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Lino Cervantes, a heteronym of Eugenio Montejo, invented a genre called the coligram. Here is an example: Me alumbro a solas con una es...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

fan mail

Got email

I did a short presentation on the first chapter of Apocryphal Lorca in a seminar today and just wanted to thank you for writing such a clear introduction to Lorca's work and reception in the United States. The content, organization, and argumentation of your writing made this an enjoyable, rewarding assignment, so I wanted to let you know that you have one very appreciative reader in xxx

Hope you are having a great fall semester so far!

días del abandono

My Italian is getting good enough that I can read and not only guess at the plot of a novel, but actually follow it closely. I am reading a book by the Italian novelist Elena Ferrante, who is all the rage I guess. It is called the days of abandonment, not part of her Neapolitan tetralogy but a stand-alone novel.

A woman, Olga (though we don't learn her name for 50 pages) is abandoned by her husband Mario, after 15 years of marriage, with two children. She is devastated, but we never learn what she actually loves about Mario. The characterization of him is weak, and we mostly hear Olga's endless whining. I almost gave up because not much was happening. Olga prides herself on being calm and soft-spoken, but now all bets are off. She begins to swear, she comes across her husband and his new lover in a public place and beats him up. She poisons the ants that have invaded her house, then goes downstairs to sleep with an unattractive musician whom she doesn't even like, then wakes up the next morning to find out their dog, Otto, is also poisoned by the insecticide, along with her son. She tries to get help but her phone is dead (it has been for a while but she's been unable to do anything). The the lock on the door doesn't work and she can't get out of the flat to get help... That's as far as I've gotten.

Anyway, it is not great literature. It is fairly straight realism in the first person without much going on in terms of novelistic technique. The flashbacks are to a neighbor woman abandoned by her husband during Olga's childhood, who people called "la poverella." The idea is that Olga is repeating the story of the hapless woman despite her self. Olga is supposedly a writer, but hasn't written anything yet in her life, at age 38. Completely self-absorbed, she lacks any real insight into her self or others. For example, we never get an idea of what her children are really like.

I'm sure I'm the worst kind of reader for this kind of novel, but it is good for my Italian so I am going to force myself to finish it.

A weird productivity

I have been in a weird space in which I am more productive than ever in my life, but seeming to do nothing. I you followed me around for a day you would think I do nothing at all, yet I am on track to write an article or chapter a month and have just written, in late summer, two books of baddish poetry. At some point I will return to my guide to poetry which I have had to postpone because of other commitments. I am working on a bridge to another song...

If you watched me for a day, you would see me grade papers, learn Italian on duolingo, write bad poems and make fun of other people's poetry...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

More bad stuff

In another context, when I wasn't even looking for bad poetry, I came across a book with lines like this:

"At the dawn of sorrow,
I drop a tear
and sob."


"I am one with the vast universe."

Published by a University Press!

I couldn't even write "At the dawn of sorrow" in a poem meant to be bad on purpose.

Monday, September 26, 2016

jazz piano

I took a jazz piano lesson. I have to figure out voicings for "There will never be another you." It is not that hard, really, though it takes time. Practice tip: use a metronome and practice will be more efficient, less time and faster.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Body Parts

The waist of the ocean...

Her throat, where is it?

Where is the sea's elbow?


Mateo has set me another one:

Skywinds of autumn

Skyrains of spring...

Aren't all winds from the sky?

Aren't all rains of the sky?

If you think like that, my friend,

You will never taste the orange from the orange tree

Skywinds of autumn

Skyrains of spring...