San Francisco was host today to two group readings from EVERY GOODBYE AIN'T GONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF INNOVATIVE POETRY BY AFRICAN AMERICANS. The first was scheduled as a panel at the conference of the American Literature Association, where Ishmael Reed joined co-editors Lauri Ramey and Aldon Nielsen along with poets Billy Joe Harris and giovanni singleton.
To a crowded room of conference goers, the panel presented poetry by Lorenzo Thomas, Elouise Loftin, Oliver Pitcher, Russell Atkins, June Jordan and others. Ishmael Reed, Billy Joe Harris and giovanni singleton read from their own work in addition to poems by other writers in the collection.
Then it was across town to the Cafe Royale, where the San Francisco State Poetry Center had organized a reading for the local audience. There the readers were joined by Douglass Miller, whose work you can read in giovanni's great magazine, NOCTURNES REVIEW. Douglass started out with Bob Kaufman's PICASSO'S BALCONY, explaining that Kaufman was both a fundamental reason for his work as a poet and the reason he moved to San Francisco in the first place. Lauri Ramey pressed Michael Palmer, the subject of her dissertation, into service and Palmer joined in with an effective reading of poems by Ed Roberson, preceded by personal reminiscences of his early days and contacts with many of these poets. Poetry Center director Steve Dickison also took to the mic, reading Lorenzo Thomas's EMBARKATION FOR CYTHERA. Lorenzo had read for the Poetry Center not long before the final illness that brought his death last July fourth.
It was a chance to meet up again with old friends (Steven Vincent, Susan Schultz & Benjamin Hollander, for example) and to meet new ones around this vital body of poetry from some of America's greatest talents. [extra credits in heaven to Keith Leonard, who came to both readings!]
Then it was back to the Embarcadero Center to decompress and get ready for the next day.
What did I do at the end of the day? Read new poetry from Geoffrey Jacques, from his brand new book out of Wayne State University Press, JUST FOR A THRILL.