Monday, January 19, 2009

Sussex!; Finlay!; new poems

I have only in the last day or so gotten really excited about heading to the U. of Sussex later this week for their Centre for Modernist Studies' Friday symposium on Zukofsky's "A"-24. Imagine – a gathering held on a university campus in something called "The Quiet Room" of a building called "The Meeting House." Around here, our buildings have picturesque names like "General Classroom South" and "Social Sciences." (Donors take note: I suspect it's not too expensive to get one's name attached to these – er – graceful structures: they might as well have "Your Name Here" posted by their doors.)
One of the presenters Friday will be Harry Gilonis, who I believe is the picture editor at Reaktion Books. I thought of him as the last of the holiday presents came in thru the transom, courtesy of John Dixon Hunt's beautifully-produced, career-crowning study of Ian Hamilton Finlay, Nature Over Again: The Garden Art of Ian Hamilton Finlay (Reaktion Books, 2008). This is a volume that I'm having difficulty not devouring at a gulp, even tho I've so many things pressing on my immediate attention. I was delighted, however, to find my own little piece on Finlay from Jacket (and before that, from FlashPoint) mentioned in Hunt's endnotes, however fleetingly. I wonder if this old essay might not be my single most-cited bit of writing, for better or worse.
Zach Barocas, recovering from his move back to Brooklyn, has an update to the always-excellent Cultural Society website, including bundles of new writing by various worthies: Robert Archambeau, Wes Benson, Joseph Bradshaw, Derrick Buisch, Cary Conover, Jon Curley, Norman Finkelstein, Michael Heller, Matthew Henriksen, Drew Kunz, Peter O'Leary, Gregory Ott, Adam Fleming Petty, John Phillips, Pam Rehm, Chuck Stebelton, Mathias Svalina, Shannon Tharp, & Jason Stumpf.

And two newish things by yr. humble blogger, "Dawn, New & Improved" and "Vasa Leviathan." Go to Cultural Society & click on "texts," if you're so moved.


JforJames said...

Thanks for alerting me to the book about Finlay's work. I'm interested in the (meta)connections between poems and gardens.

And I enjoyed reading your essay on Finlay which I hadn't seen before.

William Keckler said...

Reading your Vasa poem, Mark, put me in mind of this....,8543,-11704926745,00.html

I am a huge fan of Yinka Shonibare's sculpture (especially the headless group sculptures) and have blogged about him.

But it was strange to see you writing on this.

He spent some time up there early on in his career.

I still can't believe Shonibare didn't get the Turner, and Martin Creed did.

But it seems more and more the Turner is an award for art criticism rather than art, which admittedly Creed does well (although he avers it's art).

And I suppose the artist selected has to have an "easy bourgeois outrage" factor too. They've gotten media-conscious, and probably grown fond of the silly boycotting they get now. Probably there is a computer that estimates hits on a website or something.

That's probably the Turner Prize. Software.