Commentaries

Cheever everywhere

The death of books? Maybe, depending on how narrowly you define "books." Take John Cheever's brilliant early (first?) short story, "Goodbye, My Brother." There are more ways to read this text than one could have imagined ten years ago when it was already deemed a classic. By now it's seemingly everywhere!

(1) It's in Vintage Cheever, a book that Random House has made available online in full text.

(2) Here's a Google books version of the story, "Goodbye, My Brother": link.

(3) Here's the Amazon entry for Cheever's Collected Stories: link.

(4) And here's the Kindle edition: link.

(5) And finally the story is on the web (although password-protected): link.

PennSound tweet

You can follow PennSound on Twitter now. Get updates on new recordings as they are added. Highlights, etc.

new app kicks my butt; or, I only intended apples & oranges

I'm happily using a new iPhone application that works pretty seamlessly with blogger. I can't imagine what real advantage this gives me or anyone other than sheer speed and super-presence or ridiculous immediacy. Yet isn't blogging already so immediate (at least in tone and diction) as to be ridiculous? Yet again I can imagine real live-blogging - for instance from a reading or art event. I'll try it soon so stay tuned. The photo below I found just now in my phone's camera log - taken during the reception last week at our Silliman celebration. Erin Gautsche and the KWH students went through "The Alphabet" looking for food references and then served us only items mentioned in Ron's poetry. I was never gladder than at that moment that Ron had spent so much time in California. He is by no means a foodie poet (an understatement) but the New Sentence does tend to grab up a few of the nutritions in the environment. "I don't mean to presume uh if you could it seems that is I only intended apples and oranges" (from Garfield, p. 49).

cheap images seen between bars

Readers of this blog will know that I am a fan of Erica Baum's photography. Well, good news: we can see her new work at Dispatch, 127 Henry Street (NYC), until March 22. Below at left is one of the new photographs, and here's a short review from Artforum by Robin O'Neill-Butler:

The red-, blue-, and green-stippled book edges in Erica Baum’s new photographs bring to mind the paperbacks that encumber used-book stores, thrift shops, and family libraries: faded film adaptations, celebrity biographies, and the occasional art monograph. In this exhibition, she walks a fine line between documentation and concealment, presenting pictures of eight such books fanning out and close-up, open but not completely exposed. Fragments of text and cheaply reproduced images––Goldie Hawn in a scene from Shampoo (1975), Art Garfunkel, Richard and Pat Nixon––are evident between the bars. Although these images appear to mine a specific American decade, the 1970s, Baum shirks nostalgia for abstraction. Previously her work (in black-and-white) examined card catalogs, from which she derived a form of clinical and concrete poetry (SEX DIFFERENCES—SHIRTS, reads one). Here, the pulsating hues create geometric patterns, which appear painterly from a distance and recall a colorful version of Gerhard Richter’s “Vorhang” (Curtain) series from the mid-’60s. The fine red vertical lines in Art, 2008, for example, neatly frame the seated, youthful musician and echo the saturated crimson blocks in Nixon and Pat, 2009, which seem to split the image in half. Without entirely displacing the subjects of these photographs, Baum shrewdly extracts image and text from source, pushing language, both visual and verbal, to unstable, higher ground.

left-right battle in history department becomes art

In 1974, the History department at CCNY erupted into a bitter political dispute in which older faculty members Stanley Page, Edward Rosen and others accused their younger colleagues of disruptive leftist agitation.

In a work called "Accused" (1975) Charles Bernstein performs the 1975 CUNY Faculty Senate report on the matter.

Available at PennSound is the entire 45-minute recording of this piece: MP3.