Thursday, August 13, 2009

The move to Iowa City is complete. Well, Coralville, actually. They named a street after me, or at least after the French-Canadian me. Everything in Iowa City is 5 min. away. Target, 5 min. Prairie Lights Books, 5 min. Coralville Lake, 5 min. Everything in Chicago was 30-60 min. away. Everything. I think I like it here, at least in a timely way.

I registered for classes yesterday, making this whole thing official. This whole thing officially scares me a bit. I'm taking a scary workshop with Cole Swensen, a scary class on Modernism and Mysticism and another scary class having to do with poets and their respective poetics. I hope this works out like most scary things and wind up not being scary after all...but sometimes things really are scary. That scares me most of all...

My reading back on July twenty-something went pretty well. I was nervous and I think that showed, but afterwards my father-in-law, whose knowledge of poetry extends only as far as that he knows I do it, told me he really liked my poems and even recited a few lines back to me. I'm really tired of the pompous grandeur of poetry readings and I work hard to be the exact opposite of that...but even that has a touch of bullshit in it.

I read Frank Stanford's selected poems last week after having gotten it back from the friend I lent it to the day I got it last October. I think you should read it too. The upside is how totally awesome most of the poems are. The downside is that the section titled, "Unpublished Poems," should have stayed that way. I mean, within the context of a book that is a "selected" previously unpublished poems have no place. Have you ever seen Michelangelo's David? Having those poems in this collection is like the hallway leading up the sculpture that is lined with partially finished statues...when you're expecting the masterpiece, who gives a fuck about the pieces the artist didn't even see all the way through. There was a reason Stanford didn't publish these poems, so why include it with what is supposed to represent his best work? Right?

I also finished James Tate's selected. I love James Tate and thus, I love this book, but it did get me wondering about the validity of "selected's" winning prizes. This book won the Pulitzer of poetry as well as the WCW Award. Though I think Tate deserves these awards, giving them to a book of his selected verse is totally bogus. It would be like giving the Beatles a Grammy every time a re-packaged greatest hits comes out! It just seems bullshit to me is all...

Anyway, there were a few other things I was going to tell you, but I forgot what they were.

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