Friday, February 18, 2011

33. AWP } Paul Dry on a park bench.

Suffering from a bout of angst, I found myself a bench a little ways away from the conference hotels and took out Mandelbaum's Iliad. A gentleman, waiting for his lunch companion on the next bench, asked what I was reading and when I told him he and I had a brief conversation about the translations of Greek and Roman classics that we preferred. In about a minute all I knew on the subject was exhausted. The gentlemen, Paul Dry, told me that he is the namesake of a small press that mainly does reprints, and that if I stopped by his table at the book fair he’d give me a copy of the Arthur Golding translation of Ovid’s Metamorphosis. Thus he unwittingly but ably cheered me.

And his Metamorphosis is a fine edition, based on the edition edited by John Frederick Nims. The cover, designed by Adrianne Onderdonk Dudden is striking—an elegant grid transforming patterns. Also included is an essay by Jonathan Bate that discusses the influence of the Golding Metamorphosis on Shakespeare.

Much later that night found me in a cafĂ© called Luna (for the second time) with poets Kristin Kostick and Andrea Henchey. Matthew Klane, by this time, had called it a night. Andrea was in her own world, possessed by a series of lyric poems she conceived over a gin fizz and had to write down immediately. As text messages. I’m eager to read them/hear them read at the next Inescapable Rhythms.

This left me and Kristin to entertain each other. We talked civilization. What is it, and just how civilized are we? We talked Mumbai: the extreme proximity of its wealth and poverty. Civilization is peace, or freedom from fear, I figure. When we called it a night, I put Kristin and Andrea in a cab and returned to my hotel, where I talked with C.S. Carrier for a while about typewriters. Better than laptops for dictating epistles from the dead. For writing “shapes transformed to bodies straunge.”

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