Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dean Young — Yesterday? — Harry Mathews interview

Today's poem is Dean Young's "Static City," from Embryoyo (published by Believer Books). Here's a bit: "Imagine a frog/in your mouth, struggling./Now imagine you're that frog."

(Just saw and am checking out a pretty funny conversation between Young and Tony Hoagland at the PoFo site: Memory is "the bad breath of time?")

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What about yesterday's poem? My students came up with some great Oulipian poems, but I'll save them for another day. I just want to assure you that I have been reading at least one poem a day during this most National of Poetry months.

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Dizzyhead Jessica alerted me to an interview with Harry Mathews (in my pantheon, up there with Nabokov, Powell, and Portis) in the new Paris Review. (I've had HM on the brain, thanks to my recent Oulipo/Roussel musings—The Conversions is an especially Rousselian concoction; see Dizzyhead Laird's note.) I debated whether to buy it or not, thinking it might just cover the same old (albeit fascinating) ground—aaaaaand...I wound up saying YES to shelling out $12 and had to stop myself from reading the whole thing last night. I'm going to try to make it last at least another day.

Some choice quotes:

"I couldn't hammer a nail until I was seventeen. I spent all my time in dreamland, listening to obscure music and reading Henry James."

"We reached Plymouth in a parody of English weather—fog, rain, darkness."

On Ashbery and Schuyler's delightful collaborative novel, A Nest of Ninnies: "Auden had once said that it's impossible to describe meals in contemporary fiction. So there is an endless number of meals in the book."

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Best idea: Buy the PR with a $20 bill, and instead of tipping the cashier $8—as is your wont—use this "mad money" to purchase the new Believer!

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