31 October 2007

Rock and roll question

If I have any Korean readers, I'd like to know if there's any rock songs out about kim chee.

28 October 2007

I suppose I’m a few days’ late putting up a Kitaj tribute, but better late than never. For those of you who were glad that I wrote about how he would "respond to a rut or blockage by packing his bag, going to the airport, looking up at the departures screen, and picking a destination right before boarding" without making a quaint remark about his new destination, it’s just that I hadn’t thought of it.
Thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, my VCR set my clock back when it wasn’t really time to set clocks back. Next weekend is the time now. When I woke up, not privy to the bill’s ratification I spent a half hour rationalizing how I slept through the hour, on account of the dreams I had, now unremembered, as there was no question at that point that the hour had elapsed and there were no extra hours forthcoming and the chance for planning the gained hour in anticipation did not present itself. When I realized it was not Daylight Savings Time, I grinned because I could suddenly admit to myself how flimsy my rationalizations had been. However, I and everyone I encountered seemed to be behind an hour all day and night.

Ryan told me a week ago that no matter what the sun and the atmosphere does, it gets dark at the same time because of the movement of the planet. No matter how obvious that was, it had the painful resonance of an intervention.

22 October 2007

Still no Old Musician

Haven’t seen much good art or heard good poetry lately, but allowed myself to be rather overwhelmed this weekend. I was in Princeton on Saturday and stepped into the art museum right before closing time, and to my surprise they had just opened a Francisco Toledo show. One large room, but quite an appealing sampling of one of the hemisphere’s greats. I got to see a wonderful Toledo watercolor at a Mexico City apartment of a professor (actually his sister’s) who was trying to pick me up. I will return soon (to the Princeton show) for a longer look.

Sunday - Turner in DC. Much better than the Fort Worth Turner show three years ago, this utilizes a lot of Turners from the Tate and elsewhere, including the many owned by the NGA. One of the best artist retrospectives of recent memory, a must if you like Turner and are a few hours away.

"There are cases in which old age gives, not eternal youth, but on the contrary a sovereign liberty, a pure detachment in which one enjoys a moment of grace between life and death, and in which all elements of the machine combine to launch into the future an figure that cuts through time: Titian, Turner, Monet." -Deleuze & Guattari

I recall the NGA curators characterizing him as an academic painter though breaking with British tradition by preferring landscapes. He spent much time around the academy but there was nothing in his work that resembled the academic painting of the time. He was notoriously secretive about his process of working, and I surmise this to be his way of reconciling his singular style with his savvy cultivation of contacts and official recognition. It’s unlikely that Turner would have started a blog where he’d discuss himself and his relation to the academy.

Seeing Hopper on a weekend day is a bad idea, especially as the NGA only opens at 11am on Sunday. Extremely crowded, over 3x the Turner draw steps away. I liked looking at the masses enjoy Hopper’s naturalisic impulse to depict human beings not as actual individuals but as symptoms of his alienation, more than I liked the paintings themselves. Perhaps authors reading this can earn quick dollars with this formula. An elderly man carrying a video camera tripped on IM Pei's crooked staircase while laboring from one tiny gallery to another and was in extreme pain.

Still no Manet’s The Old Musician. The Grinch is just fixing it I presume.

P Inman - Miles Champion - Lorraine Graham is quite the murderers’ row, and I haven’t seen the DC crowd in a while and seized the opportunity to miss a Eagles game that proffered only torturous futility.

I missed the northerly exit for my usual parking space and found myself at Lincoln Park in SE. On Sundays, you can park at the no parking zone around the park, which is quite pleasant on a sunny day and convenient any Sunday. This is apparently permitted to indulge the church goers, so when I came back to my car at 9pm, approaching the square from the opposite direction, there were no cars there, and I was sure I was towed. Alas, on the other side of the park mine was the only car there.

On the way back I read P Inman’s new chapbook while caffeinating in the Deep Water Diner in Carney’s Point, NJ. I think I have found either the best place to read P or the best book to read at this diner, or both. The poems tune the conversations of the clientele, their words are filtered through P’s utilizing an invisible tube shaped like the chemical plant across the street. This my first visit: it has a neon sign at night that only illuminates the T and the R + Diner, everyone knows everyone else meaning the drunk high schoolers converse with the grey haired workers and people dine alfresco in front of the chemical plant at 11pm. Perhaps the truest of Jersey diners, right after you cross Delaware Memorial you look for the sign to Deep Water, follow signs there towards the river, and take a right at 130.

12 October 2007

One of the cultural highlights of Jersey is the collection of Sylvia Beach letters at Princton University, though her correspondence with Joyce is mostly at SUNY Buffalo. Recently I was perusing the collection and I’m looking over my observations:

  • Reverdy’s poem Mao-tcha in the June ‘17 issue of Manifestation Sic, which had works by Jacob and Cocteau and a front cover by Picasso.

  • ‘Talk to Mr Joyce about coming down here (to Cannes) to spend a month. It’s cheap, and I have a rosy tan on me that makes me looks 20 years old.’

    Robert McAlmon ‘22

  • Poulenc had elaborate paper flowers attached to his stationary.

  • 1927, Kay Boyle writes Beach asking for a job, explaining what makes her a good employee.

    1932 she asks for MacLeish’s Newfoundland, while MacLeish was working for Fortune Magazine.

    Another Boyle letter, with no date other than ‘Friday’:

    ‘We were also using some unpublished work of the Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven and I wished to communicate with Miss Djuna Barnes concerning the reprinting of her page in ‘transition’ concerning the Baroness. I have Miss Barnes’ address at home in Auteuil but as I am again ill and not able to get out of bed, I can’t get at it.’

  • 2 x 3 pages with notes written by Beach during a phone conversation with Samuel Beckett:

    En attendand godot
    Malloy - Malloy Meurt
    option on third


    The Grove Press

    his own translations
    wd pay in advance
    on contract

    (New page)

    on novels $1000

    play $200

    would like to act as
    agent for production
    of play in NY

    (New page)

    agent in London
    Mrs Rosica Colin
    Barney Rosset

    print 2000 copies

    $3 a copy

    if all sold 10% royalty

    otherwise separate
    agreement with a

  • Beckett had absolutely the most unreadable handwriting I’ve ever seen. In English, but completely incomprehensible.

  • 1938 Elizabeth Bishop asks for a copy of Stevens’ Man With the Blue Guitar.

  • Walter Benjamin wrote Beach on October 26, 1939 from the internment camp in Nevers where he was held on account of being a German citizen. He proudly ripped his essay Über einige Motive bei Baudelaire (found in Illuminations; On Some Motifs of Baudelaire) out of Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung (which also included an Adorno essay on Wagner and Horkheimer’s De Juden und Europa, examining the relation between liberal democracy and fascism), and sent it to Beach for her to read. Because the note was handwritten and his imminent fate, it was probably the saddest letter I’ve ever read, with Benjamin railing against Hitler and confiding his despair.

  • Hotel du Pont and Brest
    Near Chartres

    My dear Miss Beach,

    You’re rather hard on me, but perhaps with good cause. I did dispatch the letters to you, but by a not very trustworthy acquaintance and I can assume only - as I also lent him some money - that he got drunk on the way - lost them..

    ...but I never know how much loved my wife until she went to America: I should not have let her go, o it’s been hell... ..But everything’s all right now - She’s all right and we’ll be together again in three weeks. I was past momentarily deranged. So please forgive me really.

    Malcolm Lowry

  • Eliot's Christmas card:

    Fra Filippo Lippi
    Galleria Uffizi, Florence

  • Paul Robeson tries to get Beach to convince Joyce to show up at one of his performances and come backstage.

  • Dear Miss Beach,

    I’m terribly sorry about Friday. A friend of mine got in a jam with the police and I had to spend the day sitting in bureaus and telephoning. I hope you will excuse my rudeness, but I am sure you will understand. Next time I come to Paris I hope we will meet properly.

    yours sincerely
    WH Auden

    Dear Miss Beach,

    Just passing through from USA en route for London and then Germany. Sorry to have missed you.

    yours sincerely,
    Wystan Auden

    (Complete correspondence between the two on file)

  • Dec 7 1955

    I would like to meet with you and speak with you, if you have some time free. I know we have a number of friends in common, not least of all Dr Williams. Perhaps you will be interested in hearing that he has been very much excited by these last poems of Michaux which I’ve sent to him.

    29, Quai d’Anjou
    Paris 1ve

  • Cyril Connolly wrote long-winded letters as can be expected, including:

    “The Sunday Times is having a series of the Seven Deadly Sins and I have done one on covetousness (E. Sitwell on Pride, Waugh on Sloth, Auden on Anger)....

    “I am so glad you liked my piece on Hemingway - I was very upset by his death and felt very near to him - I sometimes think the first thing the dead do is to pay a round of visits, at least I was suddenly conscious of a wave of humility and affection from him and so when I was asked to write a piece I cancelld my engagement in London and spent three days down here with my books....

    “PSS As a poet Ernest Hemingway was too direct - not marinated enough

08 October 2007

Thrice in the last two days I have heard loud crashing noises within twenty feet of me. In none of the three cases have I investigated the source of the noise. I think this is a positive development.