilies a few yards away. . . ." The "painterliness," the attraction to "the scent of pinks," and the fact of a spring more like summer and summer now full in spring in Vermont presently told me once again Che is part of a lineage.

Then, this (a rare Almanac piece about language itself, and in expressionistic terms): "The world's an untranslatable language/
. . . It's a language of objects/ Our tongues can't master,/ but which we are the ardent subjects of." the speaker in Charles Wright's poem says. "If tree is tree in English,/ and albero in Italian,/ that's as close as we can come/ To divinity, the language that circles the earth/ and which we'll never speak."

The "divinity" of the tongue has always quickened the heartbeat especially in the gift of eyes. I believe we arrive there--"there"--where we make lush anything that will agree in that tension. The textual is made vivid in a sense-world for whom those keys and pads, windows and textures, are a vital drumming: A vitality layered in an accumulating sensuality, be this textuality or painterliness or the long extended nuanced--dance, say; sniff at tides, spray of wave to lips, memory and connection that is instant and sustaining.

I return to Che for this purpose, even as its author. I'd like to share the affinity.

Several years ago one of my poems was aired on Garrison Keillor's "The Writer's Almanac" and, since then as before, I listen to his delivery when I can (in 1994 it was the sound of Billy Collins' poems over a radio on the top floor overlooking San Francisco Bay where I worked, and I thought--at the time--that the man behind the poem, or anyone with a name like "Billy Collins," must be a long since retired Merchant Marine, perhaps no longer with us [I would come to realize we were both little-enough-known poet-teachers in the same system, at the City University of New York; former colleagues, in fact]). Although my office radio mysteriously disappeared after many moments of pause while The Writer's Almanac aired at work over that year, what's found there frequently meets me where I am and provides impetus, springboard, connection with what needs to be done next.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wolfgang Borchert & Williams' "perpetuum mobile" expressed

I find // in Williams' notion of "perpetuum mobile" by expression & text (and day to day: Ginsberg's the ordinary made extraordinary). . .and today, while reading more Wolfgang Borchert, the expressionism "in perpetuity"--necessarily layered (and whittle down) is the language to which I was always attracted and which evolved. "Sometimes Otherness is just the point where human happiness merges into a human dream" wrote Stephen Spender about Wolfgang Borchert's work ("Is it dream? Is it reality?). It is Borchert's "of sun, of sea and honey" or his--necessarily by contrast--"Horrible, the snow crunches exactly the same, just exactly the same. He lifted his feet up and stalked through the snow like a bird, purely to avoid the crunching." This kind of consciousness, grateful present-past-in-future combined; a celebration, a lament, a meditation. . .amid fear and enlivening. The grateful word, the telling, the loved moment and the moment loved. And here it is "for ever."

I listened to a concert of violin and cello in my field. The mountain turned red--plums & peaches--in the late day, blushing, under a moon, exactly under the one ceiling light of emerging evening, this pyramid & triangulating spun a moment's perpetuity.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hear Che

1). Che: tonight, 6/14 in New Hampshire, 7 pm Walpole NH's library (48 Main; 603-756-9806) [with Alice B. Fogel & Kate Gleason]
2). In September, with Gary Lenhart (also a friend of Ginsberg!), at the Norwich Bookstore, VT.