4/2

Up 6. Not running around so much today. Breakfast, visited w/ dad, watched an episode of Law and Order. Finished Ravitch around noon. Spent another hr. or so getting the rest of dad’s tax materials in order. Called Bree. Went out at 2:30, found a few things at Upland Library book sale + worked through some email at Rad Coffee. Read about 1/2 of Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Meadow Slasher, “Book 4 of the No Volta pentalogy,” per a baleful front-matter note. Home at 5, played a bit from Bartok’s Mikroksomos. Dinner, Jeopardy w/ dad. Read craft interview w/ Maxine Kumin from a book of same, based on transcribed tapes of Pearl London’s class at the New School. (Both this and the Wilkinson from Claremont library - where I also found the 3-song CD-5 of NPB’s “Swivelchair,” of which I’m not sure I still have a copy.) JL cancelled evening plans; quite tired, in bed just after 9.

4/1

Up before 5. Therapy by Skype, 9 am. Went out 10:30, found a few things at Claremont Library book sale. Picked up Evan Kindley from train station, had lunch, then visited his Ashbery class at Pomona (as a kind of “visiting poet.”) Ran into Jonathan briefly before class, made plans for tomorrow. 5 students, bright - one English major, one theater, the rest undeclared. Participated in discussion of 3 poems from Houseboat Days: “Wet Casements,” “Pyrography,” “Syringa.” He’d also given them a few poems from Accordion Repertoire, so after the break I talked about my own history w/ and relationship to Ashbery, and fielded a few questions. Enjoyed it, not at all stressful. Went for a beer in the Village (me and Evan, not the students) and chatted a bit more; stopped in Rhino and saw Dennis for a sec., didn’t buy anything (was looking for new Robert Forster and Mekons). Home about 6, dinner, turned around to pick up Amy Maloof in Pomona and meet Scott + Rebecca, and Kristi + Daniel at ETA in Highland Park (apparently named for the Endfield Tennis Academy in Infinite Jest, something I’d just as well not have learned). Heard Jeff Parker (of Tortoise, but relocated to L.A. as a jazz guitarist in the last few years) trio w/ Jay Bellerose (drums) and an insanely jaw-dropping Hammond player, Carey Frank. Some blues, “Secret Love,” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” a Latin “I Wish You Love.” Really great, but too tired to stay for the full 2nd set. Good to see people + talk w/ Amy on the drive. Home at midnight, said hi to Dad’s overnight caregiver, lights out shortly after. No time for reading of note, much less writing.

Car listening over the course of the day — rest of Schramms CD; Ron Miles, I Am a Man; and a CDR of 30 doo-wop covers of “Over the Rainbow.”

March 2019 reading

Michael Kimmelman, The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa
Viv Albertine, To Throw Away Unopened
Clark Coolidge, Poet
Evan Kindley, Poet-Critics and the Administration of Culture
Lawrence Giffin, SoritesMark McMorris, The Book of Landings
Scott DeVeaux, The Birth of Bebop
Sareeta Morgan, Feeling Upon Arrival (chapbook)
Nate Chinen, Playing Changes
Hank Roussow, Xamissa
Sohne Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes
Brenda Shaughnessy, The Octopus Museum
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
Bertholt Brecht, Collected Poems
Chico Buarque, Spilt Milk

3/31

Awake/asleep fitfully, as is usually the case w/ the time change. Up for good between 6-7. Coffee, breakfast, read a few more ch. of Buarque. Worked on my Dad’s taxes 10-noon. Finished Buarque — the novel is an sequence of unreliable, “fevered” deathbed remembrances on the part of a highly unsympathetic and oversexed ruling-class scion, now in reduced circumstances. (He fantasizes that he’s about to be compensated for family land expropriated decades ago.) The character is evidently a vehicle for various reflections on racial and economic relations in Brazil — he’s supposed to be over 100 years old, and could be taken as a stand-in for the country itself, though I’m not equipped to grasp every historical/political reference. Krapp’s Last Tape by way of, Chile By Night (mutatis mutandis the nation treated), perhaps? Went out at 1, put on the Schramms’ CD — JD Foster’s production touch is evidence, but the writing is strong independently of that, esp. melodically. So far, it comes off like Peter Holsapple singing Rufus Wainwright, not a combination I’d ever have expected to hear. Stopped at Foothill Goodwill, picked up an old book of John Greenleaf Whittier’s letters and an Erasure CD, among other things. Lunch, coffee, groceries. Home about 4. Rest of day, and evening past dinner, uneventful - difficult to recall, in fact. Read a chunk of Diane Ravitch, The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn, a book on textbook censorship (from both the right an left) by a Clinton-era educational policy advisor. Well-documented, but many of the “liberal” anti-p.c. arguments are familiar. Not without merit, esp. w/ regard to bias- and sensitivity-groups power over the market for state-wide adoptions, but unlikely to change minds — I suspect the issue is unresolvable given underlying disputes about the purpose of American education. Lights out around 10 pm.

3/30

Up 6:30. Had coffee, read a bit of Vogel, picked up a package at the p.o. for Bree. Packed, not rushed, had some time to spend w/ Bree, called car for airport about 12:15. Flights pretty uneventful. Listened to the Haarla album and some of the Schramms’ Omnidirectional (though it’s hard to hear new music w/ the ambient noise of the place). Watched The Wife (too one-dimensional on the nose; Glenn Close’s acting doesn’t save the writing; same feeling I had from trying to watch Billions last week) and Can You Ever Forgive Me? (a much better movie, partly b/c Melissa McCarthy underplays and partly b/c the screenwriters’ psychologizing doesn’t take up that much screen time; fun to see several NYC used bookstores used as, well, NYC used bookstores). Long stopover in Denver, found perfectly respectable green chile (in the stewed-w-pork Southwestern sense) at an inexpensive Mexican concession after looking at a couple of the “nicer” options in the terminal. Had 2 beers and started Chico Buarque, Spilt Milk. Read a little more than 1/2 of that during 2nd leg, though they kept shutting off the overheads, and my “spot” didn’t work. Ended up watching the 2nd 1/2 of My Favorite Wife on the seat-back TV. Landed at Ontario around 9:30, baggage, cab, home about an hr. later. Dad was still up; talked a little bit, but it was a long day. Lights out around 11:15.