07 December 2005

U.S. army uses white phosphorous on dinosaurs!

New York, Day 1.

Nice to be back here. The trip in from Newark Airport is more and more routine. Checked in at the hotel, up at 75th and Broadway. Fancy neighbourhood, but not mega-fancy. A walk in Central Park, which was nice, and a few moments in the Strawberry Fields garden that Yoko set up across the road from the Dakota, where John Lennon was shot.

Crossed to the east side and decided to pop into the Museum of Natural History, just because it's not something I thought I'd do. Pretty amazing place. Lots of dinosaur bones. Excellent commentary on the exhibits. When I was a little kid, I thought that dinosaurs were actually these skeletons that walked around. Maybe I'll put that in my novel.

Some other good stuff too. Took notes; will write poems.

Having been in New York for about five hours, I could no longer resist going to St. Mark's bookshop. Which I did. And bought lots of stuff. Some amazing poetry, both by poets I'd heard of and hadn't.

A little wander in the village, then headed over to Dixon Place, a very funky little space (reminded me of some of the alternative theatres in the 70s in Toronto) where there was to be a reading by Lynne Tillman, who's a pretty big novelist, and Tonya Foster, a friend of Kim Bernstein's. Lynn McClory showed up, which made the room about 10% Torontonian. Foster was fantastic: read chunks of a very long essay both autobiographical and sociological, but it came off almost like a performance poem (in a good way): tons of very smart word play, very lively. Then she read some recent poems, which were excellent. Tillman read a short story, though she has a new novel out, and it too was excellent. I hadn't read her before, but I sure will. It was sort of a conventional story, but with a similar kind of word play as Foster employed.

Some excellent dinner with Lynn at Dojo's — my favourite New York cheapo restaurant — after, and then she and I wandered back to St. Mark's, where I spent more money, this time in the fiction section. Got a nice little novella by Richard Hell that looks good.

Lynn, meanwhile, has published her first chapbook, 10 Poems (under her own Ahem imprint), which largely came out of a course she took with Phil Hall. It's a straightforward production, filled with a range of really good poems in which Lynn's trying all sorts of things. She's only been writing a year and a bit, but I hope the eclecticism continues. Too many writers settle into one way of writing and then see early books as embarrassing because they don't display "a coherent voice" or whatever.

I took a late-night stroll around the Upper West Side. And now sitting in front of a computer. And soon to bed.

Oh, I spoke to my old friend Charles George today, for the first time in five or so years. He moved to New York that long ago. A brilliant artist, who once did these incredible, grotesque sculpture of giant babies, and little demented voodoo dolls, he now makes maps and business graphics for one of the daily tabloids here. We're gonna meet up on Thursday.

I'm tired. But one more thing: on the bus to the airport in Toronto this morning, we passed beneath and insanely complex cloverleaf and I couldn't believe that this monstrosity was considered an achievement. I dunno. It just struck me. Suddenly I was looking at buildings and vehicles and thinking how disgusting it all was.

Over and out.


At December 07, 2005 9:47 am , Blogger dfb said...

stu - say hi to charles for me


At December 07, 2005 4:36 pm , Blogger Wayne Arthurson said...

Stuart: thanks for the nice comments on my blog. And because of you, I have a new expression for it; blog haiku. Those fry toppings sound great and if I ever visit New York, I will ask you advice. And when are you moving to Edmonton???


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