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Journal, Day Three

By Catherine Wagner

I think I’ll talk more about all that tomorrow. Getting too heavy. Plus I’d like to talk about some poetry. Unfortunately I don’t have my books with me here in Boise. I brought one book, Barbara Guest’s selected. Am having a blast here. Oxford, Ohio, where I live, doesn’t offer many dining options, though I love our weird little bagel sandwich shop, which offers about 200 sandwich options and is papered with posters of customer-invented bagel sandwiches, such as the Salty Hor. I don’t have a car so Oxford is pretty much where I stomp. So I was pleased to be visiting Boise, which has a shiny yuppie gloss to match its shimmery river and has as many restaurants and bars per capita as Las Vegas, someone told me last night. I ate sushi for lunch with my former colleague poet Janet Holmes, who is thriving and getting ready to put out some hot books by Susan Briante and Kate Greenstreet from her Ahsahta Press, and her own book F2F is getting excellent attention. For dinner I went with my beautiful mama friend Catherine Jones (she’s a fiction writer) to my favorite, El Pueblo, a Mexican butcher shop and deli, and had a big plate of carnitas and tortillas and beans and rice. Oh my freaking god. And then met my lovely mad ex-housemate Kelly Morse for a gossip session at the bar of a fancy restaurant and ordered a recommended glass of wine without looking at the price ($10); spending too much money. Meghan and Tyler are an item. And someone finally turned down the opportunity to sleep with Guillaume.

At home in Oxford I was reading: Alice Notley’s Alma, or the Dead Women. Alma is a grumpy old woman and she’s dreaming the world. Notley’s writing here is like a buzzsaw, it hurts, it sets me on edge, I can’t stop reading it. I’ve been looking at very early work by Notley for the mother anthology, and I love that work too, and if her writing hadn’t developed much beyond it, it would still be valuable work; but she dug further, her writing kept pushing at the boundaries of itself, it just gets bigger and bigger—she takes on anything—the whole structure of our culture, the skeleton of it lights up terrifyingly. Just bought Harryette Mullen’s Recyclopedia, a reprint of S*PerM**K*T, Trimmings, and Muse & Drudge, which I think are contemporary classics.

Hey, would you like to end this war already? Terrific article by Nir Rosen in Boston Review this month. Also a rather frightening pro-gun article (by a guy who otherwise shares a lot of my views) in the same issue that says there are times when citizens don’t get listened to by the govt unless they’re armed. We aren’t getting listened to and haven’t been, for a long time. I have to say, when I think about how useless protest has been, I feel a crawling under my skin that wants to out itself as violence. I want to pick up a rock. The violence that is the rule of the day is in me.


Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, December 13th, 2006 by Catherine Wagner.