The Plain Sense of Things
By Wallace Stevens

After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things. It is as if
We had come to an end of the imagination,
Inanimate in an inert savoir.

It is difficult even to choose the adjective
For this blank cold, this sadness without cause.
The great structure has become a minor house.
No turban walks across the lessened floors.

The greenhouse never so badly needed paint.
The chimney is fifty years old and slants to one side.
A fantastic effort has failed, a repetition
In a repetitiousness of men and flies.

Yet the absence of the imagination had
Itself to be imagined. The great pond,
The plain sense of it, without reflections, leaves,
Mud, water like dirty glass, expressing silence

Of a sort, silence of a rat come out to see,
The great pond and its waste of the lilies, all this
Had to be imagined as an inevitable knowledge,
Required, as a necessity requires.

via Poetry Foundation and Andrew Goldstone

I always forget about Stevens, a glacially-cold Modernist who hasn't been de-canonized by Wokesters yet because his writing is so opaque (don't worry, they'll get to this lawyer and insurance company executive eventually). The poem above is at once achingly melancholy and arch. "Silence of a rat come out to see" -- an eerie phrase. One could be forgiven for not getting past the first stanza, where his "savoir" brings reading to a dead stop. Possibly it's a synonym for "knowledge," but it's a verb in French and not usually unaccompanied by "faire" or "vivre" in English. This deliberate land mine puts the reader into a questioning frame for the remainder, as he or she lurches from unexpected simile to incongruous line break, to eventually contemplate The Great Pond.

bibliography (books on music)

Jim Aikin (ed.), Software Synthesizers
Jim Aikin (ed.), Power Tools for Synthesizer Programming
Tim Barr, Techno: The Rough Guide
Tim Barr, Kraftwerk: From Dusseldorf to the Future (with Love)
Brian Belle-Fortune, All Crew Muss Big Up: Journeys Through Jungle Drum & Bass Culture
Sean Bidder, House: The Rough Guide
Pascal Bussy, Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music
Pascal Bussy and Andy Hall, The Can Book
David Byrne, How Music Works
John Cage, A Year from Monday
Michel Chion, Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen
Chris Cutler, File Under Popular
Kodwo Eshun, More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction
Bruce Gerrish, Remix: The Electronic Music Explosion
Peter Hammill, Killers, Angels, Refugees
Eric Hawkins, The Complete Guide to Remixing
Chris Kempster (ed.), History of House
Colin Larkin, The Virgin Encyclopedia of Dance Music
Simon Reynolds, Generation Ecstasy
Simon Reynolds, Retromania
Curtis Roads, Microsound
Ira L. Robbins (ed.), The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records
Mark Roberts, Rhythm Programming
David Rosenboom, Biofeedback and the Arts: Results of Early Experiments
R. Murray Schafer, The Soundscape
Peter Shapiro, Drum'n'bass: The Rough Guide
Peter Shapiro (ed.), Modulations: A History of Electronic Music: Throbbing Words on Sound
Dan Sicko, Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk
Rick Snoman, The Dance Music Manual: Tools, Toys and Techniques
Allen Strange, Electronic Music: Systems, Techniques, and Controls (2nd ed.)
David Toop, Rap Attack #3
David Toop, Ocean of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound and Imaginary Worlds
Nigel Trevena, Lou Reed & The Velvets
Tony Verderosa, The Techno Primer: The Essential Reference for Loop-Based Musical Styles
David Walley, No Commercial Potential: The Saga of Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention (original and updated editions)
Marc Weidenbaum, Selected Ambient Works Volume II (33 1/3 series)

art publications - bibliography

Some art books are going into boxes -- how to find them again? This form of bibliography emerged:

A. Artist (alphabetical by last name)
1. Book about artist
2. "Artist's book"
3. Catalog of single artist exhibition
4. Artist biography
5. Book of artist interviews
6. Book of artist writings (e.g., Robert Smithson, Vassily Kandinsky)
7. Documentation of artist projects (e.g., Claes Oldenburg Store Days)

B. Exhibition (alphabetical by exhibit title)
1. Catalog of group show
2. Catalog of "theme" show
3. Auction catalog

C. Book about art (alphabetical by author)
1. Theory
2. Survey
3. Essay collection
4. How-to guide
5. Journalism (e.g., Naked by the Window)

D. Periodical (alphabetical by publication title, chronological within publication)
1. Magazine
2. Zine
3. Gallery guide
4. Directory (e.g., AiCA annual list of art critics)

reading list

The Count of Monte Cristo (finally getting around to Dumas, thanks to free ebooks -- he reminds me of Balzac, but faster-paced)
The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas
Twenty Years After, Alexandre Dumas
Aurora Rising and Elysium Fire, Alastair Reynolds
Divergence, C.J. Cherry (please, no more Foreigner books -- Cherryh has forgotten the value of an "antagonist" in moving the plot forward)
The Green Brain, Frank Herbert (screams "mid 1960s")
Thorns, Robert Silverberg (screams "early to mid 1960s" even though written later)
Revenger, Shadow Captain, and Bone Silence, Alastair Reynolds
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
Several ebooks by contemporary NYC writer Zak Zyz: Hawks at the Diner, Xan & Ink, The Master Arcanist, The Right to Bear Arms, and Survival Mode
The Cook, Harry Kressing (hat tip JS)
The Confessions of Arsène Lupin, Maurice Leblanc
The Ministry of Fear, Graham Greene

Kidnapped (notes)

Public domain ebooks might be a good way to stay amused and edified during plague time. For example, Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, known as a boy's adventure story, in fact details the intricacies of manners, social position, notions of honor, and the limitations of masculine pride in the Scottish highlands, during the time of the Jacobite uprising of the middle-1700s. The Wikipedians say the novel is about "justice," and that's in there, too, among uncounted arguments about how gentlemen should behave. It begins with a rousing shipboard battle with an alarming body count for a boys' book (or maybe that's what makes it so), and then tracks the two main characters through various physical trials as they cross the wild, sparsely populated Scottish outback. Their narrative includes many encounters with hill people, scrupulously describing dialects and customs, and the writing is fairly brilliant throughout. The Bloomsbury Group excommunicated Stevenson from the canon for some reason, relegating him to the children's section of the library, even though his admirers included (as the Wikipedians tell it): "Jorge Luis Borges, Bertolt Brecht, Marcel Proust, Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, Cesare Pavese, Emilio Salgari, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, Vladimir Nabokov, J. M. Barrie, and G. K. Chesterton."