Friday, October 16, 2009

It’s not so much that I am reading Skip Fox’s book, Delta Blues, as that I am having an encounter with it. And all that “encounter” suggests; as in, say, confrontation. This is subway reading without the subway. As I get older I begin to appreciate different writers; as I get older I begin to appreciate different writers writing differently. Writers like Pete Hamill and Phillip Lopate, who belong, really, to someone else’s generation. I think it’s in the confrontation, and in what is being confronted. (They’re not the same.) In Delta Blues (2009, Ahadada Books) Skip Fox confronts life. (Wait. . . .) Life in the form of other people. Mr. Fox has a definite interest in life, and more perhaps than in being alive. (Got the difference?) There’s something Roman going on here, and that’s a tough scene to master. I want to index these pieces according to subject. And list of names mentioned.

p. 3 “Blue Note: A Valentine for the New Millennium”

p. 25 “Cavatina” and footnote.

p. 40 footnote.

p. 42 “COmMA.”

p. 43 from “Tombstones for the New Millennium”:

“Imagine jail time for asinine ideas that catch hold and sprout in the barren cultural soil of this nation-planet.”

p. 80 from “Notes toward Definitions for the New Millennium”:

“I wonder what constitutes blockhead, as Olson and Creeley called Corman in correspondence. His dull self-insistence, perhaps. Sufficiently stupid and petulant. Smothered in lethargic gravy. Fog of an identity.”

riddle of the abyss

age is telling a long joke, with some apparent joy, early
at a party, not all the guests have yet arrived, a first
drink freshly in your hand, he’s an interesting stranger in
no hurry, pausing for laughs, comments, not prolonging
the punch line but forgiving it its necessities, standing and
laughing and listening, slowly he reaches the part about
deepest Pacific blue and the sound of sails at sunset, how
their color changes in the changing light, shades of white
in encroaching darkness, pewter, you are still young, any-
thing can happen, yet is a word you can still use as a soft
wedge, argumentation may again be filled with joy, now
for witness of sheer mind’s leaping, but his words have
slowed, slightly, and his head almost turns, then with a
light shift in his eye, oh yes, the abyss, I almost forgot

Mr. Fox’s Delta Blues takes various narrative forms (including visual poetry). I found the poems “solstice two days out” and “solstice two days out, take two” to be especially compelling (and something of the eidetics of an askesis).

Friday, October 09, 2009

This afternoon I had the pleasure of visiting at Granary Books (on Mercer, in Soho). What a thrill to be among such fine poetry, such fine books (art objects and artists’ books, “small edition books”), and such fine people. Thank you, Steve Clay, for welcoming me.