Sunday, August 29, 2004
read at Wordsworth
so if Kent Johnson gave a reading, who actually would read? hahaha, ok ok, never mind. I (moi-même) gave a reading yestreen at not with Wordsworth. this was my 1st public venture. and I wasn't too nervous for, well, I guess I accept my competency as a writer. that acceptance aint easily come by. I think I just outlasted my equivocation. plus I simply got better over the years. so I felt I had good material. and I was up there not to show my heart or such, but just present this work. so okay, I had no rhythm in the 1st poem I read, an untitled thing that introduces my site More Guff. if you notice a predominance of 'w's and 'r's in the piece, so did I, Elmer Fudd style. it's a wittle twicky, but appropriate as 1st poem. I read the Barrett Watten poem "Mode Z" that I posted here earlier. it's a lovely political poem that cannot be skewered on any LANGUAGE petard. I think I'm guilty of some Franco-American malfeasance with that last sentence but you get my drift. mostly read from Simple Theory, my book and all. I thought of reading one of my Duino Elegy translations but chickened out because of their length and they're a little tricky. I didn't know if nerves would be a prob. they weren't. I also thought of reading Frank O'Hara's poem about his encounter with the sun on Fire Island but didn't get around to typing it out. I didn't want to shuffle with books and stuff, so I had what I would read typed out. I chose not to overstay my welcome so I kept my reading short. Jim and Lucie, my former employers in the wine business, attended. that's not from where you expect support, but they have, indeed, been quite supportive of me over the years. of course Beth was there. so I had me a claque. and I met Tim Peterson, with whom I have emailed a little bit. inestimable Henry Gould read after me. it was nice to meet him and hear him. Henry forges an unusual path. he writes in a comfortable formality. by comfortable I mean capable. when you read the crap in Poetry, it's not that these writers often write in rhyme and metre, it's that they don't do it well that sinks the damn ship. and the allusions and references all seem by the numbers. Henry's thinking all the way, and just weird enough. his taste is eclectic and it comes thru in his work. the rush for modernity cannot erase what earlier writers have done. it would be foolish to ignore Keats, or Clare or whoever. Bach still flies even après Coltrane blest this earth. and so on. there are plenty enough writers of Beat poetry or O'Haraesque musings, let's make our own adventures. after the reading Beth and I went out for drinks with Henry, Tim Peterson and Tim's parents. Henry, Beth and I plugged on after the Petersons left. I guess I'm making a little reading sound important, but it was important. neither Henry or I have done many readings. this was my first, as I said. Beth has been part of poetry scenes out west, but I never have. it's a charge to get out in the world this way. to see writers in three dimensions. Christopher Rizzo introduced himself. I read some of his work that he offered on his blog. I didn't hear him at Bossacre but the streaming energy of his work probably rings vividly when read aloud. I thought the long piece that Noah Gordon read at Bossacre was a piece by Christopher. in fact it was Noah's, but the muscular reading that Noah gave would surely work with Christopher's work. I guess I just made transit to tangent. I dunno if hearing a poet read is de rigeuer (how the hell do you spell that? nothing looks right) but it does help give entrance. I've mentioned how illuminating it was to hear Michael Gizzi read his own work. anyway, thanks to Jim Behrle for finding me and Henry. plenty of noteworthy readings ahead, Mairead Byrne for one, and Carl Annarummo. maybe someday Sillimandias himself. getting to these things is always a logistical matter but honest I would like to.