Saturday, July 5, 2008

In the country and happy

July 4th weekend in Bridgehampton. Have done a ton of work--on my own poems (only three poems left in the old moleskin!), on Hinojosa (nine first draft translations), and wrote about 1500 words of a review of a Garcia Lorca book I'm doing for Performing Arts Journal. I think I need to cut it a little and the deadline is soon but I like how the piece looks. It's a very good book by Maria M. Delgado. One of the strengths, I think, is her discussion of Garcia Lorca's impossible theater. Although she doesn't make this argument, I do think it helps to refute critics who see the surreal nature of Poet in New York as an aberration. These plays, written during and after the period of Poet in New York are very much in the spirit of the surreal that informs that book. She also does a very good job, in general, of describing the plays, the various productions both during his lifetime and after his murder. It's a book I recommend and I'll post when the issue of PAJ appears.

Also, a nice long talk with Pablo today about the problems we encountered in translation (the question had somehow come up) and we came up with three. One is the question of meaning: when Garcia Lorca is at his most surreal the critical question of what does the poet mean by this is practically unanswerable. The second is the issue of biography. The poet of Poet in NY is not Garcia Lorca but a construct who looks like Garcia Lorca and experiences New York much in the same way Garcia Lorca does and is changed by it much the way Garcia Lorca was. But it is not autobiographical (for example, Garcia Lorca goes to Vermont and upstate NY before he begins his studies at Columbia; he visits Coney Island in December but describes the place as though mid-summer). The third is the Whitman poem, which shows how nuanced and eccentric Garcia Lorca was about his own homosexuality and what I think is a desire to claim Whitman not as a homosexual poet but as an American poet (in the same way that Garcia Lorca, finally beginning to come to terms with his own sexuality, wanted to be claimed as a Spanish poet).

So being in the country is more than just writing. There are flowers everywhere. It's swimming (fun with Jesse yesterday playing some kind of water football),playing catch with Jesse (who nearly took my head off with a 65 mile an hour fastball the other day) and watching Wimbledon (bravo Williams sisters), the Mets, eating good food, having good conversation with Katherine, Jesse and Karen. Katherine was working on a pretty little water color of the yard. Jesse has been working a lot on his screenplays. Karen plays piano and since our room where I work is above the piano room it's really nice when she practices. Of course, Cannonball loves it here, being able to run around the yard, chasing frisbees and sticks. Somewhere there were 4th of July fireworks but we didn't see them (nor, I admit, was I wearing my American flag pin). The weather could be nicer. Sag Harbor (where we went for lunch today) could be less crowded but on the whole, all satisfying. Mahi mahi on the grill tonight for dinner, corn, potatoes, maybe some pre-dinner mojitos (the mint is overflowing).

Hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend. We return Monday to Brooklyn where I hope to be as productive. We leave the following Saturday for Maine for a few weeks where I hope to take all these drafts I've been working on and make something happen.



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