Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Poetry Bus Hits Manhattan, Part 7: That's All, Folks!

The Poetry Bus Tour reading at Dia resumed with Nick Flynn, who had missed his ealier scheduled spot in the first half. He read excerpts from a play he had written called "Alice Invents a Little Game And Alice Always Wins." He mentions it in this interview here. He also read a poem called "Jesus Nude".

Next up was Gregor Podlogar, a Slovenian poet who offered up "The Darker Side of New York," and "Videotape."

David Lehman (below), the editor of the Best American Poetry (BAP) series followed. He read four poems, "Essay on Criticism," "God Will Provide," "Poem in the Lusty Manner," and "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning."

Lehman left shortly after completing his reading, leaving me with 4 items unsigned.

Cate Marvin was next. She read her poem "Muckraker."

She was followed by Tracie Morris, a fine performance/spoken word poet. She performed two pieces, "From Slave Sho to Video," and "My Great Grand Aunt Meets a Bush Supporter," (a performance of which can be heard by clicking here). You can see one of her performances here, hear her performing her poem "Chain Gang" here, and if you like what you hear, there is a whole slew of audio on this site here. Ms. Morris was a late addition to the list of performing poets, and I wish I'd had known she would be in attendance, as I would have had a couple of items for her to sign. She is a Poetry Slam grand champion and in several spoken word anthologies.

Ms. Morris was followed by Eileen Myles. She read "No Excuse," "Cute Number One," and "Questions".

Here is video from the night's reading, of Eileen Myles performing "No Excuse":

Matthew Rohrer read next. His poems were "Mandrake," "Disquisition on Trees," and "Morning Glory on the Roof." I haven't reprinted many of the poems I heard here, but have provided links. I will however, share the full poem, without permission, "Morning Glory on the Roof":

You have already noted the girlish beauty
of the Morning Glory,
the delicate lavender panties.
Looking around you,
as far as you can see,
plants are imprisoned.
Each morning Morning
Glories open upstairs,
out of sight.
Each night the concrete lies
like a hot compress on the dirt.
Thank you for your brief attention.

Rohrer was followed by Vijay Seshadri. He read "Memoir," which I recognized as his entry in BAP '06. He also read "This Morning," and "Guide for the Perplexed," which was the second poem he had read at the BAP '06 reading on September 21.

Next up was Brenda Shaughnessy, who provided one of my favorite segments of the evening. She was one of the few poets I heard that was new and refreshing to me.

She read "I'm Over the Moon," "Moth Death on the Window Sill," and "White is the Color of Snow." The moon poem was great and featured the simile, "like having a bad boyfriend in a good band." Alas, I cannot find these poems on the web, but you can read four others here.

Evie Shockley followed, with three poems. I didn't catch the title from the first, the second was called "The Last Temptation," and the last was "dedicated to the people of New Orleans," and was called "Atlantis Made Easy."

Ms. Shockley was followed by a performance poet, Edwin Torres, who reminded me physically of the novelist T.C. Boyle. That's Torres on the left, Boyle on the right.
Torres performed a couple of pieces rather theatrically. For a better sense of his style, listen to this reading he did here.

Next was Catherine Wagner. She read "I'm Total I'm All I'm Absorbed in This Meatcake," which you can also hear here, "Scary Several Light," audible here. Worth a listen. And she finished with "Everyone in the room is a representative of the world at large".

The next reader was Lewis Warsh, who I had seen at a BAP reading in 2003, but failed to get signatures from. I had seen him mulling about before the reading and recognized him from the prior event. He read for a while, reading multiple segments of his long poem "Sorcerer."

Next was Rebecca Wolff. She read an "occasional poem about my uncle's death about a month ago." It was very raw and went on a little too long, especially as the audience could see the light at the end of the tunnel. During her reading I noticed Lewis Warsh putting on his jacket. He was signalling subtly that he was going to leave early. I had three BAP's for him and I was determined not to let him get out without signing them. I kept my eye on him.

Matthew Zapruder was the penultimate poet, indicating to me that the great John Yau, who was on the schedule, was not going to be appearing after all. Bummer. Zapruder read "Ancient Sorrows Sleep Already" and something like "Ondelay Mano" about a font type. I prbably botched that spelling. When Zapruder started, I stood up with the three books I had for Warsh to sign, and moved toward the door. I turned around to hear the reading and Warsh had stood as well, and was prepped to leave. When Zapruder ended, Warsh headed for the door, but I was waiting for him. He signed the three editions I had during the last poet's reading.

Sorry, Rachel Zucker, I missed it all.

Well, gentle readers, thanks for bearing with me on this marathon recap. After the reading, I was a signature accumulation machine, getting four more poets to sign my Poetry Daily anthology (thanks Nick Flynn, Major Jackson, Matthew Rohrer, and Evie Shockley!). I also got more BAP autographs from Brenda Shaughnessy ('00), Edwin Torres ('04) and Rachel Zucker ('01). After the dust cleared, I had 23 signatures from 16 poets in 9 books. Not bad for an evening's work. And, more importantly, I had a night full of poetry.

Again, I apologize to those regular readers who may have found this 7-part recap too lengthy. I tried to spread it out over time to ease the ennui. However, I am first and foremost committed to recording my experience for myself and for the few people out there who may find use of this narrative in the future.

If you want a different perspective, the Poetry Bus blog recalls this event here. There are photos!

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