Desert Island Book List
Consciousness, that master poet, never forgets that final touch
even when the heart itself does.
Awhile back in blogland, there was a spate of writers listing
what books they would take with them to a desert island.
Having spent a little time over my life in places where I couldn't
get the books I needed, you remember how this kind of list can have serious consequences
in terms of readerly frustrations.
For one thing, for example when I lived in Rapallo, Italy once for
six months I realized not only quality, but quantity can be a real issue
for readers who have all their time free and want to read all the time.
Also, in this town there was no tv and no movie theaters either, no
bookstores with English language books either. I brought a huge
suitcase full of books, but that went quickly. Luckily there was an English
language library. Every single one of Virginia Woolf's books were there, a
lot of other stuff and then I went through all of that. Though all this
was annoying, I got so bored that that's how I started to make collages, which
I made by obtaining large quanities of European magazines in Genoa, with
the help of my friend, the artist John Freda.
Somehow thinking about how Gill Ott had died the same day that the Chax/Boog
City reading took place (I had had a strange thought the night before that I should post
a part of a poem by Gill Ott ; I had heard of course that he was very ill, that very soon
he would no longer be with us). Today I thought about
the title: *Knowing When To Stop* by Ned Rorem. That Gill Ott's timing of the moment
to die was a kind of spirit-poem- an elegie concrete, perhaps. In any case, thinking
of that title gets me back to the desert island issue.
I think what I would mostly take with me would be diaries- for example, the diaries of the American
composer Ned Rorem. Rorem is the author of *The Paris Diary*, *The New York Diary*, *The Nantucket Diary*, *The Later Diaries*, *The Final Diary*, (which, of course is not the final diary) and the more recent *Knowing When To Stop*. Having these books, as a group, that I've never
had a chance to read exhaustively, but have nibbled at endlessly, would be the equivalent
of having a complete daily blog to read daily for a long period of time that evokes the dailiness of
an inventive and witty mind.
Quote from *The Paris Diaries*:
"'Nothing is worse than death. And if one consoles oneself
that death is the end of all, it's also certain that nothing is
worse than life.Why work, Why bother? For of that which was
Nikolai Nikolanievitch nothing remains. (Tolstoy on his brother's
(to be continued)