Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I’m just gonna ramble like a bunny in the bramble. Listening to the new Cat Power, which seems to me to be a tremendous step in an exciting direction—clearly formed songs that reference a kind of Memphis twang that brings out the sultry, unresolved thing in Marshall’s songwriting. I’ve been waiting for this album and didn’t know it.

Wedding planning is stressful—details, family, finding ways to agree on everything and being in the mood to talk about plans, the future, etc. Not a new story though. Seems like everyone has wedding nightmare stories.

Reading many great books for PW. Just finished Charles D’Ambrosio’s forthcoming collection of stories THE DEAD FISH MUSEUM. Craftwise, D’Ambrosio is perfect. These are stories about wayward losers trying and failing to find some kind of meaning in their lives. Dark stories, dark, driving prose. I really enjoyed the book, especially two or three stories, though for my tastes, it’s a bit, as my friend Scott says, bloodless—we’re let out of the stories without feeling like they affect our lives and the world we live in. But I don’t really feel like that’s D’Ambrosio’s fault. The stories are done right; someone else would find them perfect.

Started reading IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT A TRAVELER by Italo Calvino, but PW work intervened so I stopped midway.

In poetry, I read Major Jackson’s new book HOOPS, Emily Rosko’s first book RAW GOODS INVENTORY, Linda Gregg’s forthcoming IN THE MIDDLE DISTANCE and a book of Jack Kerouac’s called BOOK OF SKETCHES. All of these are due out in March or April. Surprisingly, my favorite was the last one. I don’t know how many of you feel repelled by your high school fascination with the Beats, but I certainly do. But this is actually interesting work—Kerouac recording his impressions in loose poetry like an artist might do in a sketch book. I guess it reminds me of my high school journals, which is somehow comforting. But a good book.

Now I’m reading a book of short stories by a Japanese author named Uchida Hyakken called REALM OF THE DEAD, due out in April. Tiny, strange little things. The book is from one of my favorite presses, Dalkey Archives.

One great things about working at PW is the constant stream of new things to read. There is never a shortage. If the world is hard to bear sometimes, there are always more books.

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