January 26, 2011

Far & Near

You need to see this clip:

I am no huge fan of Russell Brand. I'm not sold on Julie Taymor's vision of The Tempest. But what I love about this video is that you see RB completely escape his planned poise, as his physical self--the long curly locks, his lean but ripped physique, all the things I have ever found dandyish and distracting--falls away here. He's in it, improvising like mad. And Alfred Molina is envious! That is an enviable thing.


In other worlds: the new Blackbird is out, and it includes my review of two impressive first books (or rather, first full-length collections) from the poets Allison Titus and Mathias Svalina. If that's not enough to tempt you, the issue also includes...

  • Audio readings by Philip Levine, David St. John, and Peter Campion
  • “Ochre,” a twenty-five section, ekphrastic poem by David Wojahn with accompanying images
  • A suite of poetry in translation from the Arabian Gulf in translation from the Arabian Gulf
  • Other translations of Patrice de la Tour du Pin, Aleš Debeljak, Philippe Jaccottet, and Tomaž Šalamun
  • Poetry by Bruce Bond, Christopher Buckley, Cori A. Winrock, and others
  • Fiction by Neil Grimmett, Nicola Mason, Jamie Quatro, Wendy Wimmer, and others
  • Critical essays by Nicky Beer, Peter Campion, Matt Donovan, James Hoch, and Anna Journey from Larry Levis: A Celebration, a three-day conference at Virginia Commonwealth University

...Philip Levine! David Wojahn! James Hoch! Anna Journey!


Miami? Highlights: Returning to Books & Books and meeting Adriana Trigiani.

Seeing a dolphin loping 20 feet off shore from downtown Miami during a banal afternoon walk. Late-night cheap wine and dollar-bill coloring.

Cooking pasta for my fellow residents. With chicken, simmered in the tomato sauce. And a toasted almond and artichoke salad. Mmmm.

Hearing Edwidge Danticat read from Haiti Noir at MOCA; meeting Bruce Weber in the MOCA gift shop afterwards, and impulsively splurging on his portfolio of heartbreaking "Little Haiti" photographs so he could sign it.

Reading reading reading, most recently Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying, and Dave Eggers' Zeitoun, which gave me a restless night's sleep wondering about the monstrosity that is the Department of Homeland Security. But god, those books make me want to write, and write important and difficult things.

Seeing brilliant works on paper in the artists' studios. Walking along the shore of South Beach. $2 mackerel nigiri and ikura, $3 roast eggplant with Thai chili sauce.

Hearing two very smart, talented residents share their advise on Facebook marketing for a crowd of 4o. And afterwards they shared their dumplings.

Knowing that somewhere out there, God and the UPS man willing, my galley of Don't Kill the Birthday Girl will land on LegalArt's doorstep tomorrow.


Just in case you think I'm being too highbrow, this ominous quote from the most recent Bachelor, who has clearly not heard of the importance of line breaks for emphasis:

"I want to continue this. Badly. With you. I really do."

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