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This semester I’m teaching an MFA seminar called “Mad Girls, Bad Girls: Writing Transgressive Female Subjectivity,” so I’m reading around a lot in that subject matter.  At the moment I’m finishing up Marie-Hélène Huet’s Monstrous Imagination, which explores ideas about the female body, art, and monstrosity, and is particularly interesting in light of some of the bizarro-world things that have been said recently by politicians like Todd Akin.

I’ve also been dipping into Adolf Holl’s The Left Hand of God: A Biography of the Holy Spirit, which is exactly what it sounds like, and Georges Didi-Huberman’s Invention of Hysteria: Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpêtrière, which explores (among other things) ideas about gender and representation and includes some amazing photographs taken during the nineteenth century at Paris’s asylum for “insane and incurable” women.

As for poetry (and unrelated to the above mad/bad-ness): I’ve been re-reading Maxine Chernoff’s Without as well as A House in Summer – both of which are deeply beautiful and deeply humane.  Each time I read either one, it surprises me – just continues to open and open.

(An aside: though this doesn’t count as “reading” exactly, since school started back up I’ve been shutting off my head at night by listening to books on tape – most recently M.R. James’ Ghost Stories of an Antiquary and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.  It’s a weirdly soothing way to fall asleep: I lie there with my laptop on the bedside table, turn out the light, and put on the earphones, then wake up on and off during the night with all these words still filtering through my head.)

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Published Sep 27, 2012 - Comments Off

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