Monday, June 9, 2008

reading with ears

Some people have difficulty listening to books. I think you need a decent block of uninterrupted time. Maybe it depends on the book. I most recently listened to King's Duma Key. I have to say I was really looking forward to it, having thoroughly enjoyed On Writing and Lisey's Story. I found it hard to listen to, however. Maybe I'd have read it faster. Maybe Lisey's love story made the characters more sympathetic. I'm leaning toward the latter.

A few books that were easy (actually fun) to listen to:


All the Pretty Horses


The Castle in the Forest

The Plot Against America

The Bonesetter's Daughter

The Red Tent

The Road

Never Let Me Go

When We Were Orphans

And there are quite a few others.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

June and everything leading up to it

The current issue of APR (May, June 08) has an intriguing longish poem by Harold Schweizer about stones and angels. Normally I don't pay much attention to angels, but rocks are hard to ignore.

There's also an essay about Dunya Mikhail, Iraqi poet I was glad to hear about, and an exchange of letters regarding a Kevin Prufer poem, "National Anthem," well about a brief essay Prufer wrote about his poem.

The current issue of Rattle has a poem, "You Might," that author John Yohe says he wrote in response to a Kim Addonizio poem in the May/June 2007 issue of APR, "The Matter." These are both interesting and entertaining, but Yohe's note of explanation combines with the Prufer poem letter exchange to make me feel even more viscerally something I always believed --that no song or poem should need to be explained --unless the explanation itself takes the form of another song or poem. Do it and you risk being drawn into pointless argumentation, that very often makes you come across as petulant, agrieved, or not quite as bright as you might have appeared at first blush.