“Yes, I was depressed at her age, at something unstable about her, but I was also depressed at the implied criticism of The Voyage Out, & at the hint that I had better turn to something other than fiction. Now this seems to me foolish, & I wish I could make up a cure for it, to be taken after such encounters, which are bound to happen every month of one’s life. It’s the curse of a writer’s life to want praise so much, & be so cast down by blame, or indifference. The only sensible course is to remember that writing is after all what one does best; that any other work would seem to me a waste of life; that on the whole I get infinite pleasure from it; that I make one hundred pounds a year; & that some people like what I write. But Janet would only admit that love counted, & said that her friends had succeeded only in ‘coming off’ in life, not in art.”
Filed under: my brilliant career, reading list | Leave a Comment
But mostly Frank O’Hara, from Lopate’s new essay collection this time. We’re not going to talk today about my reasons for not taking Kenneth Koch’s classes in college but I will say my senior-year flatmate Irwin did one hell of a Koch imitation. First two paragraphs are Lopate, if it’s not clear, third is O’Hara in WordPress’s somewhat unfortunate blockquote format.
… So I settled for becoming a prose-writing hanger-on of the New York School of Poetry, with entrée to the scene provided by Ron Padgett, all of us worshiping at the shrine of Koch, Frank O’Hara, and John Ashberry.
The one whose poetry appealed to me most at that time was Frank O’Hara, partly because of his unapologetically urban, movie-mad sensibility, partly because of his doctrine of Personalism:
You just go on nerve. If someone’s chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don’t turn around and shout, “Give it up! I was a track star for Mineola Prep.” … How can you really care if anybody gets it, or gets what it means, or if it improves them? Improves them for what? For death? Why hurry them along? Too many poets act like a middle-aged mother trying to get her kids to eat too much cooked meat, and potatoes with drippings (tears). I don’t give a damn whether they eat or not. Forced feeding leads to excessive thinness (effete). Nobody should experience anything they don’t need to, if they don’t need poetry bully for them. I like the movies too. And after all, only Whitman and Crane and Williams, of the American poets, are better than the movies. As for measure and other technical apparatus, that’s just common sense: if you’re going to buy a pair of pants you want them to be tight enough so everyone will want to go to bed with you.
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Tags: yet more phillip lopate
I don’t tend to post stories here — you can find them all on NOLA.com, and someday I will update the clips page — but this one, somewhat off my beat, has a drawn a huge response. Well over 30 people so far have called or emailed me directly asking to pay for Ka’Nard’s 11th birthday party not counting all the posts on social media, calls to the T-P, etc. One of my luckier catches — broke the news that one of the Mother’s Day shooting victims was also a key player in the most shocking shooting of 2012, and his dad’s death in October made the front pages too.
As my friend Paul says, “News is always broken,” and sometimes you have to wonder if the same is true of the rest of the world.
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Tags: briana allen, ka'nard allen, mother's day shooting
Wine ice cream is considered an alcoholic beverage and is therefore subject to the regulatory provisions of Title 26. However, because ice cream containing any alcohol is an adulterated food and the sale of adulterated foods is prohibited by La. R.S. 40:636, wine ice cream may not be sold in the State of Louisiana.
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Date Released: 04/16/2013
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“… what is needed to generate nonfiction? I would say curiosity. It may sound more tepid than obsession or passion, but it is vastly more dependable in the long run. You follow out a strand of curiosity and pretty soon you’ve got an interesting digression, a whole chapter, a book proposal, a book. The solution to entrapment in the narcissistic hothouse of self is not to relinquish autobiographical writing, but to expand the self by bringing one’s curiosity to interface with more and more history and the present world.”
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Tags: phillip lopate
Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Still Life with Plums
“Still life with plums” is a lovely Google image search. Related searches: “mariage a la mode.” I know I say it’s December. Pretend it’s December and forgive my use of the phrase “real writer,” by which I meant only “person who spends time writing”: I found a painting of plums for you.
Book: Still Life by A.S. Byatt
“Roadrunner” (The Modern Lovers)
“Baby I Believe in You” (Barry and the Remains)
“Wave Backwards to Massachusetts,” live at the Middle East Upstairs, Jan. 4, 2008 (Hallelujah the Hills) (I was there)
“That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate” (Mission of Burma)
If you don’t know Mission of Burma, ye non-New Englanders, read this book next.
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Tags: books, byatt, hallelujah the hills