The avant gardeners cracked into furious flower at dawn -- First panel of the day brought us, ALL IN ONE PLACE, Erica Hunt, John Keene, Evie Shockley, Tyrone Williams and Tonya Foster. Duriel Harris was still on hand from the previous night's cancelled reading -- It was a once in a life time aggregation of talent --
Meta Jones and Tony Medina were holding office hours outdoors on this fine day.
And post-lunch brought us to the open mic event -- always one of my favorite parts of these events -- heard some work I had not known before, which is kinda the point --
Fortunately for the audience, Mendi Obadike and Tyehmba Jess, part of the cancelled reading lineup, were still in town this last afternoon and were able to join that final panel of readers -- Making it a mini-marathon of poetics --
Following a quick dinner down the hill from campus, it was back to the auditorium for a concert by the Ravi Coltrane Quartet, easily the best Furious Flower concert since Bernice Johnson Reagon held the stage, and a large audience, all by herself at the 1994 conference.
Back in '94, the heroic remnant gathered in a nearby hotel room to party; among other memorable things, that was the first time I saw Jerry Ward do his Jerry Ward dance. Thanks and kudos to Thomas Sayers Ellis, who worked his magic with the staff at the Marriott and got us a conference room for what has to be among the best unscheduled poetry events of our time -- and a private thanks to Luke Stewart, who, in addition to powerful work on the bass, and to keeping things going at WPFW, mastered the art of opening a bottle without an opener --