at work this week i was given seaton’s THE SON MASTER by a teenager who told me i’d become enlightened upon reading any page. and so i was.
peter seaton was a prose artist who, along with using subtle stepping stones of sound, mimicked and subverted common narrative strategies so that we had the shape, if not the exclusivity, of quotidian thought. (distant relatives might include rob stephenson’s recent PASSES THROUGH or the more abstract stories of Robert Creeley, e.g. those in “Presences: a text for Marisol“).
here’s a paragraph (which is a pleasure to type out):
Until the lean years of the revolution it’s usually the other way around — a man steals an idea circulating as a plan. Say there was slander, it was worked out in the parallel twenties. All the players left the country suddenly saying so you were hearing the actual sound. To prove dreamily I was a child, I think, the most truthful one. And the war, I don’t know, at the same time I like it very much. It’s easy to look at. The most popular saying or appropriate interest called the custodial style used to call it a search in an ancient city or a landscape clearing up and a woman walks by and says there’s some anniversary movement created by a hope monument made of brick and the bricks broke through and were just put back. And if you don’t dig around inside it wears off quickly, take that to the others sleeping at night and falling apart (p 47).
seaton died in 2010. nathanial otting has a great collection of links on seaton here, which includes a moving tribute by michael gottleib (who, by the bye, recently published a simply titled, lovely and bittersweet memoir and essay of the nyc poetry scene in the 70s).
w/ seaton reading parts of THE SON MASTER
nick piombino remembrance of the their student years at CCNY and subsequent friendship
3 seaton books scanned and available via craig dworkin’s eclipse site