Sunday, April 01, 2007

a full poetry weekend for Beth and Allen. saturday a dinner at the home of John and Andrew, who run (with others) the Demolicious Series. Alan Davies, Christina Strong and Jack Kimball also attended. Alan and Christina came up from the city together on the bus, and stayed with John and Andrew. Christina had a reading later, more anon. some gossip, some poetry talk, lots of conversation. as someone who allowed himself to be distant from the poetry happenings of this town, it is good to connect. it was pretty late for this child when we got home. the cat kindly let me sleep in till 6:30, but a mite weary nathless. we got to the reading just at 2:00. Michael, with whom I've had an email correspondence, and who is a hardened veteran of my previous reading, was outside the gallery. inside was empty. we helped set up chairs then went down the street so Beth could get some much needed coffee. tired as I was I also had adrenalin in my blood, so I partook of none. Joel Sloman, Christina and someone whose name I haven't retained read open mike. then me. should one review one's own reading? well I will. I practiced quite a bit, or at least, reading thru my selection of poems 2 or 3 times a day seems like a considerable bit of practice. I weeded out a few poems that I didn't feel I could read well. also, I aimed at no more than 20 minutes. I attempted the spectrum, which is not accomplishable in 20 minutes. I mean, I think my work is varied but anyway, any writer has a range to their work. as I read I became aware of the difficulty of prose. I really wonder what poetry is, but in sooth, I see the formal presence of poetry. I think my prose is poetic, that it is poetry, but it is difficult to hear aloud. at least, that was how I felt. my more narrative works seem to strain poetry's bounds. the last piece that I read is narrative, tho it may not be clear in the piece that my idea of narrative shies from resolution. I became aware that context was unclear. it was part of a series but maybe hung there weirdly. anyway, I managed dynamics as I read tho really, I don't want to modulate professionally, if you know what I mean. I seem to have a permanent ticklish cough which was something to deal with. and one of the proprietors of the gallery for some reason sat off to the side making random noises with things. I mean dropping things and such. it wasn't cruelly distracting but it put a part of my mind bemusedly wondering. she actually made her exit with a flourish while Alan read. obliviousness that could be bottled. I didn't feel connected to the audience, but maybe I was thinking too much. I should avoid thinking. at one point I heard myself intone poet voice. only briefly, and I noted it for the audience. I see what I write as an intimacy, not a performance (not to denigrate performance) and could feel myself not wanting to give into some need to convince the audience. I read selected poems from a couple of series, and realized that the context was confused. that's a difficulty I have with magazines, that much of my poems connect with others, and to present them without that context is a disservice. but fiddle-dee-dee. I had no sense how the audience really felt about my reading, which perhaps is a blindness on my part. but enough about me, if that is possible. Alan Davies read directly. he's a really nice person, friendly, gallant even, and uncompetitive. he lives in NYC but is from Canada (you can hear it in his accent, tho he's been in this country pretty much entirely since he was 17). Davies read Book 5 and Book 6. of what? his ongoing project, for which he has a working title that he would not reveal. Book 5 is published by Katalanche Press, Michael Carr proprietor. Katalanche also published a book by Mark Lamoureaux (sorry if I misspelled), that I reviewed at Galatea Resurrects. from the evidence the books are made with care and love. I will seek more offerings from the press. Book 6 is in manuscript. Davies is currently working on book 10. he read sitting down. Book 5 consists of 2 short-lined verses per page, 2 to 4 lines long. I thought of hay(na)ku, or even haiku, for each stands on its own tho they form a chain. he read in a direct, punchy but not overly processed way. Book 6 had longer lines and was more flowingly read. the effect in those cases is multi-layered. or twined threads, say. in Book 6 Davies uses a bold square to mark the line end. Davies writes by hand, I ask those sorts of question. listening to Book 6, I could imagine him travelling around with a notebook. that the poems seemed to inhabit a reactive space. later, a group of us--11, I think--went to a nearby restaurant. this is such a sweet thing, to convene so. I asked Alan about how he wrote and he showed me a 5x8 yellow notepad, which was his work for Book 10. he said he does write here and there but that's not the nature of his work. I was taken by the yellow pad, as in: not a notebook? I'm a notebook guy. he gave me his copy of Book 6, as well as 2 other books, that are currently still in the car. we hung at the restaurant for a while. Christina was to read at 7, so there was time to kill. it boiled down to Alan, Michael, Beth and I hunting down a bookstore. there's a notable used bookstore in Somerville to which we repaired. with the trip across town, hunt for parking, and walk down the street we hadn't much time in the store. then we aimed ourselves towards the Plough and Stars. it was noisy and jammed but we found seats. Christina read 1st. the 1st piece was a long, snappy and snapping thing. her work is mordant, funny and political. which doesn't seem to express the experience of hearing her work. I mean, her work doesn't shape around three adjectives so easily. googly voices appear, and assorted strains (several senses to the word). lots of energy. John Coletti followed. his work consists of short glints. I know that sounds like a lame description but it seems apt. poetic flashes. he intoned his work dryly with an effective filigree of tangential comment. I felt like his work stayed in one language tho. I must say that I have a dismay about poetry. divested, mostly, of the romantic idea, the byronic type who wanders lonely as a cloud, and much influenced by the Creeley firmly laid line and cadence, yet I suffer a sense, still, of limitation. which is why prose is important to me, with its shifting variances. I think my prose struggles in contention with the block of text as block of text, if you take my meaning. in the sense that each block of text looks the same, so the phanatopeia demands a visualizing effort on the reader/listener's part. anyone get me here? I saw Coletti's work floating free, yet its glintiness seemed ephemeral. tho there were lines that I would want to remember, if my brain weren't so porous. he had a good-natured performative relationship with his work. I don't mean to post him up as my problem, but in his work I see my own issues. so there that was. Christina gave me a copy of Anti-Star, from which she read. and then it was time to go home.
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