A MATTRESS OF WORDS
is softer, for me, than a mattress filled with down feathers. By which I mean, I sometimes read books not to read them so much as just to set my brain down among words for a nap. (Relatedly, I can't go to sleep without reading myself to sleep, even if it's only a page's worth of reading.) For me, I need certain words to relax my brain by reading books that deliberately don't tax the intellect. A paradox, perhaps. But that's the way my brain is wired.
In the past, this particular need has been assuaged by reading Star Trek novels. Having dropped my Trekkie past, this need more recently is assuaged by reading from the category "romantic fiction." In these categories, the books are often interchangeable and easily drop from memory. I could read the same books over and over and never remember that I'd read them already. Because I don't read them ... I just need them -- words -- to be there. Like looking, perhaps, at some stud's abs without needing really to, ahem, converse with those abs. (Don't worry -- I'm also groaning here at myself now.) Or, perhaps it's akin to the pleasure one gets from being surrounded by books -- just to pass by and see all those book spines...? That books exist...that words exist....that people speak. Speak to each other.
Anyhoot, the last two titles in book list below are from this category of metaphorical down feathers (others may call them "fluff"). I'm not a snob (at least on this matter) -- I won't not admit I read this type of books because they have pillowed moi head (particularly in airplanes).
But, also, as one attempting to make poems, I don't want to privilege among potential raw material...matter of fact, some lines from a Nora Roberts novel even made it to a poem. See -- some poets drop Slavoj Zizek's name; I could do that, too, but like doing so in the same breath as Nora Roberts'. Just being open to the world here....[insert grin].
Relatedly, have you ever noticed how some poets are so careful about publicly sharing their reading lists? Like, they have to use reading lists to impress. One can usually tell when a poet is using a reading list to impress others. Relatedly again, there was a Poets & Writers article on Alice Notley not too long ago and I much ENJOYED learning how she's almost addicted to mysteries...
And I view wines the same way. I have drunk some of the best wines made on this planet, but I don't allow that to stop my hand for reaching for a plastic cup of Two Buck Chuck at some impoverished art gallery's opening. Context... matters.
(I know you guys are groaning over moi 2 buck chuck reference; I dont' wanna hear it...!)
Anyway, here's moi latest relished whines and wines:
one / generation to / double your consonants, poems by Marlos Unas Esguerra
BODY OF THE WORLD, poems by Sam Taylor
CARBON, poems by Michael Ford
BETTINA COFFIN, poems by Micah Ballard
NEGATIVE CAPABILITY IN THE VERSE OF JOHN WIENERS by Micah Ballard
AMERICAN ELEGIES, poems by Robert Hazel
EL TSUNAMI, poems by Kevin Opstedal
THE BEAUTIFUL DAYS, poems by a.b. spellman
NECESSARY STRANGER, poems by Graham Foust
RECYCLOPEDIA: TRIMMINGS, S*PERM**K*T, AND MUSE & DRUDGE, poems by Harryette Mullen
THE ARCHITECTURE OF LANGUAGE, poems by Quincy Troupe
2 POEMS FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL by Logan Ryan Smith
IGNOBLE TRUTHS, poems by Gail White
ECONOMICS, short stories by Fanny Howe
LIVING BY THE WORD: SELECTED WRITINGS 1973-1987 by Alice Walker
ANYTHING WE LOVE CAN BE SAVED: A WRITER'S ACTIVISM by Alice Walker
CAT BEHAVIOR: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING HOW YOUR CAT WORKS by Roger Tabor
WEST OF JESUS: SURFING, SCIENCE AND THE ORIGINS OF BELIEF, meditations by Steven Kotler
STEALING LOVE: CONFESSIONS OF A DOGNAPPER, memoir by Mary A. Fischer
THE SHIRLEY LETTERS, epistolary autobiography by Dame Shirley (Louise A.K.S. Clappe)
THE LAST GIFT OF TIME; LIFE BEYOND SIXTY, meditation by Carolyn G. Heilbrun
A SABBATH LIFE, meditation by Kathleen Hirsch
SUMMER MOON, novel by Jill Marie Landis
THE VINEYARD, novel by Barbara Delinsky
2000 Behrens & Hitchcock Los Amigos Vineyards merlot
2000 Behrens & Hitchcock King of the Gypsies cabernet
2000 Behrens & Hitchcock Cuvee Lola
2003 Ch. Rauzan Despague
2003 Battely Sojourn
2000 St. Joseph Cuilleron Les Serines
2003 Marquis de Calon St. Estephe
1996 Clos Clare shiraz
1993 Turley petite syrah Aida Vineyards
2001 Schrambsberg Brut sparkling wine
1997 Von Strasser Reserve
1992 Dunn Napa Howell Mountain
2001 Lodi Turley zinfandel Dogtown Vineyard