Sunday, June 24, 2012

63. Reading } The Poetry Institute, New Haven.

A black bank clock read 98 degrees and a bit past 6pm. Too late to revisit the museum. I sat in a line of shade outside a bar and drank rum and ate a tomato while adding a few lines to OUTLAND. At 6:30 I climbed up a steep staircase to The Institute Library (founded 1826). The a.c. was on full. I drank red wine from a plastic cup and perused a copy of I.E.S. Edwards’ The Pyramids of Egypt.

Twenty-plus attendees formed a half-circle in the reading room. I stood by a heavy, round table, beneath a lamp that hung from the high ceiling and read from OUTLAND, an untitled story, and from Green. After, I sold out the Color Plates I brought. I owe a copy to Alice-Anne, co-host, and I owe thanks to both her and to Mark for inviting me to read.

From a book sale cart by the door of the library I bought a book called The Crystal Geyser. In it is an anecdote about living men and women who are able to crystallize the blood in their veins when they picture a certain hill and the stone long ago placed at its top.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

62. Reading } The Poetry Institute, New Haven.

My youngest and I strolled downtown New Haven on Mother’s Day. We spent a lot of time at the Yale University Art Gallery. There’s a lot of open space on the main floor, where she wandered between a Sol LeWitt and a cuneiform tablet from the palace of Assurnasirpal II.

While I stood by the glass doors leading to the museum’s barren sculpture garden, one of the staff—a young woman—asked me, “How old?” My youngest tapped the covers of all the books faced-out on a low shelf behind a green couch. “A year,” I said. “She’s so cute.” I thanked the woman. She said, “Have you seen the horn?” I wasn’t sure I’d heard correctly, but before I could ask the woman to repeat herself she added, “Sometimes it’s a very bright red.”

A big photography book fell from the low shelf. The noise startled my youngest, who cried. I swooped in to soothe her. By the time all was well, the young woman was gone. I didn’t think about her or what she’d asked till now, now because I’ll be back in New Haven this Thursday.

I’m on to give a reading at The Poetry Institute. Doors open at 6:30. There’s an open mic at about 7 and then, after “a short social break,” I’ll read. I gather after that there’s a “feature poet Q&A.” I have new work, and hope to write more between now an then.

Maybe I’ll have time before the reading to revisit the museum. I’m almost certain the woman wasn’t asking me about an exhibit, but what else would she’ve been asking about?

Friday, June 15, 2012

61. Kate makes } city.

When our paths last crossed, Kate Shapira gave me a “Tell me about a change in your city or town” postcard, a pre-stamped, screen-printed, 5 x 7 card. So far, 10 of the 50 cards were returned to Kate. I kept my answer simple. Tho I’m not sure what Kate intends to do with these texts (beyond posting them on her blog), my assumption is that it’s the beginning of a community-based poetry project. Do our texts become found text for Kate to reshape? If so I approve.

Flim Forum published a selection from How We Saved the City, Kate’s latest book (from Stockport Flats’ Meander Scar series), in A Sing Economy. A subject of those poems is the impact of city on human beings—a further expression of her interest in community. Her own, but—and the postcard series points to this—other communities as well.

The postcard asked me to do what she does, that is, to think about where I live. To engage. That’s activism, right?

If you buy any of her books, she’ll send you a copy of her newest chapbook Ground (while she has ‘em).