Thursday, April 12, 2018

Our Mammograms

I had thought of including Hazmat on some earlier nominating list but failed to for reasons I can now not only not remember, but even not imagine. The next nominating list will contain Plundered Hearts.


Meanwhile here's a poem from a quarter century ago that harrowed my midlife masculinity:  My Mammogram

Remembering J.D. McClatchy

The Washington Post reports that J.D. McClatchy, "a tireless champion of verse who taught, edited, criticized and wrote poetry for more than four decades," died on April 10. He is survived by his husband, Chip Kidd.

Although we have never read any collections of McClatchy's poetry, back in 2002 we did read a book he edited, Love Speaks Its Name.

Harrison Smith's obituary in the Post quotes the opening lines of McClatchy's last published poem, "My Plot":

  It seemed as good a time as any to buy
  A cemetery plot. The price is bound
  To spike, the local real estate being what it is
  For both the living and the dead, and seeing
  How few opportunities to make a sound
  Decision are left as our debilities multiply,
  I signed up for a double bed.

Rest in peace, Mr. McClatchy.

Friday, April 6, 2018

"that pachyderm's ear" and other things

No one, I think, who has read Black Deutschland  will have forgotten this (p. 95). For all the meanderings in this picaresque novel, when things do happen, they can happen fast; for example, this other bout of heterosexuality (p. 191). Jed's a big boy now (on the wagon) and can bring a glass of wine to a "thin older woman" he used to drink with. She compliments him on how much his German has improved and asks him if he's reading his favorite authors in the original.

I was flattered that she remembered that I liked Heinrich Mann. Two hours later my joker was wrapped and I was balling her. To stay interested I had to pretend I was commanding her with that fat one of Manfred's I'd never seen.

On another topic, someone commented derogatorily on "Dad's" opinionatings but I found them usually indicative and often spot-on:

"He loved the flashlight more than he did the hearth," Dad said of guys he'd heard had left their wives.

And the short section on and ending page 107 summons and sums up the strength of this family's life:

"Now we must put our finer feelings to bed as the great task of sleep devolves upon us," Dad laughed on the stairs.
   "Sleep for America," I heard Mom say.
    In the book of my heart, pages keep falling out, many of them marked "Mom and Dad."

"a stream of consciousness without a stream"

Participants in last night's meeting will find in James Wood's review of Darryl Pinckney's Black Deutschland an interesting counterpoint to our discussion. (He also comments on Garth Greenwell's What Belongs to You, which we read early last year.)

big-boned & half-crazed

(I really do like this line so I decided to rework it a little)


I'm sitting in the Friedrichstraße Station sulking because Isherwood's Berlin no longer exists when some big-boned, East Berlin woman comes at me with a half-crazed smile and says, "You have heartbreak for Judy Garland, too? Ach so. A friend of Dorothy. I know this expression. To frighten the bones of each song."  Now Greta and I have our own nightclub act.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

For Easter?

In 1976 the British publication Gay News published James Kirkup's "The Love that Dares to Speak its Name". Gay News was successfully prosecuted and the poem banned as "blasphemous libel", under a statute enacted in 1697. I don't much admire blasphemy myself, or the poem, but it is certainly remarkable, and puts a new spin on "resurrection".

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

NO Bookmen meeting tonight (March 21)

I already notified current Bookmen of this via e-mail, but just in case anyone else out there was thinking of attending tonight's meeting, don't!  We'd love to have you join us, but our venue is in a municipal building that is closed due to the weather.