Last week I was in Columbus, Ohio, to read poetry at Larry's Poetry Forum, which takes its name from the bar in which it has been held for lo these many years. The Forum, for some time now organized by David Baratier (shown here under the sign of the camel), has been going on for decades and shows no sign of flagging. There, across the street from Ohio State University, each week a visiting poet performs, followed by an open mic.
One of the people I had the good fortune to meet that evening was Michael Hummel, proprietor of "Used Kids Records," which certainly takes the award for most striking name for a collector's emporium. Michael, shown here in a particularly mischievous moment at the mic, is himself a musician, with a musician's sense of timing and a wonderful sense of humor.
Also taking to the mic that evening was Stephen Mainard, a teacher in the area with whom I had a great conversation about poets and the work of wording.
David Baratier met me for dinner before the reading and we had a chance to renew our acquaintance. We had only met once previously, in the course of my only visit ever to the Associated Writing Programs conference, at which David usually has a table for his Pavement Saw Press. I've always admired the work of that press, and of the poets it publishes, and so running into David that first time had been like coming across a small oasis in the dry stretches of the AWP. [And why is it, do you think, that local papers never run those stories about the AWP that they so love to publish about the MLA -- Clearly not for lack of similarly inviting titles in the program.)
At any rate, for one cold night in March, I had the pleasure of poetry and drinks with the poets of Columbus. Next time you're in the area, find your way over to Larry's and ask for David. And while you're at it, stop by USED KIDS RECORDS at 1980 N. High Street, "upstairs" as Michael's card insists.