If this blog has retained any regular readers, they will no doubt have noticed the paucity of any sustained discussion of – well, anything serious lately. It's just been a really snowed-under moment of the academic year, a feeling of continually treading water merely to keep up with one's responsibilities. I can barely say I'm staying abreast of the reading for my own classes (tho I have managed to make dents in Mansfield Park and Edmund Gosse's Father and Son lately, both "pleasure" reads, & the sinuously weird divagations of Walter Kaufmann's big Hegel book keep me returning to that volume, rather like the Solitaire game on my iPod keeps distracting).
The last of this spring's thesis defenses is tomorrow afternoon – well, later today, that is. The defendant in question has opted to schedule for 1.00 pm on Good Friday, which I can only read as a severely inauspicious time-slot. One of the committee members should bring the nails, another the hammer; I'll pack the crown of thorns. (Or as Shane MacGowan says, "They're gonna crucify me / in those old cotton fields back home...")
Bob Arnold runs Longhouse Poetry, a bookshop & poetry press in Vermont; I only have one or two of their publications, but am impressed by their attention to detail & clean design. Arnold seems to be the primary torch-bearer of the Cid Corman legacy – he has a stack of Corman titles in print, & in fact has been at the helm of a sixth series of Origin, the groundbreaking poetry journal that Corman edited for so many years, & which was so instrumental in the careers of Olson, Zukofsky, Niedecker, Bronk, & others.
So I was pleased to see The Poem of a Life receiving sustained and generous attention in the 2008 edition of Arnold's "Woodburners We Recommend" (scroll down about halfway): the money phrase this time around? – "Leon Edel caliber scholarship."
And whoever writes copy for the Strand bookshop in Manhattan has called the book "compelling" and "very readable."