Monday, June 28, 2004

Monday June 28, 2004

So, did i tell about the fact that on thursday night in ann arbor, iwent to the black folks' club and they were playing calypso for half the night? Yep - get this, a white rastafarian DJ with the twelve tribes headwrap was spinning reggae and calypso and trying to toast over the beats too... surreal...

in preparing exercises for the residency during the week, i came across some dynamite work, most by writers i already knew, so if you haven't, check out "Half-hanged Mary" by Margaret Atwood (which chronicles the true story of a woman hanged in Masachussetts in the 1680s on suspicion of withcraft. When they came to cut her body down in the morning, she was still alive. She lived 14 years longer). The poem is written from the perspective of the hanged woman, while on the noose. it is amazing, as it is sectioned according to the time of night and as time goes by, the form of the poem alters to accomodate her mental state, so while the syntax is fairly narrative at the onset, the line breaks are longer and her rants more abstract to convey that sense of delirium that one imagines must be at play then.

A. Van Jordan, whose colllection 'Rise' is phenomenal is coming out with a new collection called 'MacNolia'. we were doing a workshop on unusual forms and devices, so i was looking up his poem 'Notes from a Southpaw' when i cam across the poem 'MacNolia', which is set up as a dictionary definition of the word "from" then goes on to list about 13 definitions of the word that tell the story of a woman's love affait with a Chicago blues-man. Google him and check it out, cuz i don't think the second collection has dropped yet.

Leaving Chicago in a few hours to get back home. Will have pictures from this past week posted on the site in a couple days. The Chicago pride parade was fairly tame (at least by comparison to NYC's). Indeed, much of the gay community in Chicago complains that the parade has become very corporate as politicians and companies recognize how fiscally powerful the gay demographic is and that they can't afford to ignore their money or their votes. In NYC, that is undoubtedly true as well, but for some reason, the parade doesn't seem to have been as co-opted as it appears in Chicago. Indeed, the Chicago parade had as many heterosexuals in attendance as homosexuals (which is a good thing - i think we should visibly support the cause), but it also seems to be less a platform for the gay community to have the freedom to live as it pleases, than it is a platform now for a sort of strange 'tourist-like gawking fascination'. Thing is i'm not sure if that's necessarily a bad thing, and not being as knowledgeable of socio-sexual theory as i would like to be can't figure out how to wrap my head around that...

...ooh - i'll go ask Daphne. She'll have a theory or a book to read on the subject (Daphne Gottlieb. Get her latest book 'Final Girl'. Read it. it's a fascinating and brilliant collection of poems. She's also the author of 'Pelt' and 'Why things Burn'. In fact, you can probably get more of her take on all of this sort of thing at i'm going to eat.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo Roger - hey from Frisco. Just wanted to let you know that A. Van Jordan's collection MacNolia IS out! I just saw it in City Lights. It's crazy - I peeped it but didn't purchase cuz I got no mo cash. :( Just wanted to let you know tho. See you when I get back - if I'm still coherent... mucho love, Leslieann

6:13 PM  
Anonymous dan sully said...

I am teaching a workshop this week and had planned on using "Notes From a Southpaw" by A. Van Jordan and your blog came up. Just thought it was cool to find familiarity within this huge internet thang.

7:20 PM  

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