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Friday, April 10, 2020

Terrible Times

Given the new terribleness, the virus, and that we are all working and reading and writing, my equivalent of working, it seems to me all the more remarkable that any light breaks in. But the very moving signal given all over everywhere at, say, seven in the evening, when people open their windows and clap and sound any noisy utensil in honor of the medical professionals who work with the sick, endangering their own lives, seems incredible worth a lot. This collective sign means as much as anything, and I am writing this on the night of Good Friday, and saluting the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for opening its immense space as a hospital, should one be wanted. The Rt. Rev Clifton Daniel was for years in Wilmington, N.C., my home town, and so I feel connected in many ways to the Cathedral, especially since, like my sister Peg and my mother, I attended the National Cathedral School in Washington, when it was a boarding school, as it no longer is. We had many children of diplomats indeed, but many others from all over everywhere.

My roommate, Grace Long, was rather large, and I remember happily sitting on her lap, and feeling less lonely. She was from Lima, and subsequently, many many years later, when I was going to Macchu Picchu, as I had always longed to,  having seen a picture of the ruins in a book by Thomas McFarlane, who I think went then to Princeton to teach, and those ruins remained with me. When I finally went there, during my second (and now) marriage, I was totally overcome with a kind of nostalgia of some sort. My guide wanted me to trust him enough to cover my eyes and climb up until I was at the top and THEN look down.

Years from then, I wanted to do a book about translation, and found several translations of Pablo Neruda's Heights of Macchu Picchu, and it turns out that it is chanted on high at some celebration each year, if I. have the story right. If I don't, it little matters, for such stories don't have to be true to be right. and everything there felt right.  As does that evening salute to the bravery of the medical workers in this awful time. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

I love the label "New Post"!!!
So interesting, in order to be interested in something -- for if we are not, that is surely accepting the end of much if not everything -- so here it is. Just about what happens in the mind when 1) you are afraid of the gusts of wind 2) afraid of escalators going down, because once in Japan you were caught or stuck or whatever the term is for momentary panic that seems to turn into longer spates of it 3) really caught up in what you are writing (some think, some write, some read, and I can't seem to do any two of those things at once, and have to be seated to do any of them, unlike Virginia Woolf who wrote standing up!!!)...
I LOVED being in San Francisco, apart from concern about that cruise ship about to dock right there, and apart from everything closing like the restaurant, "Sam's" where we were three BECAUSE we had reserved so they sort of HAD to let us in, and the sign outside said CLOSED, and so on...The talks, in the Weinstein Gallery,  on surrealist women painters, were fun, and I greatly enjoyed seeing Guccioni, a painter I had never heard of, so I got to take a fresh view of things and paintings. And could say: hey, all those eyes, look at the rays coming out of it, and look at the whirlwinds spiraling about, and think of futurism and how that persists... and so on.
I still firmly believe DADA is as strong as surrealism, so I will hold on to that belief, and am dealing right now with Arthur Cravan because of writing on Mina Loy, oh how Dada can you get?
best wishes and uncontaminating hugs right now from right here in New York...

Friday, January 24, 2020

Today, Friday the 24 of January, I treated myself to the exhibitions of Max Ernst's Collages at the Kasmin Gallery and also to Specific Forms at Loretta Howard Gallery, and these were treats of a real type, that I get to write about for the Brooklyn Rail, right now.  And on the way, since reading in the bus is the true delight, I have been reading Lydia Davis in her Essays, and loving not just . how she writes but the whole manner of looking and relooking at things. We will be talking about the latter in my forthcoming mini-seminar on "Maximal/Minimal: from the epic to the aphorism," and this coming week we will be looking at details in larger pictures, and reading Thom Gunn and then Robert Hass and on and on. It feels like an equivalent of "the man who is tired of London is tired of life" and that is the way I feel about poetry. 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

New year, Saturday the 4th!
gloriously we get to have brunch with Gerhard Joseph, my colleague from years and he and Boyce get to argue and we all get to have a Mimosa (which Gerhard always has) or Bloody Mary (which I have with an extra glass of ice and tomato juice so it is less ooooomphful and lasts longer) and I get to take my small book Milk Bowl of Feathers: essential surrealist writings, with New Directions, a publisher I love
and we saw that wonderful film The Big Year about birding, with all sorts of birds and photography and places and actors, loved every moment!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Monteverdi Vespers of 1610

Monteverdi  Vespers in New York
after a new year's toast to each other, Boyce and I are going to St. Etienne on Lex and 76 to hear these  
ancient Vespers with the quavering sound I forget the name of, same as in Gesualdo ( the Red Monk, I think)
the toast was in pink Zarzetto
this morning I got to swim with the wonderful Torello who speaks during his class, so you aren't bored
and I am l laboring over Alice Paalen Rahon, wow

part 2 of. same:
may I correct and add to this? the sound I so love wasn't until the Magnificat and is like hiccups
or hiccoughs,
correction about labels and addition to what I am laboring over, which is/who is Mina Loy as well as Alice Rahon, only the latter is due next month and the Mina Loy LATER, except that I get enthusiastic about one or the other or both at once, nuts to being organized, at my age, I can't ascend from chaos to neatness
and yesterday I gave away two whole cartloads of books to Housing Works on 89 and 2nd, towed there by my wonderful friend Nathalie Fouyer, who wrote her thesis with me at the CUNY Graduate School on Robert Desnos and Zen
and we had lunch at a grand place  Selena Rosa, on 2nd also, which I hope has enough visitors to remain open for years, unlike so m any of the restaurants closed near us recently, and we had margaritas, one with raspberry and the famous one with pomegranate and crispy tacos with shrimp and Fajitas with seafood and were happy AND now I can walk over my floors without making canals through books, although still on the hunt table all semi-circle are piled up books from whatever I have just finished (big pile of Pascal, of Leonardo, and always art stuff and surrealism and the books I long to read or reread, I and a great pile I am not investigating at the moment, amen

Friday, November 29, 2019

post-thanksgiving!
amazing cooking of goose, and when I asked whence came "your goose is cooked" and such,  it turns out that Jan Has sounded like"goose" so when he was burned at the stake, he was cooked. Eeek.

and yams, boring boring to my taste, EXCEPT when they are made into "fries" and at District, our beloved nearby place for brunch and so on, they are super, but also

Boyce made cranberry relish, a true delight and then cheeses: l'epoisse (and I cannot get the accent to stay on the e, but not to worry, I know it has one) and bleu d'Ambert and Saint André and a terrific pecan pie with the worlds's best ice cream, Baskin Robbins praline pecan, ooooh

and I have a red espresso make which gives me JOY as well as coffee

now back to reading about and eventually writing about Mina Loy, which I read also in the bus just now going to get the knife Boyce got me in Kyoto ages ago sharpened , and the young knife sharpener man loved the patina on it as much as I do so I was happified!