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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

and other things...

and I got to write about Larry Poons and about Sarah Plimpton and about Julie Ault and about Marcel Jean and got to talk about Lorand Gaspar and about Gherasim Luca and about Frank Stella (how great he has all those different ways of doing work, that is deeply enviable) and am thinking right how how the very sublimest compliment I could pay to any writing is something about how it is like prose poetry, which I greatly love
must write to Tom Phillips to ask permission for a page from the Humument and to whomever one now writes about using a spell cast by Artaud
oh do I hate writing for permissions... for the Modern Art Cookbook several of my grad students helped me and it still took three years, really!

reading aloud

so we just gave a reading at KGB Bar, six of us reading our translations and talking about the authors we just translated for a little press called Contra Mundum, and that was fun; always readings are fun, I think -- a friend and I read in New Orleans, books we translated together and separately and also in Woodstock
well, that isn't much news actually and I have to prepare my forthcoming seminar on Turns and Swerves or whatever I called it, in art and text, having to do with how the road bends or the text turns, that kind of thing, as in Nicolas de Stael or a number of other artists I love -- or how the plot not thickens but swoops away differently from what you might expect
we were in NorthCarolina because my beloved sister got robbed and we had to  straighten up after and such and such, and there are mostly pine trees and marshes, lovely, and a kind of unbusyness, unlike New York which I love living in

Monday, January 18, 2016


ultimate decadence, in this time of so much (well, always of course) sadness, strife, and struggle -- not Mein Kampf or even "My STruggle," about which so many people here are asking why didn't Knausgaard call it mein kampf in the English translation -- um.. I think I see why not --
anyway, when I get up, as I do two or three times a night to read something or other, I have a nip of rum or Punt y mes or vodka with something or other, and peanuts, I am wild about peanuts and THEN I don't have to take a sleeping pill which often I do

that is decadence and so is praline crunch ice cream by Baskin Robbins which I am so happily addicted to

so I am slogging along at my Simply Woolf for the simply series, ebooks and not you now, those real books with corners and things and pages and am waiting to see if Pascal: A Critical Life meets with the publisher's approval, and am writing reviews of art exhibitions and so on in this really delightful time called January (first snowfall here today in New York!) before I start teaching in  February for my last semester, because instead of teaching my film course in the fall, I think I will just step down or up or out or wherever one steps

BECAUSE I forgot even the name of Woodstock! that is very bad
and yes, we lament Bowie's death immensely, what elegance he had!
and Matthew my son, as in Nadasurf, just got engaged, and that is delightful,
so now, without further ado or decadence, I will hie me off to bed, although it isn't even one or two and it is usually about three when I get up and then up again

this way I feel I have lots more time in  my life than if I slept all night

Friday, January 1, 2016

thinking new year stuff!

so one gathers that one, I gather that we, we gather that we should make all sorts of turnoverthings now for the year to come, such as 1) tidy up (this will not be happening) 2) make our desk straight and put the papers somewhere (this will probably not be happening) 3) finish some of the projects started (well, maybe, some of them, maybe) 4) and under contract (this would be SimplyWoolf, an e-book, and also Jean Cocteau et le cinema, for Jean-Michel Place)

and whee, I did put on reserve books for my forthcoming seminar in TURNINGS for the English Ph.D program, and have almost finished reading final papers for this past term, which I loved:
From Mannerism to Modernism in Art and Text, great students, great auditors, it was just plain delight, I hope all around, and have sent in my possible Film course for the fall, after which I retire, and that would be Film Art: visual and verbal interconnections -- with ballet and novels and stories and avant-garde stuff and all sorts of things to show in the film room downstairs at the Graduate School, which I really love, and am glad Paul Krugman is joining us at the graduate school: when asked what would tempt him away from Princeton, he said, Zabar's -- now that is cute

loved having French friends here, Philippe and Francoise Heuze, classicists, and recently Camille Morando (archives at the Pompidou, here to bring back to the Pompidou Francis Bacon's portrait of Michel Leiris from the Gagosian) and Fabrice Flahutez (such  brilliant art historian, here to speak on Matta at the Pace, with Matta's daughter) and Catherine Maubon (with whom and with Boyce we got to hear my son Matthew Caws and Nadasurf play at Webster Hall, the night after the Bataclan massacre, about which he spoke of course, since that is where they play when the group  is in Paris)

so goes New York, and I love writing for the Brooklyn Rail, where I have so many friends, and just brought out GLORIEUSES MODERNISTES: ART, ECRITURE ET MODERNITE AU FEMININ  avec les presses universitaires de Liege that I did with Anne Reynes-Delobel, who had the graciousness of translating my Glorious Eccentrics into French and adding super chapters on Isadora Duncan and Kay Boyle, and introductions and afterwords, so it feels, with lots of illustrations and photographs of Suzanne Valadon, Judith Gautier,Dorothy Bussy, Dora Carrington, Paula Modersohn-Becker, and Emily Carr... lovely book, with an Emily Carr on the cover of a Canadian forest... we are all very fortunate!

happy new year to anyone who reads this, Mary Ann

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


To think that it took me until November 11, 2015, to realize, by reading in the NYRB, that in 1603,  James VI of Scotland becme James I of England. All because Henry VIII's sister Margaret married into the Scottish Stuarts. That sums up so much history I can never wrap my mind around. All the numerals throw me off, and how a VI becomes a I is unfathomable to me, and I only know the VIII because of being nominally an Episcopalian, so part of the (whatever is happening to it now) Church of England. And I have a British passport, never mind that the new one has too few women on its pages and all that, and that if Brexit takes place, I lose my very precious European nationality. Apart from that, it is now November in New York, and that is something else again!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

kalamazoo and back

so getting to and back from and being in Kalamazoo was something else again, just to talk about my Modern Art Cookbook, which I always love doing, and the people were all totally delightful and every single minute was that, and we had superb soups and curried beans of the kind you make pistou with and in that place you walk through a painted cornfield to the rest rooms, very super indeed, and then on the way to the airport a vietnamese lunch with really smart types, an archeologist married to the head of the art institute that invited me -- and he told me about that 19th century ship we used to see in lower new york beneath the subway, about which I may have already written, who has time to look up what we have 1) said 2) written 3) blogged, not a verb I often use...
and storm in new York so flights cancelled so I didn't get to my best friend from always (Sarah Bird Grant Wright)'s funeral in Richmond, so I have written and shall continue to write about her, for she was home to me )
just everything happening at the same time
to wit: a 3 day Roland Barthes conference, of which I missed about a third, including Julia Kristeva and then Richard Sennett, but greatly enjoyed what I heard (inside roland barthes was the provocatively fascinating title) and had a grand breakfast at Magda Salvesen's with Jay Parini and Devon his wife and Tom and Diana Coustineau I have known so happily for a long time
and then to Performers of Westchester, with whom Boyce has been for YEARS, only driving out is more and more a slogging thing, and now to Hedreun Rotterdam's for a musical evening she likes to  have, and perhaps we will get to a film after or not and then work things with students, always joyful, and so on and on, how fortunate we are to have all this to do!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

not doing it...

So how do most of us,  who don't manage to spend our mornings writing and then do even 1 13th of what Virginia Woolf did in the rest of her day, get around and along? since I am about to launch (well, after a few other thises and thats) into my SimplyWoolf book, it does sweep across my mind rather a lot...

I still love getting up in the wee hours to read something or other, and then rise, both of us, read the paper and have coffee (gave up the coffee maker Boyce's cousin bestowed on us: that kind you just put a little cup thing in and try to make it stronger than it wants to be and hotter than it can be, wheeled it down to the Housing Works place I take whatever we need to dispose of, books, books, books, etc., and then take a swim in the not so far off pool, always taking something to read in case all the lanes are full, etc. That is instead of writing, of course,  and then there's living.

And there's also meeting my seminar, so much fun, on mannerism to modernism, and all the art that goes with it, how superbly perceptive are the participants in the class, heavens above.
And two pieces came out in the TLS and I enjoyed doing those, on Linda Nochlin and on a book on Motherwell, and this weekend I get to read translations of Pierre Reverdy at an art gallery where a musician has composed something on trying to translate Reverdy, sounds like a nice turnabout...
then I leave for Kalamazoo to talk on the Modern Art Cookbook, and they will prepare things from it, now that is delightful,  why ever write anything else, you say to yourself?