Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Notes on Skidmore, Margot Livesey and Richard Howard

Obviously, I've had no time to blog while at Skidmore. Neither do I have time to blog now. So this is not blogging, this is thinking in blogging. Somehow I've got to process everything I've heard in the past month. I'll try to work through my notes in 20 minute increments. 20 minutes today, 20 minutes tomorrow -- we'll see how it goes. These are going to be random, approximately in chronological order.

-- Margot Livesey made a very important distinction in the writing process between Revision and Editing. Writing -- Revision -- Editing, she said. Where, I suppose, Revision refers to the major changes in the structure, point of view, voice, etc and Editing has to do with working with the text on the level of individual sentences and word choice. So I can see how some writers can edit while they are writing, but revision is something else, revision is about the concept.

"Language is matter and music," Margot said. "We should revise once for matter and once for music." This is how the quote stands, so I get a sense that maybe she too uses the words "revision" and "editing" interchangeably. Or maybe it's just me trying to impose a system on everything I hear.

-- Richard Howard amazed everyone buy his checkered outfit. The pants where black and the tie was red, but everything else: the shirt, the shoes, the belt, the glasses (!) were checkered, black and white.

He quoted somebody: "Poet is a prophet facing backward." Google tells me that the phrase belongs to one of the theorists of the German Romanticism, Friedrich Shlegel, who had said that "Historian is a prophet facing backward." Also Nietzsche seems to have used the phrase.

"nymphs," Richard Howard said, is a word that's hard to say in English.

He talked about the computer as an ideal instrument for poetry. "You can erase a hundred times & repeat the same state." Not sure if my quote is a faifthful one in language, but the sentiment remains.

"I read everything," he says.

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