Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2014 1/4

I do my best to stay away from the internet on April Fool's day. It's not that I'm gullible--I lean more towards not believing anything I hear--it's that I dislike cleverness more than most people. There's a circularity to it, intelligence used to forward the joke, to forward the look of itself. It's too often a tautology of something I'm not particularly interested in. This is why most gross humor is uninteresting to me as well. And certain styles of contemporary poetry. Poems that take the long road home from, well, home. Poems that don't use their intelligence to go anywhere. April Fool's day pranks feel this way to me. A strutting for the sake of the strut, or to shut someone out. Maybe this isn't making a whole lot of sense. It's not something I've thought through thoroughly. Just another minor disinterest in the grand scheme of things. Some pranks can be utterly fantastic though, can shed a different light on something. Much of what The Onion does, for example. So, if you've pulled something really great today: good on you.

And if you thought that would be the lead-in to talk of some really stunning fooling, sorry to disappoint! I would rather talk about the elegant way nature is making a fool of itself these days (spring! spring!) and about, yes, what I'm reading.

What I came here to do today before heading back into the sunshine and books and pruning to be done in my front yard is to list a quarterly reading report. This year I have decided to write mini-reviews for each book because I realize that from lists just two years ago there are several titles I have absolutely no recollection of. I do not keep a journal, but if I did it would probably just look something like that: mini-reviews and clippings of things I like, vague outcroppings of contemplation on how literature conforms, expands, or rejects my world view. And then I would talk about my dog. But nothing else, for fear of being found out. No joke.

I may or may not compile the reviews and include them here later. For now, just the list, simply. It includes several of the books I picked up at AWP (which numbered what-is-not-nearly-as-astounding-as-it-could-have-been - 32 books).

  1. New Year Letter - W.H. Auden
  2. Eating in the Underworld – Rachel Zucker
  3. Apocalypse Theory: A Reader – Kristy Bowen
  4. The Fall – Albert Camus
  5. Quipu – Arthur Sze
  6. Slouching Towards Bethlehem – Joan Didion
  7. Stories That Listen – Priscilla Becker
  8. A Coney Island of the Mind – Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  9. Sayonara Michelangelo – Waldemar Januszczak
  10. The Book of Frank – CA Conrad
  11. Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality – Jacob Tomsky
  12. My Lorenzo – Sebastien Smirou
  13. Impossible Princess – Kevin Killian
  14. Madness – Marya Hornbacher
  15. The Monarchs – Melanie Noel
  16. –The Vital System – CM Burroughs
  17. Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History – Eduardo Galeano
  18. On Ghosts – Elizabeth Robinson
  19. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute – Grace Paley
  20. Both Flesh and Not – David Foster Wallace
  21. When My Brother Was an Aztec – Natalie Diaz
  22. The Next Monsters – Julie Doxsee
  23. --Herman Hesse: Pictorial Biography
  24. Drift – Rachel Maddow
  25. Make Me a Mother – Susanne Antonetta
  26. We Come Elemental – Tamiko Beyer
  27. The Rings of Saturn – W.G. Sebald
  28. Pact-Blood, Fever Grass – Miriam Bird Greenberg
  29. MxT – Sina Queyras
  30. Dark Sky Question – Larissa Szporluk
  31. Spectacle – Susan Steinberg
  32. The White Album – Joan Didion
  33. All You Do Is Perceive – Joy Katz
  34. Whip Smart – Melissa Febos

I have also just started Gregory Robinson's All Movies Love the Moon and Stephen Burt's Close Calls with Nonsense and have nearly finished Ronald Johnson's Ark.

If only all things could be designed and kept to as well as an engaging reading list.

Oh, also, this: Meg Allen. I came across this photo series over the weekend and have liked it very much. Butch pride, y'all. In all its forms.

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