Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More From Florida


Drunken Poet Cafe
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
It's been a very productive week down here. I've gone to the gym almost everyday -- the first time I've exercised that regularly in a while.

I've started a new writing project. I thinking I am actually writing a book of poetry, as opposed to a collection of poems. It's pretty new, so I am not sure what will happen once I start to cut it down, but for now I am concerned more with adding and adding and adding. I'll get to the cutting soon enough. Not sure why, but I start thinking about the little suburban cul-de-sac in Vienna, Virginia where I grew up. About a month a go, I wrote a disjointed poem made from lines I had quickly written down that were fragmented memories of growing up there. It's really the only successful poem I've written in the past year. Anyhow, that got me thinking about my childhood, about the place I grew up, about memory and cul-de-sacs and circles and suburbia, and so that is where my head is at the moment. I am not sure if what I am writing is a single long poem or a collection of poems growing out of a certain focus of attention on a particular place and time, or some hybrid of the two. I imagine it might also be something that lends itself to collaboration with a visual artist, who might help map out visually some of the terrain.

I went to the Sarasota farmer's market on Saturday, where I was able to buy produce for a lot cheaper than at the store. Although my grapes are no good, which I am a bit pissed about. I guess I should have looked more closely.

I also saw old Buffalo classmate Kirk McCaully, who's been a visiting Prof. at the New College of Sarasota, but is getting ready to move with Linda Russo, his partner, out to Pullman, Washington, where the two of them have been hired. We had great Tapas, then went to see "Standard Operating Procedure," the new Errol Morris film about the photos and videos of Abu Ghraib. It's really fantastic, though having read his recent blog essays on the same material, I found them to be much more interesting and informative than the film itself. They are must reading for anyone interested in visual representation and its attendant problems.

I tried to watch Peter Watkins, "La Commune: Paris 1871" on video the other night. I found it pretty much unwatchable. I made it through two distracted hours of this 5.5 hour film. He employs his patented, yet now familiar and overused technique of imagining a historical event attended by today's mass media, and told through the lens of interviewers and talking heads. The effect in this instance is of spending five hours watching unedited news footage of student protesters shrieking in anger and exhilaration as they take over a campus building, punctuated by inter-titles providing historical context for the event.

I have to say I am starting get really, really, fatigued by poorly executed Brechtian theory in film. It's especially hard after watching so much Godard over the past year, who always finds clever and cheeky ways to deal with politics, and only fails when he beats you over the head with dogma.

In other news, looks like our house purchase on Livingston Street is not going to happen. We had the inspection on Sunday, which turned up a a lot more added costs, and a lot more added work, that we just weren't willing to put into it. Looks like we'll be renting a while longer.

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