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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?

Sunday, September 6, 2015


just to say to whomever gets this, not just that we are back in the city after the Vaucluse and Aspen (some lovely music, but goodness does it feel like Beverley Hills or something), and here I am so happily teaching in the fall, in French Ph.D. program: "Art and Text: Mannerism to Modernism" and then in the spring, in the English Ph.D. program "art and text: turns, shifts and bends" taking as a prelude Nicolas de Stael's "Bend in the road in the Vaucluse" which kicked off my talk in Portsmouth, England, this summer, and then in the fall of next year, in the Film Certificate program at the same delightful Graduate School of course, "Film and Modern Literature"  -- you know, Henry James and so on...
and that I am so glad to have 2 books coming out in Belgium this fall, one the translation in French of my "Glorious Eccentrics: Modernist Women painting and writing" with added chapters on Isadora and Kay Boyle, thanks to Anne Reynes-Delobel, who translated my seven chapters so I am translating into english her chapters, in case we can reprint the whole thing in English, and how interesting it is, not depressing, that it turns out I can't type more than 2 hours now without my fingers arthritically cramping, and that is for the first time,
like so delightfully some things are for the first time, not like Chapman's Homer or the first cuckoo in the spring or such, but all the same, sort of fun, and we went to the out of doors met performances on HD of Iolanthe and Bluebeard's Castle and then Romeo et Juliette at which all of New York must have been so we sat on the wall
and pretty soon I will think about my ebook contract for a SimplyWoolf, sounds like fun, off to somewhere just on the Hudson right now to not waste the sun

Sunday, August 16, 2015

after nochlin, pascal

After reviewing the wonderful Linda Nochlin Reader (women artists) and the Bernard Jacobson Motherwell: the Making of an American Giant for the TLS,  I didn't allow myself to write another of these blogs until I had at least finished my next try at my Blaise Pascal: Renaissance Lives, as I think  it will be announced... but it is far harder than any other Life, critical or illustrated or any other kind I had ever done-- not just because of history, but also because who knows what tale is correct, what interpretation more than biased...? Mine too, since I do remember reading the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola and being overcome by the way you get to envision all that: the pregnant Mary coming down the road and the rest.. I was taking a philosophy class at the Catholic Institute in Paris in 1952... so very very long ago, yet I feel it in my marrow now...

and of course then Pascal's hiding in his jacket his memorial that bore witness to his experience,  parchment folded in upon itself, so I ended on Dorothea Rockburne's Pascal construction and Jorie Graham's "Manteau de Pascal"
so the chapter on "thinking on thinking" takes much of the room -- will see if it works, this whole proejct, just sent it off two minutes ago

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Trimming and walking

So today the mistral is blowing, after the canicule, and Boyce is trimming the viines that stretch over our upstairs table, then we will take a walk,like right now. 

Monday, July 6, 2015


Reading the Linda Nochlin Reader: women artists has kept me happily occupied since we have been here -- except for a brief trip to Portsmouth about modernism  -- grand papers --and then an equally brief spate of days in Paris to see the Bonnard and contribute to a documentary on Dora Maar (on whom,  it appears, yet someone else is hoping to and planning to make a feature) and see my friend from always, Marie-Claire Dumas. That was Paris and now the Vaucluse in the it is good to have this review to do for the TLS of this thoroughly engaging series of essays, and also another book on Robert Motherwell to review for them. And, of course, seeing friends at night and in the day, like now, lunch with Connie Higginson and Leon Selig at the Chateau de Mazan, ancient dwelling of the Marquis de Sade, but we aren't planning to enchain ourselves or be enchained for, um, those delights. Nope, just friends.