Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thinking about America

The white koi whisker 2
Originally uploaded by jhhymas

Every day I think of more things I want to read. I just ordered an old novel of Conrad Richter's that Richard Shelton mentioned in Going Back to Bisbee. I just read that poet Alice Notley (who just got the Leonore Marshall prize for the best poetry book of the year) was born in Bisbee.

I always feel that I have the "Arizona connection" because my parents grew up there and I went to college there my freshman year. I don't suppose that poring over University of Arizona yearbooks to look at the photos of my Dad, captain of the polo team, and my Mom, Theta cutie, really qualifies me as an authentic Westerner. Nor the fact that I practically wore out all the Arizona Highways (bright color photos!) that my grandmother gifted us with a subscription for every Christmas. But it must make me at least an honorary Westerner.
I think the project here is to try to feel my way back into some sort of mythic American past. It involves fiction, of course, and non-fiction like the book about the Southern Highlanders (also mentioned by Richard Shelton) that I have just begun. And the larger project is thinking about the world and the way it works (or lately, doesn't seem to work at all.) And the Richard Shelton is a gift from Scott R. who had two copies. So these tangents, like so much of this summer's are accidental.
Today I read my teacher, Robert Hass's new book of poems, Time and Materials. He's involved in a similar project, but one more suffused with sex. Every bit as discouraged though.

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