Had a lovely time reading with Cassie on Friday night at David Hadbawnik’s apartment. I rode up to SF with Carra Stratton, her friend and fellow grad student Preema, and blogdom’s own Alli Warren, who has been a student in my Reading Poetry course this past quarter. A beautiful drive up HWY 1, admiring the coast and the wetlands, during which at one point I found myself reciting the names of marine birds I had learned some fifteen years before in community college, intoning each one drolly like someone’s boring uncle. "And then there’s the avocet, with its long, curved beak." In a moment of introspective clarity, I saw myself as … doddering. No other way to put it.
Also present at David’s: Ian Wallace (another student of mine, who will be teaching his own experimental poetry course at UCSC in the coming year), Steve Vincent, Mark Weiss, Rodney Koeneke, a fellow named Jason whose last name I didn’t catch, Taylor Brady, Del Ray Cross, Stephanie Young, Kevin Killian, and fresh from his cross-country relocation, Patrick Durgin.
So I finally got to make Cassie’s acquaintance properly, and I got to sit in the Orange Chair. The only thing wrong with Cassie’s reading was that it was too short (you must have stopped after only fifteen minutes, Cassie!). I was just settling into her subtle, attentive rhythms and poof, papers were put away. I won’t comment on my own reading except to say that my set included "Long Nose Pinocchio Bitch" and a few other blog poems, which I enjoyed doing but felt kind of self-conscious about, like I was crassly advertising my online identity or something. Not sure what that’s all coming from. Afterwards I silently had one of my minor crises wherein I felt an invisible pressure to get serious, to start writing poems about my true feelings or something. And what might those be? Arrrrrrr.
Fortunately, the company was so good that all these doubts and hesitations were covered over for the nonce (is that the right usage of "for the nonce"?). Rodney, I’ve been meaning to mention, is this year’s winner of the Pavement Saw chapbook contest: Rouge State, as it is titled, should be coming out soon. Kevin came Dodie Bellamy-less, as she was out to dinner with Geoff Dyer, whose Krupskaya book is on the way. Stephanie—what can one say? I feel sorry for all those poetry scenes out there in the bad, bored world that don’t have a Stephanie. (On Friday, before the reading, Stephanie mentioned that positive responses to her blog caused her to produce more posts. We should all bombard her with praise daily. We all need more well nourished moon! It’s a life-sustaining blog, full of kinship and sanity. I need it, like I need morning coffee and letter-press chapbooks and Thelonious Monk and a monthly haircut.) Del was charming as always, and nobly resisted our repeated efforts to bully him into starting his own blog. Taylor, who is one of the three or four smartest people I know, is also one of the most dedicated to poetic community: he’s at virtually every Bay Area reading. And I was so happy to see Patrick (another one of that three or four) that I positively leapt.
On the eerily bright ride home (full moon, Friday the 13th), Carra and I discovered that we were both, like Jordan [that link is supposed to take you to Wednesday the 11th, but good luck], big fans of Altman & Feiffer’s "muddy incomprehensibly muttery film" Popeye. A screening may be in the works.