Sunday, October 9, 2011

Aimless Reading: The O's, Part 8.3 (George Oppen)

Hatlen, Burton, ed.
George Oppen: Man and Poet

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books.

My most vivid memory of this book is of reading the short section of essays on Oppen's "Discrete Series." Until this morning when I opened to the table of contents, my memory was that there was only one essay on "Discrete Series," written by Tom Mandel.

However, when I opened the book, I discovered that there were actually three essays on "Discrete Series," none of them written by Tom Mandel. The first of the three was written by William Carlos Williams, the other two by Tom Sharp and Harold Schimmel. I must have conflated the latter two names in order to arrive at the incorrect memory.

In one of these essays, I recall, the author describes the first section after opening of the poem, which goes like this:

White. From the
Under arm of T

The red globe.

Down. Round
Shiny fixed

From the quiet

Stone floor...

I remember him describing this as a description of a standard 1930's elevator in a New York Building. How the "white" and the "red" globes, which rested under a "T" shape, indicated the direction of the elevator. I don't remember which of the two essays describes this, but I remember finding the information very useful.

HA! Looking again, I see that Tom Mandel and Burton Hatlen have a piece in here together. That must have been where my memory of having seen Tom's name came from.

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