As one of the first days back home I went walking around the city. It was a nice day out. I was glad to be taking in the start of the New York fall: right when the weather balances out into a week of pleasant, sunny days that are still warm enough to go without sweaters. I zoomed in on the express bus and spent some time wandering around Lower Manhattan until I came around Union Square. And then I ran into Strand Bookstore.
Strand is a huge bookstore that’s been open since the 20s and is pretty well known. And with good reason: you can find pretty much anything there and at a good price. Outside the store they have shelves of books that they sell anywhere from $5 down to a buck. Intrigued, I perused the shelves. I was pleasantly surprised.
I remember talking to a friend over email who had made the jump to the East Coast a few months before me. We were talking about our university as most of the alumni are wont to do. He said something that sparked something in me: no matter where we go, there are going to be bright, personable people we can have good conversations with. He’s right. Good ideas don’t just stay put. Neither do people. A good deal of my friends moved away. It’s natural. And yet, halfway across the country I run into a friend…
Now, being this is New York and anyone can charge whatever price they want (usually an exorbitant one) for anything, I considered buying this book priced at dollar. I only visited the Poetry Foundation once and was utterly baffled by a reading one of UChicago’s professors (John Wilkinson) gave of his own work. I ended up discovering the work of Canadian poet Todd Swift that night, however, so all was well. But taking only about five minutes browsing the shelves I was even more surprised to spot yet another piece of work I’ve been acquainted with.
The above are the contents from a book of critical essays called Pollock and After: The Critical Debate, edited by Frances Frascina. In art history class we read both of Greenberg’s essays for one discussion. I would say although disappointed with my grade in regards to the amount of effort I put in, I don’t think I took a more informative class (in terms of sheer facts and concepts I hadn’t known). I didn’t buy either of the books, but I took a picture of the back of the poetry book (which was the translation issue) before leaving.
I took a train up to the library on 42nd and 5th to check out – lo and behold – Ovid. I took out Metamorphoses since I never really read it and a lot of what I had read in college had referenced or made allusions to it. And even now as I look back and casually browse around I’m met with another connection:
I’m only on Book II, and I’m leisurely reading it in the yard after coffee in the mornings. Kind of like how I did in the summer, only now I’m home and it’s fall. I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Who knows what new forms the familiar will take? It’s exciting.