Word On The Street

Kenneth Shorr, fine art photographer and associate professor at the University of Arizona. (His exhibit Surgically Induced Childhood will open at the UA Joseph Gross Gallery on January 17, and includes two performance pieces:) Because of a myriad of neurological maladies, I find myself both reading and re-reading several books simultaneously, including the novel Concrete, by Thomas Bernhard. A couple of people told me to read Bernhard because he's as depressing as I am, but I've found his work more funny than anything. I'm also reading Imagining Monsters, by Dennis Todd. It's a very interesting book about how the confidence of science was undermined in the 17th century by a woman who fooled the entire scientific community into believing she'd given birth to rabbits. She and her husband put weird organisms in her body, then she would pretend to go into labor and he would pull them out. I'm reading T.S. Eliot, Anti-semitism, and Literary Form, by Anthony Julius; The Failure Of British Fascism, by Mike Cronin; and The Erotic In Sports, by Allen Guttmann, as well. I'm also rereading Nabokov's Lolita, which is the greatest thing I've ever read in my life, and it gets better each time. It's so beautifully written and unrelated to the world.

Jami Macarty, director of this year's Tucson Poetry Festival: I'm reading The Poetics of Space, by Gaston Bachelard. Bachelard is a philosopher, and this is a book essentially about his philosophy on poetry--specifically, the idea of space and inhabiting space. He writes about both the intimacy and the immensity of space, and how it can define everything. He's interested in how the poet makes an image of a space--forests, rooms, closets, shelves, corners--then creates an idea of how that image is inhabited. He also discusses why the poet is attracted to these kinds of spaces, how there's something about physical space that is a sort of metaphor for the imagination. For example, he writes: "A nest, and this we understand right away, is a precarious thing, and yet it sets us to daydreaming of security." It's abstract but very simply written.

Bob Beaudry, businessman, water activist: I read a lot of periodicals, Time, Newsweek, and I read the newspaper every morning. I don't watch TV or listen to the radio; I learn about what's going on in the world through reading periodicals. I need to stay in touch with the economy around the world so I can run my business, and reading fiction doesn't help with that. The only book I've cracked open in years, to tell the truth, is the Bible, the New Testament. It gives me guidance in my life. Besides that, I sometimes will re-read Dr. Atkin's Superenergy Diet just to refresh my memory on it--I've read it before--and Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw's Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach. It tells you everything you want to know about vitamins. It's the best vitamin book written by far--I don't want to live forever, but I'm trying to improve the quality of life while I'm alive. They give footnotes on everything--you can go over to the library and look up every study he cites. It is by far, to me, the most accurate and informing book on vitamins ever written. TW

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