July 14, 2004

I've been lost since the first of July. Doing Chain stuff. And then working on anthology, attending interviews for position that is open here, etc. I feel like the summer is slipping away.

So far, I've read Nicolas Guillen's The Daily Daily. Guillen is an Afro-Cuban poet. This book is a fascinating collage poetry project. It reads very much like Olson or Williams but there seems to be little evidence of influence because Guillen did not read English (or so the introduction tells). The poem, I guess it is a poem, collects a lot of weird historical data on Cuba up to 1958 (year Castro takes power; Guillen was in exile up until then). The poem was published in 1972. The work is very fragmented. Weird advertisements. Funny sonnets. Observations. etc. None of it connected. I found the book in the stacks at Berkeley when I was looking for Man Making Words, Guillen's selected. None of this work appears in the selected. This book is much more interesting to me than the selected poems which I find at moments too easy (but I am always wondering if something gets lost in the translation). I feel like I have suddenly discovered a book I should have known about all along.

Joan Retallack gave me a copy of her essay from the 1940s conference in Orono on Stein, "Wars We Have Seen: Politics and Poethics of Stein in the Forties." One of the best summaries I've seen of Stein's hard to figure out politics in the 40s. I get confused when she starts to distinguish between political statements and poesis. I don't understand why they don't overlap more. And I think I am not so optimistic as she is about the power of poesis. But I always find her work interesting in very dramatic ways. I really enjoy reading it.

Working on Altieri's The Particulars of Rapture. Hope to finish it tomorrow.

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