June 20, 2004

There is always this reading that I do on the side that never gets into here. Usually the stuff that I read late at night before going to bed or when unable to sleep. Also unmentioned for the most part is my compulsive reading of the NYTimes on the web every morning, sometimes of the SF Chronicle, and various magazines like the New Yorker and Harpers.

Among them, Sam Kashner's When I Was Cool, a somewhat poignant memoir of being the first graduate from Naropa. A very easy read. The joke is that by the time he shows up all the beats are old and they've got bowel problems and they still are more cool than he is. A few interesting facts that I didn't know. I knew that story about Merwin and a woman being made to undress by Trungpa and refusing and leaving the retreat in protest. But I didn't know that the woman was Dana Naone (now Dana Naone Hall), a well known Hawaiian poet (who I never met and I haven't seen any new work by her but she edited Malama, Hawaiian Land and Water, an important anthology, in the 80s and her work was often in Hawai'i journals in the 70s and 80s; now I believe she does a lot of environmental activism).

Patrick Durgin printed a section of Hannah Weiner's journals, Country Girl. Reading this made me profoundly sad. Although in the past I've loved reading her journals. I just couldn't deal with the insight into someone who is obviously suffering from problems negotiating the world.

Then read some of Diane di Prima's Recollections of My Life as a Woman. I remember loving her first memoir years ago. This one I couldn't stand and had to give up on. Too purple.

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