Several remarkable items in this morning’s online reading…
- This interview in Guernica Magazine with the inimitable Arundhati Roy
- Conrad DiDiodato’s trenchant meditation on certain observations by Donald Hall and their relevance to Canadian poetry and the avant-garde at large
- Jonathan Mayhew’s comments on writing about María Zambrano (more on this below)
- A tantalizing report on some scientific progress regarding the Voynich manuscript
But for me, an ink-stained wretch of a poet, a peripatetic reader, attaining that “dejà vu” is something I fear. The idea of finally finishing every work by a writer I love, not to mention mastering the secondary literature—horrible! This is why I’ve kept a book or two of my favorites in reserve, resisting all temptation to read them: Love in the Time of Cholera, and Amerika, and Ada, and most of Specimen Days, and Around the Day in Eighty Worlds; and it’s why I purposely stay at least two books behind Alice Munro, and why I’ve owned Sylvia Plath’s Collected Poems since it first appeared but have never read in it beyond the poems gathered into the three books that first bowled me over (The Colossus, Crossing the Water, and Ariel), and why I will never read Deus Lo Volt! until Evan S. Connell publishes a new book. (But I see now that he has—but does a new and selected stories count? Of course it counts! Deus Lo Volt!, here I come….) The bottom line is that I don’t want to master anyone or anything—even poetry! Don’t get me wrong: I write the very best poems I can, but I’d rather experience the childish joy of being taken by surprise than the adult pleasure of knowing something inside and out, the sad dejà vu of mastery.