Sunday, November 4, 2007

November 3, 2007

Grading papers. Hauling cat to vet and back. Lost time. Nothing recently completed, not of my own writing (three poems unended... absence of closure and unfinished are not the same. And one novel... )

There was Robert Olen Butler's Severance, but want to save this for a review. No time, no time.

Reading now Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Early Visions. This is rare biography, well written, thoroughly researched--and psychologically insightful far above the usual. Half way though and looking forward to the second volume.

Also half way through Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke. I think: Tolstoy. A thoroughly old-fashioned novel, a crowd of characters, plots, subplots and Big Themes. Beautifully written. The battle scenes are wrenchingly brutal--hard to put down. Mildly disappointed... but only because it's not the kind of book I'm hungry for of late. Next on the pile: a Handke, a Josipovici, and Powers'The Echo Maker--I'll make up for it soon enough.

Have just begun Josipovici's book of critical essays, The Singer on the Shore. One a night before sleep.

For the morning, poems from Frank Bidart's, Star Dust. A true heir of Stevens, especially the late poems.

To make up for such spare Sunday fare... two poems from Star Dust


When to the desert, the dirt,
comes water

comes money

to get off the shitdirt
land and move to the city

whence you

direct the work of those who now
work the land you still own

My grand parents left home for the American

desert to escape
poverty, or the family who said You are the son who shall

become a priest

After Spain became
Franco's, at last

rich enough

to return you
refused to return

The West you made

was never unstoried, never

Excrement of the sky our rage inherits

there was no gift
outright we were never the land's



Not bird not badger not beaver not bee

Many creatures must
make, but only one must seek

within itself what to make

My father's ring was a B with a dart
through it, in diamonds against polished black stone.

I have it. What parents leave you
is their lives.

Until my mother died she struggled to make
a house that she did not loath; paintings; poems, me.

Many creatures must

make, but only one must seek
within itself what to make

Not bird not badger not beaver not bee


Teach me, masters who by making were
remade, your art.
Frank Bidart. Star Dust. Farrar. Straus and Giroux. New York, 2005

1 comment:

  1. Isn't that splendid that we're both on Josipovici? I haven't read any of his criticism yet, though I did spy one of his reviews in a not too long ago TLS issue. It seems to be what he's more known for. I'd prefer to stay with his fiction for a while. I plan to get two more of his fiction books soon.

    I have that poetry book from which you quoted. I ought to get to it some time.