Friday, January 11, 2008

 

Recently Received

 

Books (Poetry)

Ken Belford, Fault Lines, Off-Set House, Prince George, BC 2007

Joel Chace, Cleaning the Mirror: Selected and New Poems, BlazeVOX, Buffalo 2007

Cyrus Console, Brief Under Water, Burning Deck, Providence 2008

Richard Deming & Nancy Kuhl, Winter 2007, Phylum Press, New Haven, CT 2007

Brad Flis, Health Pack, The Chuckwagon, Southampton, MA 2006

Peter Ganick, Withness., Blue Lion Books, West Hartford, CT / Puhos, Finland 2007

Loren Goodman, Suppository Writing, The Chuckwagon, Southampton, MA 2008

Alexander Hutchison, Carbon Atom, Link-Light, Glasgow 2006

Kitasono Katue, Oceans Beyond Monotonous Space, translated by John Solt, introduction by Karl Young, Highmoonoon Books, Hollywood 2007

Reb Livingston, Your Ten Favorite Words, Coconut Books, Atlanta 2007

Lorine Niedecker, Paean to Place, Woodland Pattern & Light and Dust, Milwaukee & Kenosha 2003

Dan Nielsen, The Once Over, The Chuckwagon, Southampton, MA 2007

Henry Parland, Ideals Clearance, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson, Ugly Duckling Presse, Brooklyn 2007

Spencer Selby, Flush Contour, Otoliths, Rockhampton, Australia 2008

Frank Sherlock, Daybook of Perversities & Main Events, Cy Gist Press, no location given, 2007

Tony Towle, Winter Journey, Hanging Loose Press, Brooklyn 2008

Phyllis Wat, The Influence of Paintings Hung in Bedrooms, United Artists, New York 2007

Geoffrey Young, The Riot Act, Bootstrap Press, Lowell, MA 2007

 

Books (Anthology)

Reb Livingston & Molly Arden, The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel: Second Floor, No Tell Books, Reston, VA 2007, includes David Lehman, Piotr Gwiazda, Kristi Maxwell, Alison Stine, Alison Pelegrin, Cati Porter, Robyn Art, Erik Sweet, Mark DuCharme, Shann Palmer, Bruce Covey, Steve Mueske, Didi Menendez, Jen Tynes, Deborah Ager, Laurie Price, Ana Bozicevic-Bowling, Eileen R. Tabios, kari edwards, William Allegrezza, Evie Shockley, Gina Myers, Kim Roberts, Hugh Behm-Steinberg, more.

 

Books (Other)

Louis Armand, editor, Contemporary Poetics, Northwestern University Press, Evanston 2007. Includes Charles Bernstein, Marjorie Perloff, Bob Perelman, D.J. Huppatz, Michel Delville & Andrew Norris, Bruce Andrews, Keston Sutherland, Augusto de Campos, Gregory L. Ulmer, J. Hillis Miller, McKenzie Wark, Alan Sondheim, Steve McCaffery, Allen Fisher, more.

Michael Aro, M, Starving Writers Publishing, Dallas 2007

Vanessa Place, Dies: A Sentences, Les Figues Press, Los Angeles 2005

Mark Scroggins, The Poem of a Life: A Biography of Louis Zukofsky, Shoemaker Hoard, Emeryville, CA 2007

Ingrid Schaffner, Jess: To and From the Printed Page, prolog by John Ashbery, essay by Lisa Jarnot, Independent Curators International, 2007

 

Journals

Antennae 9, October 2007, Riverwoods, IL. Including Tenney Nathanson, Carla Harryman, Patrick Durgin & Jen Hofer, Travis Just, David Pavelich, John Tipton, Barrett Watten, Donna Stonecipher & Carol Genetti.

House Organ 61, Winter 2008, Lakewood, OH. Special issue dedicated to Gregg Biglieri’s publication of Sleepy with Democracy – a group authorship celebration by Douglas Manson, Kyle Schlesinger & Bill Sylvester with response from Biglieri “and other voices.”

Shiny 14, Denver 2008. Includes Steve Benson, Bill Berkson, Mary Burger, Miles Champion, Clark Coolidge, Lydia Davis, Larry Fagin, Michael Gizzi, Robert Glück, John Godfrey, Noah Eli Gordon, Ted Greenwald & Kit Robinson, Robert Harris, Lyn Hejinian, Laird Hunt, Lisa Jarnot, Jennifer Moxley, Charles North, George Stanley, many many more.

 

 

Broadsides & Other Formats

Karl Young, Stellar Dreams Above the Middle Kingdom, unbound portfolio, no publisher listed, no location given (but probably Kenosha, WI), 2001

 

All items received since December 18

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

 

Did Borges invent the internet?

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Mary Oliver’s tribute
to Molly Malone Cook

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The first half
of Tom Devaney’s tour
of Poe’s house
in the new Sienese Shredder

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Talking with Hoa Nguyen

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Personality & influence
in the work of Gertrude Stein

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Wednesday night, January 9
5 PM Pacific, 8 PM Eastern
Bowery Women on
the Moe Green Radio Hour

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Early Pound

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Bibliotherapy

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Nonreading for dummies – not!

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Iran’s crackdown on literature

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Raymond Queneau’s last book
& “his most momentous”

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Sleeping with Simone

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Experimental (and other) poetry
in contemporary India

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Some terrific sonnets
from Christian Hawkey

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Remembering Sandy Taylor

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Memories of Moondog

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Howard Junker in defense of Gordon Lish

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Donald Hall’s New Hampshire

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The “ultimate Bukowski

Bukloved Hitler

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A belated obit
for Liam O’Gallagher

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Bangla poetry in exile:
Shahid Quadri

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Bug House poetics

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The politics of Peter Handke

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The lost art of letter writing

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Shepherd Bliss
on poetry & farming

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Translator as traitor

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Thomas Lynch
on Susan Sontag’s son

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Make it new!
(1878-1917)

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Why the writers’ strike drags on

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Construction grammar

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Gandalf reads The Prelude

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Life at the library

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Remember the dead

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Killing dead poets

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Poetry New Hampshire

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Talking with Daljit Nagra

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The Veterans Writing Group
& Maxine Hong Kingston

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Mutanabi Street
is starting to recover

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This week’s death-of-a-bookstore pieces
come from Seattle and Salt Lake City

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Bookselling in a post-literate world

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In Japan, reading declines

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Jean Sprackland wins the Costa

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Purgatory Chasm

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Cold as a tomb of an infant emperor

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Indian poetry in Poetry

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Goethe, the Persian

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Childhood’s end

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Reviews of Bob Hass & Denis Johnson

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Missouri’s first poet laureate

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Behind Boston’s move for a poet laureate

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Potter profits enable Raincoast
to cut Canadian authors

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Commie poet in South Africa

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Teacher wins UA poetry award

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Talking with Robert Johnson

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Poetics of the drunken mother

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Louis MacNeice’ “Cradle Song” considered

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The argument for John Crowley

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Quad Cities searches for its poet laureate

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Richard Tillinghast on Dennis O’Driscoll

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Surprised by joy in Portsmouth, NH

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Rumi for Twentysomethings

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Talking with January O’Neill

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Graphic novel book clubs

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A “middleweightSchool of Q anthology

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The upper classes no longer form an elite
(D’oh!)

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The “greatest British writer since 1945”
& other hallucinations

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Protecting the world from the far left
by giving it tenure

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The unwritten

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Dipping madeleines with Marcel

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The humanities
are of no use whatsoever

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Quiet times at the NEA

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Robert Ashley’s “She Was a Visitor
(MP3)

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Red Allen would have been 100 this week

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Pulling strings

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The rest is noise

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The Americanization of Israeli art

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The man who owned Warhol

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I, me, mine

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Jasper John’s ”Bushbabies

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The fate of 500 Capp Street

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Miracle on the Bowery

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Prefab rehab

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What is “original”?

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Should artists retire?

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New work from Trevor Winkfield

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The Vancouver School

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Art vs. society in Anne Arundel County

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The fruit that changed the world

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Between experience & ideology

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Common sense

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

 

Pierre Bayard is of course correct – there are many different ways to consume books. This is true for films also. Seeing a film for the second time is always a different experience than the first. But there are also different ways to see a film for a second time. The most common is to have seen it originally in a theater, then later to catch on DVD or perhaps on television (worse yet, on an airplane). I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen different parts of The Godfather. I joke with the kids that sometime on any given day The Godfather is playing somewhere on cable, in some configuration. I can turn it on, see five minutes anywhere – maybe just Robert DeNiro stealing the rug or Al Pacino walking through the Sicilian fields with his new (and doomed) infatuation, or Sofia Coppola, shot in the chest at the end of the still deeply underappreciated III, looking at Pacino, saying “Daddy” before she slumps to the steps – and feel completely satisfied, as if I’ve watched the entire trilogy once again. Indeed, one of the secret pleasures of cinema is clicking the remote through the cable spectrum seeing five minutes of this, one or two of that, just identifying each film before clicking on. Who hasn’t played that game?

Seeing a film twice in the theater is an experience I used to have fairly often as a young adult – there are films like Weekend, Blow-up, The Saragossa Manuscript, that I saw over & over when I was around 20, even Casablanca, Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Forbidden Planet. With both Casablanca and Forbidden Planet, anyone whom I was newly dating but who had not yet seen those films was fair game for taking to see it the instant it showed up at one of the art houses in San Francisco or Berkeley. I knew they would be grateful to be turned on to these treasures & a film like Casablanca led one almost directly to the bedroom. Monsieur Rick has been very very good to me.

In recent years, I’ve seen films in the theater twice only on rare occasions. The Matrix is one film – it totally blew me away when I first saw it on a business trip to San Francisco & I had to be sure that it really was as powerful as I thought. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. I did almost the exact same thing for Saving Private Ryan and it was as powerful the second time – Spielberg is a much better filmmaker than most critics are willing to acknowledge.

A third example, but a different kind of experience, was the first Lord of the Rings movie. Krishna had not wanted the boys to see it – they were just nine years old & Krishna is pretty militant about avoiding violent films. But they’d read the books & were dying to see it. Krishna went out of town for a few days so there was nobody around to tell us not to go. And it is a great way to spend an afternoon with nine-year-old boys, in a theater filled with other parents doing the same thing. The following week was Christmas and the family visited Krishna’s sisters down in Virginia & they’d all seen Lord of the Rings (one sister is a certified Tolkien fanatic) & were raving about how wonderful the movie was. Any controversy had to do with the absence of Tom Bombadil, not the level of combat or gore. This was good, because it got me out of the doghouse I’d constructed for myself taking the boys when I “should have known” that their mother would have disapproved. By the end of the evening, Krishna made me promise that we – the boys included – would take her to see it, which we soon did.

That was a film where the spectacle & being able to share it was a central part of the pleasure of the reiteration. It’s a well-crafted trilogy overall and I can watch two minutes of it on the telly these days in somewhat the same way as I do The Godfather. The difference here is that I often don’t remember all the scenes, and I have a much harder time telling the three films apart. It’s successful cinema, but I don’t think of it as one of the lasting masterpieces of the genre, where The Godfather is almost the perfect instance of Hollywood narrative.

One week after seeing I’m Not There, the so-called Dylan anti-biopic by Todd Haynes, with a bunch of friends, I took one of my sons to see it out in Phoenixville, an old mill town on the far side of Valley Forge that has survived the loss of its mill. Because the film was playing at 7:00, it had a decent turn out, much better than the later showing we had seen in closer-to-the-city collegiate Bryn Mawr. But it’s worth noting that my kid was the only person in the crowd under 40.

One of the obvious differences on re-seeing a film is that foreshadowing is now all marked out. The title of I’m Not There comes on as Cate Blanchett – she’s so distant you don’t realize in the first viewing that it’s her – revs up the motorcycle & drives off stage right. That very same scene is a critical moment roughly two hours & ten minutes later. Similarly, when we first see Woody Guthrie (Marcus Carl Franklin, pictured above) hop onto the freight, he does so from the same field where, near the film’s end, Billy the Kid sees his wayward dog, Henry, chase after the train he too has hopped. That’s just an understated part of the same big red bow I referred to being tied together in that second scene.

Some scenes that had been difficult to follow the first time through – such as Claire’s pausing to watch the filming of Robbie Clark portraying Jack Rollins – now seem completely coherent because I know what it means & where it’s going. You can follow the dialog more closely – I realized, for example, that I misquoted the sexist comment in my review the other day. Robbie (Heath Ledger) says “I worship women. Everyone should have one.” I actually think my original mishearing was stronger and to the same point. It’s just not what actually gets said on screen.

Timing changes almost entirely. When you can’t see what’s coming next, timing is experienced as very open-ended. You feel the timing but you don’t necessarily sense it, if I can make that distinction. The second time through, pleasure in the timing comes as a result of everything hitting its position perfectly, which is to say “as you remembered it.” Yet one result is that I’m Not There feels like a much shorter picture the second time – the few scenes I had complained about dragging on first viewing turn out not to be nearly as long as I had thought. I still would have edited the run-up to the second confrontation with Mr Jones a little, but quite a bit less than I would have expected after my first viewing.

And there are the elements you simply didn’t get at all before, here most notably realizing that Canadian character actor Bruce Greenwood plays both Mr Jones and Pat Garrett. There is even an instantaneous flash of Mr Jones interspersed into the scene where Billy the Kid (Richard Gere) confronts Garrett, only to be arrested, but was I alert enough to catch the implication of that? Not the first time, I wasn’t. Similarly, I didn’t even notice Lyndon Baines Johnson quoting “Tombstone Blues” – “The sky is not yellow, it’s chicken.” I’ll wager that Haynes used the exact footage where LBJ infamously quoted another song of that era, “We Shall Overcome.”

Some of the jokes work better the second time because you click into the timing of them in anticipation of the punch line. An interviewer asks the Mighty Quinn if he/she wants to change the world and Cate Blanchett replies, leaning forward one hand cupping her ear, “Change the word?” Actually, the second time through really cements my respect – astonishment almost – at the quality of the writing in this film. A lot of it may be verbatim from existing Dylan materials, but the degree of making it fit together, including here the lyrics of whatever’s on the soundtrack at that moment, is much more tightly stitched than we get in Dylan’s own Chronicles: Volume One, let alone Tarantula.

Because of comments to my review on the blog by Andy Gricevitch – also by Luther Blissett and Levari (Lee Sternthal) – I really looked closely at the relation between the Billy the Kid / Riddle Missouri narrative and The Basement Tapes, Dylan’s period of recovery in Woodstock, NY, from the motorcycle accident & the drug detoxification it occasioned. It made me realize that, while I didn’t have the dissatisfaction with that scene many of the professional reviewers professed, part of its difficulty is that Haynes is really trying to make the material do multiple things simultaneously, and that it doesn’t quite come off.

The first is the long fallow period Dylan had from the mid-1980s up until roughly 1995, which is what I saw in having the aged Gere look even more grizzled as he wanders around Riddle hearing tales of how Pat Garrett is planning to put down a six-lane highway, forcing everyone to evacuate – there are several images of what look like deep West Virginia-style hillbillies turned into refugees. But it’s true also that Haynes borrows heavily here from the imagery on and about The Basement Tapes, both the songs and the original album cover art. Yet he’s gone to this palette before in young Woody Guthrie’s brief period with the circus – Gorgeous George, the Nebraska-born wrestler whose flamboyant style would be the template followed & elaborated on by everyone from Liberacé to Little Richard to Elvis to Elton John, and who makes an appearance in Chronicles: Volume One, is a key figure here. Plus the Riddle funeral sequence – one of the most powerful and surreal moments in the entire film – uses My Morning Jacket’s lead singer Jim James wearing the same mime’s whiteface that Dylan adopted for the Rolling Thunder tour as he sings “Going to Acapulco,” which Gricevitch is right to note is the best rendition that song’s ever received.

Haynes I think wants the Riddle material – the town is, as young Guthrie tells the hoboes on the train, a “composé” of many different places to serve multiple narrative lines simultaneously. This of course is one possible advantage of telling a story that everyone already knows. It’s only after we’ve begun this narrative thread, for example, do we get the story of Jack Rollins’ conversion to Christianity and resurrection as Father John (told in part by one sad sack member of the congregation named T-Bone¹). So I think one might see this as being at least three parallel narrative lines simultaneously – convalescence, conversion & his artistic resurrection in the mid-nineties. If Haynes ultimately gets tangled up in the threads here, it’s not for underestimating his audience. Perhaps the most pernicious aspect of Hollywood’s submission to the principles of marketing as a narrative practice is the tendency in American movies to have each shot or scene equal one – and only one – idea. That is not the problem in I’m Not There. It’s as rich – richer even – on a second viewing as it was on the first. I’m Not There really is one of the finest American films ever made.

 

¹ One version of Dylan’s conversion to evangelical Christianity credits T-Bone Burnett for bringing him to the Lord during the Rolling Thunder Tour. I’m Not There seems generally to follow the alternate version that Dylan was brought there by one of his spouses.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

 



Raymond Carver, Gordon Lish

Many things contributed to the destruction of T.S. Eliot’s reputation as the leading modernist poet – a School of Quietude claim that was still being treated as a truism in some quarters when I was an undergrad at Berkeley circa 1970 – among them the rise of a new generation of poets, the New Americans, who were immediately evident as much more lively than the School of Q, and who very obviously had no truck with this claim. The end of the 1960s also saw the return of the Objectivists, who offered direct evidence that the funneling of modernist inclinations away from Pound & toward the SoQ’s curious blend of Southern fugitives and Boston Brahmins was itself a bit of a sham.

To this, several of the best-and-brightest SoQ students piled on by rebelling in one form or another: Adrienne Rich, Robert Bly, James Wright, W.S. Merwin, even Donald Hall & John Berryman stopped writing in ye olde manner & began anew. Further still, out in Iowa & then in Philadelphia, the “open poetry” advocated by Phil Levine, Stephen Berg et al offered still another mode of rebellion against the old ways.

The consequences were severe. If you look at Robert Richman’s The Direction of Poetry, one of the first collections of so-called New Formalism, one thing that jumps out at you is that not one of the Americans included there were born in the 1930s.

But what really buried Eliot as Pound’s ostensible equal as a modernist, what sealed the deal, was the publication of the facsimile edition of The Waste Land in 1971, edited by Eliot’s widow, Valerie. That wasn’t exactly the outcome she had in mind.

The claim of Eliot as a major modernist – the cause of so much consternation for William Carlos Williams, for example – requires reading The Waste Land on two levels. It is first of all a collection of texts of varying interest & quality – tho I think anyone would acknowledge that the writing is quite good. But it is also a work of large sections juxtaposed against one another almost architecturally – it’s a kind of part:whole relationship without much precedent in English language poetry. It’s more radical in this regard even than The Cantos. It is not, however, more radical in this aspect than Hugh Sewlyn Mauberly, often figured as Pound’s last pre-modernist masterpiece, completed one year ahead of Eliot’s.

Readers had known for decades that Pound offered Eliot advice in the creation of The Waste Land, but until Valerie Eliot laid it out chapter & verse, few really understood the degree to which what we know as The Waste Land is Pound’s collage from Eliot’s raw materials. If, in fact, you remove Pound’s edits, Eliot’s writing is closer in tone & kind to the florid verse & slow changes of The Four Quartets, a decidedly anti-modernist project. In spite of the promise of Prufrock, Eliot turns out to have been a School of Quietude lad all along. This doesn’t mean that the verse in The Waste Land is bad – certainly not the embarrassment of the Quartets – but it does mean that the modernism of this alleged apotheosis is Pound’s alone.

I’ve been thinking about this while reading the fascinating materials available on The New Yorker website concerning the editing of Raymond Carver’s stories by Gordon Lish. Tess Gallagher, Carver’s widow, is bringing a collection of Carver’s stories in their “unedited” state. Since the story in question on the site is Carver’s signature “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” now with its original title “Beginners,” this has raised eyebrows & set tongues – and blogs – a-wagging. Is Gallagher inadvertently committing another Valerie Eliot faux pas, revealing her beloved to have been a plodder made “great” under the hands of a careful editor? Gallagher has actually been compared at least once to Yoko Ono – and you know that’s not a compliment.

Here is one paragraph from the story as originally written:

After a minute, Terri said, “We were afraid. Herb even made a will out and wrote to his brother in California who used to be a Green Beret. He told him who to look for if something happened to him mysteriously. Or not so mysteriously!” She shook her head and laughed at it now. She drank from her glass. She went on. “But we did live a little like fugitives. We were afraid of him, no question. I even called the police at one point, but they were no help. They said they couldn’t do anything to him, they couldn’t arrest him or do anything unless he actually did something to Herb. Isn’t that a laugh?” Terri said. She poured the last of the gin into her glass and wagged the bottle. Herb got up from the table and went to the cupboard. He took down another bottle of gin.

Here is Lish’ edit:

Terri said, “We were afraid. Mel even made a will out and wrote to his brother in California who used to be a Green Beret. Mel told him who to look for if something happened to him.

Terri drank from her glass. She said, “But Mel’s right we lived like fugitives. We were afraid. Mel was, weren’t you, honey? I even called he police at one point, but they were no help. They said they couldn’t do anything until Ed actually did something. Isn’t that a laugh?” Terri said.

She poured the last of the gin into her glass and waggled the bottle. Mel got up from the table and went to the cupboard. He took down another bottle.

The original paragraph is organized around Terri & everything she did & said at this point in the narrative. While the original paragraph has an open-ended, almost organic feel to it – it seems casual in its construction, if not shapeless – there is an important sequence in the middle, three consecutive sentences starting with the word She, composed entirely of single syllable words. The first is nine words long, the second five, the third three. Coming as the first one does after a five-syllable word, this is the rhythmic center of the passage. Further, the sequence drives home the degree to which the remainder of the paragraph swirls about sentences starting off with different subjects: We, I, They, Terri, She, Herb, He.

Lish, who is the person responsible for transforming Herb into Mel, has abandoned these three key sentences altogether, choosing instead to reiterate the name Terri Breaking the paragraph into three parts further transforms its rhythm. The original paragraph expressed through prosody Terri’s sense of turmoil over this account of their fear at her previous (now deceased) lover. The edited version treats the same material cinematically – the primary affect of the new rhythm is to convey dread. It’s a cleaner, cooler path through the same material, but if you think about it, clean & cool is not what this content is about. Lish’ version is the prose equivalent of a made-for-TV movie where all the light is too bright & nothing ever clutters a counter top – the original has more of the handheld/jumpcut feel of an indie documentary. My sense is that these are very typical of the changes made throughout the manuscript.

Now the stakes here are very different than for Eliot – nobody is arguing particularly that Carver is the central figure in a literary history that will collapse in on itself if he turns out to be other than we readers have been originally led to believe. Plus Tess Gallagher is not Valerie Eliot – she’s a significant poet, albeit not especially my cup of tea, but somebody certainly qualified to understand what she’s doing here & why she’s doing it.

To a degree that poets never have to deal with, prose writers have to cope with the demands of market institutions – trade publishers and the “big mags” – that control fiction as product and treat all works with respect to that market. The “clean” feel of the edited version fits Carver into a larger consumer space that includes everyone from Saul Bellow, John Updike & the Salinger of the Glass family stories to Philip Roth & all the many Wallace Stegner clones. What The New Yorker feature, especially online, demonstrates is that a good editor – and Lish is one of the greatest, from the p.o.v. of the New York trades – can turn anything into this product.

But Gallagher is I think right that the original Raymond Carver is the better, more important writer. He’s just someone that the New York trades would normally pay no heed to whatsoever. It’s not evident that he would have written many of the works for which he’s known today without the encouragement and guidance of Lish – the correspondence from Carver to Lish that is excerpted here is enough to make you want to cry. Carver may have stopped drinking, but the dependent personality of the alcoholic is everywhere evident. When he’s not actually arguing against Lish’ edits, he’s servile to the point of being craven, lavishing hollow praise. Lish made his career, made Carver famous & employable, really kept him going for some time. All that Carver had to do was surrender his soul as a writer, and he was smart enough to realize that this is what he was doing.

Had Carver written all those stories but with none of the editing that carved them into trade press product he would have had a very different career altogether, something much closer to the ones experienced by Douglas Woolf or Fielding Dawson, fine important prose stylists who never got the New York celebrity fame treatment and whose works are increasingly difficult to find now that they’re gone. I think a single volume like Dawson’s Krazy Kat is worth all the Roth & Bellow in the world, but Dawson’s not the one who became a millionaire. Dawson never had to worry about which publisher would give him a $7,000,000 advance on his next novel a la Tom Wolfe.

Worse yet, where poetry has a great tendency to right old wrongs – Gertrude Stein is taken far more seriously now than she ever was while alive, and most “major” School of Quietude figures disappear quickly once they’re gone – fictional prose lacks that larger grounding within a community that causes this to happen. Just because Dawson’s a better writer than Wolfe or Roth doesn’t guarantee that in fifty years people will even remember him. So becoming a better writer post mortem is a significant risk for Raymond Carver. But which do you think he really wanted to be: a good writer or famous product?

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