Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Episode 1346: Halved My Pending Reviews At Last!

Finally wrote the chapbook review this afternoon, so I'm down to four pending reviews. Could probably write another one tomorrow of Phil Jourdan's book, but I'd quite like to crack on with some degree-related work for a change. Have made small steps by reading three collections of AIDS elegies this week, i.e. Mark Doty's My Alexandria, Thom Gunn's The Man With Night Sweats, and Paul Monette's Love Alone: 18 Elegies For Rog. The most moving was the Monette, but at the same time, I also came away with the sense that the collections were addressing themselves to different points in the process of grieving/mourning. Monette's is the pain of acute loss, while Gunn's rage and grief has gone through more processing. Doty's collection is interesting in that if I hadn't seen it mentioned in an article about AIDS and elegy, I wouldn't have considered it to be in the same category as the other two volumes. Wonder if these differences can be reworded into something more academically rigorous? Would definitely make for an interesting argument, considering my essay is trying to contrast strategies of approaching poetry as consolation. I don't necessarily want to conclude that one poet does it better than the other, between Gunn and Monette, so phrasing the argument in terms of certain ways of writing speaking better to certain points in the mourning process seems like a more neutral form of comparison. Also, Edwin Thumboo did get back to me after all! Was heartened to learn that he thinks the research I'm doing will make an important contribution to the study of local literature and that he would like to see a copy of the dissertation when it's done.

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