Sunday, April 15, 2007
went to a poetry reading of Jordan Davis and William Corbett this evening at the Plough and Stars. the reading occurred sans Jordan Davis, who apparently got rained out, presumably like our Red Sox. I smell controversy: this is the 2nd flarf poet this year who failed to show at the last minute. at least I've seen Jordan read 3 times before. Corbett I saw at Olson Now last may, where he was emcee. anyway, I gather the weather elsewhere is as advertised. hereabouts it is still merely intimation of Weather Channel excitement. Corbett mentioned seeing Jim Cantoro of TWC sending in a report from Gloucester, Cantoro being a harbinger of meteorological mayhem. Sean Cole was in the house with headset and microphone, absorbing the sounds for WBUR. Corbett began by reading "Toast" from Jordan Davis' Million Poems (Faux Press), a longish New Yorkish poem. he followed that with a Lowell poem and one by Wieners. the Lowell poem was surprisingly effective. I say surprising because I've never really enjoyed (cottoned to) Lowell. but with Corbett's reading, I got a nice feel for Lowell's writerliness, that he (Lowell) strove with his work, wrangled with and rewrote it. Corbett read everything with an easy almost glib freshness that was easy to take. I hardly heard the Wieners poem because I got to thinking of a wonderful one that my friend Michael read to me, from an I believe out of print Wieners book. that poem was a letter from Gerald Ford to Wieners, which was hilarious and also seemed to be a canny extension of Spicer/Lorca. Corbett spoke of having Del Ray Cross in one of his classes. Cross, according to Corbett, would go to the MIT library and read everything, as if everyone did that. I like that innocent sense of finding his own way. Corbett's own poems were brisk and discursive. shall I mention who I recognized in the audience? Michael Franco, Mike County, Michael Carr and Joe Torra. I don't have a scorecard so I might have missed some. Corbett mentioned the gruesome fact of 600 copies of James Schuyler's letters, that Corbett edited, being pulped. those letters are terrific so it's sad that they found no home. I m earnest to get to more readings than I have. poetry does happen in this city, it's not all in New York.