“…more tender and erotic than Cormac McCarthy…”—This is from the jacket copy of Micheline Aharonian Marcom’s The Mirror in the Well, put out by Dalkey. You can use it, though, to describe LITERALLY ANYTHING.
“We shook hands and I said I liked your reading and he thanked me but didn’t say anything back, I guess because he didn’t like my poetry and because Tomás couldn’t lie for the sake of politeness when it came to the most sacrosanct of arts. I was surprised how furious I became and how fast, but I didn’t say anything; I just smiled slightly in a way intended to communicate that my own compliment had been mere graciousness and that I in fact believed his writing constituted a new low for his or any language, his or any art.”—
“In Sullivan’s America, historical detritus is always informing the present, or at least providing the careful observer with manifold weird delights.”—From this review of John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead. We recommend—the review and the book.
“Life, I found myself thinking as a line of Alameda County deputy sheriffs in Darth Vader riot gear formed a cordon in front of me on a recent night on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, is full of strange contingencies.”—Robert Hass, 70-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning former Poet Laureate, on being beaten by the police for occupying Berkeley.
I’m bringing homemade cookies, just sayin’. You only have to bring yourself.
Cookies Ruth Made That I Plan To Love. McNally Jackson (Prince + Mulberry), 5:30 — be there! If you can’t make it that early, still come to the reading after: Eileen Myles and Dennis Cooper.
Thanks to the magic of Time™, this is suddenly tonight! Tonight! 5:30 Emily Booksclub, 7:00 Eileen Myles and Dennis Cooper conversing about laughter and joy and fun and life being easy and good and clean. Because that’s sort of their thing, right?
The further we get from the world Melville actually lived in, the more we seem to be living in the world he told us about. American culture tends to embrace a kind of a-historicism that on the one hand is forward-looking and optimistic and many other fine things, but on the other hand costs us dearly in context, heritage and continuity. This is especially true of the Progressive movement, which has fought more or less unceasingly since the nation’s founding to bring America closer to realizing the ideals it claims to hold most dear. And yet every generation of progressives must suffer to be told that we are some kind of developmental aberration in cultural history—that we are naive and our methods disreputable, that the vast majority stands against us; on and on.
This is as total and pernicious an inversion of the truth as I can think of, and one more reason why we come here today, to invoke the long American history of refusal that informs and enlivens Occupy. Many in this movement have a vivid sense of that history, others may be getting involved in politics for the first time in their lives, but in any case it’s healthy to be reminded that the first step toward building a better world is recognizing that the present state of affairs is intolerable and that we cannot in good conscience continue to take part in it.
—From “Introduction to Marathon Reading of “Bartleby, the Scrivener” at 60 Wall Street, November 10, 2011” by Justin Taylor; full text of the introduction after the jump
“It was necessary for you to get out of that town. There was nothing there for you but closeness of a claustrophobic kind, suffocating and nothing like the closeness one has with a lover. There was nothing but teeth in the kiss of that town.”—Our own Sarah Gerard has some fiction in the new Diner Journal. Get on that.
Thursday, November 10, 3PM, marathon reading of Bartleby, the Scrivener at the public atrium at 60 Wall Street (near Zuccotti Park). More readers to come. All are welcome to listen and/or read; if you want to just show up we’ll have sections available to read. Organized by Justin Taylor, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, McNally Jackson with support from the People’s Library and Melville House.