Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The poems to come are for you and for me and are not for mostpeople

For much of my life e.e. cummings was my favorite poet. My parents had only five or six poetry books in the house, and for me he kicked all the other folks’ behinds. I loved him best through my twenties & i still love him.

There are better poets, but it is always his lines that come to me unbidden. When I look out at the rain, I hear “you asked me to come: it was raining a little.” When the moon is out and I’m walking, I think “along this particular road the moon if you’ll / notice follows us like a big yellow dog.” Even my father wrote to me once, "because Whirl's after all:" and that is from one of my favorite poems. 

When my house caught on fire in 1987, my friend Amy bought me his Collected Poems to replace the copy I’d lost. It, too, has since fallen to pieces.

So happy birthday to everybody who loves e.e. cummings. He was born on this day in 18freaking94! 

Here are five of my favorite poems by him (I have fifty others), in no particular order. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Vermicelli Piano Piano

I went to the Frankfurt Book Fair today, publishers' annual bash for buying and selling foreign rights to titles. Of course it’s more than that. It’s also a showplace for trends, a marketing extravaganza, lectures and awards, and a book feast. On the last days many publishers sell the books they’ve brought along, rather than schlepping them halfway around the world on airplanes. 

There’s plenty of book fetishism to go around - the righteous adoration of das Ding an sich. It’s exemplified in this gorgeous Phaidon book, Cookbook Book, which as you’d guess is a book about cookbooks, with pictures of various cookbooks from various countries. Phaidon, like most publishers, cuts prices the last day but even so I thought it too pricey and useless to justify buying. Now, at 9 pm, I have the melancholy opposite of buyer’s remorse. 

Looking the book over at the fair, I thought of my favorite aphorist, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, who said in 1773, “Nowadays we already have books about books and descriptions of descriptions.”

He also said, “If another Messiah was born he could hardly do so much good as the printing press.”

And, “If, as Leibniz has prophesied, libraries one day become cities, there will still be dark and dismal streets and alleyways as there are now.” 

I left with one book for myself on collage, and bought my daughter most of what her heart desired, and even found a graphic novel for my reluctant-reader son, because that’s what money is for.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Not to Decide

The minute and a half waiting for the tram, pondering whether or not it’s raining enough to warrant opening my umbrella.

The raindrops are large but there are not many of them.

I think of the word ponder, which has a pond in it, and those four rounded letters take up more space than most on a line. (Except w.) You may only write the word so many times before exhausting the line.

The segment swollen like these aimless raindrops, which sometimes miss anyway. Most of the time they miss. 

They are large but there are not many of them, and an umbrella is such a bother.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Weekly arrangements

Reading: Can’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis
Listened to: Can I Kick It by A Tribe Called Quest (my daughter’s favorite song)

Watched: Sherlock Holmes episode “The Golden Pince-Nez
Observed: Underneath my daughter’s bed lies a decade of dust.

Discarded: Scads of old poetry journals, moth-eaten sweaters
Received: 2 rejections, 1 acceptance 

Ate: Spinach-gorgonzola pizza, raspberries with vanilla yoghurt, brioche
Drank: Stinging nettle tea

Bought: A big expensive bookcase that I don’t feel guilty about
Did without: A grey cardigan with cloth buttons at a new shop downtown

Forgot: How to spell wool
Learned: More than I cared to know about the death of Jim Morrison

Failed: To exercise
Triumphed: Brought all the Dickens, Brontë and Hardy books to my room and arranged them together on a shelf. For the win. 

Dreamed: I was woken up and interrogated by an editorial committee of men right out of the 1950s.
Realized: In a shop on Saturday I realized that my husband’s (groundless) insistence that he is a size L has its equivalent in my always insisting I take an S. 

Word of the week: WOOL
Pithiness of the week: “Continuous eloquence is tedious,” wrote Pascal.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Russian Stepmother

Contained heroin is a guide to the world’s unusual produce items.

Made with calculus extract

European banks sign loans to Russian Stepmother

Looking forward to having the family here for a cerebral palsy St Patrick’s Day Guinness.

To the culturally urinated, working abroad can be a puzzle.

The disgust on the corner is open all night.

The jury began deliberations after two hours of closing arguments in a much-watered trial.

Some people use aspergers to shorten texts.
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