Thursday, September 02, 2004

Hello, friends. I hereby give notice that the konvolut won't get much thicker for at least the next two months. What appears will likely consist of notes-to-self about something I've just read, seen, or heard, and maybe some links, as below; there will be an [even] less concerted effort to be comprehensible to others, or to elicit response -- though it is always welcome. I've known that I would need to go light around now for some time; this probably has something to do with the frequency and urgency during the back half of August. After Nov. 1, we'll see.


3 pieces I haven't linked to before:

Stephen Foster, for the Voice. (Don't know if this is on the stands for protesters to fan themselves with yet; I like to think so.)

DNA and Salt

Whose South is it anyway?


Two other reading notes:

1) A passage from Carol Mirakove's Occupied makes a point I wanted to when linking to a Nation piece some weeks ago:

the desperate, to separate: I am not like Bush and point to diction, resort to mockery: 'nucular" "Murrka." while regionalisms are normally & ardently granted their space.

but this frustration. this cutting down contagion & reduction. to ugliness.

Of course, there's also the question of cynicism: When and why did GWB adopt his speech patterns, and how consciously.

The book, by the way, is rending -- not least for using the Brainard "I Remember" construction to talk about the history of covert action and political betrayal.


2) Small but disturbing error(s) in "Signature Song," from Bill Berkson's Fugue State, concerning Bunny Berrigan's recording of "I Can't Get Started With You":

Earlier that same year, the song,
written by George Gershwin and Vernon Duke,
and rendered as a duet patter number by Bob Hope and Eve
Arden, made its debut on Broadway in The Zigfield Follies.

I quote the last two lines to show that the poem depends on getting the trivia of a certain sphere of interest right. But the song is by Ira and Duke; Duke and GG were both composers. (Duke composed, for instance, "April in Paris," and probably had a hand in putting "Our Love Is Here To Stay" into the form we're familiar with; that song existed as a sketch at the time of GG's death.) That it's a confusion, not a verbal slip, is shown in the poem's final line:

"I've settled revolutions in Spain" goes the line of Duke's lyric, just as odd.

I wouldn't "aha" this is most contexts, but it's disorienting coming from a poet of Berkson's age and milieu. What's next -- Ashbery getting the casts of romantic comedies wrong? [Again, I like the book, more than what I remember of Serenade; and I'm impressed with the parts of the new art-criticism collections I've had a chance to read.)


On this highly significant note, out for a while. It's as much a matter of telling myself, "no, Franklin, don't stay up for another 2 hours to do this" as anything else. I perhaps give the impression of some energy and alertness to those who don't know me, but the truth is, my batteries are recharging very slowly of late, and I think things will work out better in the long run if I let myself catch up on some other endeavors for a while. Write if you get work, and hang by your thumbs.

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