Saturday, December 01, 2007

saw Geoff Young read in Lowell yesterday afternoon. Lowell was rather chilly, the wind really quite frore. the venue was the Lowell visitor centre, part of the national park in downtown Lowell. nice place for a reading, a small theatre where, presumably, presentations about Lowell's textile history happen. Bootstrap Press presented the reading to announce the publication of Geoff Young's latest book, The Riot Act. I was going to link to Bootstrap's site but Geoff's book has yet to appear there. well, go anyway to Bootstrap's site here, check out the catalogue. I did the reading alone, Beth taking the opportunity to visit with her cousin who lives down the street. in the visitor's centre I saw a likely character standing at the door and inquired if he was Derek. of course he wasn't, he was Ryan, the other proprietor of Bootstrap. that's Derek Fenner and Ryan Gallagher, just to be clear. Ryan came from Lowell and both went to Naropa, but I guess I get ahead of myself. Ryan pointed to a pile of books on a table and said take one, a copy of Geoff's book. eventually my friend Michael showed up. he's a friend of Geoff's. so I got to meet Geoff before the reading. a pretty good crowd attended. I could name names but that tends to sound icky, it's like counting coup. suffice to say they were there. before Geoff stood to read, Derek gave a brief history of the press. I was surprised to learn that it began in 1998, out in Colorado. I think they've been gaining momenmtum lately. its bestseller is, unsurprisingly, the recent Wieners book that Michael Carr edited. I await my copy from Amazon. I also have Derek's book, which is red. Ryan's introduction included the line, not sure if original to him: there's a fine line between attending a poetry, and not. Geoff read terrifically. he's an engaging person, charming. he reads with a patient measure. his poems often have a sort of dope slap humour. he began by reading a series of short works from, I think ,Pockets of Wheat, little nibbles of poetic insight, I guess you'd say. occasional poems might be the right term. I note this line, from some poem he read: "sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge". he read from all 3 sections of The Riot Act. the 1st section offered what he called sonnets. they're all 14 lines long, but aren't otherwise too restrictive as to sonnet form. he said that he retrofitted material into these sonnets. he hunted out work that he'd written and redid them. that's an interesting approach, to rewrite like that. reframing the poem allows one to concentrate the poem's energy. wrangling what you've written into a new form gives a different angle to what you wrote. a thoughtful exercise that worked well for Geoff. as usual, I didn't take great notes, just doodles, but there was this line, with its quiet logical mayhem: "poetry's the coconut that under the drowned sailor's head finally sprouts". why yes! I should mention that the book has a cover by Eric Fischl, who also did the one for Tottering State. in both cases a spooky detached image. Geoff's book looked like one from The Figures because of the Fischl cover. and gosh, it was neat getting a copy, to read along with the poet. as Geoff said, all readings should have free books. it was a very nice event. a group of about 12 retired to a restaurant for a beer. I told Geoff, honestly, that it was an honour to meet him finally. it was like with Tom Beckett, receiving books from them for 20 plus years, now finally to meet the person. in both cases, I 1st knew them as editors, later as consummate poets. Tom Beckett notes in a comment below that Tom Fink interviewed Geoff Young for Exchange Values. I don't think the 2nd series of collected interviews, in which this Young interview appears, is out yet from Otoliths (Geoff had a copy, tho), but that's something to look forward to. I wanted to get back to Beth and her cousin so I scooted before the others went in to dinner. I will state publicly, with embarrassment, that in my rush I didn't pay for my Guinness. peccavi, and I will make good to whoever picked up the tab.

Friday, November 30, 2007

some good readings locally this weekend, which I hope to attend. Erin got scary sick earlier this week, scary because of the terrible pneumonia he had in January. scary enough to visit the emergency room at midnight, but he's okay. but if I don't get to the readings, it's because this team sticks together. but anyway, being hopeful:

as mentioned previously, Geoff Young in Lowell tomorrow, Bootstrap Press production. Bootstrap has some vigour going, nice to see the effort. and Geoff Young, as I wrote earlier, supplied me, thru his press The Figures, with many classics. Tottering States by Tom Raworth: is that an awesome book or what? and his own poetry is liovely (lively and lovely: not a typo).

on sunday Nick Montfort and Mairead Byrne read at Demolicious. I think Mairead's poetry might be called gnomic. I write that without knowing really what gnomic means, but I imagine a tightly made curving statement, where statement means anything but direct articulation (which is for Republicans, when they're drunk and mean), i. e. the space between words. it says in Montfort's bio that he wrote a 500 page poem in one day. well, okay, that's impressive. I love ridiculous projects, tho I don't mean ridiculous, unless it means gnomic, and if gnomic means some sort of twisting wrangling intention with a mist of fulfillment... so I dunno if I will make either event, but feel dutybound to mark them on the map.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

runic message at Walden

runic message at Walden, originally uploaded by allen_bramhall.

mysteries of the universe

potential jigsaw puzzle

potential jigsaw puzzle, originally uploaded by allen_bramhall.

found things

found things, originally uploaded by allen_bramhall.


me, originally uploaded by allen_bramhall.