11 September 2006


It's like a Fellini film here on the patio of the Green Room. But the kids are starting to arrive, so I'll have to leave soon. I came to get a huge chunk of work done, some of that editing that's weighing me way down, but I made the mistake of popping into Book City first, and Paul showed me a few new books on the poetry shelves, as he usually does, and here's the strange coincidence. Last night I flipped through some Mark Strand, thinking that I should read some Strand every day to balance all the goddamn CNN I watch. And today Paul points out a new Mark Strand: Man and Camel. So I plunked myself down out there with a beer and read the book – well, everything but the last sequence, which is based on the seven final words of Christ, which I think made a good piece of music by Mahler. Anyway, beyond this new book's hideous cover are some beautiful poems, quietly beautiful. I can't remember if Mark Strand ever astonished me – maybe he did when I first read him – but now I get a different kind of pleasure. "People Walking Through the Night" and "Afterwords" are my instant favourites, but there's a lot here to reread of his simple declarative sentences.

He's getting old. He's looking old like Johnny Cash or Samuel Beckett looked old. Well, maybe not that old. I started going grey when I was 18.

Oh, also I was dead wrong last night when I said the Americans who blamed Bush for 9/11 weren't counted. In fact, Ugly News Source reports today that such a poll has just been taken, and nearly half of Americans blame Bush for 9/11. But I think it's more that they think not enough was done to stop the attack, not that Bush's (or Clinton's) foreign policies were to blame.

Well, maybe I wasn't that wrong after all.

And back to poetry for a moment: among the new books Paul pointed out to me today was Dani Couture's Good Meat, from Pedlar Press. It's a gorgeous-looking book, and my blurb on the back says it's a good book too. I've never had a blurb look so attractive.

The blurb is as attractive as Mark Strand once was, or perhaps still is.

Over and out.


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