Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Much Xanadu about nothing

"I'm starting to think something is just deeply wrong with the youth of America. First of all, a truly disturbing number of them are interested in writing fiction. Truly disturbing. And more than interested, actually. You don't get the sort of things I've been getting from people who are merely...interested. And sad, sad stories. Whatever happened to happy stories, Lenore? Or at least morals? I'd fall ravenously on one of the sort of didactic Salingerian solace-found-in-the-unlikeliest-place pieces I was getting by the gross at Hunt and Peck. I'm concerned about today's kids. These kids should be out drinking beer and seeing films and having panty raids and losing virginities and writhing to suggestive music, not making up long, sad, convoluted stories. And they are as an invariable rule simply atrocious typists. They should be out having fun and learning to type."

- David Foster Wallace, The Broom of the System

Okay, so I couldn't find the nerve to get started on IJ, so I thought I'd build up to it and start with The Broom of the System instead (the book DFW wrote, no, PUBLISHED, when he was twenty-fucking-four. And the thing is 470 pages long. And all of it - so far - pure delight. Have I mentioned how much I hate this guy?), which I'm having a real lark reading, though it's also brought on an attack or two of deja book particularly with respect to this post. Sigh.

***

In other news, the latest edition of the Guardian Poetry Workshop is out, and features a bunch of poems in response to Coleridge's Kubla Khan (a poem I must confess I've never personally managed to get too excited about; it's all right, I suppose, but if I want trippy dream sequences I'll stick with Rimbaud, thank you) among which a familiar name puts in an appearance.

11 comments:

Space Bar said...

Everything I read, I'm amazed by. The stories in Oblivion - I'd like to read them again after a good long while so I don't see premonitions retroactively - are fanTAStic.

Oh, this story (though after Broom) in Playboy is supposed to be his 'first work of fiction in a national magazine'.

km said...

Space bar: linking to Playboy deserves a NSFW tag, no? :)

Space Bar said...

km: oops! didn't think of that - sorry!

Anonymous said...

and he's a footnote maniac too!

n!

equivocal said...

Hmmm. Fred D'Aguiar sure is a tough customer in a way that I like, and his annotations (in their language if nothing else) are superior to many of those written by GPW "mentors". Yet, I disagree with him about Aseem's poem (one of his best that I've seen), which I like a great deal for its sharp and vividly textured voice. I think D'Aguiar dismissal of the poem as one-sided satire is unfair, I read the poem as sympathetic. I like Coleridge and I like Joplin, and I'd love to see them on stage together.

Falstaff said...

SB: Thanks for the link (I love "Adidas heel"), though you don't seriously expect us to believe you were reading Playboy only for the stories, do you?

n!: Ya, I know.

equivocal: I agree. My reading of the poem was that it was meant to be playful rather than satirical. Also, I'm not entirely sure where D'Aguiar saw a villanelle in there.

Space Bar said...

falsie: of course i do!

MockTurtle said...

Completely off topic, but thought this might interest you;

http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1191930

An example of the fine work that IIPM graduates undertake and the explosive impact that they have upon the community.

Falstaff said...

SB: Ya, that's what they all say

MT: Interesting. I'm always reluctant to assume guilt until proven, especially when it involves arrests made by the police in a high profile case, but anyone who scores 92% in OB has to be at least a little psychotic.

ankita said...

The only way our class was able to forgive Coleridge for KK was by constantly reminding ourselves that he was 'substantially' influenced when he wrote it.

Preeti said...

re OB grades - you would know, wouldn't you?