June 1

Woke up too early again; heartburn mostly gone, but had a headache later on. Weight is down a bit. Took out recycling. Brought back a coffee, napped before I drank it. Started Ari Berman, Give Us the Ballot. Narrative history of the fortunes of voting rights after the 1965 act, and decades of mainly Southern attempts to subvert its provisions. Unconfusing, workmanlike prose, which is totally fine. Made it to about p. 80 over the course of the day. Home tasks. Went out after 4, got another coffee at Devocion in downtown Brooklyn (don’t know what else to call the part of town around Hoyt-Schermerhorn), wrote some bits of the race section of the preface. Swiss-cheese, but got something down (after skipping 2 days; must do better in June). No wi-fi, which probably helped. Had time to kill between the cafe closing and the show I was going to: Looked in a Goodwill and found an academic book called Byron and Greek Love (i.e., homosocio/sexuality). Might not be involved w/ questions of form, but might be interesting in light of the relationship of “Byronic” rhyme to Tin Pan Alley craft (w/ its connotations of queerness and “wit,” esp. in Larry Hart). Skimmed, standing there, poems by Peter Gizzi and Thomas Sayers Ellis in a Tin House anthology - reminded me that I’m a little surprise Ellis’ project Heroes Are Gang Leaders is playing at the Vision Festival. I’m not going that night. 

Sat on a bench and read Craig Watson, Motes, entire. (Not a feat - 2 poems, each a title and 1-3 lines, per page [top + bottom]; if you printed 6/page, the book would be about 11 pages.) Afterword by Grenier, an obvious inspiration. Also early Coolidge, Adam Saroyan, & so on. Could imagining setting these as very short art songs (could project the titles). 

Henry Flynt at Issue Project Room. Well-attended. Amplified violin over loudish monochordal backing tracks, one Velvets/Krautrocky (though one of the main melody lines sounded like “Norwegian Wood”) the second (after a long intermission) drony. Had some sheet music up there, so I don’t think it was entirely “modal improvisation,” though those were elements. There’s an element of hokum to this whole crowd - Young, T. Conrad (who owned up to it more) - which is fine, but at this level of presentation/execution, hearing this kind of work isn’t a high priority.

Listened to Dave Douglas/Uri Caine/Andrew Cyrille Devotion on train. Crisp - the more angular heads and clustery harmonic idioms stand out, though there are also extremely consonant passages. Douglas is the main composer, but he doesn’t play until the 2nd track, and Caine is at least as out-front overall. He goes into a cracked stride mode on “Rose and Thorn” (dedicated to Mary Lou Williams), w/ period woodblocks from Cyrille. Who’s very together, but subtle and economical - nothing to prove. Good record.

Home not long after 10. Took an aspirin. Read a bit more Berman, lights out 11.