Archives for posts with tag: Mad Men

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I KNOW MY PORK
by Heidi Czerwiec

I assume pork, blood sausage.
It’s an excuse to get disgusting.

Longline boning: it’s like
what’s in a corset,

these long strips that keep everything—
(I have bruises.)

Women pinched and tightly wound.
Like an Amazon, I’m built.

You don’t see there’s restraint;
people are very naughty things.

They ask me if it was good;
I tell them when it’s not.

I cause a ruckus.
I’m trying to learn my lesson.

SOURCE: “Christina Hendricks Isn’t All That Fussy,” Esquire (August 3, 2009).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve long been fascinated with Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan on Mad Men: as that character, her luscious body is in constant friction with the constraints of those times, both of fashion and social expectations. I tried to convey that erotic tension through this erasure.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Heidi Czerwiec is the author of Self-Portrait as Bettie Page (Barefoot Muse) and has recent poems and translations appearing in storySouth, Able Muse, Crab Orchard Review, and Barrow Street. She teaches creative writing at the University of North Dakota. Visit her at www.heidiczerwiec.com

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In a 1956 PARIS REVIEW interview, interviewer Jean Stein asked William Faulkner about the difficulty some readers experienced trying to read his work. Here is the excerpt — priceless!

INTERVIEWER: Some people say they can’t understand your writing, even after they read it two or three times. What approach would you suggest for them?

FAULKNER: Read it four times.

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Find Faulkner’s PARIS REVIEW interview here.

PHOTO: Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and friend Joy (Laura Ramsey) ponder William Faulkner‘s novel THE SOUND AND THE FURY (1929) in “The Jet Set” (Mad Men, Season 2, Episode 11).

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MEDITATIONS IN AN EMERGENCY (Excerpt)
by Frank O’Hara (1926-1966)

 Am I to become profligate as if I were a blonde? Or religious as if I were French? 

          Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous (and how the same names keep recurring on that interminable list!), but one of these days there’ll be nothing left with which to venture forth. 

          Why should I share you? Why don’t you get rid of someone else for a change? 

          I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love. 

          Even trees understand me! Good heavens, I lie under them, too, don’t I? I’m just like a pile of leaves.  

Read the rest of the poem at poetryfoundation.org.

“Meditations in an Emergency” is found in Frank O’Hara’s 1957 poetry collection of the same name. The 52-page book, reissued by Grove Press in 1996, is available at Amazon.com.

Photo: MAD MEN’Don Draper (Jon Hamm) peruses a copy of MEDITATIONS IN AN EMERGENCY during Season 2 of the series.

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In a 1956 PARIS REVIEW interview, interviewer Jean Stein asked William Faulkner about the difficulty some readers experienced trying to read his work. Here is the excerpt — priceless!

INTERVIEWER

Some people say they can’t understand your writing, even after they read it two or three times. What approach would you suggest for them?

FAULKNER

Read it four times.

###

Find Faulkner’s PARIS REVIEW interview here.

PHOTO: Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and friend Joy (Laura Ramsey) ponder William Faulkner‘s novel THE SOUND AND THE FURY (1929) in “The Jet Set” (Mad Men, Season 2, Episode 11).

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MEDITATIONS IN AN EMERGENCY (Excerpt)
by Frank O’Hara (1926-1966)

 Am I to become profligate as if I were a blonde? Or religious as if I were French? 

          Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous (and how the same names keep recurring on that interminable list!), but one of these days there’ll be nothing left with which to venture forth. 

          Why should I share you? Why don’t you get rid of someone else for a change? 

          I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love. 

          Even trees understand me! Good heavens, I lie under them, too, don’t I? I’m just like a pile of leaves. 

          However, I have never clogged myself with the praises of pastoral life, nor with nostalgia for an innocent past of perverted acts in pastures. No. One need never leave the confines of New York to get all the greenery one wishes—I can’t even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there’s a subway handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not totally regret life. It is more important to affirm the least sincere; the clouds get enough attention as it is and even they continue to pass. Do they know what they’re missing? Uh huh. 

Read the rest of the poem at poetryfoundation.org.

“Meditations in an Emergency” is found in Frank O’Hara’s 1957 poetry collection of the same name. The 52-page book, reissued by Grove Press in 1996, is available at Amazon.com.

In the above photo, MAD MEN’s Don Draper (Jon Hamm) peruses a copy of MEDITATIONS IN AN EMERGENCY during Season 2 of the series.

AUTHOR BIO FROM THE POETRY FOUNDATION: Frank O’Hara (born in 1926) was a dynamic leader of the “New York School” of poets, a group that included John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler. From the beginning, O’Hara’s poetry was engaged with the worlds of music, dance, and painting. In that complex of associations, he devised an idea of poetic form that allowed the inclusion of many kinds of events, including everyday conversations and notes about New York advertising signs. Since his death in 1966 at age forty, the depth and richness of his achievements as a poet and art critic have been recognized by an international audience. As the painter Alex Katz remarked, “Frank’s business was being an active intellectual.” He was that. His articulate intelligence made new proposals for poetic form possible in American poetry.

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Yesterday, I posted a variety of photos that depicted people posing with their Ford Fairlanes — and mentioned how many vintage snapshots I’d run across that displayed a similar scenario. The above shot was taken from an ad for a 1962 Ford Fairlane — sort of a real-life Mad Men moment. While Don Draper — lead character in Mad Men, for people who don’t follow the show (but try to catch it!) — is based on legendary ad man Draper Daniels, I’m going to include a quote below from another advertising icon.

“The creative process requires more than reason. Most original thinking isn’t even verbal. It requires ‘a groping experimentation with ideas, governed by intuitive hunches and inspired by the unconscious.’ The majority of business men are incapable of original thinking because they are unable to escape from the tyranny of reason. Their imaginations are blocked.”  …from Confessions of an Advertising Man by DAVID OGILVY

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“And then the car was beside him, not idling but panting like a deadly animal which may or may not be tamed.” STEPHEN KING, The Stand

Photo: Java1888, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Note: The above photo of man and car belongs to Java1888, who states on Flickr.com: “I recently found this awesome 50s photo album at an antique store. Its full of extremely hip 50s people and their stuff!”

The dashing man in the cool suit and jaunty hat is a few years pre-Mad Men. My best guess is that car is a 1957 Ford Fairlane (a model sold from 1955-1970). While reading about Ford Fairlanes on Wikipedia, I was inspired to turn some of the words into the zen poem featured below.

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ZEN POEM:

1957 FORD FAIRLANE

by Wikipedia

For 1957, a new style gave 

a longer, wider, lower,

and sleeker look

with low tailfins.

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Yesterday, I was saddened to learn that one of my writing heroes, screenwriter Frank Pierson, had passed away after a brief illness, but was hearted for a number of reasons. Pierson had reached the formidable age of 87 — and was still actively working.

During recent seasons, Pierson wrote scripts and served as consulting producer for two of the hottest shows on television — Mad Men and The Good Wife. After learning of Pierson’s passing, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner said: “[Frank] was a writer’s writer: sharp and funny and clever and, most importantly, honest about the details that make one human. He was a great artist and made everyone around him better.”

Throughout most of his career, Pierson was best known as a screenwriter — with credits that include Cat Ballou, Cool Hand Luke, and Dog Day Afternoon, which earned him a 1975 Academy Award.

I was lucky enough to meet Frank Pierson at the Austin (Texas) Film Festival during the mid-1990s, when I was a finalist in the screenwriting competition. I attended a small discussion group with Pierson and other competition finalists — and was enraptured listening to Frank discuss his work, including how he developed screenplays for Dog Day Afternoon (one of my favorite movies) and Presumed Innocent. What I learned that day has stayed with me — and has been some of the best writing advice I’ve ever received.

I feel very lucky and blessed to have spent time with Frank Pierson and will always be inspired by his example — a writer with depth, soul, humanity, and so many other gifts who created fine work right up until the final days of a long, inspiring life.

Thank you, Frank! We will miss you.

Photo: Los Angeles Times, All Rights Reserved