Monday, April 4, 2016

A Palm memo

For a few years in the early twenty-first century I used a Palm gadget. I began with a Zire and moved up to an m515 before going back to paper, which did a better job of holding a charge.

The ghosts of my Palms are still with me: I just discovered a text file on my Mac with the contents of Palm memos from way back when. Here is a memo consisting of random notes I made during a reading by a visiting poet in 2003:

This guy is nothing like Whitman

Was Vallejo Chilean?

Poem w/grandparents

pigs being castrated by his grandfather & being shot between the eyes

poem to his penis  NARCiSSiST “God flowers in this nerve”

“I was very attached to my dog Lady”
I’ve omitted the poet’s name, which served as the note’s title. The name, if you want it, can be found by means of that godawful line of penile poetry.

I remember leaning over to a couple of extra-credit seekers who had come to this reading, notebooks and pens in hand. “There’s so much more to poetry than this,” I told them. Or “Please don’t think that all poetry is like this.” Or words to that effect. I might have been remembering how I had felt hearing my professor Jim Doyle speak frankly about the work of a visiting poet. It was a revelation to me: institutional acclaim for someone’s writing didn’t mean that it was good or that you had to like it.

Related reading
All OCA poetry posts (Pinboard)

[César Vallejo (1892–1938) wasn’t Chilean. He was a Peruvian poet. Drumming up an audience by offering “points”: one reason among many that I dislike the practice of extra credit.]

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