Making the Interview Rounds (& a New Book Blog)

I did an interview for Between the Lines recently to promote my new book, Getting Right with Tao; Kevin Neilson’s insightful questions gave me an opportunity to revisit the philosophical dimensions of my pragmatic mindset, and to recall my fondness for Richard Rorty and Robert Anton Wilson—I’ve led a rich and colorful life of the mind, I guess you could say—and I even got to toss in my favorite Harold Bloom quote and a link to a Brave Combo video. So that was time well spent, in my opinion—I hope you’ll agree after you read the interview.

Kevin just started a new literary blog called Interpolations last week; already he’s set down some thoughts on David Mitchell, Sherwood Anderson, and Marilynne Robinson. You might want to keep an eye on this one.

26 March 2010 | interviews |

James Schuyler, “Fanfare on a Dog-Violin”


John Ashbery is understood to have passed
in a way of his own, en route to one
of the emblematic neckery shops he favors.
He is said to have been about to
exchange a flowery crepe for a chaster ice-
blue satin number, or to telephone the folks
at Sodus, New York, near the fire-gray
water of Lake Ontario, reputedly his
favorite lake. When he comes back to us
we will advance in a chorus chanting:
“Thank you John Ashbery for coming to
see us so we see you in new clothes.
We always have loved you and admired your ties.”
That is how we feel about John Ashbery.
Here he comes now. I will thank him personally for
“the salacious paperbound books and girlie magazines.”

Other Flowers contains 163 poems, found among the late James Schuyler‘s papers, that had not been collected (or in many cases ever published) during his lifetime. This poem was written in 1953—I’m not sure of the chronology, but he may have been sharing an apartment with John Ashbery (and Frank O’Hara!) at the time.

Last fall, The New Yorker published “Love’s Photograph (or Father and Son),” and several poems appeared in Poetry, including “Address,” “Foreign Parts,” and “Sweet Romanian Tongue.” Last month, The Nation published “Smallest.”

(By the way, what with this and Don Paterson’s translation of Li Po writing about Du Fu and David Young’s translation of Du Fu writing about Li Bai, I’m wondering if anybody’s ever put together a collection of poems about poets… Somebody must have had that idea already, right?)

25 March 2010 | poetry |

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