Friday, August 05, 2005

See you at the lake!

Stray thoughts before I leave for vacation--back the 15th or 16th--until then, "on hiatus" (I gather that's the term of art)--
Loveliest of bloggers, Emily Lloyd, has a quick riff on slant rhyme in rap (and in "Bette Davis Eyes," no less)! Now if only she'd repost--or just send me--her previous post on rap & poetry! I meant to link & respond to it, but now it's gone, daddy, gone....

A comment on yesterday's poem begged me for the author's name. Sorry about that! "The Thief" is by Dorianne Laux; I found the poem in Sam Hamill's anthology The Erotic Spirit.


Meanwhile, chez Mark, a fab new Hart Crane graphic (my comments from yesterday distilled, and you know how I love things distilled--hic!--) and this tonally elusive musing over the way we read radically different sorts of poetry:
Isn’t there a matter of fundamentally different standards at play – fundamentally different things one expects poetry to do and be? And how does one negotiate between those different standards without falling into superficial eclecticism? (I dig Lyn Hejinian when I want to see complex issues of memory and perception explored in a tentative manner, and when I’m in the mood for solid statements about the meaning of life, there’s nothing like a bit of Billy Collins…)
You tell me: is that parenthetical quote meant to be bone-dry humor--a gin martini of "superficial eclecticism," two olives, on the rocks--or are we meant to take it like bourbon, sweet and straight, no chaser? The Billy Collins tag suggests the former, but as an idea, it rings true to me: we do have just these sorts of disparate moods--moods which do not believe in one another, as Emerson says in "Experience"--and I at least pick up poems and poets to suit them. "Superficial eclecticism": the critical theory that dare not speak its name.


That last joke is a steal from myself, from an essay on Rukeyser in the latest Parnassus. Let me know if you want a copy; or, better yet, order it up! I'll post a teaser from it when I return.


Poet, critic, and all-around good guy Peter "Legolas" O'Leary emails me the address of his new website,, which looks to be the place to go for all things Ronald Johson. (Peter is RJ's literary executor, and a better choice was never made, folks. Trust me on this.) Just click on the mystic, runic letters--is that an umlaut on the i, dude?--to get in.


I promised I'd post my Romance Novel syllabus--no time for that, but here's the reading list so far:

Alpha Males and Bodice Rippers

E. M. Hull, The Sheik; Katherine Woodweis, The Flame and the Flower, Emma Holly, Hunting Midnight

Austen and Everything After (Regencies)
Georgette Heyer, These Old Shades; Julia Quinn, The Viscount Who Loved Me; Mary Ballogh, Slightly Dangerous

Building a Mystery (Romantic Suspense) Mary Stewart, Madam, Will You Talk? Linda Howard, Mr. Perfect

Historicals (non-Hysterical dept.)
Roberta Gellis, Desiree; Beverly Jenkins, Something Like Love

Contemporaries and Meta-Romance
Sarah Bird, The Boyfriend School; Jennifer Crusie, Bet Me

Not, by any means, a thorough survey of the genre, but it will do for a start--and I'll turn my students loose on research assignments in search of other subgenres and exemplary works in each. I have a bunch of others ready to read this week, on vacation--if I do any last-minute ordering, I'll let you know.

If I have time before I leave, I'll edit this posting and link each title; otherwise, happy hunting, and see if you can spot the joke in the first group of texts. (Hint: where does the phrase "leader of the pack" actually come from, anyway?)

Otherwise, folks, this blog is now officially on HIATUS until a week from Monday. Read well and prosper. And join my Poetry Forum!

Off to the land o'lakes--

1 comment:

iamnasra said...

As I promised that I will be back...

If you get chance check my blog to see my poetry and tell me what you think...Im on the orad of learning poetry but it sure is a long path