Late night last night with my old blues brother Jim Chapin, at the Mill. Neat place in old factory, out in Greenville - took me back to the 60s. Blues & folkies gather there to play for each other. We did some jug music with Jim & friends, heard some excellent harp players, & banjo & bluegrass singers...

Silly picture of Jim & Colette & me, several yrs ago


Berryman, Blackmur & the "American sublime"

The website digital emunction has posted a mini-essay of mine, on "the American sublime".


If you go to the preview of Lanthanum, & look at the 1st poem, I'm happy to see how the beginning (including the snow in line 1) predicted my daughter's cover photo. But I'm thinking especially of line 19. (The shade there, in the picture, is the shade of the bridge.) Forms a sort of "decussation" (cf. Sir Thos. Browne)...


Lights are on today at the dumpster island. Here's to one memorious detective.

Saarinen's tuning-fork

See Gabriel Gudding's excellent essay on the Gateway Arch. I hadn't come across the "tuning-fork" metaphor before, but it made an independent appearance in Lanthanum.


Saarinen synchronicity

Just 11 days shy of 11 months ago, in mid-December 2008, I began writing this long poem Lanthanum, which originated in an odd dream I had had a few days before, about the Gateway Arch monument in St. Louis (something I'd never seen, nor thought about previously).

On Monday, I finished the first book of Lanthanum (1st of a projected 3 volumes). Today I self-published it via Lulu (see previous post). & when I got home from work, & stretched out on the couch, & opened the NY Times... there was an article about a new exhibit at the City Museum of NY : on Eero Saarinen (architect of the Gateway Arch).

The gateway monument, by the way, is in the form of a "catenary arc" - the shape a flexible string or line makes when hung upside-down. Jasper Johns has painted a whole series of works incorporating the catenary arc.

Lanthanum Bk I - now in print

The first volume of Lanthanum is now available in book form. (You can preview it there.)

Cover photo by my daughter Phoebe. (View of Mississippi shoreline, from bridge in Minneapolis.)


& last of Lanthanum, pt. 4. Tout-toot.
& a little more Lanthanum. (Coming near the conclusion of part 4.)
some primitive Lanthanum.

(Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to show some of the original format on the blogged version. There are extra spacings between some phrases in the final 2 stanzas of this section.)


One way to read Lanthanum is to think of it in terms of Jasper Johns. The method of playing variations on a few favored symbols.... even some of the same symbols. Hart Crane is a major presence. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is a catenary arch.


Lanthanum : another explanatory note

Lanthanum.... may be a little hard to read (too conventional? too unconventional?) - & even harder to understand.

It's a long poem, which is about 1/3rd complete at this point (at least that's the plan). It's slowly (hopefully) gaining momentum; it's a process of accumulation & syncretism, if you will, of symbols & images & meanings. By syncretism I mean (using the term very loosely) a mixing-together of personal & impersonal, private & historical, religious & cultural... aiming toward a kind of fusion - an amalgam, a lanthanum alloy or compound, meant to burn more clearly & brightly as it slowly rolls forward...

It's epigram or motto could be a line from one of Osip Mandelstam's poems : "an arch appears in my muttering" (or mumbling). The arch in question has many-sided meaning... but paramount is the reference to the Gateway Arch monument in St. Louis, which itself takes on a collection of symbolic reverberations or (metaphorical) analogies...


Lanthanum, downstream


another Lanthanum paper airplane



p.s. now linked to some of my books at Amazon. The only link missing as yet is my book partially set in the Amazon (Rest Note)...