March 18, 2012KR BlogBlogCurrent Events

Short Takes: Points of Origin (and Departure)

Mets reliever Miguel Batista has published a book of poetry and a crime novel, and a third book is in process—and his nickname is “el poeta.”

Bibliophile? Now you have something else to feed that addiction.

Among the options in Better Magazine’s Poetry [reading] Bingo: “audience participation,” “wearing ‘poet’ glasses,” “phone rings in audience,” “either an erasure, or just awful,” “t-shirt, blazer, sneakers,” “reading from phone or iPad,” “field/meadow,” and many more hilarious but lovable off-site reading motifs.

Michael Collier, in response to a question about whether his poem “The Missing Mountain” (which appeared in the Spring 2006 issue of The Kenyon Review) was finished or abandoned: “It was abandoned many times until it was finished. I’ve tried to write poems that get at the experience of living in Phoenix, a city named after a mythical bird that rose from the ashes of the flames that consumed it, but I’ve found it difficult. I was never in love with my hometown or with the romance of origins, at least I don’t think I was. Phoenix was named after the mythological bird because an ancient civilization–the Anazazi—had once occupied the same area and, in fact, canals and ditches they had engineered had been revived and so a modern city was established on the site of an old one. When I return to Phoenix to visit my family, I can still surprise people at the airport car rental desks by the fact that I’m a native Phoenician. Almost sixty years after I was born, the idea of an indigenous population in Phoenix strikes even people who live there as odd, so great is its character as a place for transients and transfer.”

Earlier this year, V. S. Naipaul said, “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not.” I wonder if he would pass this test. Or this one.

A handy guide to just about any Murakami novel.

Michael Seidlinger, in an interview about his new novel, The Sky Conducting: “Being American has quickly devolved from idealism to something more anomalous. We still see American pride in its more declarative, judicial and commercial forms but that sense of pride is beginning to appear blatantly false. The whole ‘American Dream’ concept is now everyday fodder. Americans love to complain and first up for use are the seemingly endless ironies, fallacies, and all-encompassing doom that come with the whole American Dream concept. It’s becoming more and more impossible for the younger generations to be able to afford their own houses in the suburbs with 2.5 children, a pet or two, new cars, decent up-to-date furniture and so forth. For the general twenty-something, their residence is most likely shared with roommates. It’s most likely an apartment or one of those houses with the unkempt lawn and a crowded driveway. I almost want to say it would be easier to ask someone who isn’t American about ‘being American’ than an actual American. We’re all so easily stressed with the small things; we’re all so confused. When it comes right down to it, ‘America’ might be best defined as confusion. ‘The land of the freely confused.’”

Residents of St. Paul, Minnesota, can forgo getting their name in lights for having their poems etched into the sidewalk.

More posthumous David Foster Wallace headed our way.

(Awesome pictures/illustrations/texts via Geoff Sawers and Bridget Hannigan/The Literary Gift Company.)