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I’ve two main bookcases and a lot of stacks. I’ve more unread books than read. I’d jump in my vehicle tomorrow for a used bookshop road trip (one state away – a magical place) to add to the ever-growing poetry collection except 1) that wouldn’t be very green 2) I’ve a paper to write for ModPo. Now, the paper is only 500 words but you’re reading from the pen of an habitual researcher. The paper shall never appear that any legwork was done, but that is just laziness toward concise compilation and never giving any writing time to ferment.

…where was i…i was there but now i’m here. i rather enjoy that you read from far away. if you were here it wouldn’t be the same. i often wonder what is over there. it pains me to not know what is there for you. i cannot fathom that there are white clouds where you are, or even if it is morning or night. here it seems like it is always night. a black hood drapes the full moon that came out of nowhere, now camping southern. i saw it from my doorway hinge. she is always so compliant. i open the door so she can drift for twenty feet while i wonder about snow. how many more degrees until i no longer bike. if i apply for that teacher training i could choose the desert. there is something sad about being there, though, when the season just reflects a slightly different sun. east should be my calling…if i apply. you’d tell me to do it, i imagine you’re nodding if you’re reading this…

I listened to the end of a PennSound recording I spoke of yesterday. If you look at it, you’ll see I’ve even lined through an egregious error – misrepresenting John Ashbery’s words. Ashbery didn’t speak of the difficult poem, or even the hard poem , but instead focused on the questioners framing of Modern Poetry – is it obscure. Obscurity, Ashbery contends, is sometimes more purposeful than being direct. (paraphrasing here). The only reason I mention again is the above off-the-cuff writing was inspired by something else Ashbery spoke of — his use of pronouns. He oft changes who the pronoun relates to many times within his poem. I find that refreshing…and beautiful.

Tonight’s  final link regarding Frank O’Hara’s poetry mentioned  two poems dedicated to artists – one artist was Joseph Cornell. Much to the dogs consternation (she had to wait for her treat after a trip outside) I ventured to the bookcase not often visited (a placeholder for books read, but not to rid) to find the Jospeh Cornell book. Despite it being over in the ‘read’ bookcase, I’ve not read it. I bought it years ago because I have a fascination with Cornell’s boxes.  Briefly paging through the book now (it is by my side, it shall be moved to the ‘important’ bookcase) I’m amused to find O’Hara isn’t in the index, but Ashbery is in several places. Amazing, (I just looked again) the forward is by Ashbery. The second commentary is from Motherwell. To a casual reader who happens here, that will mean nothing, to one who understands the Modern/Avant art scene, it may amuse. You see, it means that visually, I’ve dug the modernist movement in art before I even knew of it. Perhaps, it is no grand stretch that I should resonate toward the poetic equivalent, no?

Oddly, i found a picture stuck in the middle of JC’s book. It’s nine years old taken with a dear friend on Christmas Eve. Two months after that photograph he no longer was here. I wonder why I stuck that picture there..

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One thought on “mystery boxes & modern poetry

  1. Ashbery earned a living writing reviews for Art News for 10 years. Cornell is one of his faves (a Cornell collage decorates the cover of his book ‘Hotel Lautreamont’). There’s a book available of his reviews called ‘Reported Sightings’ – I believe used copies can be found for a few bucks.

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