Friday, September 28, 2012

Bookmarks List/Bedside Table

Currently reading and enjoying:

The Poetics of Reverie, Gaston Bachelard (1960). I was practically live-tweeting my reading experience of this book, I’m loving it so much (though I stopped myself, so as to not be too obnoxious). Bachelard is unafraid of the exclamation mark--I equally enjoy his ideas and style (it comes across as so endearing and surprising). Here’s a swoony tablespoon for you:
“Whoever lives for poetry must read everything. How often has the light of a new idea sprung for me from a simple brochure! When one allows himself to be animated by new images, he discovers iridescence in the images of old books. Poetic ages unite in a living memory. The new age awakens the old. The old age comes to live again in the new...What benefits new books bring us! I would like a basket full of books telling the youth of images which fall from heaven for me every day.....For, up there, in heaven isn’t paradise an immense library?” (25).

Tight Spaces: Hard Architecture and How to Humanize it, Robert Sommer (1974). Speaking of the joys of immense libraries, I checked this book out this week. Sommer’s book is fascinating--he is questioning the ever-increasing hardness of architecture (think of how many public structures use steel, concrete, and glass), and links it to “a desire to maintain order, discipline, or control” (3). I particularly enjoyed his chapters on airports and university classrooms. (Thanks to Christopher Schaberg for the recommendation of this book, via Twitter---check out his blog and book, The Textual Life of Airports).

This poem, “Never-ending Birds,” by David Baker. I was lucky to have had him as a professor in grad school (I admire his work so much, and am grateful for his generosity and wisdom as a teacher). I heard him read at the Riffe Gallery last night---wonderful as ever!

This post about a 100 square foot writing studio/retreat (called Watershed), designed by a company called FLOAT (directed by Erin Moore). Be sure to check out the stunning photos. Thanks to my Uncle Jerry for bringing this place to my attention!

As always, I’d love to hear your recommendations.


  1. Bachelard in addition to being a great spirit is also the link between Husserl and Heidegger, who explored how the mind creates the world, and the great Geneva school critics Raymond and Poulet, who sought to understand literary texts by the force of their own subjectively. He looked at poetry as a meditative mindset, the trace of the divine that we can’t define so therefore can talk about. But he also had much to say about other things, such as spaces and housing: “If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace” (The Poetics of Space).

    David Baker seems to have opened up his style in recent years, allowing in a certain transparent light that is very striking and unusual. I love in "Never-Ending Birds" all that is unsaid, the losses and pain that in being forgotten to the transcendence of birds is recovered. Plus two great new (for me) words: olio and delible. As good a gloss as any on this poem comes from Bachelard “Childhood lasts all through life. It returns to animate broad sections of adult life.... Poets will help us to find this living childhood within us, this permanent, durable immobile world” (The Poetics of Reverie).

    As for me I’m catching up on National Geographic. Highly recommended.

  2. "Never-ending Birds" was [PROFANE EXPLETIVE] impressive.

    I read comic books last night. "The Irredeemable Ant-Man."

  3. Thanks for the "Never-ending Birds" poem. Sharing now.

    Have a great weekend!

  4. These all look wonderful. Am enjoying these Friday posts a lot, Hannah.

  5. Thanks for all the reading recommendations!

    Right now I'm reading "Ru" by Kim Thuy. It's a fictionalized memoir of a Vietnamese refugee finding her way through a new life in Quebec, and it is incredible. Every short chapter reads like poetry, every page is a revelation. It's been a long time since I've been this totally mesmerised by a book.

    I'm looking forward to "The Twelve" by Justin Cronin. This is the follow-up work to "The Passage". When a PEN Faulkner Award winner writes about vampires, you know this is going to be something special. He pulled it off in his first book of the trilogy, and all advance word is that he pulls it off again in the second.


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