Saturday, March 31, 2012


Two new books I (and others) have waited decades for.

Waited even before they were written ~ that good!

You'd rather read, than sleep, with either of these books ~ that good!

You're happy to have one lamp, or sunshine by a window with these books.

Ideal for train rides, long long train rides. I've done them. Both books will take you across.

Both writers died too young. Damn!

Both books were published by The Library of America. I like that place. Now.

UPS delivered my books ~ never left the woods!

UPS are corporate devils and deliver books and other things = you weigh the scales.

There is absolutely next to nothing on television but the TCM channel, even poor IFC has commercials. So what is your excuse? Two books. Two fisted hams. Two guns. Twin peaks. Double barrel. Curl up and read.

Do men curl up and read? Women couldn't look better than curled up with a book.

Done scribbling ~ I'm reading.

[ BA ]

I remember wondering why, if Jesus could cure sick people, why He didn't cure all sick people.

I remember when twins dressed alike.

I remember when girls wore cardigan sweaters backwards.

I remember being shown to my seat with a flashlight.

I remember changing my name to Bo Jainard for about one week.

from "I Remember" by Joe Brainard

The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard,
(beautifully) edited by Ron Padgett

David Goodis: Five Noir Novels of the 1940s & 50s,
edited by Robert Polito

(The Library of America 2012)

It was a tough break. Parry was innocent. On top of that he was a decent sort of guy who never bothered people and wanted to lead a quiet life. But there was too much on the other side and on his side of it there was practically nothing. The jury decided he was guilty. The judge handed him a life sentence and he was taken to San Quentin.

~ David Goodis
from Dark Passage

It really is beautiful, Vermont. Makes so much sense to live
here. (If only life made so much sense.) But it doesn't.

~ Joe Brainard
from "Wednesday, July 7th, 1971
(A Greyhound Bus Trip)"

Joe Brainard, like Lorine Niedecker, is brilliant on first blush, and Emily Dickinson, beyond brilliant. Frank O' Hara. There's an honesty and vulnerably very few could live with themselves by. Nothing fragile about it at all, just asking to bottle sunrise. Can't do. One won't find this sort of writing anywhere else in the world: it comes from the underpinnings of an Empire. Where 'little people' speak remarkably.

I read Joe B. until late into the night on his one man show bus trips from NYC to Vermont where he was lover with Kenward Elmslie and spent the summers here in the state. Elmslie is a grandson of Joseph Pulitzer, and a somewhat intriguing poet, dramatist and publisher. Joe was a gay wunderkind Huck Finn, gifting his art work to all poets and their publications, and forever wondering alive (scribbler into notebooks) what made himself tick. An incredible presence in this book.

Goodis could become the greatest of them all crime writers — such a depressing and low life. Breakdowns, living back and forth with his parents, failed relationships, some Hollywood time and money and minor fame, the French grabbing after him (Truffaut) and of course the early demise. Very few photographs of him, or 12 variations on the one. His main prose characters (male) are rinsed out and hung out to dry. This one volume from The Library of America will be an instant classic.


book photos © bob arnold
bottom photo: Joe Brainard's studio

Friday, March 30, 2012



There's a stink in the old farmhouse
Maybe a dead squirrel or rat or could it be a cat?

We've a hot water kettle on the woodstove
With apples and cinnamon

Be patient with it

It takes a long time for a life to disappear

"steady chipmunk"
photo © bob arnold



Salvatore Quasimodo


I will know nothing of my life but its mysteries,
the dead cycles of the breath and sap.

I shall not know whom I loved, or love
now that in the random winds of March

I am nothing but my limbs. I fall
into myself, and the years numbered in me.

The thin blossom is already streaming from my boughs.
I watch the pure calm of its only flight.

trans. Don Paterson

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Adrienne Rich
(May 16, 1929 ~ March 27, 2012)

Nonfiction books

Poetry collections

  • A Change of World. Yale University Press. 1951.
  • The Diamond Cutters, and Other Poems. Harper. 1955.
  • Snapshots of a daughter-in-law: poems, 1954-1962. Harper & Row. 1963.
  • Necessities of life: poems, 1962-1965. W.W. Norton. 1966.
  • Selected Poems. Chatto & Hogarth P Windus. 1967.
  • Leaflets. W.W. Norton. 1969. ISBN 978-0-03-930419-5.
  • The Will to Change: Poems 1968-1970. Norton. 1971.
  • Diving into the Wreck. W.W. Norton. 1973. ISBN 978-0-393-31163-1.
  • Poems: Selected and New, 1950-1974. Norton. 1975. ISBN 978-0-393-04392-1.
  • Twenty-one Love Poems. Effie's Press. 1976.
  • The Dream of a Common Language. Norton. 1978. ISBN 978-0-393-04502-4.
  • A Wild Patience Has Taken Me this Far: Poems 1978-1981. W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated. 1982. ISBN 978-0-393-31037-5. (reprint 1993)
  • Sources. Heyeck Press. 1983.
  • The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New, 1950-1984. W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated. 1984. ISBN 978-0-393-31075-7.
  • Your Native Land, Your Life: Poems. Norton. 1986. ISBN 978-0-393-02318-3.
  • Time’s Power: Poems, 1985-1988. Norton. 1989. ISBN 978-0-393-02677-1.
  • An Atlas of the Difficult World: Poems 1988-1991. Norton. 1991. ISBN 978-0-393-03069-3.
  • Collected Early Poems, 1950-1970. W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated. 1993. ISBN 978-0-393-31385-7.
  • Dark Fields of the Republic: Poems, 1991-1995. W.W. Norton. 1995. ISBN 978-0-393-03868-2.
  • Selected poems, 1950-1995. Salmon Pub.. 1996. ISBN 978-1-897648-78-0.
  • Midnight Salvage: Poems, 1995-1998. Norton. 1999. ISBN 978-0-393-04682-3.
  • Fox: Poems 1998-2000. W W Norton & Co Inc. 2001. ISBN 978-0-393-32377-1. (reprint 2003)
  • The School Among the Ruins: Poems, 2000-2004. W. W. Norton & Co.. 2004. ISBN 978-0-393-32755-7.
  • Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth: Poems 2004–2006. 2007. ISBN 978-0-393-06565-7.
  • Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010. 2010. ISBN 0-393-07967-8.


In paradise every
the desert wind is rising
third thought
in hell there are no thoughts
is of earth
sand screams against your government
issued tent hell’s noise
in your nostrils crawl
into your ear-shell
wrap yourself in no-thought
wait no place for the little lyric
wedding-ring glint the reason why
on earth
they never told you

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Do you know we still have our Christmas tree up? It's the one we moved outdoors after the Christmas and New Year holiday. Balsam. Cut on our land. It has barely lost any needles. Stood in a cask of water that became ice that became water (last week when it reached 80 degrees) and is now blowing down in the returned late March winds no matter how many times we pick it up to stand again. Live this long as a cut tree, defying death and persevering with small Christmas lights on you, and yes we begin to treat you as if you are a small, green figure of a person. We pick you up every time you fall.

Same as these hemlock 4 x 4 timbers. Found when we returned last Saturday after a day of errands in a few towns. Came up the bumpity-bump-bump road south along the river, mud rutted, mud flattened, not so bad at all as decades of other times this road this time of year was always mud hellish. Came up the dirt hill drive to home and there in the dooryard, as if waiting (they are) the half dozen hemlock timbers. Blonde and very heavy. They "smell" to anyone who doesn't know lumber, fresh cut. The timbers were a tree just a few hours earlier. A tree I cut down and set to the side of the road after Hurricane Irene. A friend with a tractor and willpower was all up for my offer when I said,

"How about you take the logs and saw them out at your place? We'll split the lumber 50-50." Big shouldered he nodded with a smile and we both liked that idea. Mountains move when more than two smile and like an idea. Tractor away up the road last Fall the friend went. I knew I wouldn't see him or the timbers until spring. So he was right on time.

But still, seeing the timbers stacked so nicely and never called for, was a nice surprise.

photo © bob arnold

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


photo © bob arnold


Guy Mattison Davenport (November 23, 1927 – January 4, 2005) was an American writer, translator, illustrator, painter, intellectual, and teacher.


[edit] Fiction

  • Tatlin!: Six Stories (Scribner's, 1974) (with illustrations by Davenport)
  • Da Vinci's Bicycle: Ten Stories (University of Chicago Press, 1979) (with illustrations by Davenport)
  • Eclogues: Eight Stories (North Point Press, 1981) (two stories illustrated by Roy Behrens)
  • Trois Caprices (The Pace Trust, 1981) (three stories later collected in The Jules Verne Steam Balloon)
  • The Bowmen of Shu (The Grenfell Press, 1984) (limited ed., collected in Apples and Pears)
  • Apples and Pears and Other Stories (North Point Press, 1984) (with illustrations by Davenport)
  • The Bicycle Rider (Red Ozier Press, 1985) (limited ed., later collected—in a different version—in The Jules Verne Steam Balloon)
  • Jonah: A Story (Nadja Press, 1986) (limited ed., later collected in The Jules Verne Steam Balloon)
  • The Jules Verne Steam Balloon: Nine Stories (North Point Press, 1987)
  • The Drummer of the Eleventh North Devonshire Fusiliers (North Point Press, 1990)
  • The Lark (Dim Gray Bar Press, 1993) (limited ed., illustrated by Davenport)
  • A Table of Green Fields: Ten Stories (New Directions, 1993)
  • The Cardiff Team: Ten Stories (New Directions, 1996)
  • Twelve Stories (Counterpoint, 1997) (selections from Tatlin!, Apples and Pears, and The Drummer of the Eleventh North Devonshire Fusiliers)
  • The Death of Picasso: New and Selected Writing (Shoemaker and Hoard, 2003) (contains seven essays [three previously uncollected] along with nineteen stories [two previously uncollected] and one play)
  • Wo es war, soll ich werden: The Restored Original Text (Finial Press, 2004) (limited ed.) [1]

[edit] Translations

  • Carmina Archilochi: The Fragments of Archilochos (University of California Press, 1964)
  • Sappho: Songs and Fragments (University of Michigan Press, 1965)
  • Herakleitos and Diogenes (Grey Fox Press, 1979)
  • The Mimes of Herondas (Grey Fox Press, 1981)
  • Maxims of the Ancient Egyptians (The Pace Trust, 1983) (from Boris de Rachewiltz's Massime degli antichi egiziani, 1954)
  • Anakreon (The University of Alabama/ Parallel Editions, 1991)
  • Archilochos, Sappho, Alkman: Three Lyric Poets (University of California Press, 1980) (adds Alkman to Carmina Archilochi and Sappho: Songs and Fragments)
  • The Logia of Yeshua: The Sayings of Jesus (Counterpoint, 1996) (with Benjamin Urrutia)
  • 7 Greeks (New Directions, 1995) (revises and collects the texts—but none of Davenport's drawings—from Carmina Archilochi, Sappho: Songs and Fragments, Herakleitos and Diogenes, The Mimes of Herondas, Anakreon, and Archilochos, Sappho, Alkman)

[edit] Poetry

  • Cydonia Florentia (The Lowell-Adams House Printers/Laurence Scott, 1966)
  • Flowers and Leaves: Poema vel Sonata, Carmina Autumni Primaeque Veris Transformationem (Nantahala Foundation/Jonathan Williams, 1966; Bamberger Books, 1991) (illustrated by Davenport)
  • The Resurrection in Cookham Churchyard (Jordan Davies, 1982)
  • Goldfinch Thistle Star (Red Ozier Press, 1983) (illustrated by Lachlan Stewart)
  • Thasos and Ohio: Poems and Translations, 1950–1980 (North Point Press, 1986) (includes most of Flowers and Leaves, along with translations of six of the "7 Greeks" and of Rainer Maria Rilke and Harold Schimmel)

[edit] Fugitive pieces

Davenport wrote introductions or contributions to many books:

Some of these pieces were included in Davenport's collections of essays.

[edit] Commentary and essays

  • The Intelligence of Louis Agassiz (Beacon Press, 1963)
  • Pennant Key-Indexed Study Guide to Homer's The Iliad (Educational Research Associates, 1967)
  • Pennant Key-Indexed Study Guide to Homer's The Odyssey (Educational Research Associates, 1967)
  • The Geography of the Imagination: Forty Essays. (North Point Press, 1981)
  • Cities on Hills: A Study of I – XXX of Ezra Pound's Cantos (UMI Research, 1983)
  • Charles Burchfield's Seasons (Pomegranate Artbooks, 1994)
  • The Drawings of Paul Cadmus (Rizzoli, 1989)
  • Every Force Evolves a Form: Twenty Essays (North Point Press, 1987)
  • A Balthus Notebook (The Ecco Press, 1989)
  • The Hunter Gracchus and Other Papers on Literature and Art (Counterpoint, 1996)
  • Objects on a Table: Harmonious Disarray in Art and Literature (Counterpoint, 1998)

[edit] Paintings and drawings

  • A Balance of Quinces: The Paintings and Drawings of Guy Davenport, with an essay by Erik Anderson Reece (New Directions, 1996)
  • 50 Drawings (Dim Gray Bar Press, 1996) (limited ed.) Introduction by Davenport gives an account of the role drawing and painting played in his life.
  • Joan Crane's Davenport bibliography (see below) includes a 25-page insert of reproductions that suggest the range of his drawing styles.
  • Two books by Hugh Kenner, The Counterfeiters and The Stoic Comedians, include Davenport's crosshatched crow quill and ink work, ten full-page drawings in each.

[edit] Letters

  • A Garden Carried in a Pocket: Letters 1964–1968, ed. Thomas Meyer (Green Shade, 2004). Selected correspondence with Jonathan Williams
  • Fragments from a Correspondence, ed. Nicholas Kilmer (ARION, Winter 2006, 89–129)
  • Selected Letters: Guy Davenport and James Laughlin, ed. W. C. Bamberger (W. W. Norton, 2007)

via wikipedia

Monday, March 26, 2012

(Bedtime) ~

I'm off to the river on a horse,
who'll halt a little when I think a little.

(Perugia 1906- Rome 1977)
trans. Blake Robinson

"maple grain"
photo © susan arnold


The Uros people live in small floating islands in the bay of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, in south-eastern Peru. The 60 islands are home to about 1,000 people and are made out of the reeds that grow in abundance in the shallow waters

photo : mattia cabitza
the guardian (u.k.)

The Uros are a pre-Incan people who live on forty-two self-fashioned floating islands in Lake Titicaca Puno, Peru and Bolivia. They form three main groups: Uru-Chipayas, Uru-Muratos and the Uru-Iruitos. The latter are still located on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca and Desaguadero River.

The Uros use bundles of dried totora reeds to make reed boats (balsas mats), and to make the islands themselves.[1]

The Uros islands at 3810 meters above sea level are just five kilometers west from Puno port.[2] Around 2,000 descendants of the Uros were counted in the 1997 census,[3] although only a few hundred still live on and maintain the islands; most have moved to the mainland. The Uros also bury their dead on the mainland in special cemeteries.

The Uros do not reject modern technology: some boats have motors, some houses have solar panels to run appliances such as televisions, and the main island is home to an Uros-run FM radio station, which plays music for several hours a day.

Early schooling is done on several islands, including a traditional school and a school run by a Christian church. Older children and university students attend school on the mainland, often in nearby Puno.

from Wikipedia

Sunday, March 25, 2012

(of the small press) ~

please click onto

images to


Saturday, March 24, 2012


Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys


photos © bob arnold

Friday, March 23, 2012


There's too much of a day

She thought.

I must find the last light,
she thought.

My kitchen needs cleaning,
she thought.

I'm old. No, I'm not,
she thought.

My house needs dusting,
she thought.

My face needs washing,
she thought.

My hair needs combing,
she thought.

My dreams need a dream,
she thought.

Suddenly, it was tomorrow
and dark,

and the man she lived with
would be home

out of the dark, out of tomorrow.
He would come to her careful waiting,

stretch his arms to the last of her lives,
and make truth of the lie.

How many times would he die for her?
Sometimes she liked to sit and count.

Because he died only for himself,
because she was himself,
and his deaths counted her in.


She thought of Garrah,
and she wept.

I'm not an old woman.

Got corns on my toes, a few bunions,
but sweet young women have that. My
life gets across to me, even if it don't
to nobody else. Even if my legs are
wiggly and my arms don't hold things
tight no more. He likes me that way, he
says. But when was the last time I
heard him speak? I mean without a
warning in his voice, without me
listening with a humming in my head.

Without my life hollering and screaming
down my belly even as I give him
my softest smiles and purest pain. Oh,
how it gets across to me: that kind
of love that wants redemption in a man's
body, or even in his words and say,
"come here" and "don't go" and
"don't leave me" and "you'll stay"
and "here, a gift", and gentle gestures
of satin and perfume, that sweeten you
up for a night on the town.

He's the fourth one for that.
I'm just learning to count
with my eyes.

Pale the Prince!

Garrah is prowling

through her dreams again.
I met a man yesterday, Garrah says.
He called your name.

They always call my name, she says.
But this man was a stranger, Garrah smiles.
They are all strange, she whispers,
out of the dark.

No. He came with life, and gave me
an onion to eat because I am
out of the dead.

You are strange, Garrah. Stop singing
like that. You talk in songs that
I can't remember, she says.

Here. For you, Garrah sings.
Take the onion and eat. Soon he will
meet you at the well.

Phelia awoke. No one was beside her.
No strong suggestion of his presence
pressed upon the sheets.

He hadn't come home yet.

A bad dream, she thought.
This one will take centuries.

She was always rather strange.
She knew it and loved it.
Sometimes she thought people coveted her strange-
her manners, her opinions, her laughter,
even her afterthoughts.
People wearied her.
I'm dying, She'd think.
Do they want that, too?
They can have it !
I'll just take myself to Suppie's
He serves good molasses cake.
(He should, I gave him the recipe ! )
Sit there for awhile, make my peace with Him.

They sit on the stoop and talk.

There are so many things
I want to tell you, Garrah.

the way things go, the walk
of every little memory
going down the street before me,

you know, like the backs
of people steadying themselves
before their feet catch in cracks

of concrete when the wind blows
against them. You, Garrah, so tall
and high above.

My memories are all I have.

Garrah listens.

Stop dreaming about me dead,
Orphelia, I ain't dead.
Go about your business.

like the woman you are, don't be led
by no dreams, no nightmare either.
I'm here, beside you. I'm Garrah,

your sister, late and never.
You're escaping. You don't know
the rules or maybe you've never tried them.

Be good to yourself, ever good.
Nobody's going to do it for you.
Take my hand, now.

Hold onto it.

Phelia hesitates.

Beans jumps in his sleep.

Garrah gets up,
leaves the stoop,
opens the screen-door,

Phelia sits with the palm of one hand open,
her empty grasp lingers in the autumn breeze,
disembodied, breathing.

She remembers her mother's stories about Jo,

her ancestor, a slave woman, who refused to leave
the plantation and follow her husband
in his escape from that life, but kept close
to what she knew, what she had earned, while blessing
his departing footsteps, Jo survived ninety-three years,
died a goat-looking woman, kept the hell of her life
in her apron pocket and dared it to burn or touch her

And she never saw her husband again,
and she never kept the lamp burning,
and she never forgot how she loved him,
and she never raised her children
to remember anything but a good father,
for that she was to the day he left.

How Phelia smiles as she indulges
the strange memory, and the smile
is not exact ; it does not ask much
of her. It merely pauses, casts a silken shadow

She prays to Jo: you had the best,
that kind of abandonment,
it left you whole. Mine is different.
He never left. His abandonment is to stay,
and sometime tonight, he'll come home,
to this house,
our only kinship,
and select something else to take to the pawnbroker
to keep us going. Oh, if only we both could leave
the plantation and really keep going!

But why should I worry?
He ain't mine anyhow,
just somehow I borrowed.
He never wifed me.

In this she abandons her prayer,
in this she finds abandonment safe,
in this Jo's blood quickens in her memory,
bites a little, causing a shivering,
a need to go for a walk
outside the impatient, brooding house, away from her
summoned ancestor who, she knows,
no longer listens,
but waits by the well.

Why the Woman Is Singing
On the Corner
(a verse narrative)
Peter E. Randall, Publisher

Native Washingtonian, Dolores Kendrick was appointed Poet Laureate of the District of Columbia on May 14, 1999. She is the second person honored with this title, following Sterling Brown, who was appointed in 1984.

Thursday, March 22, 2012





he moves as the season permits
every place has laws dictated by the climate
in inclement weather he sets up his defenses
he moves from place to place to survive or live
in winter he'll work undercover
knowing the uses of many places
food will be given to him in return


hands are the first wealth and intelligence
the second wealth the rest comes by itself
he can return to the same grazing places
change itinerary and repeat his circuit of the land
at the end he comes back to a place agreed on from the start


he will have children by one or more women
he spends the time necessary to teach them
what he knows the woman or women provide until the father
comes back to see if the children follow the father
they speak without roles


he turns his back on a plundered land
surrounded by boneless men saying
without lying that the wealth is elsewhere


just standing still in greeting
roots from the feet sprout and sink in
upon parting they rip up without harm


the city named Image has neither boundaries
nor centers it can model itself on itself
place where you meet it is not therefore
a city but a point of protection
porches or tents vegetable and animal place
place of waters and human cultivation
they meet there or leave as they wish they show their
thoughts language which is taken literally
systems of planes and curves for going down and coming up
behind women behind children and animals
ownership of the soil doesn't exist


they leave the plain occupied by Industry
men without being big shots he's no boss
abandoned territories mountainous habitable
they learn to do without what the Rich One has
the one that disappears plunder hole in the earth
Chemical Cathedral

[tr. Paul Vangelisti]

Piercing the Page

selected poems 1958-1989

Otis Books | Seismicity Editions

please click onto image to enlarge

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The Basic Con

Those who can't find anything to live for,
always invent something to die for.

Then they want the rest of us to
die for it too.

These, and an elite army of thousands,
who do nobody any good at all, but do
great harm to some,
have always collected vast sums from all.

Finally, all this machinery
tries to kill us,

because we won't die for it, too.

Lew Welch
Ring of Bone: Collected Poems 1950-1971
Edited by Donald Allen
Grey Fox Press (Bolinas)

please click on images to enlarge


Heathcote Williams

Being Kept By A Jackdaw. Longhouse, 2012. First edition. Three color unfolding concertina format with photograph and one long poem. Well known British writer, poet and activist puts his keen eye to Mother Nature. New and limited. A signed edition is available upon request.
$8, unsigned

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please click on image