Saturday, January 11, 2014

St. Marks Poetry Project New Year's Day Marathon

This almost didn't happen. The post, not the event.

This is the 40th anniversary of the Project, going back to 1972. Watergate. Bell-bottoms. Earth shoes. Wimmen's Lib (sic, because that's the way it was in the main). Paraquat. (Look that one up.) Hooray for the legacy of words!

As for the post, this has not been a banner year for the blog. In fact, it has been a black hole. The reasons are many but why bore now?

So, to it.

Every year part of the fun is looking for the way the world, events, happenings, etc. impact the speakers and performers. Actually, this time you might've suspected paeans to Lou Reed, or healthcare implementation, gay marriage, whatever. Nothing of the sort. No coherency whatsoever, which only means Pay Attention, I'm Only Going To Say This Once.

1 Joanna Fuhrman: about compromise in feminism?
2 Nada Gordon: "Dirge" or "the thing for Stacy Davis"? "toxic element to be purged" "at the Bijou"?
3 Camille Rankine: CON GRET? mentions Mandela and apartheid
4 Nathaniel Siegel: tribute to Taylor Mead (who's b'day is today) w/photos on music stands, "Manhattan's Oscar Wilde" reads from his “Autobiography After Ferlinghetti”
5 Dell Lemmon: "entry" and "love", a memory a bear on "The Today Show", “we were once dolphins”
6 Christine Shan:seems to be modern axioms to become olde saws based on general behavioral observations
7 Simone White: “what a relief to be nobody at all/and hold your hand in the middle of the night”, “my favorite secret is to be quietly drunk”
8 Erica Hunt: might be a 3rd world weather report for our illegal labor force--“Invisible Hands”; 2nd starts “Reader, we were meant to meet…”
9 Lynne Tillman: excerpt from her book “Circumstantial Evidence” entitled “A sunny time” which recollects Time CafĂ©, The Fez and catching an exotic bird on Lafeyette Street
10 Marty Ehrlich: sax solo entitled “a weaver of dreams”—superior golden tone of his baritone reed is as much our secular shofar at the temple of words...
11 Claudia La Rocco: “what if we leave the page, what would you be?” “the traingoes fast/the church goes slow”
12 Nick Hallett: SONG
13 R. Erica Doyle: “she is an envelope in the letter of your body” “dear magnetic field: make me a sail on the solar wind”
14 Justin Vivian Bond: recalls impromptu poetry reading on the beach at Fire Island last summer reading not Mx. Bond’s favorite Frank O’Hara poem, but the one that sounds best read aloud: “WAKE UP LANA TURNER!”
15 Evie Shockley: “too beautiful to cover up” (black as punctuation?) and “Nocturne”
16 Corrine Fitzpatrick: “this is about traveling by car and cancer” says of the Route 66 episodic tale
17 Carley Moore: “this was inspired by the Wizard of Oz” “…hey, like, you did kill my sister/and stole her slippers”
18 Guillermo Filice Castro: “Facebook, here it comes!” title? “The you that is I”
19 Ricardo Maldonado: “under one incandescent”, then a 2nd and 3rd new ones and 4th was repeat of last year
20 Bob Rosenthal: “Resolutions never kept” “Waking/Dreaming” 
21 Alice James: MUSIC
22 Jane Le Croy: SONG re: NYC
23 Bob Hershon: the first comic hit of the day—“The answers to the questions at that rainy day bookstore reading at the Mall”
24 Montana Ray: describes her poems as concrete in that they are written in shapes, “Guns & Butter”
25 Tommy Pico: “crush” (gaymosexually speaking)
26 Patrick Rosal: “meditation on water” (different strokes for different shores, it would appear)
27 Thurston Moore: 
28 Steve Cannon: [FIRST BREAK, next announcer is HALL]
29 Sarah Schulman: “1984” (but seems to be mostly about sex): ‘is having an orgasm in a dark room in a bad part of town worth constructing your life around?...YES!”
30 Yvonne Rainer: “going to sleep in public has different contexts, depending upon where” and stops in the middle to solicit the crowd to sing Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train”…which meets with a resounding semi-neutral hum
31 Andrew Durbin: “Track star” and “One Size fits all” in multiple, myriad permutations
32 Jason Nazary: plays drums (but the time it takes to set up the kit gives Hall free reign to vamp for a brilliant 5 minutes or so)
33 John Godfrey: “Dream baby, dream” about “my own unique cinema…” “Hey! Wait a minute! There is no single mom Vietnamese ghetto…”
34 Elinor Nauen: excerpt from “I don’t remember…” which appears to be a list poem
35 Krystal Languell: “tonight, this is our last song” “…I talk out loud so no one will bother me…”
36 Kimberly Lyons: expresses love of Osip Mandelstam as greatest poet of 20th century and reads his “My animal, my age”
37 Phyllis Wat: “Sensifying” and then something which may be about a movie from Thailand
38 Mitch Highfill: “A marking of that moment” “…or maybe I have this picture in my head/What will you pay to make it go away?”
39 Ray Brown: song w/tenor guitar (4-string) that is very much like John Martyn
40 Vyt Bakaitis: “closing orders”(?) and first to actually rhyme
41 Christine Kanownick: (something about borders?) Somewhat accusatory manner? Seems addressed to former lover, cites this as Facebook “posting this so that you might read it”
42 Christina Strong: about changing her email address? And a fascination with photos of female contortionists…references a marijuana arrest and time served in North Carolina
43 John Kruth: Music with reminiscences, tossing off a coda with harp wail
44 Andrew Boston: may be a dream? Lotsa cult refs.from the past, something about “text-to-speech”
45 Tracey McTague: 
46 Bill Kushner: “Since I was five, I wanted to be a poem…” and reads the Robert Frost memory for the third (?) year in a row
47 Tom Savage: a madrigal derived from an Italian work
48 Brendan Lorber: “The new leap was older than the first one but…” “if the beautiful sunset were enough, then why the night?”
49 Patricia Spears Jones: “found poem of the week” repeats some refrain about “Do you understand English? As it is not your first language”, then does one called “The ‘80s”—“the vials were the color of confetti and strewn about the street”
50 Maggie Dubris: ensemble that took as long to set up as it did to perform, and Maggie’s guitar was way too low to hear
51 Don Yorty: another oldie, written when he was 24 years old, “Friday Night Apocalypse Stew” to a “Sister Ray” rhythm
52 John S. Hall: another notable ramble about not being able to write anything for this year’s segment
53 Marissa Perel: w/guitar feedback, seems to be a meditation on floating in water? w/refrain of “Now I’m not my _______”
54 Michelle Boule: DANCE
55 Anselm Berrigan: 
56 Betsy Fagin: offers the audience choice, “do you want to hear a blessing or a curse?” generally, goes for blessing
57 Carol Mirakove: “Dear January, two-faced door that you are…” “…NO FOOD STAMPS!”, then variations on “Can you believe that?” with astonishment
58 Ernie Brooks & Peter Zummo: music, w/Billy Ficca on hand drum
59 Brenda Coultas: couple pages from a short story on a bookseller or reseller and the romance of the written word and language
60 Jennifer Bartlett: “inspired by CA Conrad”: Jen has a speech impediment and muscular disorder, but overcomes both to tell her experience of “how it finally feels to be ‘sexy’’ and all that entails about self-image, to be desired, but also cites a scene from “Wolf of Wall Street” with a “CP Phase”(? Which may be about cerebral palsy?) that was an episode of the film [which I have not seen] but overall, her force of character and geniality wins all, ending with cheers [seriously, this is almost like a coming-of-age movie!]
61 Edwin Torres: song-ish number with refrain of “I used to_____, vivalalalalalalala…” like “I used to watch reality before TV, vivalalalalalalala” in a soft fade
62 Leopoldine Core: wrote on an airplane, reads from her phone: “I’ve been praying a lot…” “…the ugliest thing is when you hide your pleasure”
63 Marcella Durand: “I think in 12 syllables all the time” “…I want to tell them/we are divided/language is divided”
64 Lee Ann Brown: after Shakespeare’s 1st sonnet, this is a “pro-creation sonnet”
65 Jen Benka: “7 for 2014”
66 Ed Friedman: “Nature always belongs to the Avant Garde”, Ed gives a truly fascinating summary of online gamers’ cheat sheets (called “walk-thru’s”) that tell them how to negotiate rough patches in directions specific to their digital worlds but just as interesting when applied to our own, which offers a glimpse into what a perfect world might be where we are helped over our own problems by those who have been there before us
67 Joanna Kotze: dance w/Anselm Berrigan reading “An alphabet for nobody”, twice (
68 CA Conrad: “Many are haunted by our actions through sentences/I’m haunted what we’ve done since breakfast”
69 Phillip Glass: always a crowd pleaser, he plays a different tune this time, by which I mean literally: this is not the same tune he has always (more or less) played over the last 10 years—which is no less a time-stopper
70 Bruce Andrews & Sally Silvers: 
71 Basil King: only wants to offer congrats to the Project on their 40th, waves and goes
72 Dawn Lundy Martin: “we have learned that progress is a quiet thing”
73 Joseph Keckler: downtown’s least-kept secret offers excerpt from “My life is an Opera” staring with an aria and going on into further David-Lynchean surreality
74 Edgar Oliver: the silver-throated orator goes on “The Road”
75 Christine Elmo: dance
76 Lewis Warsh: offers axioms new and old—e.g. “there’s a first time for everything” and “I want to discover myself”
77 Pierre Joris: another vignette about the late Taro then a poem taken from an new translation of Nostradamus…and the joke is, reads from text in Latin or early Frankish or whatever and then says: “And who knows to whom that applies?” [It works. You had to be there]
78 Foamola: 
79 Tracie Morris: with Elliott Sharp, he blow the stacks and she sings “Smokestack Lightnin’” with all the field hollers intact, showstopper.
80 JD Samson &.Emily Roysdon: not sure which one of them gives an explanation why the other isn’t ther, but reads text off phone, “you have the most beautiful way of putting one foot in front of the other”
81 Anne Tardos: “rub together two neurons and you have a mind…rub two pharmacists together and you have a connection”
82 Martha King: “Hymn to Glee” (?) “are you interested in a lecture on the disquisitions of prayer?”
83 Jennifer Miller w/Chris Cochrane & JE: dance
84 Todd Colby: dedicated to Taro and Lou Reed “Tonight”
85 Nurit Tilles: piano rag written 1972
86 Jonas Mekas: “it was only a daydream”, then quotes Poe, then goes on to relate a rather amusing anecdote (?) about a poet who had a dream in which he composed the most perfect poem ever. His friend chides him that he should have written it down. And he says “I did…in the dream”
87 Beth Gill: dance
88 John Giorno: reprises one of his faves, from 1982: “Life is a Killer”
89 Douglas Dunn & Steven Taylor: Steve sings “Blue Bayou” while Doug dances about with a copy of the “Dowtown” photo coffee-table book taped to his face and head
90 Nicole Peyrafitte: the mistress of the crepe [literally, she was making them and selling them in back as fast as possible, and they smelled just great] comes out to do a thang called “bone fruit” clapping two round ribeye bones together in a chant that summons the past: “ancestor’s voices call”
91 Elliott Sharp: “Sometimes you just have to get back to the root…Fred McDowell”, which would be “Mississippi Fred McDowell”, which still is some of the most wicked slide this side of an ice glide
92 Michael Portnoy: 
93 Yvonne Meier: 
94 Anne Waldman: 
95 Justin Sayre: 
96 Oliver Ray?: 
97 Bob Holman: 
98 Lenny Kaye: 
99 Patti Smith: 
100 Eileen Myles: 
101 Dynasty Handbag: 
102 Penny Arcade: 
103 Lonely Christopher: 
104 Arthur's Landing: 
105 Legs McNeil: 
106 Steve Earle: 
107 Tammy Faye Starlite w/Steve Earle: 
108 Cole Heinowitz: 
109 Ariel Goldberg: 
110 Lucy Ives & Ben Gocker: 
111 Jason Hwang: 
112 erica kaufman: 
113 Rebecca Moore: 
114 Felix Bernstein: 
115 Corina Copp: 
116 Clarinda MacLow: 
117 Dia Felix: 
118 AIex Dimitrov: 
119 Amanda Davidson: 
120 Becca Klaver: 
121 Frank Sherlock: 
122 Edmund Berrigan: 
123 Stephanie Gray: 
124 Rachel Trachtenburg: 
125 Emily Skillings: 

Audio: David Vogen
and John Priest as GUMBY!

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