Set Brow to “Middle”…

…and fire.

I’m as happy as a pretentious little word muffin can be – awaiting me in my work mailbox was the first issue of my subscription to The New York Review of Books. Now I’ll never miss one bit of Freddy Crews’ dismantling of the Freudian orthodoxy.

I could lie and say that I’m just getting it for the David Levine drawings, but that would be well, lying. Fact is I am what you would have to call a faggoty intellectual, and no amount of mucked up ocher twill is going to change that. And sadly, I’m one of those intellectuals who reads more book reviews than he ever reads books.

Speaking of books, I’m two thirds of the way through James Schuyler’s diary, and a sad tome it is. Day after day of beautiful descriptions of Northeastern countryside are pushed aside by anxiety, failing health and a dwindling circle of friends. I’m surprised by it. In one lump-inducing entry he writes about wishing that just once he would receive an honor before it had already been given to his good friend John Ashberry. It’s the small dissapointments that can often bleed the most.

I seem to be going on a bit of a New York School poetry kick these days. weird because it’s a subject I never really gave much thought to before.


  1. Schuyler blew me away when I first read him extensively. There’s a certain honesty and humanity to both his emotional and his landscape description that is — for me — shocking in its originality.

    I am a little embittered — but, I hate to say, not surprised — to see that he was often overlooked among the New York poets when he was put beside the challenging experimentalism of Ashbery and the defiant, aesthetic “glib”ness of O’Hara. These other two — both very impressive poets — could be “sold” a little easier, I think, because of their more easily identifiable “masculine” characteristics. (I’d have to explain that a lot more, I know, but that is my gut instinct.)

    I wish there’d be a good bio of Schuyler, especially one that got into the aesthetic/psychological aspects of his and Porter’s relationship. I am fascinated.

    Have you read Barabara Guest? She wows me.

  2. Was John Ashbery a Heather?

    Jimmy was a very troubled man, and deeply insecure socially. John Ashbery at least could command a sociable veneer. He could be easy to be with, and he possessed a wide range of acquaintances and supporters along with an academic career. Jimmy, on the other hand, survived on the kindnesses of friends.

    And that whole bunch always seemed so high school.

  3. Well, Mr. Blake, if you are a faggoty intellectual, then you certainly are one HAWT faggoty intellectual, as your beautiful phrase no amount of mucked up ochre twill amply demonstrates. Woof.

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