7.21.2004

Elsewhere

Maud Newton has a great Nabokov quote:  "I can tell you right now that the best temperament for a reader to have, or to develop, is a combination of the artistic and the scientific one." -- Lectures on Literature, Vladimir Nabokov
 
Robert Coover excerpt and interview.
 
Julian Barnes, Yann Martel, Jeanette Winterson and others have stories online at the Guardian.
 
Speaking of Barnes, Stephany Aulenback has great commentary on characters--best commentary I've seen on the Maud Newton blog.
 
The bastards!  Golden Gryphon is giving away an audio of James Patrick Kelly reading for free with a copy of either of his collections directly through them.  Figures, I just bought Strangers.
 
Slate covers poetry snarking (page down toward the bottom).  Apparently, Maud Newton studied under (or nearby?) William Logan.  In the June/July issue of Poetry, Michael Hofmann and Logan snark on all of the U.S. poetry scene.  Logan also takes the British to task.  I love the lively conversation, but I beg to differ that the U.S. suffers under the joke poem, ala Billy Collins--that is, Collins' famous joke poems are minor but of some significance.  His less famous--which unfortunately did not get collected in his New and Selected Poems--deserve wider circulation and renown.  While the famous poems don't often rise above their witty lines, the lines themselves are worth examining, such as in "Nostalgia" which never quite turns the corner effectively at the end yet has a cumulative potency that the humor masks:
 
"Remember the 1340's?...
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.
 
Where has the summer of 1572 gone?...
These days language seems transparent a badly broken code.
 
The 1790's will never come again....
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead....
 
Even this morning would be an improvement over the present. "
 
If you don't feel the pang of lost time yet laugh at yourself for the loss, if you don't feel that loss for even recent time, you may have missed the beautifully painful barb buried in his sweetmeats.
 
Who can begrudge a poet that brings new readers to the field or poems that even when minor still have have enough resonance to draw a crowd?  With Billy Collins, I'm a staunch Populist. 
 
Ruth Stone died.  Listen to her read.
 
Mercury 13: Women and the dream of space flight and Jerrie Cobb.
 
Matthew Cheney discusses recent Emshwiller stories.  I read the two SciFiction stories but did comment on the latter for much the same reason as Cheney notes, but I do admire the vibrant and venomous energy of "On Display Among the Lesser."   I'm afraid I haven't even seen an issue of Argosy and probably never will unless they open submissions to the unknown.  It's probably impressive as hell and probably a smart and $$$ move, but being the fool that I am, I'm not interested in $$$.  I'm not interested in magazines that don't let underdogs take their shot.  I thought the short fiction field was supposed to cultivate talent.  I compounded my stupidity by soliciting unknowns first for an anthology I was working on--what a dum bass I am.  (By the way, work halted without my computer the past two months and, unless Best Buy actually fixed it this third and fourth time (two problems), may have to be halted again.  Can you believe they wanted me to sign a document that said I was satisfied with their repair before I'd even had chance to try out their repairs?)  I'm not sure if it's ambiguity that heightens the importance of some stories over others, but expanding the borders of the dramatis personae certainly helps.
 
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