Had a really nice time reading for the If Not for Kidnap Poetry Series, curated by Jamaliyeh (spelling) and Donald Dunbar. Notice that I did not include Jamaliyeh's (sp?) last name in the previous sentence, nor in this sentence, as I don't yet know it. We traded info, as her books from Octopus and Pilot sound really fascinating. Once I hear from her, I'll correct this post, and point you out to her work, which she says is online in various places. Both curators were lovely hosts, and the house--the living room the size of a small gallery--was warm and inviting.
I read from three books, soon forthcoming--from Prefab Eulogies Volume 1: Nothings Houses; Hospitalogy (chapbook); and Occultations.
Was great to hear Jen Coleman read again, and to hear her read for longer than when we read last at EconVergence Conference. I really love her work, its revelry in sub-dominant languages, its word play, its subtle yet cleaving allegories. I'm going to have to get one of her books asap, knew that before last night, REALLY know that now.
Was also great to see old friends who turned out: Jules Boykoff, Wheelhouse editor Lionel Lints, and amazing poet Allison Cobb, who generously helped with the reading, by contributing to Occultations by being the pivot of an on-the-spot occultation, writer thru a set of prompts. Since finishing this section of the book, I've been trying out various modes of a) performing the polyvocality of it, and b) decentering its prose further than it already is on the page by asking "audiences" to generate text, to actively be "authors" of some of the bracketed lyrics that circle round, sometimes overlay, the central block of prose. This time Elizabeth Williamson performed both dominant voices, read straight thru, & I indicated a break in the prose (where the bracketed lyric begins) by taking a photo of some detail in the room. I got a pretty good record of what Donald et al. keep in their home, what books are on their shelves, etc. This could make a nice coffee table book: "The Dunbar Home." Any case, while E read & I photographed and indicated by my body position, Allison was given a small audio recorder with earphones that had a recording of other parts of Occultations on it. She was asked to press play, then write whatever came to mind as she divided her attention between the public & the private reading. Once the recording would end, Allison would then stand & interrupt the reading, give a reading of what she wrote. Not everyone in the room knew that Allison was an amazing poet, so when she read (about half way into our performance), people were audibly stunned. "Finally, some good poetry!" went their eyes. It was very cool, & I'm really happy she agreed with good humor to be part of it. Oh, & here is what Allison wrote:
this documentary has been leaked from a muscle a marriage line as largesse of spiders wants. A room the room that can't hear you reflecting on on on eyes as eyes weaponized. Your line. It shined. Refleshed. Large-ish. You look fit! I was just trying to be slash funny. I wanted you all to think backspace we control-z I mean I had said something shiny looking into the heart of light, the appendix. Now, now. Now will I draw you a picture you can't squeeze inside your eyelid even if you wanted to be a neo, neo -- nevermind. Scratch. I wrote that just as Elizabeth said it. Last time something like that happened a plane p p p plane ran into a building. but it's a long one. I'll wrap this one up.
Without the rest of the text, this writing seems a bit out of the blue, so... Also realize that this was a distracted Allison writing without editing. Since it makes for compelling poetry in its own right, perhaps imagine what work is spun when she has time to work a poem, to be deliberate, to sustain a thought. If you haven't read any of her work, I'd highly recommend doing so. So, it was a fun night, with some really good live music between the two readings. Thanks much to the curators for inviting me.
Photos: audience; Jules Boykoff, blurry Jen