Friday, August 26, 2011

Audio: Good Grief

Not as in Charlie Brown, more as in extinction and things going away.

"Good Grief" is a poem from last August (click here to view full text). I wrote it after reading Jonathan Franzen's great essay (in How to Be Alone) called "Scavenging," all about how some of us are obsessed with finding and collecting broken/obsolescent objects. It's interesting (and sad, and a bit scary) to apply this obsolescence to living creatures or ideas.

When I lived in Venice (California) last year (I can't believe it was just one year ago!), I frequented a gallery called Obsolete. They show/sell beautifully deteriorating old and odd objects (for example, this French bobbin rack, circa 1900), and show some truly stunning artwork (I discovered Anne Siems through Obsolete, and wrote a poem on her work).

I love old oddities like those at Obsolete, and this aesthetic keeps popping up in our culture and art (Tim Burton's recent exhibit at LACMA, steampunk sensibilities/fashion, photography of abandoned places, the beautiful vintage lightbulbs I keep seeing on design blogs). The outmoded and out-of-fashion can be made important simply because it is not used anymore. Does that make any sense to you? Some interesting psychological impulses behind this, I think....what do you think?

Listen to "Good Grief" here:
Good Grief by The Storialist


  1. The rate at which species disappear is unbelievable. I read only a few days ago that they have now calculated that it is almost one a minute. Of course new species are being born, which we sometimes forget. The poem is brilliant, most impressive, both in what it says and the manner of the saying.

  2. I don't even know how to tell you how much I love this.

  3. I love this going back a year ago and adding layers to the impulse...

    "old oddities like those at Obsolete" is a great opening line for a poem...

    You seem pretty hip to the latest in Lotusville, for someone in cowcorn Ohio. Fashion is one of those things that "frightens and confuses me" (unfrozen cave man lawyer). It's some kind of Heisenberg Catch-22 Mobius principle: it can't be in unless it's out, and can't be out unless it's in.

    Nice recovery of the poem from "obsolescence" at any rate.

  4. I loved this poem last year and thoroughly enjoyed hearing you read it just now. I relate less to old things as oddities and than as sad reminders of what we've lost.

    "One day, the last woman to never have a cell phone
    will die. The final speaker of an exquisite dialect."

    I love that line.

  5. Thank you for treating us to audio of this poem, one I've liked since first reading it. It bears a message we all need to consider.

    Anne Siems's work looks very interesting. Will take a deeper look.


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