20 June 2013
I got the idea for this notebook last year after we discussed Rae Armantrout’s The Way in ModPo. (It has come to be one of my favourite poems.) We listened to a discussion where Armantrout revealed how the poem came about–she collects phrases, overheard conversations, etc. Some of those have found their way into the poem, which was interesting.
After the class has ended, I was feeling the weight of separation (oh how I loved ModPo) and going through my notes almost every day. I had a few projects that came about after being inspired by all the things I have learned. Also, some habits. One of them is keeping this particular notebook. Suddenly I wanted to consciously write down phrases that have struck me instead of just storing them in my head. Some examples:
“existential bliss and tantric Buddhist bebop” – Josh Johns on Kerouac, via Open Culture, 10 Jan 2013
“intellectual despair” – Christopher Tolkien re: his life’s work
“It’s so sweet, what she does to my soul” – obviouslyced, a user on YouTube, commenting on Nina Simone’s rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone
“Have you seen any photos of her? An extraordinary lonely face…” – Simone de Beauvoir on Virginia Woolf, from the Paris Review interview, The Art of Fiction No. 35
“What a delicious metaphysical conundrum.” – Douglas Richardson, played by Roger Allam, Cabin Pressure Season 1, Episode 3: Cremona
“The problem when a poet writes prose is that she is a poet.” – Anne Boyer, 19 Feb 2013
“God in velvet underwear” – Gerard Depardieu on an apple compote seasoned with a drop of old rum from a bottle that Fidel Castro had given him
“Edna St. Vincent Millay’s most enduring muse was her heart…” – sub-headline on ‘Working Girl,’ an essay by Kate Bolick via The Poetry Foundation
“I am writing this so it will stay true.” – Tracy K. Smith, Life on Mars
Sometimes I wish I could send you all the notebooks I write in. Sometimes I wish you could send me yours. What would it be like to live inside each other’s heads?