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Stealing from Maud

Maud Newton found 2 great links today: Charles Bernstein on National AntiPoetry Month. (Here’s an index of all of Bernstein’s poetry and essays online). I’ll surf through this index later.

From April 5 I found this poem on Writer’s Almanac

In Second Grade Miss Lee I Promised Never To Forget You And I Never Did

In a letting-go moment
Miss Lee the Teacher
Who was not married
And who the next year was not at school,
Said to us, her second grade,
French lovers in the morning
Keep an apple next to the bed,
Each taking a bite
On first waking, to take away
The blackish breath of the night,
You know the kind.
A bite and then kissing,
And kissing like that was better.

I saw her once more
When she came to sell encyclopedias.
I was always her favorite –
The erasers, and the way she looked at me.
I promised, but not to her face,
Never to forget
The story of the apples.
Miss Lee all blond and thin,
Like a real movie star
If she would have just combed herself more.
Miss Lee, I promised,
I would keep apples
For you.

(Here’s a bio of Alberto Rios and a longish interview).

Andre Mayer writes an article about prolific writing and a quote

George Murray, a poet and co-editor of the literary blog Bookninja.com, sees the near-annual release of a new Stephen King novel as the literary equivalent of watching a skinny Japanese dude scarf down 100 hot dogs in an eating contest; you are kind of grossed out, but gotta hand it to him. Murray harbors a unique theory about what distinguishes a genre writer like King from a so-called serious artist like Joyce Carol Oates. It seems with Oates the hotdog eater is a performance artist commenting on the nature of consumption and American hegemony, Murray avers. With King its just a guy eating 100 hot dogs, then looking like hes going to die of nitrate poisoning.

My thoughts: I never have claimed to be prolific, but we need to distinguish between commercially succesful authors and “weekend writers” like myself. How much more productive would the full time writer be? If Oates or Updike were fitting in writing only during the weekend, their output would be much different. I’m not somebody to laud full time jobs, but the lack of free time forces a weekend writer choose his writing projects very carefully (I’ve written about this before). (Oh, another thing, I once had lunch with J.C. Oates. An intense lovely woman, but a diehard vegetarian).

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