Saturday, April 21, 2007

Back from Rarotonga/Takahe 60

bloody tourists

I’m back now from Rarotonga after a full week of basically doing very little aside from loafing, reading, snorkeling, kayacking, driving around in a small rental car and letting the days go by. This was our second visit. Before leaving I finished Ian Hamilton’s excellent biography of Robert Lowell; I love the rhythms and sounds in his poems and the mystery of some of them. I’m not sure what they mean but they take me somewhere. (I’m not that fond of his more obscure sonnets and his use of rhymed couplets). Lowell came from the distinguished Lowell family that also includes the fanciful astronomer Percival Lowell who dreamt of grand Martian canals channeling water from the Martian polar caps to dying Martian cities. Robert Lowell suffered from an extreme kind of mania. He’d be alright for most of the year and then he’d begin to ‘speed up’. Early signs usually involved a fascination for a new girl, an increased tendency to engage in lengthy monologues, and finally outright raving about God, Hitler, etc. until the police arrived. Then he plunged into a dark post-manic hangover state where he found it hard to do anything: what we’d now call a bi-polar disorder I guess. He’s a complex character, similar in some ways to Olsen, and was at one time quite a prominent intellectual figure. Hamilton’s account of Lowell’s political influence, including meetings with Jackie O, are intriguing.

This weekend I’ve been busy with family as relatives are here from Florida—I lived in Gainesville, Florida from 1987-1992 completing my Ph.D—and I hadn’t seen them since graduation. We had a good talk about the war: the current issues of the hardly left-wing Time do seem to reflect a current sentiment in the US. Bush is incompetent, arrogant, out of step with public sentiment and grinding down the US armed forces. There is no exit strategy and we all have to endure the rest of his wretched presidency.

I haven’t got to the Armageddon expo or the comic event at the Southern Cross—but I did stop in at Graphic comic store in Cuba and admired the display of original comic art by Dylan Horrocks and Tim Bollinger amongst others.

Shameless self-promotion spot: My poems ‘Albedo’ and ‘Big Bang’ are now on sale in the current issue of Takahe magazine (Takahe 60).

Image from reflection-rarotonga.

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