Sunday, December 27, 2009

Aimless Reading: The F's, Part 8.1 (Norman Finkelstein)


Passing Over
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Finkelstein, Norman
Passing Over


Given to me (inscribed) by the author when I visited Cincinnati last February. I remember that the reading I gave was a fun one. It took place in some kind of an athletics department lounge on the campus of Xavier U. There were only about 6 or 7 people there -- Norman & Alice Finkelstein, Tyrone Williams, Dana Ward (who I met for the first time), and I think two students. One of the students, a young man, wanted to talk about "The God Poem" after I read. He was definitely a young person in search of something and as such I felt a great sympathy for him. We ended up having a long, very sincere discussion about belief in God and so forth. I kind of wish all readings would end up in long sincere discussion about something -- wouldn't that be nice?

After the reading, all of the non-students went out to a bar, where we talked about poetry mostly. Dana and I got to talking about chapbooks and how they are often considered subsidiary to the perfect bound book, how people consider them stepping stones to "real" books, he said, thus diminishing the value of the chapbook, both as container of poems and as art object. He explained that he was trying to use his own press (Cy Press) to counter that -- he said he wanted to publish works that were written as chapbooks, and which stood alone as complete, autonomous works on a par with perfect bound books.

The next morning before I left, Norman and Tyrone took me to breakfast at an old time Cincy diner called Sugar and Spice. Large murals depeicting stacks of pancakes and bacon and eggs and waffles and cups of coffee covered then walls. They looked like they had been done in the forties. You could barely find a table it was so crowded. Norman ate a Cincinnati German favorite called goetta, which is a combination of ground meats and oats. I can't remember if I tried it or not.

from Passing Over

This
then that
the this and that together

Bitter-
sweet
like all of his commandments

In doubt
east
like all around the table.

Words
remain
after all else is consumed.

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