Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On my book shelf

On my bookshelf, waiting to be read, in no particular order:

1. Human Dark with Sugar, Brenda Shaughnessy
2. Watching the Spring Festival, Frank Bidart
3. Bucolics, Maurice Manning
4. Ooga-Booga, Frederick Seidel
5. National Anthem, Kevin Prufer
6. King Baby, Lia Purpura
7. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, new trans. by Simon Armitage

I have a great fondness for Sir Gawain and its rather nuanced portrait of human weakness, adversity, the complexity of 'evil' or at least our complicity and discomfort with what is not good.  If I have time to read it again this summer, in this new translation, I want to spend a bit more time trying to understand how the color 'green' is meant: as 'evil', as wildness, as a liminal space between nature and man, or what we know and what we don't, as manifestation of magic, etc.  As not quite human, but almost.

I'm almost finished with Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs, ed. by Suzanne Kamata.  This is a truly wonderful book, to gather in one spot so many different takes on parenting and the varieties of love and the stress that goes with it.  I was most interested in the memoir sections--in part because I am, right now, most interested in the shared experiences of parents like myself--but the volume also contains fiction and poetry.

I'm also eagerly awaiting the arrival of Sarah Manguso's The Two Kinds of Decay: A Memoir, which is going to be an extremely compelling, I think, recollection and presentation of the details of illness and recovery.  I pre-ordered it several months ago, and Amazon has kindly let me know that it is on its way, finally.  I like both Sarah's poetry and the short experimental fiction she's been writing.  I'm very interested to read not only the subject matter, the material, but to study how illness is presented, materialized, made subject or object in this work.

Alas, no Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in my summer this year--perhaps another year!

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