In Smiley’s World

As preparation for my most-anticipated film for 2011, based on one of my favorite novels of all time, I’m currently listening to the recent Radio 4 adaptation. (Later, I plan to re-watch the television adaptation and to re-read the book, of course.)

I’ve just finished listening to the second of its three parts this morning, which means I’m as fully immersed as work and the rest of my life allows, which led to several misadventures this morning (and no, this is by no means an attempt at a Le Carre pastiche; I doubt I’ll ever have that man’s facility with language).

I arrived at the office and immediately opened the briefcase handcuffed to my wrist my bag, which contained a highly-sensitive dossier recommendation letter I wrote for an agent a student who was picking it up that morning from my local runner the Department secretary. The student requested for this letter by dropping me a note in a dead-letter drop my pigeonhole last week. He arrived as I was encoding preparing the document for his pick-up this morning. I was momentarily startled, as if he broke cover, but I simply handed him the letter and wished him luck in his mission application.

The next bit is a little funnier since I virtually sound like I’m in the intelligence business here, with minimal moments of sous rature:

One of my research assistants handed me the highly-confidential (it really was, as indicated by the stamp on the sealed envelope I was given) mission briefing project appointment from HR. (Come to think of it, it IS a mission briefing, since it details a special and somewhat secret project I’ve been tasked to do.) It was a vital document that needed to go to my contact in Personnel, who had been calling me about it for the past two weeks, so I immediately went out and headed over there to pass it on.

Since I’ve been quite absent-minded these days, it took me a while to notice the envelope had my name on it as a receiver: I was so overwhelmed by the importance of the document, which up until this morning I didn’t even know existed, that I thought it was something for Personnel’s eyes only. Realizing my mistake, I opened it, clumsily tearing the envelope in my haste, certainly looking as if I was about to read something I wasn’t supposed to. I signed the document, but realized at the last minute that I needed to take note of details (like my salary) I needed to tell Control my wife.

So I took photographs of the document with the camera on my mobile phone.

I also picked up my paycheck today, and of course, I had to show my papers faculty ID first before signing a release form that had me leaving Accounting with a smile on my face and Smiley on my head heart head heart END TRANSMISSION.

POET

178. The four classes of play—if I can recall, I no longer own the book: competition, make-believe, chance and vertigo.

What a coincidence! I was just discussing these ideas with the students in my Information Society class. I wish I could remind Kearney that these ideas are from Roger Caillois, who uses the Greek terms: respectively, agon, mimesis, alea, and ilinx.

(And that link has a great set of explanations of the terms, including its relationship to improvisatory paidia and structured ludus.)

POET : Douglas Kearney : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Curtis Faville on Robert Grenier’s Capital Disruptions of Syntax

Syntax is a kind of inertia, which, once allowed to gain momentum, creates a music of continuity. Objectifying that inertia, cutting it up into its constituent parts, and then arranging them in unlikely orders or positions, allows their discrete character(s) to be exposed, played and replayed.

via The Compass Rose: CAPITALIZATION in Grenier’s Series: Poems 1967-1971

Three Reasons to Love Dangerous Minds

Their feature on loudQUIETloud (the Pixies documentary) is mostly taken from the Onion A.V. Club, but here are three examples of original content from Dangerous Minds writers that I found equally interesting for different reasons:
  1. Mind Your Own Business: Socialist Post-Punk Funksters Delta 5
  2. Blood of a Poet (Jean Cocteau, 1930)
  3. High Noon at Friedrichstrasse: The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall

From Bishop To Deane

“The Nit Pickers” is Ward Sutton’s new Drawn To Read (a book review in comic form) about the “centenary editions” of Elizabeth Bishop’s poems, prose, and correspondence with The New Yorker.

(I’m trying not to get excited over the title of Bishop’s “In The Village” for reasons that have little to do with her, although I was thrilled to have discovered a poet named Nichola Deane while looking for links about Bishop.)

Aside from an abiding interest in Romantic poetry (an area I’m currently pondering), Deane has nine blog entries about Nick Cave (she also has PJ Harvey‘s official site on her blogroll), once interviewed Clive James on F. Scott Fitzgerald, has a poem-cycle about Lee Miller in Jean Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet, and counts Bishop, Patti Smith, and Maya Deren among her triptych of influences. They’re certainly on mine, too.

Timothy Donnelly

I once posted an excerpt from a great interview with poet Timothy Donnelly, but I’ve yet to write about how captivated I am by his poems and poetics. His recent collection The Cloud Corporation has gotten rave reviews, and he’s been compared to Wallace Stevens and Hart Crane (and Jay-Z).

What I’d like to do here for now is link to the text of “The Cloud Corporation” and his reading of it, as well as a review that discusses the difficulty and duplicity of his work, especially with regard to selfhood (and which also compares him to Jay-Z). All of those are themes I’m seeking to explore in my thesis. Well, not Jay-Z, but you know.

Free Beer

(No, not this one.)

I’d like to read The Waste Land And Other Poems. The new one, that is, written by John Beer, another Chicago poet. The title poem takes a very different tack from Wendy Cope’s “Waste Land Limericks” and Ann Lauterbach‘s “Alice In The Waste Land” from Or To Begin Again, but is just as (more?) impressive.

He also has a pantoum called “Total Information Awareness” and several “Sonnets to Morpheus” here and here (that’s Morpheus the character from The Matrix), but it’s “J. Beer 1969-1969” from that last link that really gets to me. It is, appropriately, a haunting piece of work.