Got up early Friday morning and went to two terrific panels: one was “Can You Clarify That?: Experimental Poetry and the Workshop System." It explored the idea that experimental and non-linear poems may not be well-served in the usual workshop format, where poems are asked to be clarified, understood, or “fixed.” Great comments all around, but especially from Joshua Maria Wilkinson (who was published by Floating Bridge a few years ago now is getting his PHD at Denver), Suzanne Paola, and Timothy Liu (love the new hair). Great stuff.
Then went to a very different panel on "Narrative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future," which really focused on the quality of narrative continuity, and how essential it is to being human, to brain function. So, in a sense, one panel that was for rupture and disjunction, and Not Making Sense; and another trying to salvage what is left of our ability to Make Sense, in a world that is already fragmented and elliptical. A great pairing.
Had a lovely lunch with Sharon Bryan. Great discussion of the above, and writing, and teaching, and etc. She had a crab salad, I had a pulled pork sandwich. What is this "sweet tea" (pronounced "swate tay") that the wait-people are always offering?
Then I was off to the recording studio for the Poetry Foundation. They were all very warm and welcoming, and had asked me to bring 5 poems to read, plus one by another writer. After I read the first poem, Scott, the sound engineer, who was just a couple feet away on the other side of the booth's glass wall, asked if I would take off my shirt. I thought, oh my, was it that hot?(hehehe) But no, unfortunately, the shirt I was wearing was making a lot of noise as the fabric rustled, and messing up the recording. Could I please remove it? Was I wearing anything under it? Did I read bare-chested? I'll never tell.
Got back to AWP and went to the book fair. Had C Dale sign his lovely new book for me, and signed one of mine for Charles Flowers of Lambda/Bloom. It was the last one left: Copper Canyon had sold out their stock of What’s Written on the Body! (I think they only had a dozen or so, but still). So, I had only my one copy left (the one I was reading from) and none to sell at the Portfolio Reading that night. Ah well.
The Portfolio Reading was fun. A small but attentive audience. The Open Mic had everything from personal lyric to performance poetry to rap to political poetry. I loved Mary Fisher-Wirth's poems, very mature and evocative. Her new book is Five Terraces. On the way back from the reading a group of us chatted a bit about the similarities and differences between list-serves (like Wompo) and blogging. I have several good friends who do one or the other, or both. I think blogging is, perhaps, more interactive, less static. And I think my friends who do both would agree. But where do we all find the time!
Last day . . . home soon.