Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dear Joshua Beckman, What have you been reading while on the road?

Dear Sarah,

Read Horace the other day to some folks building (and destroying) a scale model of Rome.
Also read Catullus but found myself far more in the mood for Horace glorifying rural life.
And also reading Louis Aragon's Paris Peasant all about wandering around the city.
So strange counter impulses for me right now,
and carrying around but not really reading much of The World and Its Streets,
by Larry EIgner and Unconscious Memory by Samuel Butler.

See you soon,


Ode II, 15 (trans, Burton Raffel)

Soon, these royal palaces will be empty
Acres for the plough, fishponds wider than
The Lucrine Lake will be everywhere, and the flat-leaved
Place tree will push out

Regal elms, and violets and myrtles and hosts of
Fragrant flowers will scatter their perfume
Where once the fertile olive grew
In rich groves,

And thick-branched laurels will keep out
The sun. Romulus never meant it
So, nor long-haired Cato, nor any of
Our simple fathers.

They owned almost nothing, but Rome
Was rich beyond measure: no citizen boasted
A porch paced out in ten-foot lengths,
Open to the cool northern winds,

No citizen would dare offend the gods, would
Refuse to build them wonderful shrines, of rare
Marble, and every city was made a delight
At everyone's expense.

I love how even his email reads all poemy-like(can I make 'poemy-like' an official new Boswellian literary device? Yes? Good.)

Joshua will be reading at Boswell Book Co. on Monday, April 20th at 7pm.
Joining him will be two Milwaukee poets (hand-picked by moi), Derrick Harriell and Drew Blanchard.
I hope you can join us. It's going to be a real fiesta.

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