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PHILIP SALOM

Poet and Novelist

 

All’s Write with the World

Always fascinating to find how the world fits in with the writing. When it does, I mean. When it does. Especially when a problem in the writing requires some 'helping' right answer from the world.

I was reading through the final versions of the MA Carter poems before Keeping Carter goes off for design: in one poem, Carter finally gets dressed and goes downstairs while the Goldberg Variations are playing on CD. The problem? Which variation is playing as he walks down the steps and (he) claims a chromatic scale is descending with him? Several numbers sounded nearly right in the phrasing, and others very wrong, until it seemed only one number (in rhythm/sound) worked in the lines, and that number was ‘eighteenth’. So the line is there, with the eighteenth variation referenced as playing. Being amanuensis for Carter, and being thorough, I selected Glenn Gould's famous CD of the Goldberg Variations, the same one Carter refers to. And played it. The main thematic structure of the 18th ... is of notes stepping down.