5-Book-Diet Round-Up by Diana Khoi Nguyen

I think I read more books in the past 4 weeks than I have annually in the past several years. I still have some books on my nightstand I'd like to get through--and there's still the weekend ... but Tupelo's 30/30 starts on Monday! Oh god!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's the full list I tackled:

Failed/Still in Progress:

  • Gaston Bachelard - The Poetics of Space
  • John Berryman - The Dream Songs [3/4 finished, hopefully done today]


  • Mark Levine - Debt (reread)
  • Mark Levine - Enola Gay (reread)
  • Rainer Maria Rilke - Duino Elegies
  • Mark Strand's Man and Camel
  • Karen Volkman's Spar
  • Monica Youn's Barter
  • Cynthia Cruz's The Glimmering Room
  • Sarah Gridley's Weather Eye Open (reread)
  • Lucie Brock-Broido - A Hunger (reread)
  • Lucie Brock-Broido The Master Letters (reread)
  • Lucie Brock-BroidoTrouble in Mind (reread)
  • Donald Revell - A Thief of Strings
  • Donald Revell - Tantivy
  • Donald Revell - The Bitter Withy
  • Lynn Xu - Debts and Lessons
  • African Myths and Tales
  • Yoko Tawada - Where Europe Begins (reread)
  • Frank Stanford - The Light the Dead See
  • Jorie Graham - Hybrids of Planets and of Ghosts
  • Julie Carr - Equivocal
  • Mark Wunderlich - Voluntary Servitude

Week 4, Day 7: No Surprises by Diana Khoi Nguyen

  • Mark Levine's Debt and Enola Gay (reread, so counts as 0.5 each) [DONE]
  • Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space
  • C.D. Wright's Steal Away  [DONE]
  • John Berrymans' The Dream Songs [HALFWAY]
  • Rainer Maria Rilke's Duino Elegies [DONE!]

While I should/maybe be proud of what I've pummeled through for this week, I'm disappointed that I'm not closer to finishing this week's goals. It is possible that I finish The Dream Songs today, but honestly: it's such a downer that my emotional ennui/depression from reading about Henry/Mr Bones is keeping me from moving as a rapid pace.

Depressing to read Berryman's Dream Songs? How surprising, Diana!

I do want to start the Bachelard--so maybe I'll take a break from sad/angry Henry and read about SPACE, which I think is a neutral topic? A girl can hope.

In other unrelated news, this week has been the blasts from the past week. And for a moment in my Berryman-induced-ennui I feared that in x number years, I wouldn't have any persons/moments for which to have future blast(s) from the past. I'm suffering from self-perceived friendlessness.

But what if it is true? I need a new narrative.

Week 4, Day 6: Upbeat, but Behind by Diana Khoi Nguyen

  • Mark Levine's Debt and Enola Gay (reread, so counts as 0.5 each) [DONE]
  • Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space
  • C.D. Wright's Steal Away  [HALFWAY THROUGH!]
  • John Berrymans' The Dream Songs [a couple pages in!]
  • Rainer Maria Rilke's Duino Elegies [DONE!]

Was sick and stayed home from work yesterday. Since books are kept at work, I'm behind!

Hopefully will finish CD Wright's selected today and make good headway into Berryman.

JB remarked that basically I have more than 5 books this week since Wright and Berryman consists of multiple books collected . . . and I told him that I like to try to make myself fail. But there's the buffer of Friday-Sunday, where it's still March, which means maybe I can still complete everything in this month.

Poeming begins Monday! Terrifying. I hope to read 1-2 books a week during poem-month, but not sure how things'll shake out yet.

My life is one big TTD list, but I'm enjoying the learning/challenge. Without structure, I'm a sloth. Cf: yesterday all day.

Week 3, Day 7: Early Completion + Sprint toward Finish by Diana Khoi Nguyen

Somehow, managed to complete week 3's books with some hours to spare. And I only just now realized that I've been gorging, bingeing all March--at least there are no negative physical side effects (still got decent hair, nails, skin, teeth--all the valuables of a corpse.)

It's been tough deciding what the final week's books shall be, so here's what I've got planned for March 22-28:

  • Mark Levine's Debt and Enola Gay (reread, so counts as 0.5 each)
  • Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space (ambitious and cruel to add this as part of the 5-book-a-week challenge.)
  • C.D. Wright's Steal Away
  • John Berrymans' The Dream Songs (also ambitious but delicious--in the way that blood is delicious)
  • Rainer Maria Rilke's Duino Elegies (if I can find my copy).

What didn't make the list were the spouses/significant others: Forrest Gander, Emily Wilson. I also wanted to reread Brenda Hillmans' Loose Sugar and have decided that in the remainder of my hours at work, I'll try to do Hillman AND Wilson.

Basically, I like to see myself f(l)ail.

Not sure what to do with the straggler dates of March 29-31. Perhaps I'll gift myself that book-diet-free time to actually ruminate on all I've processed/notated to prepare for my grueling 30/30.

Doom is near! And I will wear a wonderful dress for him!

Week 3, Day 5: "Everyone knows an unworshipped woman will betray you." by Diana Khoi Nguyen

Update for this week:

  • Mark Strand's Man and Camel [done!]
  • Karen Volkman's Spar [done!]
  • Monica Youn's Barter [done!]

Rereads: (counts as 0.5 each):

  • Sarah Gridley's Weather Eye Open
  • Lucie Brock-Broido's A HungerThe Master Letters, and Trouble in Mind

Beginning the great LBB rereading (in chronological order) today, and I'm savoring each moment--like when you get a cone vs. cup at the ice cream/gelato shop.

A bit of pressure in figuring out what the last 5 books should be--seems so final! And JB got me this amazing book on unicorns when we went to the Cloisters on Sunday. I didn't know I'd be such a fan of unicorns--or more accurately, a fan of captured/wounded/bleeding unicorns.

Week 3, Day 1: Potential for strength, but weak knees: a colt out of the cave by Diana Khoi Nguyen

Here's the roundup for March 15-21:

  • Mark Strand's Man and Camel
  • Karen Volkman's Spar
  • Monica Youn's Barter

Rereads: (counts as 0.5 each):

  • Sarah Gridley's Weather Eye Open
  • Lucie Brock-Broido's A HungerThe Master Letters, and Trouble in Mind

I think you should envy the dreams I'll have when I sleep this week.

Week 2, Day 7: Basically caught up + new goal = Sisyphean by Diana Khoi Nguyen

  • Cynthia Cruz's The Glimmering Room [done!]
  • Donald Revell's A Thief of Strings [done!]

  • Donald Revell's Tantivy [done!]
  • Donald Revell's The Bitter Withy[done!]
  • Lynn Xu's Debts and Lessons [done!]
  • African Myths and Tales [only 90 pages left and there's still daylight out]
  • finish taking notes/rereading Yoko Tawada's Where Europe Begins [doneeee]

Am proud to report that it looks like I've read all the books for this week plus caught up on the spillover from last week!

And because I'm no sissy, I proposed the following to JB last night over pork chops, gravy, and brussels sprouts: how's about we watch one Criterion Collection movie at dinner every other night in the month of April (whilst we're in mad-poem-writing-marathon-mode?). I figure, our eyes will be tired of photo-less words, but we could probably manage some subtitles, disturbing/odd/beautiful imagery of CC films! I also think this is ambitious but am enjoying the exhaustion I carry from attempts to culture myself.

In other news, I also plan on reading some version of the bible after all these spring months have passed.

Just when I've checked off an item, the list expands. The best kind of Sisyphean.