Saturday, July 18, 2009

Portland Update 4

Last night we had the luck of eating at Navarre in Portland. Navarre recently got voted the best restuarant of the year in Portland, so we thought we'd give it a try. The first shocker, for me, was that there was no line to get in on a Friday night. I told jim that if it had been silly new york, you wouldn't be able to get a table for 3 years after such a review. We also, shockingly, got into the new Harry Potter movie (the theatre wasn't even full!) and for seven dollars to boot!

There is this thing I love about Oregon. New York is so hard everywhere. Everything is hard, so that when you come to Oregon, you still have NY standards and problems stuck in your head, so you feel blessed when say; all the poets are super nice or it's easy to get into a movie. I wouldn't give up that struggle that is NY for anything, but it is nice to escape for awhile.

Anyway, Navarre has a menu of small dishes (kind of tapa size) with many, many different choices. You have to order by checking your choices with a magic marker. The choices were a bit overwhelming. I had the salami plate, au gratin, salad, bread with 'grass' olive oil. Jim had buffalo, cavier, and beet greens with gruyere. I have to say that the food was probably the best I've ever tasted (outside of new mexican and my husband's). The ingredients were so fresh (a very oregon thing). But, disappointly, the service was absolutely horrible. We felt ignored most of the dinner. They forgot to bring all of our dishes. We had to wait 15 minutes for desert and I had to go up to the cash register to ask to pay the bill. They had 2 waitresses for a completely full place (about 25 tables) and no busboy.


I will be offline for a few days. During this time, I will be reading Duncan/Levertov Letters. I got an amazing letter from the Portland poet Michael Weaver a few days back. In it, Michael notes (info I didn't know) that Levertov is dismissive (at first) of Eigner's abilities. I have to go research this for myself. Ordinarily, I would be pissed at Levertov, someone who I have idolized for years. I have always respected, not only her poetry, but her activism, her close friendships with Duncan and Rukeyser, and her questioning of feminism. I am not mad, though, as her potential Eigner comments fit into my 'evil plan.' The idea of the Eigner book just doesn't go away. I constantly question my ability to make something worthwhile. I know that there are so many other living poets/people who lived with Eigner and they are much more capable of speaking than me. However, I do think that because I have cerebral palsy and am intimately aware of the prejudices, I have a different perspective.


Steven Fama said...

If you are so inclined, and get a chance, I'd be interested in any updated (after further review) information you might find on Levertov and Eigner.

Did Michael Weaver suggest that something in the Levertov/Duncan letters shows that Levertov was initially dismissive of Eigner? If so, I read those letters entirely differently. See Letter #57, for something maybe if read carelessly could cause someone to conclude that Levertov was dismissive, but she ain't. It's a completely straightforward, honest, human suggestion she makes about Eigner's poetics. Plus Levertov, at the end of the letter, suggests she's even questioning her own ideas about it. But in no way is it dismissive, to me at least.

Curtis Faville said...

Levertov was responsible--though the actual history of this is unclear--for editing Larry's collection On My Eyes, which Jonathan Williams published. Either she re-typed the manuscript, or made the selection (or both). It went uncredited.

Many of Larry's books were "edited" by other people, principally publishers, each of whom thought (assumed?) they knew exactly how to "interpret" Larry's work "for" him. Condescending, I should think, though the physical task of preparing a clean manuscript would have been challenging for Larry. If, for instance, we'd had to work with Larry in preparing his collected poems, I suppose the job might have taken us 10 years!