Saturday, May 31, 2008


Been in Los Angeles this week for the first time for BookExpo America. Picked up some galleys, posting stories on PW's website, smoked in the hotel room, missed B and Cal, and we're bound for good ole NY tomorrow morn. It's about time.

Here are the book I got that I'm excited about:

HOME by Marily Robinson (FSG)
FIREFLY UNDER THE TONGUE by Coral Bracho, trans. by Forest Gander (New Directions)
ISLE OF THE SIGNATORIES by Marjorie Welish (Coffee House)
THE COSMOPOLITAN by Donna Stonecipher (Coffee House)

Also happened to download a ton of music (legally, mind you) during the trip. I think I really just want my blog to be a place I can yammer about my new toys. Here's what I got for music, not that anyone cares:

CROSSING THE FIELD by Jenny Scheinman (Koch Records)
JENNY SCHEINMAN by Jenny Scheinman (Koch Records
GENTLY DISTURBED by Avishai Cohen Trio (Razdaz)
LICORICE AND SMOKE by Jessica Lurie (not sure of label)
THE INKLING by Nels Cline (Cryptogramaphone)
TRIBUTE by Paul Motian (ECM)
ONE AND THE SAME by Jeff Gauthier Goatette (Cryptogramaphone)
THE OTHER SHORE by Cline, Gauthier, Stinson (Cryptogramaphone)

that's a pretty good cross-section of my listening lately: lots of LA and west coast jazz, especially Nels Cline, and some West Coast transfers like Jenny Scheinman, whose new instrumental album, CROSSING THE FIELD, has some of her best tunes yet (though as a whole disc I like 12 SONGS better). I'm still sorting through the self-titled vocal record, and it sounds a lot like Gillian Welch to me, and I'm trying to figure out if Scheinman does this new roots sound as well. I gather she grew up in a musical family in a super-small CA town. The Lurie is great. I know nothing about her, but the band is Nels Cline, Scott Amendola and I think Todd Sickafoos on bass, and Lurie does some great wordless singing, along with her saxing. Motian is an old standby, one of the most interesting players to ever touch a drum kit--he thinks of the drums as textural as well as rhythmic, perhaps leaning harder on the texture than the rhythm.

And that's all from me. Thank god it's back to NY tomorrow.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I'm typing this with two fingers on my iPod touch, the toy I bought myself with my book advance. I love this thing--what did we do before iPods and wifi?


I've had this blog for like three years. I don't think anyone reads it anymore cause I stopped posting for a long time.


Going to read Sappho now. Glad to see the iPod autotext has the word Sappho.

Guy Time

B has been out of town since last saturday and is coming back in 4 days, so I've been taking care of Cal by myself. He's sitting here beside me on his little high chair. It's been hard, and I'm exhausted, but I'm also getting to know him better than I ever have. I'm also pretty starved for adult company.


Reading a couple of new/forthcoming poetry books. I wish some were better, and others are good enough. One thing I did like was AJAX translated by John Tipton, from Flood Editions. One of the most stunning book jackets I've ever seen. Never read another translation, so not sure if I liked the play or the version. And then the play was pretty strange--not much happens, lots of talking and weeping, but I think that would be more familiar if I read more Greek drama. Reading Daniel Mendelsohn a few weeks ago got me interested.


Watched that stupid Bob Dylan movie I'M NOT THERE last night. It just didn't really come together for me. Five versions of Dylan or whatever, five Dylan could-have-beens, or the spirits of America that animated him or our fascination with him. That's dumb. Like anyone else who makes things, Dylan is somebody who writes songs. Really good ones, and he kickstarted two decades of American music. What's most fascinating to me about Dylan is that he's an artist who's stuck it out for five decades, continually making work, and not all of it is good. Much of it isn't. He's sloppy. But he's always checking in, giving us updates in song. MODERN TIMES is a really good record.


At night I have lots of time to myself and can't go anywhere. I can't write. I can only write when I have to steal the writing time from other commitments. Ugh.