For those MARM participants who have already turned the last page in a novel you chose for MARM, I’m so impressed. I’ve only read a few more chapters in Cat’s Eye after starting last weekend. They’re remarkably short chapters, so they fit in between page refreshes (I’ve never spent so much time thinking about Georgia and Arizona!)—but what fits even more tidily are poems. Hopefully this week I won’t be so distracted by political developments.
Regardless of the reading plans I might have had, the only Top Row square I’ve checked off is Poetry Collection: True Stories (1981).
In the title poem, readers learn the “true story is vicious / and multiple and untrue / after all.” Still, we read on, learning that “we are born from stones” and “sex grows from trees” (in “Landcrab” and “One More Garden”). I feel like maybe I’ve read “True Romances”, as though I remember that finger at the bottom of the cup. I knMAow I’ve read “Spelling” many times, but I regularly forget that’s where this comes from: “A word after a word / after a word is power.” There’s Rain and a Sunset I and we have Dinner and we have Christmas Carols. But these nights are not silent: “Nineteenth-century / ditches are littered with small wax corpses / dropped there in terror.” FalalalaLA.
In the second row, I’m working towards the final square: Graeme Gibson Book. (This will take time!)
A volume like Graeme Gibson’s The Bedside Book of Beasts: A Wildlife Miscellany (2009) poses a challenge for me. I approach with caution, fearful of flipping to a piece like “An Elephant’s Death” by Sylvia Sikes. The mourning rituals of elephants are so profoundly moving, a testament to all that humans do not understand about other creatures. But, then, there is intense company, when one stumbles on a piece like François Leydet’s in which he writes: “When I speak of my cousing the toad or my brother the coyote, I mean just that. And I am ever saddened and dismayed to hear so many of my fellow humans denying this commonality. Their hubris, I fear, may be our undoing in the end.
My third row remains untouched, unless I daub the centre square, but I’ve filled the final square in the fourth row, Post 1991, which means I have two in that column when I finish the Bedside Book.
The second volume of Angel Catbird, To Castle Catula (2017), follows the same format of the first volume, which Naomi discusses here. A summary fits into two pages of this volume, and it begins with the accident, which caused the protagonist Strig to have the DNA of his pet cat “Ding” (for Schrödinger and an owl) mixed into his own; all that is in the characters’s past now, but the ongoing battle with Professor Muroid is ongoing.