September 1, 2008

I had planned on biking to the beach in Alameda this Labor Day, but a vague urgent email from Michael Carreira led me to Albany. It was a false emergency, but I did get to see Mr. Carreira, Mr. King, Mr. Manlio & Mr. Prischmann.
Getting to Albany (a terrible & longish bus ride from my digs in Oakland) allowed me to read a good chunk of Geof Huth's Longfellow Memoranda (Otoliths, 2008). Otoliths makes beautiful books. In my pile of things to review is Spencer Selby's exquisite book of full color plated visual poems Flush Contour (2007).
Huth's book began as process by material.
He bought a 1917 diary book that also had a Longfellow snippet for each day of the year. The 1917 days apparently reckoned equal to 2007 days, and he planned on using it as a diary of sort, but the previous owner used it to record births, birthdays etc. . . He even gives us a facsimile page of the original document to the start of each month to see how he boils down or reacts to the Longfellow: the process is laid bare.
But all the entries read through are far from a modern (mis)translation of the text they purport to derive from. Each poem is a minamilist piece that works towards a minimalist whole.
When I go downtown on the bus, I always stop at the Goodwill to look through their books:
Osvald Siren, The Chinese Art of Painting (Schocken, 1963).
Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping eds, The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry: From Ancient to Contemporary, the Full 3000-Year Tradition (Anchor, 2005).
While it may be a little early to know who are the successors of the Misty Poets, it must be said that the Misty Poets are not the contemporaries of the poets currently working in China.



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