Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lazy blogging

* Trader Joe's has these really awesome popsicles right now, with raspberry, lemon and strawberry stripes. Don't tell me it's not popsicle season! I finished the box and then had a dream about them last night. I am haunted by the memory of the popsicles. The only problem is that the strawberry stripe, the least interesting of the three, comes last. It's marginally irksome that I can't eat that part first.

* Speaking of margins, did you hear about the big to-do on Steven Fama's blog w/r/t the new Larry Eigner collected? (John just received review copies of all four volumes.) I've never read his work, but coming at this from a completely superficial level, I find it hard to believe that simply shifting the left margin an inch or two could have a drastic effect on the quality of a poem (as long as the relative indentations of lines are preserved). Margins vary in size as a result of print and design considerations. Some layouts look better than others, sure, but I'm baffled by the claim that the new books "profoundly violate his poems." Fama presents a scanned example of a poem the way Larry intended it and I fail to see what the big deal is. Enlighten me?

* It was popsicle weather last weekend. I bought a fun spring dress + fun spring hat at Target and then wore them post-haste. I received many compliments and some irritated looks.

* I have a new perfume on my arm: Moschino Funny!, sniffed first at Colonial Drug and purchased more frugally online. It reminds me of the popsicles.

* Posting YouTube videos doesn't count as blogging per se, but I really love this.


  1. fama said something similar about the design of the Library of America ashbery. i don't see what the big deal is either.

  2. Maybe the best video ever. Wow/yay.

  3. I love that video. Have you seen the fake trailer for The Shining?

  4. The one where The Shining is a feel-good movie? Yes :)

  5. Don't even talk to me about Trader Joe's, snif. I don't understand why we can't have one in Savannah--the design students would buy so many dried berries there!

  6. I'd be very upset if TJ's stopped carrying dried cherries. They cost more than twice as much at Whole Foods.

  7. Hi Elisa,

    Thanks for giving what I wrote about The Collected Eigner a look, and a thought.

    I'm not sure I can say it any different than I did. Quite probably we feel differently about the importance of preserving Eigner's margin on the page, as he typed it.

    These books were sold, trumpeted within as well, as having the highest fidelity to the poems as Eigner put them on the page.

    More important to me -- and here you may disagree, I understand -- "everything on the page" mattered to Eigner. He put those poems where he did, relative to the page edges, because he decided that's where they'd be his poems.

    The "trade" books that print Eigner's poems more in accord with how he typed (placed) them on the page, with the relatively fat left hand margin do for me provide a far more poetic experience. These would include the 1970s / 1980s Elizabeth Press editions, and the Black Sparrow publications from around the same time.

    I must say that I continue reading, and deeply, The Collected Eigner, although it is not easy given what I know about where the poems should have gone on the page.

    (By the way, my criticism of the Ashbery Library of America edition had to do with the thin-ness of the paper. The poetry there, on some pages, trends towards being hard to read because the print on the reverse side shows through.)

  8. Thanks for your comment Steven. Theoretically, I appreciate the argument that everything on the page matters (and I certainly think that everything from the margins to the font in which the poems are printed to the quality of the paper has an effect on how you receive the poem), but I tend to think of poems as objects separate from the page. Unlike a painting, which exists as a single object in time/space, a poem can be reprinted over and over in different contexts and still be the same poem. The shift in the margins doesn't feel as devastating to me as it does to you (or as it would, perhaps, to Larry Eigner).

  9. Amazing to me you've gone this long without ever reading Eigner!

  10. Well, I've read a couple of poems, just not a whole book, which I'm guessing I'd need to do to really "get it." The list of people I haven't read extensively is staggering!

  11. *150* Eigner.

    Talk about the bridge that goes nowhere. Are Stanford students happy their tuition was raised to fund this boondoggle.

    The money you waste on it could buy 15-20 books by living poets.

  12. "The money you waste on it could buy 15-20 books by living poets."

    or enough alcohol to feed one college student for a week. which is probably what they'd use any extra money for, rather than poetry books.