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Sunday, September 20, 2009

The system was breaking down and a half bent nail.

We are reading Ashbery in class but I won't report on it here (student privacy etc, etc.) I can, however, vouch for this: "The system was breaking down...Who has seen the wind? Yet it was precisely this that these enterprising but deluded young people were asking themselves. They were correct in assuming that the whole question of behavior in life has to be rethought each second;"

The book that really surprised me lately was failure by Philip Schultz. Here's a wonderful book of poems by a former Pulitzer winner that -- I'll use a bit of his own ideas here -- like leaves glow in the sun, and fall and could be raked up or could set one meditating on life. You know when someone says, "you're staaaring"? Yeah. He writes, "I could take a walk with my wife and try/ to explain the ghosts I can't stop speaking to./ Or I could read all those books piling up/ about the end of understanding.../ Meanwhile, it's such a beautiful morning,/ the changing colors, the hypnotic light." This excerpt gives the flavor of the best ones here.

Interesting that both poets are engaged in recollections, in the pointillist smattering of memory over their consciousness. Everything's a pretext for digression, feeling, evaluation. Life as a montage.