Wednesday, July 03, 2013


... and so I'm reading THE GRAND PIANO by reading one poet at a time through his/her contributions in the series' ten volumes. The idea is, if I'm moved to do so after the individual reads, to then compare this type of reading with reading each volume as published in order to determine the significance of "collective autobiography," the terms upon which the project presents itself to the world. The seventh poet I read (after Lyn Hejinian, Ron Silliman, Tom Mandel, Bob Perelman, Kit Robinson, and Carla Harryman) is Rae Armantrout...

whose contribution is a page-turner (just like Hejinian's). Gulped down its effectively minimalist approach (yes, shows up in her prose too) like 'tis a cold draught of water in this heat we're having in Napa Valley.

Armantrout's writing is quite appealing -- a sense of the "amiable" even came up in a couple of places during my reading, which is a feat(?) partly because there's also a lurking healthy sense of skepticism.

Her statements involving the body are fresh and makes one think. Synchronistically, it resonates as I happened to read her contribution while reading John Yau's moving meditation on Jasper Johns and the artist's concern with the passage of time including bodily dissolution. 'Twas interesting to see the two texts in the same space as each other.

Anyway, Armantrout's contribution to The Grand Piano is a treat. A. Treat.