Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Late Start (a/k/a: St. Marks Poetry Project New Year's Day Marathon)

Much like the title here, I did not get this in closer to the drop date for any number of reasons, chief among these being the worst notes ever taken by your correspondent. Add to that 100+ entries and despair... However, if THEY couldn't keep to a schedule...What? Me Worry?

From the outset, with a start time of 3pm, I knew it was going to go off badly. Shoulda started at 2pm like before, yeah, but 10 to 15 minutes even later? ‘Don’t anybody tell me to cut it down and speed it up; I’ve got my bit timed to from the self-deprecatory intro through the asides and caesuras!’ is likely the kind of response you’d get from this list. Not that they are any more ego-maniacs than the rest of the general populus; it is only that this may be their one chance to really shine all year and…I mean: Do you really want to look back on that day and say ‘I missed it’?

No? Probably the same reason I sit there for the duration, so, by the time I left (about 12:15 or so) it was an hour-&-1/2 behind schedule. After 110 trips to the stage for individuals and groups, I offer apologies to the night owls but one can only remain still for so long before the posterior gets to be superior sore.

This year’s overriding theme was, of course, OWS (Occupy Wall Street; remember these three letters, they are going to be used a lot today). But, as well, being an eccumenical bunch, they included the Eurozone crisis and touched on the Arab Spring too, reminding the rest of us that the revolution HAS TO be televised. (RIP Gil-Scott Heron.) And I began to notice, not lots but certainly more, readers now using handheld PDA-type devices over chapbooks and scribbled looseleaf sheets, which says something about the way we output/input these days.

Again, DISCLAIMER: 99% of the text is guesswork (even more this year) and any comment (or lack of same) is no reflection on the merits or faults of the person identified with same. This is just what I snatched out of the aether before it evaporated into the 6th dimension. Remember: this is a BLOG, a “web-log”, an open journal, written more for myself than anyone else. This is a hedge against Altzheimer’s, when someday I want to look back on where I was before I became human vegetation.

Brendan Lorber – always dapper but never dandy, “The Agony of This Time Tomorrow and next year forecast”, includes Oxytocin reference (the hormone influencing emotional attachments) which gets props for dropping science on the ill tip whist greeting patterns of meteorology

Betsy Fagin & Marcella Durand – one of these women was the librarian at OWS but I missed the ID, and both recreated their experiment of transmitting the text of Shakespeare’s Sonnet #47 across an expanse of Grand Central Station, probably much more successful now than then (if that’s your idea of a good time…)

David Shapiro & Mohammed Fairuz – “Unwritten” is a discussion tangential to Socrates over piano tonal clusers

Evelyn Reilly – probably wins the award for the title with the most sweeping pageant of ideas reduced to a punchline: “I became the Alpha and the Omega…and your little dog too”

Sinan Antoon – three poems, one inspired by a photo of an Iraqi boy on a truck, the second about a poet as Noah filling the ark “with metaphors and crumbs”, and “The Wine Song”

Arthur Nersesian – author of nine novels

Ace McNamara ( not in the printed program so name may be wrong) – “Collective Dream off the Sleepless”, “…you said you were going to conquer this city/well, here we are…” “…you can’t afford a shrunken head/not in this city…”and “…the city you meant to conquer is the Collective Dream of the Sleepless”

Barry Denny – “Speak before you Poem”(?), a dream with the Beach Boys, Jesus and the I-Ching, “Last Adam on 14th Street” as humor in the quotidian experience of the city as in “why do I more readily give directions to strangers than coins to the ill-clad beggar?/Guide me, rabbi”

Tracey Mctague – “In the cups” re: New Orleans

David St. Lascaux– first sitar of the day!, with flute and all in robes—neat—w/a bit of ghazal-type cadences

Valery Oisteanu – “Occupy My Heart” with “no more Sgt. Pepper spray”, neat stuff—“Be yourselves in 2012!”

Shafer Hall – ex-bartender, apparently leaving town this day

Dael Orlandersmith – “2011 being a pretty fucked up year for me in so many ways…but you’ll figure that out after I start…”

Bob Rosenthal – “Advice” and “This is the age of the Asshole”, a REAL crowd-pleaser!

David Freeman - another sitar, this one semi-solo if you don’t count the sing-a-long scales of audience accompaniment

Judith Malina – on being a Jewish woman, re: the male pronoun for god, etc. & “beware of the law of the land” re: “Jews killing Jesus/others are circumstance…”

Steve Dalachimsky – shout out to OWS, 1st time to watch the ball drop and got blackout on the TV, sponsored by Toshiba, “so I had soba noodles & chopped liver, made a flat egg cream and watched the Twilight Zone marathon” [my idea of a good time…], “Shipcutters” and “A one Day Trip to Goulder’s Green”

Denize Lauture -- major Haitiian accented piece with whistling and cadence that has to remind most ears of why we are still scared of voodoo

Christopher Stackhouse – unfinished and untitled one, “Radio” and “Blue Star Flame Index”

Erica Hunt & Marty Ehrlich – “Ain’t No Steppin’ In The Same River Twice” while Ehrlich saxes out like Sonny Rollins on a stairway to heaven

Mitch Highfill – asks the non-musical question “Do people…?” with another poet (who’s name I missed) answers back in various permuations on call-&-response such as “…cook with pepper spray?”

Yuko Otomo – 2 poems from “The Americans”—“Trolling New Orleans” and “Rooming House Bunker Hill, LA” seems to be about age but feels very concrete, as if built from haiku

Rickey Laurentiis – “Southern Wind” and “August 2005 Louisiana” re: Katrina

Emily XYZ – “Employee Zero for Steve Jobs” (kinda on the binary nature), then one about a old people in a casino in Joliet, IL as a mediation of aging, which gets into her high-rev cadence iambic dance acapella on a future where “we’re gonna gamble it away…”

Greg Fuchs – “Under The Influence”—“remembering is imagining/like reading is writing”

Elinor Nauen – makes lists as we are wont to do, but under odd categories like “5 Greatest Mechanics of 20th Century…Henry Ford, Ford Madox Ford, Whitey Ford, Betty Ford, Tennessee Ernie Ford…” etc.

Alex Dimitrov – kinda punk visage, hearkening back to funner times, “I’m Lonely and I love It”, “Sleeping With Everyone” re: in NYC nobody will do you a favor unless…

Yvonne Meir w/ Aki Sasamoto.– music to accompany Meir as she bashes and beats a cardboard box into submission…which causes a little dog to bark at back rendering all the giggles

Susan Landers – new chapbook refs Chicago Manual of Style

Kathleen Miller – from Brooklyn

Peter Gizzi – “Apocrypha” looks for metaphors extraterrestrially like “anger might be a better way to say: I love you/truer than: How are you/in space” and brings in Blake refs towards the end

[5:25pm announcement for poets, “no more than 2 minutes, performances no more than five”]

[this hour is hosted by John S. Hall, who decides to do Poetry Project PSAs, in the style of favorite poets]

Ariana Reines – something about “truth comes in pulses” (which isn’t that far from “Love Comes In Spurts” for all you Voidoid fans) and then a delirious mediatation on beef jerky! “a world of jerky, veined in white fat…jerky is a cross of air, fire & water…the secret of dried meat is the secret of my love for it”

Karen Weiser – with a baby as a really good prop, one that keeps reaching for the pages she is trying to read

Basil King – “Learning to Dream” is latest book: “there is no good or bad color…it is one thing to survive, it is another to prevail”

[about here John does a PSA ala LYDIA LUNCH!...which really takes you back…]

Tom Savage – “Never Let Me Go” and an OWS tribute “People Arising Again” (“where are the guillotines when we need them”) which cites Marc Blitzstein and Whitman, “so where are the poets when we need them/We’re here too!” [crowd pleaser]

Martha King – “To Janis” (an old one)

Steven Taylor – longtime Fug does a Blake song

Joe Elliot – OWS tribute

Bob Hershon – “Last Night The Wind Came In” [which might just be an OWS metaphor but…]

Foamula – here from their “ashram in Co-Op city in the Bronx...in the morning we look out on ToysRUs…and realized we must immortalize this vista…”, then “Why Did We Go To Mount Rushmore?” and closed with “Three Things You Absolutely Need To Know About Wal-Mart”

Bill Kushner – just turned 80, offers reminiscence on meeting Robert Frost at 92nd St. Y

Don Yorty – singing w/nephew Daniel, 1973 song written in Philly, “Bring Sorrow Tomorrow” w/a bit of faux yodel

Donna Brook – “Shards” (also notes passing of Paul Violi 3rd mention today)

Monica de la Torre – re: Baroness Freytag-Loringhoven

LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs – has “a love/hate relationship with Harlem” and poem is about a groundhog, with own rhythmic acc.

Wayne Koestenbaum – “3 Women” after a photo in the 20’s, nice detail, using 2nd person voice for collective memories, which ref a lot of movies

Lee Ranaldo – Sonic’s second fiddler goes folkie acoustic on what might be titled “The Wind In Your Sails”, and ain’t half bad, kinda Tom Rush but adds this soft scream like a harp in a blown amp…worth another listen

[Todd Colby takes over the intros]

Ed Friedman – past head of the Project has a letter, of sorts: “Dear Karen”

Steve Earle – “finally accomplished his fucking novel this year” and “The war is over/at least one of them is” and snarls into the NeoCon fantasy that set the agenda of lies that led here and perpetuates the present, etc. but you gotta love the ending where Cheney gets his just deserts in the afterlife

Patricia Spears Jones – “My Dinner with the ghost of Lorenzo Thomas” “making peace with the death of flesh”(?)

Tom Carey – song “written in between spasms of rage” which might be entitled: “Gonna have to love it all right now”

Church of Betty – big ensemble for call-&-response anthem for our era “Occupy Wall Street”—very hippie/folkie-retro protest-sounding but, for all that, pretty neat, right down to the acapella, clap-a-long outtro, like hummable!

Pamela Sneed – poem for Michael Jackson

Billy Lamont – more lecture than else, poli-sci via Howard Zinn, I guess

Mark Nowak – “Francine Pollard dies”(?)

John S. Hall – addresses his child at his side—“I’m glad you won’t understand this because it is really fucked up”—and takes up the standard from our fallen comrade Tuli Kupferberg and extrapolates as far as anyone can on fucking, from his PDA, with sitar accompaniment

Genya Turovskaya – “The Present World”

Amy King –like old school beat, far-ranging

Penny Arcade – from reading old journals, does oral history over “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long”, “for the life of me, I couldn’t remember who these people were!” and “I’m not afraid to be alone when I’m old because I was afraid to be alone when I was young!”

Rinn Kelly – (not on list) “my new year’s resolution is to go to church more” which leads to “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” w/autoharp, which kinda brings it back to the roots

Ana Bozicevic – “Poem for OWS” also from PDA, to end with “take me to the riot”

Maggie Dubris – and other poets and musicians, medieval quartet like plainsong or shanty with eerie ocarina wail, harmonium, tambourine like a dirge outta the Black Plague, entitled, aptly enough, “Don’t Look Back”

Yoshiko Chuma – dancing with herself

Anne Tardos – “a poem for our revolutionary times” and gets into a conversation with the text “why do we ask questions that no one answers?” and “Don’t you hate a poem full of questions?”

Douglas Dunn – dances with himself, but with opera

Todd Colby – “Bull by the Horns” and you can guess which bull it is as well

CA Conrad – “I’m 46 years-old today...” and expresses “gay estrangement from those who would join the establishment…I’m not the kind of faggot who wants to put a rainbow flag on a machine gun”, and so, “this poem is for the ECONOMY!” and notes, “my father lived to see the fast-forward cum shot”

Daniel Kent – kinda Micheal Franks-ish song, with guitar

Gillian McCain – consort of Legs McNeil does “That’s one way of looking at it”

Secret Orchestra w/ Joanna Penn Cooper & .J. Hope Stein – going for the avant abstract, the Orch is a bit Matthew Shipp-like free jazz—from freak-out to aleatory—and the poets/readers too mixed down to make much else

James Marshall – longtime WFMU roots-music maven “The Hound” and bar-owner of Lakeside Lounge, gives slice o’ life about “getting out of the business” [which may be a side biz of marijuana sales—a local rumor only] and laments for the old days when our town was fun with a good eye for detail and ear for argot

Poez - …has been otherwise occupied as a lawyer for OWS

Suzanne Vega – since her last round as Carson McCullers, her interest has moved on to Epictetus and reads “The Song of The Stoic” (on another handheld) which she describes as “’Luka’ 50 years on…”

Miguel Gutierrez – a dancer who does a lot of arms and torso work, like voguing-in-place

Elliott Sharp – does a tribute to Hubert Sumlin in an exquisite slide guitar piece

John Giorno – recaps one from previous: “Thanks for nothing on my 70th Birthday” from friends gone and into the cosmic signif of it all, including the benediction, “I wish for all the drugs that I have ever taken to come back and visit you with the best high I’ve ever had.” [IMPORTANT REF! see below]

Charles Bernstein – “STRIKE!”

Alan Licht w/ Angela .Jaeger – “Missing Prism”(?)

Patti Smith – our revolutionary sweetheart says “I think that 2012 is going to be a very interesting year. Because times of trial bring out the best and worst in people.”So, in the middle of singing “Graceful” she forgets where she is and asides, “I think some of John Giorno’s drugs have come back to visit me…and they’re hitting right now!”

Anne Waldman w/ Ambrose Bye & Daniel Carter – “Pharoah, Let My People Go” (w/special guest Thurston Moore strumming acoustic)

Jonas Mekas – dedicated to Peter Orlovsky: “Occupy Heaven”, truly lovely elegiac remembrance of youth and grace

Janet Hamill – trippy as ever, wishing “we would all be touched by the divine fire of this year” (re: Year of the Dragon)

Pierre .Joris – prologue about Iraq and waiting until the last troops leave before reading, the “40”, then “Beginning, the end is in the…”

Nicole Peyrafitte – you don’t realize what she’s doing until she’s finished, but when she comes with a big steel bowl, mentions vanilla, OWS and begins whisking away at some white stuff within while singing Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose”, then you realize it’s more like Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’ first album: “Whipped Cream…and other delights”. Olde Skool Performance Art!

Taylor Mead – “I turned 87 yesterday…my brother’s a lawyer and he’s arranging everybody’s funeral. He wanted my obituary so I sent him this quote…which he refuses to use. …But they’re all Republicans. I don’t want to be in the family mausoleum. Just put me in the East River. With my cats.” After Giorno, the Emeritus. And for good reason.

David Henderson – “The Euro Peon” as in “so goes the Euro, so goes the peons” is tribute to ANOTHER economic revolt, of sorts

Lenny Kaye -

Filip Marinovich – intros “hope we will soon be occupying the executive suites of rapidly executed CEOs” to do “but the OCEAN, HA! HA! HA! HA!” …which, if notes make any sense, seems much more like off-the-wall street…

Bruce Andrews & Sally Silvers - more superb word salad and non-sequitors like popovers [think at this point is was beginning to get hungry]

Kenneth Goldsmith – notes say: “talk show voice-over as guy in fractal suit stands at wall” then “HIGH CONCEPT”

Drew Gardner – notes say something about “90’s synth box beat” and ask “IS THIS BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER retro?”

Will Yackulic- “speak to the promise of the unknown”

Edgar Oliver – monologist remembers youth at a Brooklyn library

Katie Degentesh – “the reason people have sex” which is children, and “to have a life like a zoo”(?)?

[here is where the host introduces, “the 100th reader of the day”—maybe by the list, but she’s #95 on my count]

Eileen Myles – her OWS-inspiration—“Anonymous”—is from the “human microphone” so “MIKE CHECK! NO I’M THE POET! NO HE’S THE POET! NO THEY’RE THE POET!” and fun for the whole loud family…

Reuben Butchart – pianist/songwriter, plays, sings

Leopoldine Core – “Suicide is the joker/someone shouting the punchline first…there won’t be a perfect time to die/I’ll die”

Arthur's Landing- more mesmerizing music from the late composer/cellist’s extensive catalogue, this one reminding one of Sandy Bull’s driftglass shimmers

Brenda Coultas – in a follow-up to last years, this is “Hydrofracking, pt. 2”

Nick Hallett – singer/composer makes fine use of the church’s acoustics for an acapella number sustained in the rafters

Thurston Moore – “Someone asked me if I was going to play tonight. Well, I’m gonna play this poem…” called “Finger”, and pretty SY for that!

Anselm Berrigan – “Tonga” by Paul Violi, followed by “I felt like an amputated leg – after Raymond Chandler” VERY!

Joe Ranono – weird one: a gal in drag w/hat and mustache, intros self and thanks Stacy for the invite, implying that same may have been the result of “that 3rd shot of Jaeger at the 12th Street L-bar”. Whatever, poems loaded with obvious sexual innuendos enough to make you think there’s an in-joke going on here, outside of playing it for laughs. Who knows?

Corinna Copp – (missed this)

Christine Elmo – dancer grooves to something that is either “Daddy Cool” or “Crazy Like A Fox”, but neither is my cup of tea

Kimberly Lyons – three sonnets in memory of Paul Violi

Elizabeth Devlin – hypnotic gal w/broken alto accompanies self on autoharp

Lonely Christopher – “I found it there” repeated in variations so fast as to be like the rumor of “rutabaga” as the background of crowd hub-bub in old-time movie scenes

Nuda Gordon – poses the questions “Isn’t the Gregorian calendar just a patriarchal construct?” Then offers the crowd to suggest a title for her poem, and then goes on to read/sing/sprechstimme what is one of the more surrealist ones today

Stephanie Gray – something about a stick shift done to the beat of “We Will Rock You”


Erin Morrill - “You message is a dial tone, for Amanda Giles”

Douglas Rothschild – every year this guy is seen walking around in some outrageous outfit, and this one’s no exception—like a Nudie in leather—but never on before I book.. So now we get another high concept number, with an intro longer than many poems tonight (while also making apologies for having Devlin as his autoharp accompanist instead of the planned sitar) and leading to repetitions of “You killed my best friend!” in a variety of vocal tones (which doesn’t seem to be an homage to the Death of Kenny on South Park…)