Comment box spammers seem to have found me over the weekend; I came back to a good two or three dozen junk comments. I may have to suspend commenting if it continues, despite the devastating impact I know that will have on national poetry discourse.
Long absence over the past month largely due to general start-of-term busyness, I guess. I'm again teaching an undergrad course on Asian North American literature (this week: Carlos Bulosan; next week: Asian American poetry from the 1970s), as well as (for the first time) a grad course in Asian North American studies. Two things I've concluded from the latter so far: Frank Chin is a much better and more nuanced critic of Asian American writing than you'd think from his over-the-top rhetoric; and the most intelligent and sensitive reader of Asian American literature I've seen is Sau-ling Wong, hands down. Reading Asian American Literature is just good. (I guess it's that Stanford Ph.D.)
In other news, I did make it to the Toronto Film Festival for at least a couple of showings; given the overwhelming schedule, I picked more or less and random, with predictably random results. The closet thing to a big-ticket experience I had was Breakfast on Pluto, for which I waited in the longest line I've ever seen: well over three city blocks long. I enjoyed it in an antic sort of way, although the weird stitching-together of queer-coming-of-age story and IRA violence was jarring and even clumsy at times (e.g. the slow-motion explosion of a disco ball in a bombed nightclub), and Cillian Murphy's performance was compelling despite the occasional Mrs. Doubtfire quality to his breathy falsetto. Still, I got to see Ralph Fiennes shamble up to the stage for the Q&A and Murphy hiding behind his hair as he murmured responses to audience queries.
I also took in an hour-long sampling of films by Ernie Gehr, silent street scenes filmed in New York in the 1970s and recently edited onto digital video: screamingly dull for the first twenty minutes or so and then there was that breakthrough that you sometimes get in the midst of boredom, where the abstract shapes of shadows passing rapidly over a paving stone seemed compellingly beautiful. Not so rewarding was the program of Canadian short films I saw: some hideously pretentious animations; an entertaining visualization of a poem by Al Purdy; and some videos made on a cell phone.
Meanwhile, what you should all be doing instead of reading this silly blog is buying this. If you already haven't.