Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Recent books & News From the Factory

We are slowly inching toward vacation. The new issue of Saint Elizabeth Street should be launched tommorrow morning. I will keep you posted.

I recently dipped into a number of books. I love CD Wright's Tremble. I think Wright has enormous talent. Although not all the poems caught my interest, the lion's share of the book is good in some way. I was also proud of myself for reconizing a reference to Michael Palmer in a poem called Lake Echo (See Notes for Echo Lake). I also have an homage to the Palmer piece in a long unfinished poem called Notes for Los Alamos. I also peeked into Rachel Zucker's two books. I think Rachel's poem of childbirth should be required reading for pregnant families. I think they should give it out in Lamaze class! It provides such a lyrical, real portrait of what it means to give birth. Strangely, I liked Rachel's first book better than the second, although I still enjoyed Eating the Underworld. For me, books based on myth are difficult because I feel like you have to bring so much knowledge to the plate, and I am so lacking in mythical history. I also, credit to Lisa Jarnot, discovered George Oppen. Oppen is probably one of the best poets that ever lived. If you haven't read him, you're missing out. I didn't like Simic's Hotel Insomnia. It left me feeling empty handed. The same for the few James Wright poems that I read. Wright, who I discovered via Anne Sexton's biography, strikes me as a lesser Pinsky or Kunitz.

We are nearing the end of The L Word. Other than good outfits and girls cute enough to make a straight girl gay, this show doesn't have much substance. But there was this one scene....Tina and Bett have a baby. Since Tina is the birth mother, Bett has to apply to the state to legally adopt the child. This is intense enough. But then, the state worker who does a family visit with them uses a wheelchair AND she is a complete bitch. She is prejudice and harsh and ridiculous. Then, Alice comes crashing in and hits the woman's car. Alice says, "Why can't you have a 'normal' car." This is layers and layers of prejudice. It shows how people who are considered outsiders from the norm are still prejudice toward OTHER outsiders. Not to mention that people with disabilities are supposed to be cheery and nice.

2 comments:

Chris L said...

I enjoy James Wright, but he has some very different incarnations. My favorites are generally short poems inspired by his time translating Chinese poets. For instance:

The Jewel

There is this cave
In the air behind my body
That nobody is going to touch:
A cloister, a silence
Closing around a blossom of fire.
When I stand upright in the wind,
My bones turn to dark emeralds.


Then again, I enjoy Ray Carver's poetry too, which reminds me of Wright's.

Andrea Baker said...

Just logging on to say what it seems Chris has already said. Not all James Wright is created equally. Try THE BRANCH WILL NOT BREAK and SHALL WE GATHER AT THE RIVER- these collections comes after he discovers Tristan Traza (sp?).