Sunday, March 4, 2012

Melissa Mack

Hi Steve,

I think you and Linsdey are on chapbook tour? My facebook following of people's lives is spotty, I'm sure all of ours is. Anyway, I hope this finds you well! This morning I suddenly found myself stopping in the middle of an essay I'm writing to jot out books read in 2011. If it is still of interest to you, please feel free to use!

Moby Dick
! on audio! for weeks, months?, not every night, but lots of nights i would put on headphones and listen to a chapter or more, fall asleep listening to it. it was hard to follow the plot sometimes because the musicality of the language was so absorbing. and because i would fall asleep listening to it, my way through the book was … is there a dance step for this motion of taking a step forward, and then taking a slightly smaller step back and then swinging forward another step, and then back, sort of grapevining forward? it was like that. the way that reader said harpooneer was a delicious to me. with relish.

Giorgio Agamben’s Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Romans. I think it took all year. What does it mean to revoke all vocations? To revoke them, like, neutralize them so that they become invocations – places from which to begin to do political work rather than identities that lock us down? I go through cycles of getting up at 4 am to work. Last summer, during one of these cycles, I got up at 4 and wrote a very condensed poem through which I read a part of that book. I do not now recall what I was processing, but I include the poem here as a vestige of the reading process. Though I no longer consider it (the poem).

Was not, come to be, cause to grow, Utopia

The darling of the world has come

and gone

We are to marry her, we will

then shore up the deep us of forgotten

The dream more beautiful and more terror. Wild

zebras great and small or pulling a sleigh

down the beach. A barque,

if it is.

I also read Anne Carson’s The Economy of the Unlost, also all year. I may have started it in 2010. I remember sitting in the leather chair I found on the street reading the prologue/introduction/”note on process” might be what it’s called. the very beginning, it is two pages. I read it 18 times. I talked about it with friends. I had a conversation about it just last week. It’s about what our work is.

Those are the three that come to mind, one for each month into 2012 we are. (step forward, step back, step forward!) Thanks for asking!