Friday, October 1, 2010
I don't have time for a proper write-up of Harryette Mullen's Mixed Blood talk and Holloway reading last night, but here are some brief impressions of the reading. She's been at work on a family history project that has led her away from poetry (the subject of her Mixed Blood talk earlier in the day), but in the meantime she's been practicing a kind of poetic discipline by writing a tanka a day. The reading was of these new daily tankas. Some were better than others, but they seemed to me to really get at a Japanese aesthetic in their brevity, their observant quality, and their ability to register differences in similarity -- moments that acknowledge differences between animals and humans, between humans and their environment, between people, and yet at the same time make of that difference a commonality or even identification. The poems' dailiness shows--sometimes they comment on recent events in the news--and they are very much Los Angeles poems, for the most part. They were different from the writing by Harryette Mullen that I'm used to, but there was still that element of wit and humor that characterizes her other writing. I also thought Seulghee Lee's introduction was smart and useful.