El Blogeador is taking advantage of the free access to the Orange Network in the Paris airport Novotel Hotel to upload these photos from the just completed international conference, "Poets and Publishers: Circulating Avant-Garde Poetry (1945-2010)."
It seemed only fitting that a conference on avant-garde circulation should be beset by strikes interrupting circulation throughout France. We all stayed in good humor, though, and the majority of us managed to find a way to get to Le Mans and the Universite du Maine (why is it that universities with "Maine" in their name are so friendly to poetry?), where Helene Aji and Manuel Brito, along with their able colleagues, had organized days of avant exchange among poets and critics. We were from Spain, France, the USA, Canada, Italy -- and we were all there to talk about the news that stayed. There were papers on Scottish small press publications, on visual poetics, on artists' books, on post-Umbra African American poetry, even on Robert Duncan's typewriters.
And there were poetry readings by Jacques Darras and Jerome Rothenberg.
On the second day, strikers stopped the tram cars in their tracks in Le Mans, but that didn't stop our poetry. Most of us support the position of the strikers anyway, so just lengthened our stride a bit and visited with the workers and students in the streets.
My own Paris trains were removed from the schedule, but that just meant that I got to see the Cathedral of Chartres out the window of the much slower train that eventually got me to the conference, as I will eventually get back home. The welcoming students I met at the university and on those trains that ran did much for my own circulation.