Friday, January 11, 2019

188. Notes made yesterday } & today.

[ image: scan of first poem in Poetry, November 2018 issue (Lucia Perillo, "Say This") with cross-outs ]

Brookline Booksmith 7:04pm packed house. Maybe two people of color in audience for Teju Cole / Elisa Gabbert conversation.

Elisa reads “Variations on Crying.”

Gone With the Wind made Elisa weep; controversy re. Vanessa Place retweeting Gone With the Wind line x line

“When I was 26, I got 13 stitches in my chin after fainting toward a French door and breaking a pane of glass with my face.” Twenty-six? More than a decade ago? I shot footage of those French doors on my Motorola RAZR.

T. Cole offers “a special shout out to the nonwhite people in the audience.” He claims he’s the reason they’re at the reading; E. Gabbert says, “I brought you.”

T. Cole reads his anthology ocliché observations.

Elisa reads “one more”—“We’ve never owned property, and our families aren’t in a position to contribute to a down payment.”

Mentions her friend Katie, crushed by a gallery wall, in both essays. The power of this anecdote. Richard Serra.

T. Cole talks. Doesn't lead a discussion or engender conversation. Elisa listens. T. Cole asks of the audience if anyone is happier than they were ten years ago. Four women respond. He categorizes each response. He is pleased women commented because, he says, it’s usually men who comment. He interrupts Elisa. He decides to read another essay from his book during q & a. He tells anecdote about losing keys and worrying that he’ll end up in the news like Henry Louise Gates. He asks, “How is everybody feeling? Uncomfortable?” Yeswhen will you give Elisa an opportunity to speak uninterrupted?

She answers a question about the lack of an index in The Word Pretty. Is frank about it—there was a rush to get the book done. She's asked about craft. Her answers are concise and honest.

Outside Booksmith, police cruiser, lights flashing. Blue.

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