Author Topic: books to read  (Read 248121 times)

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AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2250 on: January 26, 2015, 09:04:25 PM »
Anyone read poetry? I need some recommendations, no Bukowski tho

Blake, Keats, Neruda, Rilke, Whitman.

I have a hard time with more modern poetry. There are exceptions though...
what do you consider modern/ who are the exceptions?

edit: your post is kind of funny because i have trouble reading keats and blake because they seem almost too traditional to me, although i want to look thru their stuff still

Blake is well worth persevering with. As is Keats. I'm not trying to be too pretentious, they just stuck with me from school.

As far as more modern stuff, that was a lazy term. I should say contemporary. No one in particular, just when I come across it, I find it hard to stomach. Maybe a bit of historical distance makes it seem less trite? I don't know.

I do like Dylan Thomas a lot but being from the same town helps.

More 'modern' would be like Linton Kwesi Johnson, Benjamin Zephaniah, Grace Nichols and Simon Armitage would be the exceptions for Brits. Maybe, Gary Snyder and Sylvia Plath for Americans.

This.

Sylvia Plath must be one of my favorite poets. "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus" are the two most intense poems I've ever read.

Other than that, I also second the notion of Blake persevering. Songs of Innocence and Experience has great poems in it. My favorite Romantic poet by far.

Whitman on the other hand... are you guys really into him? I don't know. To me, he's a) too spritual, b) too patriotic, and c) too optimistic. Growing up in our times I cannot relate to anything he wrote. I'm teaching literature at a university and everytime I read Whitman with a class my approach is as follows: "Ok, guys, Whitman wrote a bunch of bullshit. Let's figure out why." The amazing thing is: it always works. I went about Whitman seriously the first time and it totally didn't work.

Dylan Thomas and Pablo Neruda are great. Rilke too.

abudabi

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2251 on: January 26, 2015, 09:12:59 PM »
i cant read whitman at all. keats seems pretty corny to me personally, no offense. i havent really read much besides ode to autumn and ode to a nightingale or whatever it is tho.

edit: i checked out a bunch of poems by gary snyder and i liked them. i have a sylvia plath tab open with a bunch of her stuff but im too tired for now.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 09:17:20 PM by abudabi »

Mr. Lono

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2252 on: January 27, 2015, 02:41:24 AM »
Check out "Ode To A Small Lump Of Green Putty I Found In My Armpit One Midsummer Morning". Grunthos, bong bong
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N.L.

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2253 on: January 27, 2015, 09:33:51 AM »
I haven't read too much Whitman beyond 'Leaves of Grass' after getting reacquainted with the Norton Anthology of American Literature and deciding to plow through it. I see your points, for sure but there are some literary gems amongst it all.

How did you end up teaching Lit, AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice?


Adam Abbas

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2254 on: January 28, 2015, 12:26:01 AM »
Anyone read poetry? I need some recommendations, no Bukowski tho

Co-sign on Dylan Thomas and Pablo Neruda.

I like Seamus Heaney, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Patrick Lane as well, to name a few. Some of Shelley's work is good. I personally think Margaret Atwood writes some great poetry. And if by chance you're looking to read a book about poetry, Mary Ruefle's Madness, Rack, and Honey is an excellent book, I just finished it. It's a collection of lectures but it's readable and full of insight. Also Ferlinghetti's Poetry as Insurgent Art falls into the same category.

Fun fact: Stephen King reads lots of poetry for inspiration.

You're hollerin' Don Fisher

I'm screamin' Buddy Carr

Makaveli

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2255 on: January 28, 2015, 07:01:07 AM »
Anyone read poetry? I need some recommendations, no Bukowski tho

Blake, Keats, Neruda, Rilke, Whitman.

I have a hard time with more modern poetry. There are exceptions though...
what do you consider modern/ who are the exceptions?

edit: your post is kind of funny because i have trouble reading keats and blake because they seem almost too traditional to me, although i want to look thru their stuff still

Blake is well worth persevering with. As is Keats. I'm not trying to be too pretentious, they just stuck with me from school.

As far as more modern stuff, that was a lazy term. I should say contemporary. No one in particular, just when I come across it, I find it hard to stomach. Maybe a bit of historical distance makes it seem less trite? I don't know.

I do like Dylan Thomas a lot but being from the same town helps.

More 'modern' would be like Linton Kwesi Johnson, Benjamin Zephaniah, Grace Nichols and Simon Armitage would be the exceptions for Brits. Maybe, Gary Snyder and Sylvia Plath for Americans.

This.

Sylvia Plath must be one of my favorite poets. "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus" are the two most intense poems I've ever read.

Other than that, I also second the notion of Blake persevering. Songs of Innocence and Experience has great poems in it. My favorite Romantic poet by far.

Whitman on the other hand... are you guys really into him? I don't know. To me, he's a) too spritual, b) too patriotic, and c) too optimistic. Growing up in our times I cannot relate to anything he wrote. I'm teaching literature at a university and everytime I read Whitman with a class my approach is as follows: "Ok, guys, Whitman wrote a bunch of bullshit. Let's figure out why." The amazing thing is: it always works. I went about Whitman seriously the first time and it totally didn't work.

Dylan Thomas and Pablo Neruda are great. Rilke too.

With Whitman, you have to understand that he pretty much changed poetry. Yes, French poets like Rimbaud (who is an absolute favorite of mine) and Baudelaire had already done some thing he'd done, but Whitman established free verse as well as establishing American poetry. No body had seen anything like his work. In my MFA program, all the teachers, many of whom are published poets, all gush over him.

You guys have good taste. I took a class about Rilke and one about Snyder in my MFA program. Pretty good shit. Though I'd question Plath as being a good poet, she's far overrated.

Anyone read James Wright? Anyone know anybody like that? I've read Berryman, a little Bly, but am looking for others.

Or how about Wright's son, Franz Wright? Or Frank Bidart? Probably our best living poets. If you haven't read them, please do. Good shit.

AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2256 on: January 28, 2015, 12:17:25 PM »

With Whitman, you have to understand that he pretty much changed poetry. Yes, French poets like Rimbaud (who is an absolute favorite of mine) and Baudelaire had already done some thing he'd done, but Whitman established free verse as well as establishing American poetry. No body had seen anything like his work. In my MFA program, all the teachers, many of whom are published poets, all gush over him.


Oh yeah, no doubt about it. That's THE reason why I teach Whitman in my classes in the first place. If it wasn't for his importance for American poetry, I would skip him altogether. My point is rather that most of his poems seem really out of place nowadays. Can readers still relate to his optimistic patriotism or his transcendental spiritiuality? I personally can't. In class, at first, we tried to look at Whitman from a historical perspective and it bored students to death. It was only when I started encouraging and asking for criticism that students got really into it. And these students like most of the poetry we read. In my department, most teachers are not really into Whitman. Most of them teach him, but the majority deal with him critically. But every department is different.

Good call on Rimbaud and Baudelaire by the way!

abudabi

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2257 on: January 28, 2015, 12:20:24 PM »
i love rimbaud. glad to hear you already knew him makaveli.
what about allen ginsberg? or gregory corso?

edit: will check out frank bidart and franz wright

second edit: just read the first poem that came up when i googled bidart. it was about killing/raping a little girl. you wanna recommend something more light hearted? or should i just skip this guy if im not into the dark stuff?
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 12:32:34 PM by abudabi »

AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2258 on: January 28, 2015, 12:25:21 PM »
I haven't read too much Whitman beyond 'Leaves of Grass' after getting reacquainted with the Norton Anthology of American Literature and deciding to plow through it. I see your points, for sure but there are some literary gems amongst it all.

How did you end up teaching Lit, AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice?



Oh yeah, I really like some of his stuff. But compared to other writers, his poetry seems a bit outdated. But maybe that's just me.

I studied English and German to become a high-school teacher in Germany.* Then one of my English professors asked me whether I wanted to teach at an American university for a year as part of an exchange program. Naturally, I accepted. It's really fun so far and I'm learning a shitload.

* The educational system in Germany works way different from the States. You're required to graduate in a specific program to be able to teach at high schools (which is, contrary to the US, a safe and well-paid job). Just because it usually confuses people here when I state that I studied in order to become a teacher...

oyolar

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2259 on: January 28, 2015, 12:53:38 PM »
I'm not a big poetry fan and rarely read it.  I think Ginsberg was the last poet I read a lot of and enjoyed, but that was because of a project for a literature class and I haven't really read any poetry since.  I just can't get into it for some reason.

Makaveli

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2260 on: January 29, 2015, 11:00:30 AM »
i love rimbaud. glad to hear you already knew him makaveli.
what about allen ginsberg? or gregory corso?

edit: will check out frank bidart and franz wright

second edit: just read the first poem that came up when i googled bidart. it was about killing/raping a little girl. you wanna recommend something more light hearted? or should i just skip this guy if im not into the dark stuff?

Herbert White, right? Yeah, his early stuff is wild. That poem's an exploration into the more haunting parts of humanity, not a favorite of mine, but definitely an interesting poem. He took a lot of flack for that one. Even his teacher, Robert Lowell, told him it was not a subject appropriate for poetry. As far as I've encountered, much of his work is pretty unlike that poem. His latest books, Watching the Spring Festival and Metaphysical Dog, are much better/lighter. Some of his subject matter is pretty out there, oftentimes very complex, but he's legit. Very profound.

I have read a lot of Ginsberg. He came to my school in the 90s, my teachers have all these wild stories about him. Like they went to a bar with him and kept hitting on a bunch of guys, name-dropping himself.

I've never heard of Gregory Corso, I'll check him out.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 11:09:08 AM by Makaveli »

abudabi

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2261 on: January 29, 2015, 11:26:12 AM »
yeah herbert white. ill try the metaphysical dog if i can find parts of it online, sounds cool.
that is pretty hilarious about ginsberg. dude was a character. he must have done a lot of readings/lectures, im always hearing about people who met him.
corso is another beat writer, he was good friends with ginsberg. i wouldnt bother with him unless you liked ginsberg though.

do you know of any other important rimbaud stuff besides a season in hell, the illuminations, and the drunken boat?
i know he didnt write for very long, so maybe there is nothing else of value besides his letters. i never talk to other fans of his so i dont really know too much about him.

shark tits

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2262 on: January 29, 2015, 11:46:34 AM »
just started 'last night at the viper room'. da nigga river pheonix started getting pussy at 4 yrs old! take that all you virgins!

straight

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2263 on: January 29, 2015, 12:45:59 PM »
^See leetgeeks sob story below

Makaveli

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2264 on: January 29, 2015, 01:24:57 PM »
yeah herbert white. ill try the metaphysical dog if i can find parts of it online, sounds cool.
that is pretty hilarious about ginsberg. dude was a character. he must have done a lot of readings/lectures, im always hearing about people who met him.
corso is another beat writer, he was good friends with ginsberg. i wouldnt bother with him unless you liked ginsberg though.

do you know of any other important rimbaud stuff besides a season in hell, the illuminations, and the drunken boat?
i know he didnt write for very long, so maybe there is nothing else of value besides his letters. i never talk to other fans of his so i dont really know too much about him.

As far as Rimbaud, there is a lot out there, much more than the things you listed. I'm sure you can find a "Complete Works" that will have more than Season and Illuminations. Also, as far as those major books, depending on who the translator is, the poems can take on new life. Reading Donald Revell's translation of Illuminations versus Ashbery's is a good example. Louise Varese's translations are by far the best. Seek those out if you haven't encountered them.

abudabi

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2265 on: January 29, 2015, 01:39:57 PM »
agreed about the importance of the translator, im bummed on whoever translated my copy of the illuminations. i read them online first and i like whoever translated that version way better. kind of maddening not to be able to read the original. sometimes i am amazed by the difference in translations, like "what the hell did this guy write that it translates to both this and that?"

« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 04:47:39 PM by abudabi »

Makaveli

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2266 on: January 29, 2015, 05:15:07 PM »
agreed about the importance of the translator, im bummed on whoever translated my copy of the illuminations. i read them online first and i like whoever translated that version way better. kind of maddening not to be able to read the original. sometimes i am amazed by the difference in translations, like "what the hell did this guy write that it translates to both this and that?"



Yeah, you have to familiarize yourself with the craft of translation. There's different theories, some try to mimic sound qualities while some take many liberties. It's not an exact science. Each translation you read is someone else's interpretation of the work. I'd recommend Varese or Revell for Rimbaud, though.

yapple dapple

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2267 on: January 31, 2015, 11:37:49 PM »
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 02:27:32 PM by yapple dapple »

Smell Good

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2268 on: February 01, 2015, 12:01:03 PM »


Having another go at this. I checked this out a while ago but never really read it (was reading other stuff). I think short stories suit me right now since most of my reading is done in short bursts here and there.

I'm also reading Consider the Lobster. I've never read David Foster Wallace. Love his use of footnotes and parentheticals, I've actually encountered this before in Neal Stephenson's novels and I think it's a great way to sprinkle in humor

poor alice

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2269 on: February 01, 2015, 04:00:23 PM »
Whitman's stuff I had to read again and again to get anything from at all. Him establishing free-verse as an accepted form of poetry is undoubtedly great but I still feel like he will never be up there with my favourite poets.
In terms of American poets, from studying an intro to american lit last semester I seriously enjoyed Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickinson.
Some poem's of Dickinson's I think you you guys should check out if you haven't already:
(If you have the Norton Anthology of American lit. Vol B):
588 / 536
648 / 547
764 / 754.

As for Poe, I've yet to find anything by him I haven't enjoyed, and not just what's included in the Norton book.

As for other poets, Alexander Pope and his "The Rape of The Lock" will forever be my favourite poem. I'm not sure if (on the whole) it will appeal to absoloutley everybody / every reader of poetry but I think there are so many different aspects in there that are worth appreciating that you would be hard pushed not to find at least SOMETHING you could praise it for.



Skateboarding: come for the fun...stay for the drama.


bea!

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2271 on: February 13, 2015, 06:22:21 AM »
wasn't quite sure if this was the place to post this, but I'm super bummed to hear about the passing of author/journalist David Carr.

http://news.yahoo.com/new-york-times-media-columnist-david-carr-dies-at-58-035438661.html

I can't recommend his memior, Night of the Gun, enough.  

« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 06:43:45 AM by bea! »

oyolar

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2272 on: February 13, 2015, 06:40:56 AM »
I'm also reading Consider the Lobster. I've never read David Foster Wallace. Love his use of footnotes and parentheticals, I've actually encountered this before in Neal Stephenson's novels and I think it's a great way to sprinkle in humor

That's a good one. I've said it before in this thread, but DFW was a much better writer of non-fiction than of fiction.

Chris Hansen is back

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2273 on: February 13, 2015, 07:34:57 AM »
What issue do you take with his fiction?

oyolar

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2274 on: February 13, 2015, 10:05:34 AM »
Here's the response I posted a few months back after finishing The Broom of the System:

Oh man--I didn't like pretty much everything.  It reads too obviously like a young writer.  He is obviously very conscious in all of his decisions and fails in all of them.  His characters are horrible and you don't care about any of them, which usually doesn't bother me except that DFW clearly wants you to empathize with them and care about them.  He is way too influenced by Pynchon in the work and his little Pynchonian sidetracks and tangents are completely useless.  They add nothing to the story or your understandings of the characters or plot.  His parodies of psychoanalysis, psychiatry, education, and pretty much everything else are very heavy-handed and you can almost see him laughing to himself about how clever he is.  He tries to create a fully realized, complex world composed of fully realized, complex characters and does neither.  Plus, the ending is horrible and unsatisfying.  He ties up maybe one of several dozen plotlines which, again, would not be a problem if he didn't structure the work in such a way that he should have wrapped everything (or almost everything) up.  All of those things are not done in the way most postmodern work is where it actually adds something to the work.  He clearly built up everything and then he was just like, "Well--if I don't do all of these things, everyone will think I'm clever and smart!"

I'm almost done (sorry man--I have a lot of feelings about this book).  Finally, the book is transparently structured as a philosophical explication of Wittgenstein's work.  I don't know much about Wittgenstein, but after reading some analyses of him and talking to some people who know him, the entire crux of the novel is based on a faulty extension of his thoughts.  The idea that reality only exists in what can be said of it is not what Wittgenstein believes and in fact is an illogical conclusion to reach from his thoughts and is something that Wittgenstein himself would have probably railed against.  It is simplistically reductionist and, as such, is a weak foundation from which to explore the relationship between reader, author, and text.

Pretty much the only good things are that it is not a difficult novel to get through, so it doesn't take long for its length (I got through with it in maybe 10-12 hours?) and to be honest, you can zone out for sections at a time and miss absolutely nothing.

And the character names!  Holy shit are they horrible! 

I need to talk to someone who has read it because I want to complain about how terrible Lenore Beadsman (the main character) is on pretty much every level and why I seem to have a completely different interpretation of the ending from the few interpretations I've come across online.


And I was actually pretty excited to read the novel because I also read Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and felt that he would be a better novelist than short story writer.  He's so concerned with discussion, explorations of minutiae, and discursive storytelling that his short stories seem stunted.  Like they need more room to breathe or develop.  Unfortunately, I feel like in The Broom of the System, those same issues exist, but just over several hundred pages.  I guess structurally, DFW seems very muddled and unsure how to design and elaborate his work.

Again, I have no problem with those aspects of a work.  I love Pynchon, Joyce, and Nabokov, who do similar things.  It's just when they go into those same areas and use the same techniques, it is much more elegant and masterful.  All of the DFW fiction work I've read is clearly a smart guy trying to show you how smart he is but stuffed under a veneer of a masterful author.  His fiction loses the humanity that makes his non-fiction and his interviews so interesting, entertaining, and insightful.

I think that DFW works better as a person being an author, but in fiction, he tries to be more like an architect or puppeteer and doesn't pull it off well.

That said, I still plan on reading Infinite Jest sometime this year as it's supposed to be exponentially better than his other fiction work.  So I'm not going to write him off completely and am willing to give IJ the benefit of the doubt.

Chris Hansen is back

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2275 on: February 13, 2015, 11:13:09 AM »
I feel you on a few points. He was pretty gassed up on his own intelligence, though I feel like this comes across in his non-fiction just as much as his fiction. I've spent the last few months reading all of it, and funny enough, I've left The Broom of the System for last...Infinite Jest was no joke. It might frustrate you, it drove me a little nuts at points, but I'm glad I stuck with it. It took me almost a full month going hard to finish it. I'd never spent that amount of time with fiction before. All of the complaints you have with BOTS are still present, but there is an underlying sensitivity that was absolutely moving. It was a hard world not to inhabit, after I'd finished.

ROCKxADIO420

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2276 on: February 13, 2015, 02:10:05 PM »
catcher and the rye

oyolar

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2277 on: February 13, 2015, 04:13:28 PM »
I feel you on a few points. He was pretty gassed up on his own intelligence, though I feel like this comes across in his non-fiction just as much as his fiction. I've spent the last few months reading all of it, and funny enough, I've left The Broom of the System for last...Infinite Jest was no joke. It might frustrate you, it drove me a little nuts at points, but I'm glad I stuck with it. It took me almost a full month going hard to finish it. I'd never spent that amount of time with fiction before. All of the complaints you have with BOTS are still present, but there is an underlying sensitivity that was absolutely moving. It was a hard world not to inhabit, after I'd finished.

The presence of that sensitivity is attractive.  That's what I feel is missing from his fiction works and more present in his non-fiction.  That sensitivity and maybe inquisitiveness?, if that's the right word for it.

L33Tg33k

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2278 on: February 14, 2015, 10:11:22 AM »
Currently reading this.



Pretty good anthropology book on the origin and advancement of culture. From the strict population control of hunter gatherers to the evolution of war and kings, Marvin Harris aims to turn contemporary (1977) anthropology on it's head. Everything in the book may be common knowledge or debunked by now, but it is still massively interesting.

AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2279 on: February 22, 2015, 12:38:40 PM »
Just got done reading this. Damn, Bola�o might be my new favorite author! I love how his style is a little avantgardish but not too much. He also has the right mix of seriousness and humor going on.  The Savage Detectives might be my favorite book ever. By Night in Chile is not as good, but still a really interesting read.



Next up is The Crying of Lot 49. My first Pynchon book. I'm through the first two chapters and I like it so far. I have a feeling the plot's gonna get mixed up soon though.



I know some of you (oyolar in particular) are big Pynchon fans. You got any advice for reading the book? For example, symbols to pay attention to? Any help is much appreciated!
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 12:40:11 PM by AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice »