Commentaries - November 2007
Charles ("Chuck") Colson was involved in the Nixon White House during the Watergate/dirty tricks era, broke the law and was convicted of it, and later, you may recall, turned to Christ and joined the lecture circuit to tell his story of being saved. Fans of his books say that he "is a premier popular practitioner of Christian persuasion." He teamed up with parable-writer and exegete Harold Fickett (Conversations with Jesus 1999) to write The Good Life: Seeking purpose, meaning, and truth in your life. Somehow my name is mentioned on page 369 of this tome. I am thanked for helping Fickett on some matter--a "story." Odd, since I'd never heard from or even (until just now) about Fickett. Nice to be acknowledged, but...well... Notice, above Fickett's thank yous, Colson thanks the "Author of All Truth," so at least I'm in good company.
Oh, go see the Lawrence Weiner show at the Whitney before it closes February 10. It's the first major retrospective of his work in the U.S. Some of the pieces - small in scale, intensely conceptual, language-y and yet objects - date back to 1960 (he was just 18 and had, Kerouac-like, come across the country).
I've been hankering for a cogent rebuke of those in the media who are flailing away at the issue of whether people in this country illegally should be able to get drivers' licenses. Finally I heard it. It's Truthdig's Bob Scheer speaking on KCRW's weekly talkfest 'Left, Right & Center' about halfway through the show. Those with similar longing for substance over debate-flubbing style will want to listen by going to the Left, Right & Center episode site. You can also subscribe to the LR&C; podcast.
You can also listen to Bob Scheer's comment on undocumented workers here.
In the summer of '99 we did our first live interactive webcast. Bob Perelman, Shawn Walker, Kristen Gallagher and I gathered in the Arts Cafe of the Writers House and discussed William Carlos Williams' poem "To Elsie" for an hour and 35 minutes. Of course we made a recording of it, which is now available in RealVideo format, which is to say, can be played on any RealPlayer. (There are also excerpts in mp3 format.)
We took questions from friends around the world who were watching the live stream and wrote in by email.
For those who have the time, I think the discussion is an excellent introduction to the aesthetic and also cultural-anthropological complexities of that poem, which was originally published in Spring and All in 1923. Here's the text.