Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A. Van Jordan

A. Van Jordan is coming to UofM as the last of the four potential new hires. So far Raymond McDaniel is far and away my favorite for the job. It's clear he's really invested in the program and the students. But I am interested in seeing A. Van Jordan at work. He has a reading tomorrow -- if he makes it in on time. The snow storm here has foiled his plane reservations. I plan to sit in on a workshop he's doing on Friday. According to the Norton Web site, his most recent book Quantum Lyrics, "explores the intersection of the infinite world of physics with the perplexities of the human condition." Below is a poem from the book.

Einstein Ruminates on Relativity

INT. Theater. 1931—NIGHT

Premiere of City Lights starring CHARLES CHAPLIN, New York City, Albert Einstein is Chaplin's invited guest. They sit together and the audience stands to applaud them.

Charlie Chaplin tells me
that the world loves him
because they understand him
and the world loves me

because they don't, which doesn't seem fair
but it's true: This is relativity.
Journalists ask for a definition,
but the answers are all around:

a woman loves you for a lifetime
and it feels like a day; she tells you
she's leaving, breaking it off,
and that day feels like a lifetime,

passing slowly. I listen to Armstrong
play his cornet and it sounds
like a Wednesday afternoon in heaven;
some hear Armstrong play

and it sounds like a Monday morning
in Manhattan. Some hear the war on the radio
and they hear acts of love; some
hear details of the war and it sounds

futile. Outside my window
people decry the rain;
somewhere else people pray
for rain to run down their faces.

(A. Van Jordan, from Quantum Lyrics, 2007 Norton)

No comments: