Monday, September 13, 2010

Library Day

I ventured through the pouring rain and dried my hair under the hand dryer in the Mid-Manhattan location of the NYPL to get my library card today. Apparently you're not allowed to sit on the floor, as one page informed me. Is this to discourage loitering and vagrancy?

You Must Occupy a Couch or Chair.

While I couldn't get my hands on everything I wanted (especially that copy of Angels of Anarchy, which was available but missing), I did bring home some books I'm sure to enjoy.

  • Flow Chart by John Ashbery
  • Necromance by Rae Armantrout
  • The Collected Poems of Barbara Guest
  • The Collected Poems of Laura Riding
  • The Thief of Strings by Donald Revell

So far, I've only spent some time with Necromance. This is my first book of Armantrout poems and I'm very impressed. At first I found her work incredibly disorienting, which is refreshing since I find that this kind of confusion forces me to read on the poem's terms and not what I expect a poem to give me. Her fondness for the fragment and her ability to manipulate syntax in surprising ways are immediately striking. However, even more astonishing is her ability to link these fragments next to each other merely by juxtaposition, clever word play, and patterning. At the same time, not all of the poems here are dense. Though never obvious, some of the poems are disarming for accessible they are, especially compared to other poems in this book. I'm a little over halfway through it now, and will probably finish it tomorrow.

While riding the subway, I finished Rimbaud's Illuminations. When I first read it years ago, I remember being somewhat unimpressed and considered A Season in Hell to be the superior book. Furthermore, I regarded Baudelaire as an infinitely more talented poet. Now I'm not so sure. I remember Baudelaire being more accessible and immediate, and, since I was very new to to the world of poetry, I gravitated towards that more than Rimbaud's hallucinatory, dream-like style. I think discovering Reverdy's poetry has allowed me to appreciate Rimbaud's more.

Anyway, some major changes are in store for this blog in the coming weeks. I'm going to upload a calendar that lists local (NYC-area) readings, performances, and literary events. Also, I'm going to create a separate page that links to the zine with samples, scans, and much more. In the meantime, I have plenty of great books to occupy myself with.

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