Fridays at The Variegated Life: on what I’ve read or am reading …
If you happen to follow me on Goodreads, you might notice that I’m reading (or claim to be reading) no fewer than five books right now. Oops. So much for my one-book-at-a-time “solution” to my commitment problem!
Here’s what I’m reading:
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño (translated by Natasha Wimmer)
I wanted a big sprawling novel to read during my several recent trips to and from Connecticut. The big surprise of this book is that it’s funny — or, at least the first hundred or so pages have been funny. Unfortunately, it seems that big sprawling novels don’t make good reads for shuttling to and from L’s preschool. I need to find bigger uninterrupted chunks of time if I’m going to finish this one!
New and Selected Poems by Ron Padgett
Having enjoyed Padgett’s most recent book, How Long, I thought I’d explore more of his work. In fact, I’ve been using Padgett’s persona narrator as a model for my own work. Here are my notes on the aspects of his persona narrator that appeal to me:
- imagination — lets himself get carried away
- sensitivity to mortality
- pleasure in looking
I listed these qualities at the top of the page before writing the first shitty draft of a new poem yesterday. The purpose of the list is to remind me of the qualities of the voice I want to create for my own poem. As for Padgett himself (or his persona, anyway), here’s what he has to say about a writer’s voice:
… I never thought
such a thing existed. Until
recently. Now I know it does.
I hope I never find mine. I
wish to remain a phony the rest of my life.
The Deleted World by Tomas Tranströmer (in “versions” by Robin Robertson) and The Half-Finished Heaven by Tranströmer (translated by Robert Bly)
I’m reading these poems as I listen to a craft class about them. Gorgeous stuff, but not work I can use as a model — not now, anyway.
What are you reading?