Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Trudy Pitts

Unfortunately, sadly, Philadelphia's "musical treasure" - "the best-kept secret in jazz" - pianist and organist, Trudy Pitts, has passed.

When I lived in Philadelphia in the mid-1980's and early '90's, I went to hear Bill Carney (her husband, drummer and vocalist) and whatever other fine musician was featured with them and the resident bassist that day, in the Meiji-En now legendary Sunday jazz brunches, and, before that, at Jewel's, my favorite jazz club, on North Broad Street. She was always just terrific "never a boast or a see-here" and her solo CD, produced by Mr. C, and titled "Me, Myself and I" is beautiful and forever.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

excerpts: from George Oppen and Charles Olson

Oppen, from section 27, "Of Being Numerous"

It is difficult now to speak of poetry ---

about those who have recognized the range of choice or
those who have lived within the life they were born to---.It
is not precisely a question of profundity but a different order
of experience. One would have to tell what happens in a life,
what choices present themselves, what the world is for us,
what happens in time, what thought is in the course of a life
and therefore what art is, and the isolation of the actual

* * * * *

One must not come to feel that he has a thousand threads in his hands,
He must somehow see the one thing;
This is the level of art
There are other levels
But there is no other level of art

Olson, from "Only the Red Fox, Only the Crow"

We shall not know, but you
remember this: the two-edged worth
of loveliness
The night's for talking and for kissing

And when, on summer field
two horses run for joy
like figures on a beach
your mind will find us,
as we have found,
within its reach.

This, then, under the leaves
or under snow,
you who come after us,
we send you for envoy:
make most of love.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jim Carroll: reviews of THE PETTING ZOO

The knives are out for Jim Carroll now that he is dead.  The two reviews I have read so far of Carroll's posthumous novel, THE PETTING ZOO, are beyond simply negative.  It is incomprehensible to me how one can be jealous of a dead man.  Both reviews of Carroll's novel are infested with obvious jealousy, and the most recent one, by Richard Hell (nee Meyers), in THE NY TIMES BOOK REVIEW (Dec. 12th) demonstrates only how in U.S. literary culture an unintelligent third-rate hustler is able to spew his shite into a major publication.  If you think this is harsh, note just one sentence from Hell's venomness diatribe.  "Carroll was a continuous generator of entertaining anecdotes featuring himself.  It beat working."  Or, as Hell writes in the "review": the book is "clumsy... the characters  seem like puppets and the sentences often lumpy...a mess."
The other review I have read, by Thomas Mallon in THE NEW YORKER, hides its venom more successfully, but in sentences like "this new book seems depressingly unnecessary" and in the closing paragraph: "...Carroll was at his desk, ransacking the exhausted imagination inside his vanishing body, surely knowing that its very real gifts had long been spent" one can see how this self-described "libertarian Republican"  who is proud of his photos with Cheney and Bush wishes he had one iota of Carroll's genius.  These resentful  "reviews" read much like Charles Simic's rant against Robert Creeley, after Creeley's death, published in NY REVIEW OF BOOKS. (Responses to which @ - 2007/10/17, and - June 28, 2008.)  
Patti Smith wrote a brief introduction to THE PETTING ZOO, and the blurb from her fine "note to the reader" excerpted on the back cover sets a different tone: "In the monastic seclusion of his room, Jim Carroll, with a prescience of his own mortality, reached out and drew this novel - his last work - from the nucleus of his mysticism and remembered experience." 

(N.B. 28 Dec. The most well-balanced and the fairest review I have read is by Susanna Sonnenberg in The San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Dec.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

bear facts in new jersey

one week open season for (not, unfortunately, on) bear-killers began yesterday in new jersey. 7000 permits to kill were issued. each permit holder is allowed to kill one bear. there are, supposedly, about 3000 bears living in new jersey. however, that figure is of unconfirmed bear sightings people called in. as the website "tiny green bubble" notes: "in a state that is notorious for big hair on women and bear like hair all over men, certainly some form of sighting confirmation should be made before assuming that the hairy thing crossing the street by the nail salon was a bear and not just someone's husband." 265 bears were killed the first day. there were many "nuisance" complaints this past year of bears rummaging for food. no human injuries were reported, however. the last person to be killed by a bear in new jersey was in 1870. new jersey superior and supreme court judges refused to grant the bears a stay of execution. new jersey judges have also ruled that the number of protesters at wildlife sites must be limited to 25.

the new jersey deer cull is scheduled to begin in January.