From a Notebook
Sunday, May 30 1993
Last night we drove down to St. Pete for J.'s birthday at Saffron's. Drove afterwards to Tampa listening to Jazzmatazz loud in H.'s car, smoke from a brown wooden pipe. Drank an oatmeal stout at The Castle. Theo Wujcik has a different painting up on the wall now, called "Nature Morte": a Japanese maiden behind an umbrella, under the falling snow. The snowflakes turn into Baby's Breath flowers--and there are two roses superimposed on the figure, coming out toward the viewer. Cubist use of space and plane in this painting. Perfect brushstrokes--it almost looks like a sophisticated cartoon.
Ran into E. (who runs the Willie Shaker Gallery, painter, I met him through S. at school) and he said he had read Brown--he read the copy I had given S. He thought the poems were excellent--that I should keep doing it. We talked about what it feels like to write when Poetry is dead. Talked about Borges and "The Library of Babel." I've got to get about 10 more copies of Brown printed up at Kinko's. When I asked him about his work, E. said he drinks too much and hasn't been painting recently.
Tuesday, July 6 1993
Went to a reading tonight at school. There was a reception afterwards at a Mexican bar nearby. B. introduced me to Ginsberg. I talked with him about Martín Adán, Mexico, Octavio Paz. He says he's met Paz twice and that he can't follow his poetry too much--he finds it too abstract. Says he's friends with Nicanor Parra. I told him about Adán's novel, La casa de carton (1928), which he hasn't read (he's read his sonnets mainly). He said he met Adán in Lima in the 1950s, at a cafe near a train station and that they stayed up several nights together talking. He told me about a Peruvian poet named Carlos Oquendo de Amat, who wrote a book called Cinco metros de poemas, which supposedly opens up to 5 actual meters, like an accordion.
Wednesday, July 14 1993
In class today, we studied Mexico City Blues. Ginsberg was saying Kerouac's method for those poems was to wake up, go up to the roof of his apartment building in Mexico City, smoke a joint, have some coffee and write in a little notepad. When the words reached the bottom of the page, he would end the poem. This went on for weeks, whenever he could maintain the schedule. A chorus of little pieces, like beads on a mental string. So, in that instance, form was the result of force and routine. Whatever you are writing will fill out into its own form. Ideally, at least.
"After all everybody, that is, everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves. That is why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they live really. The second one is romantic, it is separate from themselves, it is not real but it is really there."
(Gertrude Stein, Paris France, 1940)