Double Bill: “The First Monday in May”; Lynn McGee Interview by Elaine Sexton

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Linda and I recently watched “The First Monday in May,” a very fine documentary film on the intersection of the fashion world and “high art.” The title refers to one of the few days that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is closed to the public; it is hardly empty space, though. The museum hosts a major annual fundraiser on that day, which in the case of this particular film featured an exhibit about the confluence of Chinese fashion on the Western world. I confess that I have never been able to whip up much enthusiasm for fashion or to understand how couture could be an equivalent for literary consciousness. From a very early age, it was clear to me that economic privilege permitted one layer of society to deploy fashion as a way to make those who did not possess any physically attractive features even more marginal and disregarded. It was a way of spitting on another person’s soul.

With the exception of Ron Silliman and his commentary on Project Runway, I have known very few writers or artists who were interested in fashion. After watching “The First Monday in May,” however, I have had a tiny awakening. The challenge of assembling the exhibit and staging the fundraiser proved to be an intense viewing experience. I had to stop it after an hour, in fact. Linda and I felt pulled into the vortex of each moment’s refulgent intentionality: nothing was done outside of a devotion to the exquisiteness of each moment’s possibility. The material and the immaterial embraced each other with complete commitment to the future’s need for present tense rarity. Even if you loathe the idea of fashion more than I did, I urge you to watch this film. It was pure succor.

Poetry remains my primary interest, however, in keeping this blog in motion. I regret that I can’t review as many books as I would like to, but will get to some of them in the next couple of months. Others will just have to wait until next year. In the meantime, I want to post an interview featuring Lynn McGee, one of the poets I have been able to review in recent months (May 11, 2016).

A Conversation Between Poets: Lynn McGee and Elaine Sexton on Loss and Love

A Conversation Between Poets: Lynn McGee and Elaine Sexton on Loss and Love
by Elaine Sexton
October 4, 2016

Should the conversation make you curious about Lynn’s earlier poetry, here is a reading she did on a public access television show I did called “Put Your Ears On”: