Friday, March 05, 2010

Spring Break!

Yes, as of 10.00 last night – the end of my graduate seminar – I'm on Spring Break. I guess I won't take a road trip to Florida, being in Florida already; and anyway, it doesn't feel very Floridian these days: this has been the coldest winter in living memory down here, and we're in the midst of another cold snap (which means lows in the 40s at night, & daytime highs that make you consider putting on a sweater – yes, no sympathy from Chicagoans or Northeasterners).

So how do I plan to party down? Well, I suspect I simply won't. J. is off to New York this afternoon, so I'm anticipating the adventure of a full week's single parenting (something neither of us have yet tackled, I believe). At least the girls will be in school, so I'll have the days to devote to Spring Break kinda things – you know, polishing up & sending off those 3 essays that are sitting on my hard drive in 90% finished form, working up my classes for the next few weeks, maybe even working on a few poems. At least, for the first time I can remember, I'm entering the break without a stack of student essays or tests to mark. Thank Astarte for small blessings.

And of course I'll do some reading. Last night I finished John Ashbery's As We Know, which I'd started maybe a half-dozen times over the years but never made headway on, so much so that the binding of my old paperback (never strong) has entirely separated from the pages. For some reason, the Library of America big Collected Poems 1956-1987 has made tackling the book easier. Really, it's that pesky "Litany" – took me a long time to figure out how to negotiate reading those two parallel columns that theoretically should sound simultaneously. (Turns out Pennsound has a recording of Ashbery reading the poem with Ann Lauterbach, which would have helped immeasurably.) I love mid-period Ashbery, but are the poems really supposed to evaporate from my mind as soon as I read them (or as I read them)? (Note to self: worry about early-onset senility...)

I keep dipping into, making progress on Robert Sheppard's big Complete Twentieth Century Blues, marvelling at the formal variety, loving the pornographic aggressiveness of the language & images, & then getting exhausted by the relentless montage. This is a funny book, a mean book, sometimes even a heart-breaking book. Maybe even, if such a thing still exists, an important book. It deserves a big essay on it one of these days. Not, however, to be written over Spring Break.


Laurie Duggan said...

Sheppard's a great reader too. See my note for March 4 on said...

Sheppard's a great reader too.