Here are a few notes regarding some great to good literary experiences—a novel in verse, a novel in collage, and two “regular” novels—I’ve had recently, plus a link to my newly added-to Summer Session (which I need to bring to an end here pretty quickly because the wacky academic calendar tells me the “fall” semester begins August 17th).
red doc>, by Anne Carson, published in 2013.
what is the difference between
poetry and prose you know the old analogies prose
is a house poetry a man in flames running
quite fast through it.
|Has nothing to do with the topic.|
I always come away from an encounter with Anne Carson intellectually refreshed and artistically inspired. In fact, I’m fin to declare Anne Carson Month, maybe in October, and read everything by her I can get my hands on, prose and poetry, immerse myself. And as another example from red doc>, this is part of a description of a student who became a psychiatrist:
…his teacher at med
school called him a
minotaur who swallows
other people’s labyrinths.
good, I’ll do psychiatry he
Une Semaine De Bonte¢, (A Week of Kindness)A Surrealistic Novel in Collage, by Max Ernst, published in 1934.
In Seattle in the fecund 1980’s, there was a lot of collage and Xerox street art, posters, flyers, cards and what not, stapled to any wood surface available,usually covering "Post No Bills" warnings, to advertise punk bands, artist openings, poetry readings, etc. This book may have been a stimulus to those creations.
Max Ernst, running with the Dadaist and surrealist crowd from Zurich and Paris in the early part of the 20th century, cut out pictures from old textbooks and catalogues and then arranged them in a narrative collage, divided into “themes and elements” for each day of the week, and called it a novel. Few of the collages, or mashups to use current argot, make sense and almost all are ridiculously hilarious.
I have a hard copy of the book, and haven’t seen an offer of an ebook anywhere, but the images would look awesome on a tablet screen. Somewhat sexist and misogynist, reflecting the times and the unfortunate attitude toward women in the art world, Une Semaine seems nonetheless to be a crucial artifact in the surrealist record.
Moby Dick: or,the White Whale by Herman Melville, published in 1851.
Trace the route of the whaling ship Pequod, departing New England, sailing around the tip of South America and into the Pacific in pursuit of the white whale.and there’s no way to not be fascinated by the intrepidity of the Nantucketeers and their bloody three-year tours aboard the whalers; by the same token, there’s no putting up with, in this day age, all the expository filler in Moby Dick. If it were just one “thar she blows” after another, bam bam bam, it would be a better read because Melville is excellent at writing about the violent, perilous life and death chases at sea. With all due respect, I say include primarily scenes involving the Pequod v. whales almost exclusively and cut out the extraneous backstory, eliminate the corny philosophizing, and discard the Whale Anatomy 101 class reader-style descriptions. Throw in some Captain Ahab madness, the metaphysics of one deckhand (Pip), and then season with a judicious use of weather verisimilitude, and you’ve got yourself a neoclassic. Otherwise, I’m afraid the book faces eviction from the pantheon. (Melville will, of course, still be represented by Bartleby,the Scrivener.) Right now Moby Dick the novel is too long by half.