Serviceable sentences, 41/10,000

Can it be that there is an intrinsic, causal connection between long poems and wide open spaces?
—Thomas M. Disch, “Onegin’s Children [Review of David Budbill’s Judevine, Mark Jarman’s Iris, Charlotte Mandel’s The Marriages of Jacob, Les Murray’s The Boys Who Stole the Funeral, & Frederick Pollack’s The Adventure],” The Castle of Indolence: On Poetry, Poets, and Poetasters (1995)

(Disch answers this, his question, in the affirmative:

The example of Vikram Seth notwithstanding, I think it more than likely. Country living promotes longer thoughts and patient, sustained achievement, such as gardeners undertake. City life is noted for its speed, excitement, and variety, and while these virtues are not antithetical to a long poem [Ashbery’s Flow Chart is a quintessential long poem in the urban manner], they may well make it harder for the urban poet to pursue the sober, steadfast pace that a long narrative poem requires. This difference is likely to be exacerbated by the different reading habits associated with the city, with its flow of new magazines, new faces, new lingos, and the country, where one may, at last, settle down with the Aeneid in all its rival translations. As we read, so may we aspire to write. Indeed, for someone harboring the ambition of writing a long poem, I can think of no more practical starting point than to change one’s address to somewhere in RFD. [emphasis mine])


Serviceable sentences, 38/10,000

There are simply too many poets and too little time to read them all.
—Thomas M. Disch, “Death and the Poet [Review of Peter Whigham’s Things Common, Properly: Selected Poems 1942-1980],” The Castle of Indolence: On Poetry, Poets, and Poetasters (1995)

(Here, a supplement to Ss-35/10,000 & a reminder that even if you don’t stray from the page, the work is never done.)


Brooks on Jonathan Richman’s original relation to the universe

Jonathan had this blue Jazzmaster guitar with like two strings and had decorated it with the Howard Johnson’s decals. He had painted it light blue and orange like the Howard Johnson’s colors—and almost all the songs he played were in E minor—it was very minimalist. “I see the restaurant. It is my friend” was a line from one of the songs.
Jerry [Harrison] and I were both amazed by Jonathan. I had been studying poetry with different people at Harvard, like Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Creeley, so I was struck by the connection between Jonathan’s deep poetic roots and the idea of talking about everyday things. So the poetry was there—instantly I could hear the visionary poetry.
—Ernie Brooks (as told to Legs McNeil), “Jonathan Richman: In Love with the Modern World,” Vice (6 June 2014). My emphasis.