Wednesday, January 7, 2015

St. Mark's Poetry Project New Year's Marathon

As we are wont to do at this time of the year…

Let’s face it: the bloom is off the rose. That is self evident; haven’t seen a legit post here in years, outside of the obvious one or two. Nature of the beast.

However, it is good to keep up some traditions even when the habit has become a memory, an odd quirk, that not even a knee-jerk will work. And so the big day of NYC at what I have come to call Downtown Abbey.

Major improvement this year is the sound system. No longer do you have two fat boxes atop tripods to boom out into the room in basically diminishing cones of aural fade to the sides. The new set-up has two very discrete columns, almost like obelisks, as Brendan Lorber would later note, to some temple or portal to another world. Very good use of effective imagery and tap into pop culture (“Stargate”) too. These are state-of-the-art mini systems that spread an even 180- or maybe even 270- if not full 360-degrees around their surface and are so slim and neat they really could be design elements.

As for attendance, think a lot of the star-followers passed on this one as Patti was absent. But also, Dael Olandersmith, Emily XYZ, Bob Holman, Denize Lauture, Edwin Torres, Sharon Mesmer and Ed Friedman, to name a few. Not that this detracted from the 100+ but who are noted for their absence from the line-up.

It must be noted, it took almost a week to get the notes straightened out on this one. Truly, the wrong day to screw up something as primal as sequencing, where the numbers are the only help available to attach authorship to the ragged little scrawl of ink across a teeny tiny page. Which is all the more surprising considering the fact that this particular marathon went off with only a few hitches, reverses, or drop outs. Its just that all it takes is one or two out of place turns the rest into a hunt through the short-term cortex for keys to hints to codes to possible impressions… 

[FYI: the TBD below indicates video which may or may not be posted, but certainly will require viewing before any summary can be drawn]
[oh yes: and these brackets are, of course, post-facto remarks of a personal nature]

So, that noted, with one or two cavils you will find in the text below: Here we go again!

1 Katy Lederer -  something on “factory farming of chickens” (am unsure if she missed the use of “yolked” for a great embedded pun, or simply thought better of adding in such a groaner) something with triplet syllables (also, something of a “foodie”, one gathers) and was there some Dr. Seuss-like cadences too?
2 Tracey McTague  - Must state: completely upstaged by daughter Aurora dancing about like dervish x’ed w/Isadora Duncan
3 Alan Gilbert  - “Outpatient Procedure” “…my favorite bartender on the decline of western civilization while cleaning the empties…”
4 Kiely Sweatt - “New York” “…sometimes everything IS everything…” & “Venus” “…is a big bowl of heroin…”
5 Simone White -  notes she is also doing the social media for the event, but as she just had a baby, zip writing for 2014 except “the only one: ‘A Secret Text’” (which, in retrospect, makes one wonder if that might be Anti-Social Media?)
6 Alii Warren – new book “Don’t Go Home With Your Heart On” (takeoff of famous Leonard Cohen title, and w/o inherent eros) “…shouldn’t they do horoscopes on the nightly news/maybe after sports?” & “…what does Aristotle say about beauty at the bottom of the ocean” & “I want to be an immortal hydroid/call me polyp…”
7 Ursula Eagly – stands stationary and holds up a canvas w/a black dot on an orange square…then drop new page down w/just a black dot.(period?)
8 Brandon Brown – “Last year was fuckin’ terrible…” (so the poem title is something which might be like the Hollies title “King Midas in Reverse”…) “I think Janet Jackson is coming back…/I have been making a list of 20 reasons to live/She is 9th
9 Ali Power – might be “translation of Petrarch’s (Patriarch’s?) sonnets(?)”: “Gossip…America’s Pasttime” & “…everybody loves a comeback”
10 Karinne Keithley Syers – “The Topiarist” about communicating with ferns/music, “with abominable branch” (delicate and sweet)
11 Nicole Peyrafette – the crepe-maker does a lament for Maria Blanca, in Spanish and French, with guitar accomp., that sounds like a fado or duende or flamenco but only because she slips into English long enough and clear enough to quote “for whom the bell tolls”, so if you start to feel Hemingwayesque, like something out of the Civil War in the Pyrnanees, go ahead!
12 Gina Myers – “each year the insurance company knows how much my life is worth…” & “Don’t Be Busy! That’s The Enemy Of Art!”
13 Tom Savage – book he’s been trying to publish for over 40 year has finally come out! “In 1971 I spent two months in Afghanistan and Pakistan…” and reads elegy to that long-ago time
14 Mike DeCapite - “Joe was sitting at his locker still red from the steam” conversational exchanges of men, totally naked, discussing cooking pasta
15 Marcella Durand – collab w/husband, “Linden” seems to be about trees [unless its “Lyndon” and I’m totally lost] and ordinal numbers(?)
16 Karen Weiser – “2 sections from a birthday poem for Evan Kennedy [who reads later]”, that ends with “…a souvenir of your idea…or mine/or theirs”
17 Joanna Koetze – with Jonathan Allen(?) dances to poem about virtues of being lost, includes riff from Walter Benjamin “to be lost is to be fully present”
18 Miriam Atkin – “The List of Unknown Positions (after Ann Hamilton)”: “…ascending to first place in the pageant of personas…”, “if you want to make sense, clean your face…” [almost painfully downer delivery, exhausted, for such neat aphorisms]
19 Maryam Parhizkar – “astonishment”: “I am a finger…”, “I am a fighting machine…”
20 Brendan Lorber – “Sobriety and its discontents”
21 Katy Bohinc – just arrived last nite in from Ohio, with “New New 2015 New Poem” written on the phone on the plane with the flu in her head, in incantory cadence, “water/I wanted nothing but water for days”
22 Sara Jane Stoner – “a prayer called ‘head’”: “I repeat my mantra of unknowing…”
23 Elinor Nauen (w/Annabelle Lee on guitar/vocals) – her “MMXV” is to do a remix of lines from Emily Dickinson to “Yellow Rose of Texas” [fun stuff, this recontexturalization]
24 Anselm Berrigan – says he is going to “read 5,000 poems” [which doesn’t augur well for the rest of the day] but does “one poem with two titles: ‘degrass’ and ‘re to presto de’” [no idea] with refrain “Who _________” [fill in the blank]” in one question after another
25 Nat Otting – call himself “a cardboard poet” and style is panting a lot, it seems; poem for Amiri Baraka [I think]
26 Farnoosh Fathi – “Good barber of the pea (that lives inside a vagina)”
27 Dorothy Friedman August – dedicated to Taylor Meade: “As If – a prayer for peace” “As if _________ [fill in the blank] was the answer”
28 Bob Rosenthal – “I have finally reached my curmudgeon years…’an apologia for parents’”: “I’m sorry luck can’t be bought in a baby supply store…” [very funny]
29 Cliff Fyman – “Yellow Taxi Poems”, ethnic fun and jewish stereotypecasting & something about Yankees fans and Met fans
30 John Kruth – of the band Tribecastan, goes on to expand on the disrespect of moderns detailed in  “The Night they boo’ed BB King” [lotsa cheers from audience for this one]
31 Kristin Prevallet – brings up Chinese astrology as this is the year of the sheep, and so “Year of Green Wooden Sheep” goes on and feels like a fortune-telling preacher
32 Christine Kelly – “the Body as Technocrat” & “The power of choice in the Time of Plenty”
33 Tommy Pico – native American poet says “this is from a much longer piece called Nature Poem”: “if you’re Indian today you can’t write a nature poem…”
34 Charity Coleman – “A church poem for the church on the Book of Hours for the Last Days”: “I’ve half a mind to attend a black mass/or start one of my own”
35 Norman MacAfee – “The last time I read here was 1984.” “…In Vienna, during WWI, Karl Krauss wrote ‘The Last Days of Mankind’—an 800 page play to be read on Mars…” and relates this is from that reading  Plus “Walking the streets of the astral plane…”
36 CAConrad – today is his 49th birthday and he resolves to visit PACE actions in campuses across America as much as possible this year [sounds like a political statement]: “I’m going in for a CAT scan…”, “Jesus didn’t need [a sense of] balance/he had nails…”, “Ed Dorn says faggots should drink directly from sewers/I want to dress special for this…”
37 Murat Nemet-Nejat – “The Wall (to a political exile)” & “No one home”
38 Philip Glass
39 Andrew Durbin – “Warm Leatherette (for Lou Reed)” speaks of “endlings”—the tail ends, last of species before extinction, and something else about how Selena Gomez ruined Lil’ Wayne [no idea]
40 Jennifer Bartlett – her latest book: “The New Poetry of Disability”. Last year she was still on a cane; this year she’s on a walker and needs an assist getting up the stairs. Her voice is getting more slurred, which only means she has to be more powerful, and is. “I wa born dead…it was merely a story told to me…” & “to be crippled means_________” [fill in the blank], to close with a torrent of freak show comparisons. [gutsy lady]
41 David Berrigan – seems to be quoting directly from a text or white paper on obesity epidemic in America with a particular focus on rapid growth rates in poor and urban communities [dry, technical, but makes the point]
42 Bill Kushner – “Bad Boy”
43 Don Yorty & Daniel – “In 200 I wrote a love song,. In 2009, I fell in love… Try it.” Variation of “sweet lil’ angel” that sounds like vintage Tom Rush, but is later given thanks of Roosevelt Sykes
44 Evan Kennedy – “St. Francis is a servant to the birds” and actually moves very avain, like a crane or other stilt bird in a marsh
45 R. Erica Doyle – “I’m anAmerican/I like to be happy/I want to feel good, even when it is not…part of that culture where we watched Andy Griffith until we felt nothing but candy canes” and into some very good approx. of Gulla/creole accent speech
46 John S. Hall – everything is “fuckin’ A!”
47 Steven Taylor – sings Wm Blake lullaby acapella, and the guy’s pipes are as good as ever!
48 Monica de la Torre – “Two Chairs – one digital; one not”
49 Cori Kresge – “Collaborative thought in stretched  time” & “Blasphemy (for Annabelle)” [his daughter, I think, because he goes on to compare…] “God is whatever you want he/she/it to be…like an American Girl doll…” [nice anthropo throw there]
50 Ray Brown – guitarist/songwriter does a tale of when he was on leave in Berlin
51 Kim Rosenfield – “I want to take you way back to 1982 and a little New York wisom I’d offer to my 15 year-old self…”
52 Yuko Otomo “one way poem with delmore”(?)
53 Alan Licht – instrumental acoustic strummer: “Dems Da Breaks”
54 Rob Fitterman – “…there’s no way out of misery, but I still hate myself…” may or may not be the title of a depressive Xmas reverie, but turns the concept from self pity to anger at those who are supposed to be pitied for all the stress they’re undergoing at the holiday where they are mere amateurs next to him [more or less, quite funny]
55 Simon Pettet – “…let the sage be like the bee in the town and _________” [fill in the blank]
56 Matthew Shipp & Steve Dalachinsky – the renowned pianist accomps. Steve (I think, wasn’t clear on the stage announcement) (or vice versa) who read the text
57 and there were probably two performers who went on in this gap but there were calls to make at other parts of the facility as well as having the Social Media poet [see above] help me find the Twitter page on the event. So the only sure thing is on return—
58 Adeena Karasick – “You’re a leaky day” basically taking the concept of “leaking” into a lot of places and things that aren’t/won’t/hasn’t can’t/etc.
59 Bruce Andrews & Sally Silvers
60 Foamola – the redoubtable only remaining poet’s band in the EV these days is nonetheless a highlight of the day, as usual for “Here I Am in Co-op City, Looking Donw on Toys R Us” and two others.
61 Charles Bernstein – “It’s not my bag, man” & “the view of Chekov Angiellere”(?)
62 Elizabeth Willis – “Survey” & “I worry that_________” [fill in the blank]
63 Avram Fefer – saxist with bass acc. To something called “BC Reverie”, which may be riffing on Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” for all the digeridoo-type warble-bubbles of the reed at the bottom range of a C clef and the low blows to the big fiddle
64 Lee Ann Brown – “Any Arc of Love” “ be each others mentors are enough?” & a memoir of a family trip to Mexico
65 Steve Earle - TBD
66 Beth Gill – dances to Leonard Cohen’s “Sisters of Mercy” [awe-strikingly beautiful moment]
67 Nick Hallett- TBD
68 Patricia Spears Jones – “2014 couldn’t leave fuckin’ fast enough… Welcome to one of the greatest space in the world!” “Lyric”; “…the 1st line should be ‘Where are the shadows/’” & “Zud” “…the Mongolian word for the die-off of livestock (due to climate change)” & “life lessons”: “…what can you make of tragedy?”
69 Callers – Brooklyn duo does music/song [bit of problem with bad ground lead was distracting]
70 Tonya Foster – exhorts all to make some noise “in memory of the blind puddle that was the blind boy’s blood…” that was “red as_________” [fill in the blank]
71 Anne Waldman with Fast Speaking Music – “Good evening to all the luminous ghosts!” and prefers to call this the year of the ram as opposed to the sheep, in her ovine opine. Read/incants/conjours “Off Worlds”, one of which is tantamount to Sun Ra’s “Rocket 99 take off for the Planet…VENUS”—the wild witch of the East Village rides again!
72 Yoshiko Chuma – feeaks out on piano with accompaniest before hoofing into one of her more frenetic freestyles [apparently in honor of Palestinian dancer friend taken into custody during the recent troubles there]
73 Tammy Faye Starllte & Steve Earle – the chameleon has now become semi-Mary Hopkins, one gathers, in the white dress to talk about how good things are for white people in America today, and lead the audience in sing-along to “where Have all the Flowers gGone?” while passing out white roses and working the room.
74 Edmund Berrigan – “100 years for Maria Sataavia”(?)
75 Rachel Levitsky & Susan Bee – Bee is the artist whose painting inspired Levitsky to write “The Island (after Robert Creely)”
76 Erica Hunt & Marty Ehrlich – “Lately I find myself writing poems as instructions for the future…” w/Erlich on bass clarinet(?) w/terrif deep burble over her read, ends with: “Be the wind that lifts the draft” and launches a paper airplane of her text into the audience—clever gal!
77 Pierre Joris – “one poem from Balzac on the Arabic letter N which is ‘nun’”
78 Penny Arcade & Chris Rael – she smoked so much weed last night she wondered how she would make it, as she said, but nevertheless turned in a solid reading of her writing on her life, w/particular attention to nostalgia not being all that it is cracked up to was, with Chris on guitar and vox doing a greek chorus-type thang [incidentally, he is giving away a song a day for the next year at website—check it out]
79 Thomas Sayers Ellis & James Brandon Lewis – this was an ensemble with TWE as poet (probably), also with sax and bass and female singer, which may or may not have been entitles “In the tradition of Amiri Baraka) but might as well have been; very old skool free-styin’ between musicians and incantors and less Black Power than Dark Matter
80 Maria Acconci – “When I was young/murder, carnage was my middle name…” and then breaks into a mantra of “SAY IT SAY IT SAY IT” in a few permutations, to end with “I woke up from a dream/and only then could understand my middle name”
81 Vito Acconci - TBD
82 Jason Hwang - TBD
83 John Giorno - TBD
84 Lenny Kaye - TBD
85 Janet Hamill & Lost Ceilings – [insert youtube video of “Bearing Witness”]
86 Jonas Mekas – [on quick break missed all but his immaculate vampire voice talking about “the white dove”]
87 Todd Colby – “Taking the Bull by the Horns” was “Written so long ago I didn’t need glasses” and is every bit as good as the last time he went into fits and paroxysms to describe just what the implications of this are in their entirety
88 Eileen Myles - TBD
89 Justin Vivian Bond - TBD
90 Joseph Keckler - TBD
91 Tony Towle – “…when the hands falter at the keyboard/that’s when it’s time to bring in the marketing team…”
92 Yvonne Meier – the choreographer provides a bit of late evening fun by calling out bizarre concepts for a trio of dancers to improve on
93 Anne Tardos - “Beginingless” “…everyone I have ever been I am now…I don’t have any better place to start from”
94 Edgar Oliver – one of the last of the laureates of the ‘80s reads “Lost”
95 Filip Marinovich – “Self in Capricorn”
96 Morgan Parker – “all I want is my money, my pussy and my blood”
97 JD Samson & Colin Self – from the band Le Tigre, she says lines and then has male echo in odd, operatic tones, ends with both on same note: “DO NOT BE ASHAMED OF YOUR CRAFT!” [right on, sister!]
98 James Gavin – reads from his new book on “The Strange Life of Peggy Lee”, chapter on her nightclub appearances at Basin Street East here in the ‘50s-‘’60s [looks like a really good read]
99 niv Acosta – [missed, saying goodbye to friend]
100 Adam Fitzgerald – seems to be offering new landmarks on the westward push of Manifest Destiny or something, in some kind of browser? Refrain: “Press spacebar to continue”
101 Ernie Brooks (bass), Peter Zummo (trombone/vocals) & Bill Ruyle (hammer dulcimer) with Walter Baker (guitar) & Billy Fica (dumbeck) – constitute Arthur’s Landing (a band of bro’s dedicated to keeping alive the musical legacy of the late great Arthur Russell). The set this year is mostly instrumental, with Peter doing some words in the first number. Hand it to the band and the boys on the board—sounded pristine, mid-eastern dreamy and prog-rock.
102 Siobhan Burke – a dance writer/critic has “350 words on Tricia Brown”
103 erica kaufman/Matt Longabucco & Nicole Eisenman – are something called Triplicate Girl, and rather incomprehensible w/overlapping reads
104 Georgia Faust – “A$$ET$” “the word is uncomplicated when _________” [fill in the blank]
105 John Coletti – “Ratiocination”
106 David Henderson – “Micheal Ferguson Brown”; two repeated refrains, 1) “The Emmett Till Equation used to be _________” [fill in the blank], and 2) so many variations and usages of the word “lynch” is names and places

at this point the notes once again get out-of-sequence so what happened next is matter of conjecture:
apparently there was—

107 Rachel Tractenburg (w/RJ Timmerson?, on vox/guitar) – second song seemed to be something about the whales at Seaworld

but then there is an entry between the that and the next which says:
“love poem “Year after year” (to her GF Flaca?)” which may or may not be –

108 Dia Felix – “This is based on a dream of my being watched by the cops…” “simply—I was my crime”

but certainly the next was—
109 luciana achugar – a choreographer from Uruguay, breathes into the mike  in the joys and sorrows of undetermined aspiration
110 Ian Felsenthal – “Dorothy Counts”
111 Jess Fiorini – “a poem for the year past and for the year coming up” (didn’t leave me w/more than impression of nice bias haircut)
112  Arlo Quint – “…the answer to the ‘My-kid-could-do-that’ comment is Chris Burden…” & “…Where is the fun side of destiny?...”
113 Steve Zultanski – describes his old girlfriend’s apartment roach infestation problem…then onto class struggle

and I think I was losing it here, but unless I miss my guess, the printed order was reversed so that –
115 Billy Cancel – “come on the turbine, darling” (has a ‘60s brit rocker incantory style)

came before –
114 Jackie Wang –  (taking the stage as I take my leave…young asian fellow with soft voice, sounded like an apology of some sort, but, well..better luck next year!)