Sunday, March 27, 2011

"America is just a word but I use it"

I've been most neglectful, I know. Grad. school preparations are just beginning, so I don't see involved blog-posts in the near future. It's just too easy to tweet links. While blogs are on the wane in general, I do intend to make something of this one. Meanwhile, check out this:

Crossing State Lines: An American Renga ed. by Bob Holman & Carol Muske-Dukes

My reaction can be described as nonplussed, in both the original and hopelessly inverted, American sense. In the digital age, a renga of this magnitude isn't an incredible feat by any means (especially when you deviate from the constrained, traditional Japanese form), but the variegate, sundry, and (to use one of Charles Bernstein's cherished adjectives) incommensurable impressions collide into an eventual, synchronous mixture of both splendor and boredom, though more of the former. The short (56 pgs.) book makes one wish to exert more influence over the selection of voices, and even what those voices say/don't. Alas, such is America. I would support a wide distribution and translations of this poem to be sent with our cultural diplomacy initiatives, if only to have faraway inhabitants read Vijay Seshadri's line, "Will we ever catch up to say how sorry we are?"

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