Sunday, July 27, 2008

In the meme time

sam of the ten thousand things tagged me with a meme. He wrote “As an adult, the following selections have influenced or impacted me the most...”

So I will follow!

As a child, this was the book that meant the most to me:

The Wind in the Willows.

As an adult:

The Book(s):

Harmonium (in the Collected Poems), Wallace Stevens. I really can’t ever get past this book. I have three different Wallace Stevens Collected poems. One at the house and two at school. At home, it’s the Library of America edition, with the handy bookmark ribbon.

Past that, these are the ones that I read that changed everything, and that I’m still swamped by, years later:

Notes for Echo Lake, by Michael Palmer
Lawn of the Excluded Middle, by Rosmarie Waldrop
Selected Poems, John Ashbery

But if I would back up a bit, along with Stevens from the above list, which I first found in High School though “The Snow Man,” “The Emperor of Ice Cream,” etc., I would say these books were the start:

Collected Poems, e.e. cummings
Selected Poems, T.S. Eliot

And then, when I got to purchasing new-ish things:

Selected Poems, Robert Lowell (the first single-author collection I purchased!)
Country Music, Charles Wright (the second single-author collection I purchased!)
The Region of Unlikeness, Jorie Graham (the third, I think, and then I lost track)

The Visual:

No movies or TV shows have been very important to me. Maybe Scooby Doo. It’s mostly been painters from the 20th century. Some things I’ve seen in person, but what’s really been important are those inexpensive little art books that one finds on the bargain racks of Borders.

Music (this one’s easy):

After the Goldrush, by Neil Young
HWY 61 Revisited, by Bob Dylan

Those two really created it all for me. All else is belated. Beautiful and genius and all that, but it comes after these two, huge, things.

I should tag someone.

I’ll tag:

Steven D. Schroeder - Sturgeon's Law
LJS - The All-Purpose Magical Tent

Now, this week, on the bookshelf:

Installations, by Joe Bonomo
The Heaven-Sent Leaf, by Katy Lederer (page proofs)
Psalm, by Carol Ann Davis


Fate, by Dr. Dog
and hanging around still:

F-ing Smilers, by Aimee Mann
In Rainbows, by Radiohead


At 7/27/2008 7:49 PM, Blogger sam of the ten thousand things said...

Harmonium is a powerful read. And Wright's Country Music is my world. Great choices, John.

At 7/28/2008 3:50 PM, Blogger Steven D. Schroeder said...

Meme answered

At 7/29/2008 12:13 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

I'm jealous of the Katy Lederer proofs. I've been waiting since Winter Sex for another book of poems from her. Tell us what you think...

At 7/31/2008 6:22 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


I like it. The poems are all SHORT. 14 lines. Little blips of things. And they scatter and recombine. It's voice work, and I like that mode.

Right now, I'm thinking it reads a bit like Sarah Manguso's Siste Viator, which I also liked.

When I'm done, I'll have more to say!

At 8/06/2008 5:00 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

13 lines, actually.


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