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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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