Me & Armantrout Down by the Schoolyard
My Poetry class discussed Rae Armantrout's Up To Speed this week. While I did not expect the positive passion that they all felt for Jack Gilbert's Great Fires (the first book we read) I was a bit dismayed to hear so many of them reject her. The good rejections were able to recognize many of the things she does and actively reject those on aesthetic grounds the bad rejections seemed more like "Uh, I don't get it."
One of my students, with disarming innocence, asked "Mathias, why do you like this book." And while I LOVE that book, I did not have a set answer. I realized that I had decided to use her book in my class with kind of vague notions that it would be instructive about issues of disjunction, juxtaposition and voice assimilation, but I hadn't fully considered the nature of my affection for the book. Back up two weeks and you can see a scene starring me and one of my 101 students in which he tells me that she chooses not to analyze a piece of writing when she likes it because when a story or essay or poem is good it is indescribable. And so I was in front of my Poetry class trying to respond to this question with something more than stutters and finally I ended up saying essentially "I like it because it's, like, good."
Next week we're reading Arthur Sze's Quipu--I will have an elaborated and instructive statement of why I love that book soon. I should have chosen one book I can't stand for this class.
Ate at Blue Orchid with Ashley, Adam & Heather last night. They have a lovely atmosphere, sage tones, open space that doesn't look ill-conceived, good lighting. On the other hand they have a dish called Basil Mania.
I'm listening to Jan Jelinek's Komisher Pitch right now. It was described on itunes as "like a big german hug." But I find it much more appealing than that. If you haven't heard the Cat Power cd yet, you probably should. It would do you a lot of good. You look tired. Your eyes are a bit glassy. You are holding a handful of gravel from the parking lot. Your pcokets are bulging with lottery tickets. But don't worry. I have a secret for you: you're going to win
You might also consider Leviathan's Tenth Sub-Level of Suicide
(I heart black metal)