Monday, April 12, 2010

A Time Before Slaughter and Other Updates

I've started to teach Paterson for the first time, and I am structuring a whole course around it, so I was expecting to be posting more, but the little insights proliferate and flow away. I did finally get a new copy, and it's nice to have some clean pages (to dirty again . . . ruing how the mind continues), and then another copy of the older version made it my way, just as I was starting to reflect on transcription inconsistencies (the true mark of "overreading"?) I had Paul Nelson come in to class today to talk about his Patersonesque project about Auburn, WA nee Slaughter in his A Time Before Slaughter; in his long poem, the absence of water flowing seems to be an interesting inverse of the presence of the falls in Paterson. That is, instead of the falls and its water being a source of energy and industry in Paterson, here, because of the way the snow melts off the mountains in these parts, the settlements would have been impossible without getting rid of the water--in the form of damming and rerouting or eradicating the natural waterways. . . . with the attendant displacement of native Americans and natural resources. This connection to Paterson in the Pacific Northwest will be important for this class since I'm asking students to imagine their own Patersons, using a combination of creative research and writing using Google maps as an interface. We'll be doing Frank O' Hara, Alice Notley, Robert Smithson, and other related writers since this class is a reformulation of the "everyday life" class that I've taught before, here and at Brown, but in the past with less of an emphasis on poetry.
In semi-related Williams news, some mention of Williams made it into this new piece of mine just out in Triple Canopy on the rolled r, called "R, Adieu."

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