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wilfrid- I just read your thing on mackie on your blog. I'd call bridge street books in dc about his chapbooks - they have an incredible collection of that kind of poetry and rod, the owner, will be able to answer any of your questions. don't tell him I sent you.

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Just finished Ask the Dust by John Fante, a slim novel which didn't live up to the extravagant praise I've heard from Bukowski fans. Henry Miller and Hubert Selby did this kind of thing much better.

I'm currently reading Middlesex, has anyone else read it? I remember it being discussed elsewhere and people were criticizing the fact that it won the pulitzer prize. Maybe not Pulitzer Prize worthy

Several of the pieces in Paris to the Moon appeared earlier as Gopnik's monthly Letters from Paris to The New Yorker. His use of adjectives to describe the weather, the neighborhood, etc impressed me

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Went down that rabbit hole. They do have some chapbooks, but all on back order. I did some more searching, fiound a bibliography in a journal dated 2000, and then finally turned up an adequate bibliography updated 2019. 

There seem to be half a dozen known chapbooks, including some which contain poems subsequently published in his collections. All of them out of stock (except one which is duplicative of poems I already have). One was listed at $880 and out of stock (which was kind of moot).

Perhaps I'll write to New Directions and tell them to publish a collection of these poems. If they issued it when they issue the promised Double Quartet, it will sell.

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I’ve been very lucky with my reading choices this year, and now Jon Fosse, writing in a Norwegian dialect: his novel Septology, the first two volumes published in translation (The Other Name and I is Another).

Gripping. Completely addictive. Hard to describe. These are the running thoughts (no periods) of an older man, an artist, who lives alone in a small Norwegian village. His wife is long dead, and there is another painter he knows living in a nearby town with the same name and same appearance. This other painter is drinking himself to death.

Oh, could it be another version of the main character, a path not taken? The astonishing thing about this novel is that, for all its inventiveness, it is absolutely and uncompromisingly clear about what it’s saying: about painting, by extension about writing, about loneliness and salvation. It’s repetitive, it takes 600 pages to get through about 24 hours in this guy’s life, with a lot of long car journeys.

It’s amazing. And I have to wait until March next year for the English translation of the final volume. The only reader I wouldn’t recommend this to is the reader who is absolutely allergic to mysticism and prayer (but you do not have to be a religious believer to get a lot of value from this).

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Wanda Coleman, Wicked Enchantment (selected poems)

William S. Burroughs, Queer (re-read)

Robert Kanigel, Hearing Homer's Song

This is a remarkable book: the biography of the classical scholar Milman Parry, the man responsible for establishing that the Homeric poems emerged from an oral, bardic tradition and not from the pen of one poet (or even a plurality of pens). How he demonstrated his thesis turns out to be a dramatic story, including an astonishing volume of field recordings (cumbersome in the 1920s) from Yugloslavia, Serbia, Montenegro etc, where the bardic tradition survived.

On top of that Parry dies aged 33 in a suspicious gun incident. The story is really well told. A mild complaint is that, to make the narrative thoroughly accessible, we need to be told things like who Herodotus was and what a hexameter is, and Kanigel may be overestimating the breadth of his audience there.

Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners

A Twitter-tip from Mongo. This short 1956 novel, entirely framed in Afro-Caribbean vernacular, presents the experiences of recent immigrants to the UK, mostly as viewed by Moses -- a non-recent immigrant who has been around the block. Very funny, loads of vintage slang (Selvon was an immigrant from Trinidad). Also, published a year before the much better-known City of Spades by Colin MacInnes, which in comparison is very detached and self-serving.

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Mary Roach's latest book, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law. According to the book, it's about "the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a disciple at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology".  So far, I'm on the chapter about bears in and around Aspen, not only their going into town for an easy meal but also breaking into houses.  I just read a story in the paper today about people displaced by the Caldor Fire around South Lake Tahoe who have come home to find their houses relatively undamaged by fire but very damaged by bear break-ins.

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1 hour ago, StephanieL said:

Mary Roach's latest book, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law. According to the book, it's about "the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a disciple at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology".  So far, I'm on the chapter about bears in and around Aspen, not only their going into town for an easy meal but also breaking into houses.  I just read a story in the paper today about people displaced by the Caldor Fire around South Lake Tahoe who have come home to find their houses relatively undamaged by fire but very damaged by bear break-ins.

Now imagine how much more damage they would do if they had opposable thumbs!

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On 9/29/2021 at 2:22 PM, Wilfrid said:

I’ve been very lucky with my reading choices this year, and now Jon Fosse, writing in a Norwegian dialect: his novel Septology, the first two volumes published in translation (The Other Name and I is Another).

Gripping. Completely addictive. ...

So I followed this with Melancholy (much earlier, 1995), similar in form because it all takes place in the mind of one man, although there's more punctuation. Big differences: this is set in 19th Century Norway, the mind one is inside is totally dernaged. There's a second volume to this which I have on order.

And Morning and Evening (2000), less solipsistic than Melancholy, but again from the viewpoint of the protagonist. A risky one to read in public as the end is very moving.

I can't praise this author enough.

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After seeing Etel Adnan's paintings at the Guggenheim, and being disappointed at no new catalog, I checked in my library to see if they had anything on her art. No, but they did have a volume of poetry, Night. Very good and you can tell she has a philosophy degree. 

Anoher short poetry collection, Killing Floor by the mononymic Ai. Violent and painful which is evidently what she's known for. She's also known for writing poems as first-person monologs (and therefore can't help sounding like Robert Frost some of the time). The startling thing is you never know at the outset whether "I" is a man or a woman, or anything else about them.

Gregor Von Rezzori, The Orient-Express. This is an angry and at times very funny book. Rich businessman gives up on his life (his marriage, his lover), sets off around the world and ends up on the luxury train. Meanwhile he seethes with rage and disgust at everything around him. The model is clearly Huysmans, who indeed gets a name check.

 

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