Sunday, September 10, 2006

Blogging as a procrastination device

Ok, now that I am writing at least one of my questions, blogging and reading poetry has become a procrastination device. I just picked up Alice Notely. Just plucked The Descent of Alette off the shelf and all of these loose-leaf poems I'd tucked in the paperback. Treasures. I've no idea what book they are from. They are just poems by Alice Notely. Like this, the opening poem from her book-length poem, "The Descent of Alette":

"One day, I awoke" "& found myself on" "a subway, endlessly"
"I didn't know" "how I'd arrived there or" "who was I" "exactly"
"But I knew the train" "knew riding it" "knew the look of"
"those about me" "I gradually became aware--" "thought it seemed

as that happened" "that I'd always" "known it too--" "that there was"
"a tyrant" "a man in charge of" "the fact" "that we were"
"below the ground" "endlessly riding" "our trains, never surfacing"
"A man who" "would make you pay" "so much" "to leave the subway"

"that you don't" "ever ask" "how much it is" "It is, in effect"
"all of you, & more" "Most of which you already" "pay to
live below" "But he would literally" "take your soul" "Which is
what you are" "below the ground" "Your soul""your soul rides

"this subway" "I saw" "on the subway a" "world of souls"

I find her work stunning. (And in direct conversation with Pound's Metro now that I think of it.) And the breath-pause created by the quotations is aurally both hypnotic and abrasive (in a subway car, jerking sort-of-way). Descent, is Notely's epic poem about unearthing her female voice.

Ok, I've got to stop procrastinating...

Saturday, September 09, 2006


I islanded myself in the world of Manhatten for a night last night -- sans children. I had, there and back, eight solid hours of reading on the train which proved immensely productive. So, when I stepped onto the platform at Penn station, I was myself islanded in metaphor theory, and H.D. criticism. I was islanded between myself before children and after children. The subway just smelled good when I got on it and headed downtown to West 4th (one of my poet friend later mentioned what I might have been smelling was nostalgia, and the freedom of my old life). Melissa Hammerle is leaving NYU CWP, so I went to pay tribute for all of her support. The reception was in the building where I had last faced Donoghue (spelling?), who now, I just fondly refute in the marfins of my reading. Then, after, we went to Cedar bar. I was surrounded by writers. Generations of them, all of whom Melissa had kindly supported during her tenure.

It was good to be in NYC. (The first time in five years!!!) but also, surprisingly, nice to leave it this morning, to get on a train and read and write, and return to my quieter domestic exsistence here in D.C.