if i said "it's been so long" every time

every post would be titled that.

here is a poem that i've always loved from Denis Johnson, who's recently passed.


Here in the electric dusk your naked lover
tips the glass high and the ice cubes fall against her teeth.
It’s beautiful Susan, her hair sticky with gin,
Our Lady of Wet Glass-Rings on the Album Cover,
streaming with hatred in the heat
as the record falls and the snake-band chords begin
to break like terrible news from the Rolling Stones,
and such a last light—full of spheres and zones.
             you’re just an erotic hallucination,
just so much feverishly produced kazoo music,
are you serious?—this large oven impersonating night,
this exhaustion mutilated to resemble passion,
 the bogus moon of tenderness and magic
you hold out to each prisoner like a cup of light?

Books Read :: February-April 2016

I made the mistake this semester of taking three classes and auditing one. Even though I didn't have to do the coursework for the one I audited, just the reading/participation, it was still too much. I didn't have time to do things that I normally like to do, that are important to me--let alone things that I do generally because I do them. Such as.... writing about the books I read.

HERE are all the books I read from February-April during this semester, excluding re-reads, with brief snippets of thoughts after them...

Caligula by Albert Camus
The Visit by Friedrich D├╝rrenmatt
For my drama class, we read these two plays the same week. I preferred the D├╝rrenmatt because the characters were more interesting to me, particularly Claire, the cruel/eccentric/wealthy woman who returns to her hometown for revenge. Caligula was interesting to me in terms of it as an existential retelling of an old story, but the characters blended more easily.

Snow White by Donald Barthelme
This w…

Books Read :: January 2016

This concluded my "winter break" reads & dove into the beginning of the semester! These books were a great way to start the year. I feel like I read pretty diversely this past month? What a read spanned over time--most of it in the 20th century, but then some Plato. I read men and women, I read American and non-American writers, I read things in translation as well as things written originally in English. I read plays, novels, poetry, philosophy. I didn't really think, when I was doing this reading, about how wide of a scope I was covering compared to past months, but now that I look at, it's interesting to note.
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines This was a book I checked out from the Breaux Bridge Library, but now will, for sure, have to acquire a copy. Ernest J. Gaines is a Louisiana-born writer, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has a center named after him that houses resources about him and his work. He's UL's writer-in-residence Em…

Books Read :: November-December 2015

I actually read a lot in these two months, despite it being the end of of my first semester as a PhD student and then the holidays, and I'm glad I did so. Here's what I read to finish out 2015:

A True History of the Captivation, Transport to Strange Lands, & Deliverance of Hannah Guttentag by Josh Russell
This was a text we read for one of my classes since it's "about" a grad student. It was good; it had its flaws, some of which we discussed in class. I liked the characters I was supposed to like; I didn't like the characters I wasn't supposed to like. I was surprised where I was supposed to be surprised. I definitely enjoyed reading it, but I can't help but read "like an editor" at times, and there were things, had I been on the other side of this book, that I would have liked to ask the writer to reconsider. Sometimes I wonder if the things I dislike are things an editor had a hand in moving in the direction that they wound up in--like …

Books Read :: September-October 2015

::Hums that "Back, back, back to school again," song from Grease II:: because indeed, indeed I am! And loving it! I have realized an important thing, though, learned only recently--despite the semester nearly at an end--my reading career will have to change. In order to get my PhD, I'm expected to be proficient in a variety of ways, and one of them is to be well-read. This sounds awesome, in a way, but is disappointing in others that can be summed up in this: my reading list is no longer my own. This doesn't mean that I can't read for pleasure or discuss, here, the books I do read for pleasure, but it does mean that I will have to change the way I read. I'm not sure exactly yet my reading schedule will adapt, but I hope to still continue to provide brief notes on the works that I do finish. As for now, I will stick to what I've always done, and that is to only write about books I've read cover-to-cover. I think, though, that this might have to be some…

Exciting Things in the Mail, VI

It's been awhile since an "Exciting Things in the Mail" post, but quite recently, after moving to a new state in a new region, I've gotten some rather exciting mail. I love mail. I probably say that every time I post an update like this... But mail when you have a new address is especially great. It's like, "I am here! I really live here! Look, there's my name!" So all the best mail that I've gotten since I moved to Louisiana has been especially wonderful:

I ordered this book from Strand Books recently, when I was going through the syllabi and making sure that I had every book my professors had assigned. (See, what I am doing down here in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana is going back to school, to get my PhD in English/Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.) I bought most of the books within the first week of being here, some from school, some from Amazon. For these last few, though, I shopped around some indie booksellers, inc…

Books Read :: April-August

Wow, I know, I know. It's been awhile since I've posted. But I've been reading! Perhaps not as much to "finish books", though, which is typically what I am broadcasting in posts like these. My goal for total books read this year might not be met. Again, though, this doesn't mean I am not reading! I am just reading differently. Right now, I have my nose in an anthology about English Studies, a book of 16th century poetry by Sor Juana, and the in/famous rhet/comp textbook They Say, I Say.

My not-posting is mostly due to recent dislocation-- not of any limb, but just moving. I was living in Philadelphia back in April--by the end of May, Geoff and I packed up our house, moved out of it, couch-surfed for a few weeks, and wound up living in a camping trailer on a hayfarm for the summer, after which I packed up a car and drove down to Louisiana, where I am currently enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

All of my books aren't her…