Today is the last day of the CUNY Chapbook Festival. Yesterday I shared my table with the Greying Ghost Press from Salem, Massachusetts. They were very cool humans, makers of beautiful chapbooks, but I forgot to write their names down for the sake of the blog, and they've gone home today. They gave away little tiny Gumby dolls and homemade buttons, as well as folded single-sheet poems.
POETS! Bring your poems for me to publish today!
I was able to publish two poems yesterday, Montana Ray's "Menagerie" and Amanda Deutch's "While You Were Away Another Man/Woman Came to Replace You". I want to publish at least 30 more poems today. After I read the poem aloud (which constitutes the edition), the author receives a publication card. Please bring a poem today, peeps! We can also talk about how you want it published before we move on to the edition.
I wasn't able to sit for very long at the table before I went walking around to meet people, sit in on the Marathon reading, step outside to sit between the huge columns of the Graduate Center on Fifth Avenue smoking my rollies and digging the mix of people walking by, staring up at the Empire State Building from the most foreshortened angle ever.
After browsing through presses & their poems for a while, I started to feel a kind of style or a general tendency emerging in the way a lot of people (not all, of course!) are making words into poems. It's very difficult to discuss such a thing, but I couldn't help feeling a kind of cumulative effect, so that, at one point I was standing in front of a table reading a poem and exclaimed (to Double-Cross's Sarah Green? no, I think I was at the Bateau Press table [Free T-Shirts!]) "I have to go sit down now, because I'm getting overwhelmed." Whatever this spirit or style or mood may be, it's a good thing--something I may or may not be able to characterize in the near future. And now I'm afraid that today I'm going to be going around LOOKING for it, or something.
The real highlight for me was to meet Carolyn Zaikowski and her partner Mike Young, editor of the NOO Journal, both of them of Magic Helicopter Books. She has an amazingly great book of poems and drawings / admonitions and beckonings entitled OUCH, HUMANS. Today I will take this book along with me to read on the train, and show her the only other book I think comes close to it, a book that is friends with her book: S.P. Ehman's The Buck-Toothed Magnifying Glass.
Zaikowski is reading today at 2 p.m., so be there to hear!
I got to read with Dorothea (Dottie) Lasky, Eric Amling (who spiraled out these awesome Brighton Beach Mnemonic Anemonies!), Laura Jaramillo and Lana Hectman Ayers. Dottie made me feel guilty that the word "project" had crept into my vocabulary. I used it the night before when Mir and I mused about making a book of hers! I agree. Poetry is not a project. Poetry is a fine art, and a billion other things.
I'm publishing poems all day today. I'm gonna stay glued to my table. Maybe I'll read you my book The Table if you ask me to. I'm selling books today, too. Here are the books you should come and buy from me:
Jonathan Skinner (here in town at Poets House next week: May 12-15). With Naked Foot.
Douglas Manson. The Dew Neal (Slack Buddha), FREE misprinted copies of the now classic Snack Size (yes, come get a copy with "REVIEW COPY" scrawled all over it), and my awesome Kenneth Patchen magazine Celery Flute.
Michael Basinski. Of Venus 93.
L.A. Howe. NTR PIC E ST R.
Jaye Bartell. Ever After / Never Under.
Tom Beckett and Geof Huth. Interpenetrations (Little Scratch Pad Version--Geof made one with the same title and we both published them on the same day--bibliographers beware!)
Plus other gems from the trove!
I read two poems the afternoon last--a kind of diptych called "Idiot Just Playing Idiot". I had such butterflies. Some kind of weird television monster monitor thing loomed behind me, bigger than me. The room had no windows. I cultivated my inner meadow. I was sad I missed the Jawbone readings in Kent Ohio this weekend. And then afterward I went and danced a bit to Chicha Libre at Barbes with Matt and Mir.
I love my sisters.
I heart new york.