Reading List/Discussion Questions

The author recommends:

Nox, by Anne Carson (worldcat | buy)
Dictee, by Theresa Hak Kyung (worldcat | buy).  “A major influence on me – multi-genre, image + text work that includes significant sections of (auto)biography.”
My Life, by Lyn Hejinian (worldcat | buy)
The Language of Inquiry, by Lyn Hejinian (worldcat | buy), esp. “The Rejection of Closure.”
The Midnight, by Susan Howe (worldcat | buy)
The Nonconformist’s Memorial, by Susan Howe (worldcat | buy)
The Devil’s Blind Spot, by Alexander Kluge (worldcat | buy). “He got me started using hypothetical interlocutors in dialogues.”
The Maximus Poems, by Charles Olson (worldcat | buy). “For his unrepentant use of ‘documentary’ materials in a poem.”
Running in the Family, by Michael Ondaatje (worldcat | buy)
The Cold War, by Kathleen Ossip (worldcat | buy)
The Cantos, by Ezra Pound (worldcat | buy)
I, Afterlife: An Essay in Mourning Time, by Kristin Prevallet (worldcat | buy). “A radical experiment in and theorizing of elegy and memorials generally.”
“The Book of the Dead,” in U.S. 1, by Muriel Rukeyser (worldcat | buy)
Dementia Blog, by Susan Schultz (worldcat | buy)
The Book of Jon, by Eleni Sikelianos (worldcat | buy)
Paterson, by William Carlos Williams (worldcat | buy)
Spring and All, by William Carlos Williams (worldcat | buy)

Theoretical texts:

Camera Lucida, by Roland Barthes (worldcat | buy)
The Arcades Project, by Walter Benjamin (worldcat | buy)
Reflections, by Walter Benjamin (worldcat | buy)
lluminations, by Walter Benjamin (worldcat | buy)
“The Banality of the Document: Charles Reznikoff’s Holocaust and Ineloquent Empathy,” in Journal of Modern Literature 32:1, by Todd Carmody (jstor)
Archive Fever, by Jacques Derrida (worldcat | buy)
“Manifests,” in diacritics 26, by Rachel Blau DuPlessis (projectMUSE)
“Mourning and Melancholia,” by Sigmund Freud (available here)
Ghosts in the Mirror, by Alain Robbe-Grillet (worldcat | buy)


Questions to consider from Joe Harrington about Things Come On:


1. Is there an analogy or metaphor between the mother’s battle with cancer and the Watergate scandal? If so, how would you describe it?

2. Why is the book composed in this hybrid form? Why not write a prose narrative? Or a collection of poems?

3. The book is subtitled “an amneoir” – a contradictory combination of amnesia and memoir.  How does the author negotiate this contradiction?

4. What is the relation of the author (today) to the events that took place in the 1970s? Or to his mom?

5. How do the pictures work? Do they illustrate the text, or is it more complicated than that?

6. What is the relation between the endnotes and the body of the text?

7. Why are there so many lists? How do they relate to the themes of the book?