Friday, April 14, 2006
My Walk With Bob
Cover Image: Gregg Chadwick
"Ossi di Sepia"
Bruce Boone's "My Walk With Bob" has been described by Dennis Cooper as a seminal and perfect work. Originally published in 1979, Ithuriel's Spear - a small press based in San Francisco - has brought out a new edition of this important book.
"My Walk With Bob" contains a collection of short narratives by Bruce Boone and is regarded as a core text of the New Narrative movement emanating from Robert Glück's writing workshops in San Francisco.
Robert Glück writes in the afterward of this edition that "the beginning of modernism is a man (Baudelaire) walking through a city. Bruce experiences his own version of the fragment in a walk with me through a part of San Francisco that reminds him of earlier eras both in his life and the life of our culture."
The image "Ossi di Sepia" which graces the cover was steeped in my reading of modern poetry, especially Baudelaire and the Italian poet Montale. The image's title is taken from Montale's Italian and means cuttlefish bones. There is something of the skeletal in Boone's writing as well. "My Walk With Bob" is brief, edited down to a strong yet supple form, and carries its weight of thought with deep elegance.
San Francisco State has an insightful essay by Robert Glück on the ideas and inspiration behind their works. It is nicely titled-
"Long Note on New Narrative". Both Robert Glück and Bruce Boone were interested in the paintings of the Neo-Expressionists, especially the work of Fischl and Schnabel. Robert Glück writes, "Meanwhile, Bruce and I were thinking about the painters who were rediscovering the figure, like Eric Fischl and Julian Schnabel. They found a figuration that had passed through the flame of abstract expressionism and the subsequent isms, operating through them. It made us feel we were part of a crosscultural impulse rather than a local subset."