Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Poetry Bus Hits Manhattan, Part 1: Before the Reading

The following originally appeared on BillyBlog on October 5, 2006.

Well, BillyBlog has a new look, and here comes a doozy of a post. This will most likely occur over the course of several days. If you like my poetry event posts, you're in for a treat. If not, you can relax and skip ahead to more banal subjects down the line.

Last Saturday, September 30, when my younger daughter was scoring her first goal ever in her soccer career, I was busy throwing away my chances of "Father of the Year" honors by attending a poetry reading instead.

But not just any poetry reading. This event was part of a nationwide poetry phenomenon: the Poetry Bus.

According to their website,

Stopping at 50 cities in 50 days the 2006 Poetry Bus Tour, sponsored by Seattle-based independent press Wave Books, is the biggest literary event of 2006 and the most ambitious poetry tour ever attempted.

Beginning September 4 and ending October 27, the bus tour will visit a variety of venues, including the Space Needle in Seattle, the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, the Museum of Natural History in LA, the Green Mill in Chicago, the Dia Arts Center in New York, and a number of bookstores, galleries, bars, prisons and schools all across the US and Canada.

Day 27 of the tour coincided with the Poetry Bus' rendez-vous with the Big Apple, at the Dia Center for the Arts on West 22nd Street in Manhattan.

It was a monster reading with 2 dozen poets and something called The Typing Explosion. I had begrudgingly bailed on the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival, an every-two-years event that has been equated with "poetry heaven". I had attended in 1998


and 2004. This year, the lineup was good, but not astoundingly awesome, and the cost has gone up ($30 for a Saturday pass, plus $18 round trip for a bus from Port Authority). Two years ago, I rented a car, not just for quick travel, but for trunk space. More space, more books. It's a debilitating sickness.

So I opted for the Dia event, at a $5 donation fee, and saved a bundle of money and still heard some great poetry.

To Be Continued....

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