3/2

Up at 9 (had accidentally unplugged alarm clock last night). Listened to Klymaxx, Meeting In the Ladies Room (1984). Never realized/noticed they were an all-woman band — seems like the material was mostly original, w/ various collaborating producers (Jam/Lewis). Went out for diner breakfast, read quota of W&P. Moving if stage-managed scene of Prince Andre wounded alongside his romantic rival Kuragin. Bought packing boxes nearby. Back about 11. Read 40 p. Brecht - poems in exile, 1937-1938, many fragmentary. Poetics: “If we want to stand the test before the lowly/We must not, of course, write in a folksy manner./These folk/Are not folksy.” (644) Wish someone would have told Woody Guthrie. Bought a shirt for Monday at Banana Republic outlet (glad this wasn’t more difficult), shoelaces at local cobbler (I guess that’s still the word), had lunch. Bree went out around 3, I could or should have left to write somewhere, but stayed in culling and boxing books and CDs for Goodwill, & picked out a smaller batch to sell at Codex or Unnameable. It’s a drop in the bucket, but it all be a relief to divest myself of some post-language poetry and philosophy of mind that’s being weighing me down since the late ‘90s/early ‘00s. Listened to one disc (the only one I have) of a Judy Garland box; couple of nice piano-only Rodgers & Hart songs (verse of “The Most Beautiful Girl”), then CD 1 of Champs, one of many extant Monochrome Set retrospectives. (I enjoyed it, but decided to skip their show in Jersey City - if I’d already been out, I’d have gone the rest of the way; or if their original guitarist Lester Square were still playing.) Bree back around 7. I read to about p. 175 of Kimmelman - boring chapter on an Arctic photographer, interesting one in the “Philip Pearlstein paints a picture vein.” There’s a line in there I want to copy down, but it’s in the bedroom and Bree’s asleep. Took out recycling, went out for groceries. Typed up lyrics to “Our Hearts Do,” in the version I played Thursday - 1st song I’ve completed this year, it’s “done” but some weak lines could be improved. Listened to a few songs from Jon Caramica’s new-songs roundup in the Times. Solange, Summer Walker (both in a not-very-hooky R&B vein, I’m sure I’ll hear the Solange album at some point), Jackie Mendoza (no strong impression), Weezer (decent rock bridge), a 10 min. Branford Marsalis track w/ long Tynerish piano solo, Our Native Daughters (project w/ Rhiannon Giddens),  Went out to Starbuck’s around 8:30, worked 90+ minutes on end of the copyright section of my preface, just to get my gears unstuck on the book after a few days off (plan to work several hrs. tomorrow, which didn’t happen today). Home, read 60 p. Coolidge. “poem composed of plankton [ ] poem made of rice” (96) - this, other moments about the ontology or mode of presentation/distribution of the poem, and the (unusually for Coolidge) corrosive doubt about the point of the whole project, surprisingly recalled that Anne Boyer piece about absurdly inconvenient ways to publish. (I think it’s in her UDP prose book, which I should read, but also need to take by on radical/revolutionary negation in light doses after DuBois’ Telegram). Stayed up pointlessly (online). Put on Craig Taborn, Avenging Angel, lights out 2:30.

3/1

Up before 6; quite tired from playing at Espresso 77 last night. Commuted to Purchase, read Michael Kimmelman, The Accidental Masterpiece on train. Non-academic art criticism by Times writer, w/ chapters on Bonnard, Ray Johnson, Charlotte Salomon. Smoothly written, bourgeois. Had some thoughts about a song, “Back to Basic” (as in, “I’m not gonna go…”) while waiting for shuttle from White Plains to campus. Did a little paperwork before class, shared a video of “Pilot Light” from last night w/ Jay Sherman-Godfrey on gtr. Taught; uneventful. Left campus for commute back about 12:30, kept reading. Had a bite in Grand Central Station, wondered whether to look for a dress shirt in Banana Republic or something but didn’t go in. Home around 2:30. Napped while Bree was out, watched remainder of The Oscar (Russell Rouse 1966), scripted by Harlan Ellison (& others), w/ Stephen Boyd, Tony Bennett, Elke Sommers, Milton Berle, etc. Terrible film; camp value only. Chatted w/ Bree, talked about plans for the weekend & when we’re going to put together some furniture. Listened to cast recording of 1962 revival of Anything Goes - odd I’ve never heard it. Orchestrations are a bit tacky and I can’t help but reflect on how much a revival like this was pitched to comfort NY’ers the counterculture passed by, but the female lead, Eileen Rodgers, projects some personality w/o imitating Merman outright. Haven’t read the liner notes, but both Wodehouse/Bolton and Linsay/Crouse had a hand in the book. Went to Caffe Bene for a bite at 8:30, read quota (20 p.) of War and Peace, and 60 p. (1/5) of Clark Coolidge, Poet, 300 pages apparently touched off by David Meltzer’s When I Was a Poet (which I read last month). Man, Coolidge is great: “all these years of poems/and then there’s more!” Came home, tried on some shirts looking for something I can wear a tie with w/o choking, no luck. Read 50 p. of the collected Brecht (having missed a couple days). “Once you have got behind you/The difficulties of the mountains that’s/The point when/The difficulties of the plains begin.” Put on mindfulness podcast, lights out about 11:30.

February 2019 reading

Edward Berlin, Reflections and Research on Ragtime

Catherine Wagner, My New Job

Chelsey Minnis, Baby, I Don’t Care

A. Doxiadis, C. Papadimitiou, A. Papdatos, A. Di Donna, Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

Samuel Beckett, Mercier and Camier

Diana Hamilton, The Awful Truth

Jonathan Culler, Theories of Lyric

Elisa Gabbert, The Self Unstable

Rachel Cusk, Outline

Eric Lott, The Disappearing Liberal Intellectual

Stanley Fish, How To Write a Sentence

David Meltzer, When I Was a Poet

Tiger Roholt, Groove: A Phenomenology of Rhythmic Nuance

Tyehimba Jess, Olio

Franck Andre Jamme, The Recitation of Forgetting

Eric Lott, Black Mirror: The Cultural Contradictions of American Racism

Jill Magid, Labor

Houston A. Baker, Jr., Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance

Art Lange, Evidence

January 2019 reading

Samuel Beckett, Nohow On

Wayne Booth et al, The Craft of Research

Carrie Olivia Adams, Intervening Absence

Isaac Goldberg, George Gershwin

Vicki Ohl, Fine and Dandy: The Life and Work of Kay Swift

Marjoie Welish, So What So That

Carrie Jacobs Bond, Roads of Melody

David Thomson, How To Watch a Movie

Susan Choi, Trust Exercise

Caroline Blackwood, The Fate of Mary Rose

Willard Gaylin, How Psychotherapy Really Works

Juliana Spahr, DuBois’s Telegram: Literary Resistance and State Containment

John Koethe, Falling Water

Kevin Goodman, Anaphora

Connie Deanovich, Watusi Titanic

Joan Peyser, The Memory of All That: The Life of George Gershwin

Elisa Gabbert, The Word Pretty

Dec. 2018 reading

Alice Mattison, The Kite and the String

Nikki Wallschlaeger, Crawlspace

Gary Peters, Improvising Improvisation

Joy Williams, The Visiting Privilege 

Gordon Graham, The Case Against the Democratic State

Fred Hersch with David Hadju, Good Things Happen Slowly

Amy C. Beal, Carla Bley

Jeffrey Melnick, A Right To Sing the Blues: African Americans, Jews, and American Popular Song

Renee Gladman, Calamities

Ira Gershwin, Lyrics on Several Occasions

Jacques Barzun, On Writing, Editing, and Publishing

Gerald Bordman, Days to Be Happy, Years to Be Sad: The Life and Music of Vincent Youmans

Thomas Bernhardt, Prose

Stanley Fish, Save The World On Your Own Time

Fernando Tola and Carmen Dragonetti, On Voidness: A Study on Buddhist Nihilism

Wayne Kostenbaum, Camp Marmalade

Jacques Barzun and Henry F. Graff, The Modern Researcher (5th ed.)

Jack Sullivan, New World Symphonies: How American Culture Changed European Music