Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Digest of Their Correct Impressions of Their Self-Analytical Attitudes Overlaid by Your Ghostly Transparent Face

  • RIP Walter Becker.
  • Best tweet ever.
  • Sheez, remember when Houston was destroyed in a hurricane?
  • The apocalyptic trope that swept the world.
  • We are being reprogrammed.
  • Late, but { feuilleton }'s weekend links.
  • Jim's Scandinavian adventure.
  • Why did the admiral put barcodes on his ships?
  • So he could scandinavian.
  • Remembering Ashbery.
  • Remembering Ashbery.
  • OK, so maybe this is an RIP, but it's not a whoa-sob-woe RIP.
  • From this Paris Review RIP for Ashbery:
  • Amy Clampett: He refuses to raise his voice; many poets have fashioned their work from him. He finds new tunes because he has a wonderful ear. He has so much to say … all these almost undetectable references. Since he gets a lot of attention, many poets are going to fashion their work on his. This kind of thing can be dull in the wrong hands—the distinction needs to be made between dull books and quiet books.
  • This is another way of saying my theory that what many people hate is not John Ashbery's poems but the hundreds of thousands of shitty John Ashbery imitators, like the putz writing this sentence.
  • Mark Strand: There’s a desire in Ashbery, for example, to create perfect non sequiturs, to continually take us off guard.
  • More insight from Strand and Robert Creeley and a famous Ashbery story from Donald Hall there too.
  • I tried the looooooooong novel-length poem Flow Chart again - it's a joy to hold the book, it's I want to ravish you beautiful - and stalled where I had every umpteenth time before.
  • I am trying to be less the zealot.
  • Read the poem below out loud, dammit.


John Ashbery

When Eduard Raban, coming along the passage, walked into the
open doorway, he saw that it was raining. It was not raining much.
                                        KAFKA, Wedding Preparations in the Country
The concept is interesting: to see, as though reflected
In streaming windowpanes, the look of others through
Their own eyes. A digest of their correct impressions of
Their self-analytical attitudes overlaid by your
Ghostly transparent face. You in falbalas
Of some distant but not too distant era, the cosmetics,
The shoes perfectly pointed, drifting (how long you
Have been drifting; how long I have too for that matter)
Like a bottle-imp toward a surface which can never be
Never pierced through into the timeless energy of a present
Which would have its own opinions on these matters,
Are an epistemological snapshot of the processes
That first mentioned your name at some crowded cocktail
Party long ago, and someone (not the person addressed)
Overheard it and carried that name around in his wallet
For years as the wallet crumbled and bills slid in
And out of it. I want that information very much today,
Can't have it, and this makes me angry.
I shall use my anger to build a bridge like that
Of Avignon, on which people may dance for the feeling
Of dancing on a bridge. I shall at last see my complete face
Reflected not in the water but in the worn stone floor of my bridge.
I shall keep to myself.
I shall not repeat others' comments about me.


  1. That may be the worst fucking pun EVER! SMDH.

    thanks for watching! moar to come.

  2. JFC, that's 40 freaking years inside. But at least it's low.