But what I'm reading right now is great...David Markson's new novel "Vanishing Point." It's not really a novel. That's what Markson specializes in: unnovels. The conceit of the book is that it is actually a bunch of quotes, facts, and observations printed on 3x5 index cards that an author has been collecting in hopes of somehow using them toward his next book. That next book turns out to just be the index cards. Thematic disjointedness...a disjointedness that goes somewhere as the index card factoids turn into a roving monologue on art and culture, especially the connections and disconnections between different artists and times, and the endless cycle of destruction and rebirth that marks art, politics, history, etc. Meaningless coincidence; meaningful coincidence. Who died where, what they said, and whether it was largely the same thing that was said a thousand years previously.
Of course, not everything written on those index cards may be true: some are fantasies masquerading as facts. For instance, I really just can't believe that Wallace Stevens and Hemingway ever got into a fistfight on Key West. Ideas of order, indeed.
Maybe I like this book because it feels like a continuance of my college education; so many of my classes were focused on this idea of destruction and recreation, of tracing lines across time and genres. I feel at home with this book at the same time that it keeps up my interest...also reminds me a bit of a poem called "The Six-Winged Seraph," that I read in an anthology of postmodern Russian writing, a poem that is itself a reply to Pushkin's "The Prophet," which has also generated an artistic reply in the form of Vrubel's "The Six-Winged Seraph."
And a few years ago, I actually wrote a reply to the new Russian poem, involving overheard speech. Makes me feel all plugged-in.
Anyway, will be working on tweaking sestinas this week, and preparing for the great and enormous task of submitting things for publication. Because being rejected one-on-one is no longer enough for me. I must be rejected en masse.