Had a blast reading for the wildly good and long-running Stain of Poetry series, curated by Amy King & Ana Bozicevic. It was wonderful to hear Julian, Adam, Chris, Nada, and Scott read their work. I'd heard Adam read in Philly before, and I'd heard Julian read a couple times, but both read newer work - Julian from a cycle xe's just now putting together, and Adam read exclusively from When You Bit..., a book I hadn't seen or heard from. Scott I'd heard at another Stain reading, his work continuously mining in subtle ways the counter-narratives of Mexico and Texas. And though I've read much of Nada and Chris's work (if you don't have Chris's 1913 chapbook, I'd advise getting it), I hadn't heard them read. The live-sonic and performative aspects I was missing I found last night. Nada's timing and sense of "performance" is very cool, and Chris's sonic play is pitched live, giving the rhythms and ambiences a lower tonal register that drives the ear into the ground.
Julian, who is one of my favorite contemporary poets, again blew me away. Where Chris drives your ear into the ground, Julian drives your ear into the dirt - dirt, drawl, and the dross of the liquidated multiple subject make up a refashioning of old tropes in order to implode them. The new work is less metric than the work I've read of Julian's in the past. Also more understated in some way I can't quite place now.
All the work was outstanding, and as I've written elsewhere, all are poets whose work I think is, each in such a different way, evocative of contemporary non-mainstream poetry. But with thanks to Amy and Ana, amid such diversity was a felt sense of community, or at least a warmth and sense of friendship that one doesn't always feel exists within contemporary poetry, let alone this fractured landscape's live readings.
Hence a huge thanks to Amy and Ana. Was great to kick back with Amy, my brother and his partner, along with several folks I'd met for the first time. And also a huge thanks to Erica Kaufman, who graciously and with good humor read some of my polyvocal work with me (which, among others, steals lines from her work).
Can't remember the last time I stayed out late and didn't regret it the next day.