Saturday, April 09, 2011

four strong winds

I had a long trip to America. First I flew to Duesseldorf, which involved much waiting and about 25 minutes on a plane. I was to be seated in row 22, but there was no row 22, which was perfect. Then the 8.5 hour flight to Newark. But everything turned out fine. We didn’t crash. A woman asked if I’d trade my aisle seat for her friend’s middle seat so they could sit together and the answer was no. Sorry, I made about three phone calls to get that seat. I watched “Sekretariat,” which had to be the schmalziest storehouse of bullshit ever. But I survived even that.

I finished Oracle Night before boarding in DUE, but luckily I had a back-up book: Moscow To The End of the Line. It is about a very hard drinker. It is pathetic but also funny. And the first thing we did at my mom’s was go over to the local Borders, which is going out of business (9 days left!) to scavenge the racks. I thought I’d have no luck, but I found about 15 books I was VERY interested in, which I sorrowfully whittled down to eight. I would have taken them all if I didn’t have to lug them back to Germany, some of them being very nice hardbacks! $175 worth of books for $45: The Infinities, Foe, the new translation of Madame Bovary from Lydia Davis, The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart, Mapping the World (a geography book that I may cut up/collage), City of Glass, Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, and a poetry anthology called A Book of Luminous Things. I've heard of this book many times, but wasn't sure I'd want it. But at $4.25, why not?

The thing about this anthology is each poem is sketched out by the editor at the top of the page. That way the slow among us have a chance to get it. For example: In this Tu Fu poem of spring the days get longer and the mountains grow beautiful. The south wind blows over flowering meadows. Swallows who just arrived dart over marshes while ducks nap in couples on the sand.

South Wind

The days grow long, the mountains
Beautiful. The south wind blows
Over blossoming meadows.
Newly arrived swallows dart
Over the streaming marshes.
Ducks in pairs drowse on the warm sand.

Ok, I hope that was helpful? I know this poem is a toughie. They left out the more subtle one about the north wind for fear of rampant reader failure. Ah well, there are some good poems in this, but the commentary sometimes teeters on the brink of hilarious.


Kathleen said...

In this frou frou poem, a poet rejoices that a fellow poet can collage the world, the four winds carrying their laughter and the faint scent of non-toxic glue.

The poet rejoices that her poet
friend can collage the world
cutting continents from a book,
blue glitter for the rivers,
skinny red rick-rack for boundaries,
silk and satin for the seas,
the four winds carrying their laughter
and the innocuous scent of Elmer’s glue.

SarahJane said...

I don't get it. Needs more explanation. laugh

ron hardy said...

Kathleen's poem seems to be about glue sniffing visions and possibly incontinence. Am I right? Can you really get off on Elmer's?

ron hardy said...

Oh, also I read Auster's City of Glass years ago and really liked it. One of a trilogy of very strange detective novels. Hope you like it.

ArtSparker said...

Like the job on the QVC channel where someone holds up a piece of glitz on some velvet and twirls it slowly for the camera, that commentary job goes on a short list of ones I could totally do.

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