I was speaking about desert island books with Lance Olsen last week. Which three would you choose? But for the sake of difficulty, there are rules. No Complete Works of Shakespeare – only one play or the sonnets, etc. Also Ulysses by Joyce is so widespread that if it is a pick of yours, simply leave an * at the end of your three picks. Also at least one of the three must be a small press book. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what a small press book is. Mine:
The Complete Poems of Wallace Stevens
I Looked Alive – Lutz
Olsen’s (we didn’t get so far)
The Unnameable – Beckett
18 thoughts on “Deserted Dessert Desert Island”
this was surprisingly difficult. i might switch out the faulkner with Kafka’s Diaries. does that count as a single work?
but, here’s my list:
Go Down, Moses – Faulkner
On the Yard – Braly
Nightwork – Schutt
Sure. Haven’t heard about Braly.
Three different dictionaries.
That’s a good title.
Kim Chinquee – Pretty
Raymond Carver – Where I’m Calling From
John Berryman – The Dream Songs
I can’t pick a third, but here are my first two:
Lydia Millet’s My Happy Life
Selah Saterstrom’s The Pink Institution
Why not the whole Beckett trilogy (Molloy, Malone Dies, +…), or was that considered cheating by your rules?
I would say:
Dante – Divine Comedy (if this is considered cheating [as above], then sub in Milton’s Paradise Lost)
Complete Oxford English Dictionary
Also, Ulysses is kind of a poor choice, since realistically if would have to be
1) James Joyce – Ulysses
2) Don Gifford – Ulysses Annotated
3) Harry Blamires – The Bloomsday Book
which uses up your three slots right there…
1. Henry Darger’s The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion
2. Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis
3. Dave Sim’s Cerebus the Aardvark
And I’d use all the pages to build me a raft and sail home.
Darger is a great idea.
In other news, Ari Up fucking died yesterday. So I don’t know how anything expects to get anything done today.
The Faerie Queene, The Poems of Emily Dickinson (Franklin Edition), Impressions of Africa
The Poems of Emily Dickinson is a good one, and it might be one I’d pick. I don’t know the book by Roussel, but it looks incredible.
The Rousell is great, but there aren’t any good English translations (same problem exists with Locus Solus). Although I think Dalkey’s putting out new editions…? If so, it’s about time.
Why the Faerie Queene? I just remember the Green Knight. Something about a Green Knight. Spenser’s on my reading list though, along with a lot of other epic poets. I’m excited to revisit it these many years later.
I only know Sir Gawain from studying for the GREs back in the day… yeah: something about a Green Knight…
I think The Faerie Queene is the great English epic — I prefer it over Paradise Lost…it’s a wonderfully labyrinthine text that splinters into many directions. And Spenser was a brilliant versifier and he played around with archaic diction to wondrous effect.
Though I’d like to have Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, Woolf’s The Waves, and Gass’s The Tunnel in tow, I think I’d rather have these books with me on a deserted desert island:
SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea, by John Wiseman
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild, by Steve Brill and Evelyn Dean
Walden Pond, by Henry David Thoreau
But who needs books? A TV, a DVD player, a generator, and the back seasons of Survivor would be pretty good…