Monday, May 15, 2006

Intersections. (reading).

I have always loved how one writer will send me sliding towards another one. A mention, a reference, sending me in search of something new. An epigraph pushing me in a circle back to whence I came. My eye slid down the bookcase of poems, from Bukowski on the top shelf to Ferlinghetti a shelf or two below. A single title squished in between two larger books. A Coney Island of the Mind. The title caught my attention, held it, set off the avalanche that becomes love. Then I noticed the author's note inside. The title comes from Henry Miller's Into the Night Life. Henry Miller who I had first read after reading Anais Nin, almost a decade ago in another country. Who I now returned to, rediscovered essays, something new to capture my mind. The non-fiction slid more easily into my mind, into my heart, than the fiction, which I have always found difficult.

A few weeks ago I had discovered (thanks to a friend, whom I will have to love forever because of this) the poetry of Ilya Kaminsky. His Musica Humana brought me back to Osip Mandelstam, whose poetry I had read years before, in another time. I had read the memoir written by his widow, Nadezhda Mandelstam, Hope Against Hope, one of the shattering, heartbreaking legacies left behind by the widows of Soviet writers. I read many of them at that time. There were so many. So I came back to Mandelstam. And then today, during my weekly bookstore raid, my eye slid down from Bukowski (I always look to see what they have that I don't, which is a lot. Prolific old bastard), and was caught by Burgess. Who I have never quite finished reading. I found a book, opened it. The epigraph came from Mandelstam. A sign? Perhaps. Another intersection.

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