Selasa, 03 Januari 2012

Books and Weather

An update. Where does one begin after long silence? Weather and books?

It’s 21 degrees and sunny and I am thinking of ice. It was hard and smooth at the cottage, and magical, as always. I shoveled and skated and shoveled and skated. And I read, beginning with Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station (Coffee House Press). Good for Schuler’s for stocking small press books! It’s a great book, comic and sad and thoughtful. Here’s a passage:

“…in the ensuing silence I tried hard to imagine my poem’s relation to Franco’s mass graves, how my poems could be said meaningfully to bear on the deliberate and systematic destruction of a people or a planet, the abolition of classes, or in any sense constitute a significant political intervention. I tried hard to imagine my poems or any poems as machines that could make things happen, changing the government or the economy or even their language, the body or its sensorium, but I could not imagine this, could not even imagine imagining it. And yet when I imagined the total victory of those other things over poetry, when I imagined, with a sinking feeling, a world without even the terrible excuses for poems that kept faith with the virtual possibilities of the medium, without the sort of absurd ritual I’d participated in that evening, then I intuited an inestimable loss, a loss not of artworks but of art, and therefore infinite, the total triumph of the actual, and I realized that, in such a world, I would swallow a bottle of white pills.”

Those white pills are rather prevalent in the book, and by the time I was halfway into the novel I hardly wanted to swallow my daily vitamin.

After Lerner’s book, I moved to The Story of Charlotte’s Web, by Michael Sims. Strange transition indeed, but it worked. Then I began Haruki Murakami’s new book, 1Q84. It’s good, but I’m not yet halfway into it. It’s more than 900 pages.

I love these quiet months ahead. Days of sunshine and snow and cold weather and books. Happy New Year!

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