Thursday, April 26, 2007

Vallejo Tribute - The Signing, part 2

Continued from this post.

So the reading has ended and I do what I do best in these situations and politely intrude into the post-reading chitter-chatter. Shepard inscribes (boldly, as they say) Brian's book for him. And he follows with a signature in The Paris Review (Spring 1997, #142) for me, on the front page of his interview in "The Art of Theater XII". Brian had asked me to see if Shepard would be amenable to Brian sending him more books to get signed for his collection. Shepard regarded me with steely eyes and politely but chillingly told me "Don't send me any books." No prob, Sam, I thought, wouldn't know where to send 'em anyway.

Had the night ended there, I think, it would have been regarded as a success. But I had only just begun.

This was Eshleman's party, so I figured he could wait 'til last, as he was most likely to stay around the longest. I pounced on Shepard so quickly because I didn't know if he'd duck out immediately or not.

By virtue of proximity, I approached Hirsch next, having him sign his poem in The Paris Review (the same issue Shepard signed). The poem, entitled, "The Lectures on Love", had a section called "Marquis de Sade". Hirsch noted that when the poem was placed in his book, On Love, his editor cut it because he thought it "too much". The poem was also anthologized in The Best American Poetry 1998.

Next, he signed his entry in The Future Dictionary of America, a marvelous book from McSweeney's imprint, that features made-up words and definitions from an imagined American lexicon in the imaginary future. Hirsch's word was:

soracious [sohr-ay'-shus] adj. a desolate wit; intellectual humor fuelled by desperation. Our foreign policy could use a few more soracious wonks.

He also looked at the book interestedly, as he had known about it, but never seen it, a phenomenon that you would imagine to be strange, but is fairly common. He also signed his poem "Man on a Fire Escape" in the Best American Poetry 1992 (Charles Simic, ed).

I reminded Mr. Hirsch where I had met him, most notably the 2004 Dodge Poetry Festival, where he had inscribed an uncorrected proof of his first book, For the Sleepwalkers, to me. "That's right! I remember you now," Hirsch remarked, "And I offered to buy it from you!" We laughed and parted amicably.

Next I looked for Anne Waldman.

Jump Ahead to "Vallejo Tribute - The Signing, Part 3"

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