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Women’s Poetry?

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Women’s Poetry?

Undoubtedly gender does play an important part in the making of any art, but art is art and to separate writings, paintings, musical compositions, etc., into two sexes is to emphasize values in them that are not art.

— Elizabeth Bishop, 8 June 1977

 

That quote comes to me courtesy of The Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry, which I am currently reading, thanks to the first of the two renewals I’m permitted for borrowing the book from our county’s library system. Editor Fleur Adcock quotes Bishop to open that poet’s section of the anthology, observing, “Elizabeth Bishop’s executor has requested us to record the fact that the poet objected on principle to appearing in a women’s anthology for the following reason, which she stated in a letter dated 8 June, 1977….” Oh. So over your objections, which we choose not to respect, we’ll make you appear anyway, no reason given for why we do so. (Like, if Bishop were to object strongly enough, how could copyright permission even be granted to this anthology, since Bishop is not like Frost or Yeats, not yet having crossed the line into the public domain?)

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Written by macheide

27 July 2014 at 8:32 am

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SRBSs

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SRBSSRBS1-6Thank you so much, Suzi!! Courtesy of our fave house craftsmen, the inner wall of Suzi’s sewing room now has a handsome new workdesk area for one of her machines, aside of which she had them build a new bookshelf stretching from floor nearly to ceiling, set up for us today. Which she has reserved for me to shelve my books! This bookshelf might actually be able to hold all of my existing collection, yes. But maybe we can let it just mop up my extras, recent purchases that hadn’t yet found a good shelf, leaving intact most of my books that had already found themselves a home, then use these new spaces for a new book-buying program? Hmmmmmm?

Whatever, for making shelf assignments I’ll be numbering these shelves bottom to top, SRBS1 (Sewing Room BookShelf 1) through SRBS6, leaving the top of the bookshelf unit unnumbered. On a purely preliminary basis, I’ve started with the top three shelves. Briefly, from the top shelf down —

  • SRBS6 — Active Porch. On the left side are currently borrowed library books (except for “Century,” a book of photographs from the 20th century, which is my own). On the right side are recent copies of the tax code and pension regulations (topped by my hardcover Turco). All the items on this top shelf will be quite active, rather likely to be off the shelf any time I am doing my reading in Suzi’s sewing room.
     
  • SRBS5 — Pensions and Mathematics. I’d already begun the final emigration of my pension book collection from the Cube. With the space given by this bookshelf, I’ll now give the rest of that collection their tickets to come home. Round that out with the few math books I’ve kept (or recently bought), and this second highest shelf will soon enjoy full occupancy.
     
  • SRBS4 — Poetry. Given the height and depth of these shelves as contrasted with my other shelf spaces, I’ll be keeping my smaller-covered poetry books on my Closet Bookshelf. And at least for now, I’ll be keeping my Living Room Poetry Shelf intact. So for this upper-middle shelf on the new bookshelf, I’ll start with some of my larger-faced poetry books. Not as yet in any order, and possibly to be replaced by other of my poetry books as I reshuffle things over the next several days as I settle into these new quarters.

Again, thank you so much, Suzi!

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - grolier

Written by macheide

24 July 2014 at 5:36 pm

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Doubting Thomas a Little Less

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Doubting Thomas...a Little LessAh, nice, quite nice! I’m on a self-imposed routine to re-read one of Dylan Thomas’ poems per day through the rest of this summer and into the autumn, anticipating completing that re-reading course on October 27 of this year, the 100th anniversary of the birth of the poet.

To set my re-reading schedule, I’d relied on my own personal collection’s copy of Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas 1934-1952 (1971 New Directions paperback), together with a few other DT poems picked up elsewhere along the way. But then a few weeks before I was set to launch my DT re-reading, I lost track of where I’d left my book. Turns out I’d moved it from my bookshelves to my transit bag seeing most current Starbucks action . . . then hadn’t been to Starbucks for several weeks due to other activities. But by the time I relocated my own book (thanks, Suzi), I’d requested backup from my local library, which had to order theirs from another library branch somewhere else in the county.

Theirs came in sometime the past several days, but I waited to pick it up until I was ready to return the Stevie Smith poetry book I had out on an extended loan. Because I’d since found my own Dylan Thomas volume, I came close to just leaving theirs, which after a 9-day holding period would have been shipped back to its own library branch like an illegal immigrant. Ah, but it wouldn’t hurt to keep the library’s copy on my nightstand and send my own copy back to my Starbucks travel kit, right?

Turns out that I did right to proceed with borrowing the library version: The Poems of Dylan Thomas (1971 New Directions hardbound). Hardbound, paperpack, whatever – either way, they’re both New Directions publications copyrighted in 1971, so the library gives me a suitable substitute, right? Ummm, no . . . better! At first perusal while waiting in the check-out line at the library, it appears that this library book has all of the poems of my book, plus all the extra ones I’d collected along the way plus several I don’t recall ever having seen before! (I shouldn’t be so hard on myself about it — after all, I’m a general poetry reader, not a Dylan Thomas scholar, so I only had a vague impression that there was more out there beyond this DT-endorsed set I’d been re-reading since my college days.)

Anyway, since I’m already a week into my re-reading schedule, I’ll be doubling up on a few days, first re-reading the poem I’d originally scheduled for a particular day, then adding a first-time reading of a DT poem I’ll not have seen before, how many newbies on how many two-poem days yet to be determined over the course of the coming weeks as I explore this library book.

Sometimes you have to lose something you know you still have in order to find something you didn’t know you were missing.

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - grolier

Written by macheide

23 July 2014 at 4:03 pm

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Another Wake for Finnegan

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I’d already started reading James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake back before my shenanigans (thanks, Kelly, for the Penguin Books edition I have). And I’d made myself a fairly solid beachhead before that reading effort got torpedoed by my death, followed by the major regulations project I’ve been working on since, together with other responsibilities and interests.

Coming back to it from that very first midsentence “riverrun,” I had decided to read it this time the way I read the original 401(a)(4) regulations, the way I’ve read so many hundreds of poems, the way I’ve read so many blog posts and e-mails and written correspondences — I am manually transcribing the entire manuscript myself, page by page, word by word, letter by letter, each and every punctuation mark exactly as it stands. As I encountered back in 1991 with those 401(a)(4) regulations, so too today, all too commonly the same people who act impressed at how well I know and understand what I have read are quick to judge and even openly insult my methods. *shrug* I know what works for me. If people spent one hundredth the time they spend preaching “acceptance” on actually practicing what they preach instead of rejecting others’ ways and choices and beliefs and kindness, there would be a whole lot more love in this world.

Today, I picked up a new personal trademark idiosyncrasy that will slow my Finnegan transcription to a crawl. I’ve been using my iPad mini for transcription — already possibly the second slowest alternative at my disposal (the slowest being via the smaller keyboard of my iPhone), perhaps even slower than if I wrote it all out in my longhand scrawl, certainly way slower than the PC keyboard I used for 401(a)(4) regulation transcription. Apple’s text services had been annoying me by continually trying to correct what it thinks to be misspellings — nuisance enough for a normal text message, but almost insane for a James Joyce book, in which just about every third word is unrecognized by Apple’s dictionary. So annoying that I can’t count how many times I’ve thought I ought disable the auto-correct feature completely, but for how useful it is when I actually do unintentionally misspell a word and am grateful for the built-in editor.

So I’ve kept the auto-correct on, time and time and time again accidentally typing through the end of a Joyce “word,” having Apple “correct” it, then having to take the extra time and effort to back up and type the correct version back in. But today, the number of amusing replacements finally got to me. So I’ve launched a new Adrienesque exercise: I’m now transcribing two separate versions of Finnegan. First, of course, the authentic version, the way Joyce wrote it. But in my second version, I’m letting Apple run free, like an untrained dog without a leash, which will give me Finnegan According to Apple, so to speak.

Of course, I’ll increase my transcription time by 50% or more: I’ll still have the usual typing with frequent backspacing and retyping for the authentic version; then, to get the Apple version by most direct means, I will be re-typing the entire text from scratch all over again, that second time of course saving myself from the time of correcting whatever Apple decides to do. Even with the extra transcription time, I expect to be completely finished both versions in time for the 100th anniversary of Joyce’s publication of the first edition (about five years from now).

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - grolier

 

Written by macheide

18 July 2014 at 3:44 pm

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