Wednesday, March 01, 2017


After Poemtalking the night away in Philadelphia, it was time to drive home to D.C. where the gathering of the AWP was to happen. 


got distracted -- what to do?

Cram into the top floor of the Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan for what promised, and turned out to be, the most offsiteish of all off site readings. Poets representing nine presses, poets from this year's Best American Experimental Writing volume, poets ranging from Ugly Ducklings to Wonders, the whole sheandhebang organized by Rod Smith . . . this was to be the place to be, so I be'd there.

Nearly missed my cue though. We were taking breaks between the press groupings so that the fine folk who run the Black Squirrel could rev up their glass washing mechanisms to keep up with the gathered thirst of all those poets. At the end of one such break, I saw Rod gesturing hypnotically to someone who turned out to be me.  The first best American experimentalist had failed to appear, so it was left to me to work my way through the crowd and read one of my selections from the volume. My own pieces in the book are part of the sequence Tray, the title poem of the book about to be released by Make Now Press. Janice Lowe was up a bit later with her elegy for Tamir Rice, accompanying herself on electronic keyboard. A bit earlier the crowd had roared in response to the hilarious performance of Mel Nichols's song "I'd Say Anything to Get an A."

It was a roaring night all around, with poets such as Douglas Kearney, Wendy Xu, Harmony Holiday, Trisha Low, Rodrigo Toscano, on and on . . . In the end, Nathan Bowles banjoed us into the wee hours.

If you missed it, and in that tightly packed crowd who knows if you were there that night, keep an eye on Penn Sound where the audio shall one day echo.

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