Sunday, May 31, 2015

pile of reading

It’s Not Over: getting beyond tolerance, defeating homophobia, and winning true equality by Michelangelo Signorile
I like Signorile. I liked his Queer in America. It’s Not Over is an attempt to take some of the air out of the LGBT Victory! balloon. Should the US Supreme Court recognize that gay people have as much right to families as non-gay people we won’t have won everything, Signorile hastens to remind us. We will have won something of great significance, but there will still be a lot of people who don’t like us, and we will still have to deal with them on a day to day basis in our schools, in our workplaces, in politics, and so on. Should this surprise anyone?

Reader Please Supply Meaning poems by Jim Murdoch
Many of the poems in Jim’s book are so simpatico with poems I’ve written (see: Fact) that I find myself editing Jim's poems in my head as though I had written them. Editing other people’s poems in my head (or in front of the poet herself) is not unusual for me, I have to say. But in this case I quickly found myself assimilating Jim’s project into my own, the arguments in his poems spilling over into my poems in ways I look forward to exploring.

Roots and Branches: contemporary essays by West Coast writers edited by Howard Junker
The essays in this anthology all originally appeared in Howard Junker’s literary magazine, Zyzzyva. I subscribed for a while and got the book as part of my subscription. Back in 1991 I wasn’t much into essays. I am rather more into essays these days.

Seriously Funny: poems about love, death, religion, art, politics, sex, and everything else edited by Barbara Hamby and David Kirby
As with any anthology Seriously Funny is a mixed bag. The tastes of the editors are rather more apparent than usual. The tone doesn’t always hit me right. But it makes decent reading.

The Portable Dante edited by Mark Musa
Edited & translated, that is. There are many translations to choose from if one wants to tackle Dante in English. This one seemed to read well when I picked it up in the bookstore, enough style to be poetry without being more trouble than pleasure. A poet friend has been working on his own translation, off and on over the years. And writing reactions to it as he works. Since I had this on my shelf I figured I would profit better from the fragments my friend shows me if I read somebody’s version of the whole thing. Besides, it’s one of those works everybody refers to and some point.

The Best American Comics 2014 edited by Scott McCloud
I’m familiar with most of the creators collected here and some of the works themselves, so maybe I’m on top of what’s best already? Worth reading.

The Family of Max Desir by Robert Ferro
Quite enjoying Ferro’s prose. The book is rather like one of those biographies that begin with the subject’s grandparents and fills tens of pages before it gets to the subject’s birth. Not a novel with a plot so much as a family saga whipped through in a couple hundred pages.

Masters of Sex: the life and times of Williams Masters and Virginia Johnson, the couple who taught America how to love by Thomas Maier
Subtitles sure are long these days. Kent and I have been watching Showtime’s Masters of Sex, the fictionalized TV series of the same name. It’s intrigued me enough to wonder about the real thing.

Portfolios of the Poor: how the world’s poor live on $2 a day by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, and Orland Ruthven
There are fascinating human stories hiding behind dry prose.

In the Wake of the Day poems by John Ash
John Ash was a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley and he allowed me into his poetry workshop. I haven’t read a book by him in years and it’s time I caught up.

American Zen: a gathering of poets edited by Ray McNiece and Larry Smith
I do like the idea of Zen poetry, what sense I can make of that idea anyway. A plainness. A humility. Whether the particular poem is one I love is another thing.

Two Lines: world writing in translation; Passageways edited by Camille T. Dungy and Daniel Hahn
Every poem and story features is preceded by comments from the translator. Sometimes the preliminary matter exceeds the word count of the featured work by quite a bit. Still, I like hearing the translator’s thoughts, the whys, the bios.

Enizagam 2011
I’m trying to read more random literary magazines.

Berkeley Poetry Review 42
As a former member of the team, I try to keep up on the game.

Selected Poems by W. H. Auden
At a Poetry Circle meeting one of the regulars read from W. H. Auden. I know Auden has a lot of fans and I bought and started this book many years ago, but the first few pages didn’t make me go, Wow, so the book fell out of the pile. Now it’s back!

The New York Review of Books May 7, 2015
Found this left out on the curb up the street. It’s rather New Yorker-like in the quality of writing such that whatever is published is fairly interesting.

Super 8 a chapbook by Richard Lopez
Richard visited this weekend and left me a chapbook about Super 8 porn. “foreground / a tube of Vaseline”

Terms of Service: social media and the price of constant connection by Jacob Silverman
Social media is fucking us over? Of course it is.