Friday, October 24, 2008

The Tertiary Man

My first thought for the title to this journal was "Labials and Gutturals"--also from get the picture--I guess I enjoyed the reading on the plane. In fact "this maundering yokel" is from the same poem as labials and gutturals, "The Plot Against the Giant" (which is another great name for a journal).

(Well, actually, my first thought was "Fits and Starts" but that's common and taken--taken because common. Fits and starts is how I read. I've got a lot of books and rarely do I finish any I start--at least not in one concerted singular effort. It's why I've grown partial to essays and reviews--less commitment.)

The first poetry book I read cover to cover was Mark Strand's The Late Hour; the next, Nicholas Christopher's 5 Degrees; I've read a few since then, notably a couple from Donald Hall, but not many. And once past adolescence and Stephen King (you cannot disagree that the man grabs hold of you) and course work there have been very few novels or stories I've read complete--All of Salinger; Heart of Darkness; Crime and Punishment; Veronica by poet N. Christopher; much of Borges.

However, I have read my share of critical work: much of Harold Bloom (if nothing else he is immensely entertaining); Auden's The Dyer's Hand; Borges, again; Frank Kermode and Denis Donoghue; Stanley Cavel; some Howard Nemerov; Guy Davenport; William Gass (can't read his fiction); Helen Vendler (I am at a loss to figure out her preeminence as a poetry critic)...and so on. Also, I've enjoyed nearly everything that Adam Phillips has done--my favorite being Darwin's Worms.

I am the tertiary man in this sense--reading at third hand. This Maundering Yokel is an attempt to find my way back to reading at its source; to actually read the words of a Maker and not of those who comment. Of course, in this journal I become one who comments...but this is a step up! From Tertiary to Secondary...and the dream of being a Primary Man.

No comments: