Friday, April 15, 2005

People (and I should probably, reluctantly, include myself here) seem, basically, crazy lately-- too many y-sounds, a derangement in the bluey, unconscionably gorgeous air, tax day, bankruptcy in the legistatures. Nitid. I've had three verbal altercations with people in the last two days. I never know where the blame lies in these things, but it's interesting that I've consciously meditated on being kind to others every morning for the last few days. The unconscious revolts, I suppose. I wish I could attach my tax anxiety to my disgust with the purposes to which such dollars are or are not directed, but that's not what I consciously attribute it to. I just feel deeply incompetent in the face of these kinds of tasks; sequencing errors; like trying to learn long-division every year from third-grade until seventh, even though I eventually became quite good at math. It always seemed too much like that game Hangman, the rules of which I now forget--long, long, long division.

My book-buying moratorium is over, and I ordered my copy of Joshua Corey's Fourier Series yesterday. $4 off, if you buy before the publication date. Get yours!

Also, check out the moving tributes to Creeley over at Conjunctions. There are some great poems in there.

I recently bought and read Jordan Davis's collection Million Poems Journal. Like Marianne Moore, Davis is a collector, building nests for his poems out of all kinds of seemingly disparate bytes, qualia and partial objects. But, in Davis, anything gets granted object-status, the elegant and inelegant alike--silk panties and french fries; decontextualized phrases and internet fallout and the physical stuff left behind by urban life, full of pleasure-giving potentialities:

Even the dumpsters shine beer for
A bird at war
With a bottlecap in the marigolds.

Perhaps this will raise some hackles, but Jordan is the only real inheritor (as opposed to imitator) of the O'Haraesque urban pastoral. His exuberance makes most poetry of joy seem dour by comparison, and it's intriguing to see a voice working so hard to maintain a consistently upbeat affect. That is, the poems make me think about affect as something consciously constructed, rather than what merely falls into place, beyond the poet's will, as a result of philosophical and attentional choices. Affect, it seems, drives these poems, and it's a strangely successful way of writing. It's an inspiration to those of us who'd like to live better, and treat ourselves and others better. And, as I'm reading Adorno's Minima Moralia, it was a nice break from general insufferableness.

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