Everything Reminds Me of Moby Dick: Maxine Kumin

It came to my attention while skimming the Women’s Review of Books that poet Maxine Kumin had died (nearly a year ago). I know nothing of Kumin’s work but this memorial piece by Robin Becker reminded me of something: The humor here belies the relationship Kumin negotiated with her own impulse toward reverence. The paradise […]

The Work of Language

This is from Dan McCall’s preface to the Norton Critical ed. of Melville’s Short Novels. ********* He read voraciously; in Moby-Dick he said, “I have swam through libraries.” When he began to read Shakespeare, for example, something not altogether conscious or voluntary began happening to him. In American Renaissance, …F. O. Matthiessen concludes that Melville’s […]

Immeasurably the Most Important Book of Poetry

  CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING “KORA IN HELL” by Robert McAlmon [Williams reprinted Kora in Hell: Improvisations in 1957 without the Prologue.  So, here is an audio recording of the 1920 Kora without the Prologue. (1:46:13); and here is beginning of the Prologue from The Little Review.] Dear POETRY:—Writers, quite as much in the countries of older art tradition as in […]

UPDATE: About a Boy? Richard Linklater’s Critique of Woman

UPDATE, 1/5/2014: Patricia Arquette as quoted on IMDB concerning her character submitting to drunken abuse by men: “Now, I wouldn’t be like that. I would climb across the table and stab him in the head with a fork.”   My heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky: So was it when […]

Forget the Ones

Will Johnson, in Scorpion, has told an album-length story that seems to me to dramatize the human in a particular time and place but also to have dramatized an aspect of human nature that isn’t bound by those constraints (the where and when of the story). Further, this album has the feel of intimate self-revelation. […]

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Soldier-Sentimentalist-Poet

Two snippets from Ford’s The Good Soldier (1924). The word “sentimental” or some form of it occurs 28 times in the novel–a use for big data! ************ For all good soldiers are sentimentalists—all good soldiers of that type. Their profession, for one thing, is full of the big words, courage, loyalty, honour, constancy. And I […]

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This is 40: Will Johnson’s Best

In 2011 Will Johnson turned 40. In that same year his rock and roll project, the group Centro-Matic, released what I think is their best album (I might qualify this by calling it their most cohesive album–the center holds), Candidate Waltz. The next year Johnson released the album Scorpion under his own name and it, […]

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The Golden Beast of Love

I have loved single songs off of probably every album Will Johnson has attached his name to. Multiple songs off of many of them. But I have always treated them as “one-offs” that are keyed to a particular mood. Of Centro-Matic’s albums my favorites are Fort Recovery and Love You Just the Same and I […]

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It’s My Nature: Will Johnson’s “Scorpion”

Will Johnson’s 2012 album Scorpion is a beautiful work. Each listening will deepen your experience. When asked in an interview on WFHB’s “Firehouse Sessions“–by me–about the titles of his “Will Johnson” albums (rather than those of Centro-Matic and South San Gabriel) having much to do with danger and death (Murder of Tides, Vultures Await, Scorpion), […]

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Energy and Doom

The future is incompatible with human thinking. That’s not to say we cannot imagine “tomorrow” but that what we imagine […]

The Argument of Arms

Here is the opening of an essay by the Australian poet A.D. Hope called “The Argument of Arms.” It is […]

Living in the Futurist Dream (1913)

How does this sound as a description of our world? Aside from #17 below which makes no sense in this […]

Mean Alloy Notes

One needs to make one’s own discoveries, I found Mina Loy by way of William Carlos Williams, who wrote, in […]

Reading Oppen’s “Workman”

Preface: The blog is an odd space. The I and the You are confusing here. There is no “discussion” (though […]

A Muddle in the Middle: Dominion and Rule

Emerson begins his essay “Experience” (1844)–and here it’s good to remind the modern, the “now” of ourselves, that our thoughts […]