This year the African American Literature and Culture Society was back at the Louisville Conference with this great panel on music and writing, chaired by Nathaniel Mackey and bringing me together with scholar-friends Anthony Reed and Meta Jones.
This year's keynote poet was Juliana Spahr. Hadn't seen her for a few years, so that was a special opportunity. I first got to know Juliana back when she was at Buffalo, and she shared Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's video art with me.
Another highlight this year was a full panel on the work of Larry Eigner.
We again had a good representation of Penn State scholars at Louisville, keeping up the tradition.
And the tradition of the party/poetry reading at Alan Golding's house was again a highlight of the year. I'll be posting a recording to Penn Sound before too long.
Monday, March 13, 2017
Next up was New York City -- The first evening I was over at Saint Marks Poetry Project to talk about Lorenzo Thomas with a small, eager band. I met poet Lydia Cortes there, whose books I had read over the years.
But the main order of business was Friday night over at the CUNY Grad Center, where the tireless Laura Hinton had organized an event in the wake of her edited volume Jayne Cortes, Adrienne Rich, and the Feminist Superhero, an event sponsored by The Lost & Found Series.
I was up first, with a talk about Cortez.
In the course of this powerful evening, I met up with poets I'd known before, like Patricia Spears Jones, poets I'd known but never met, like Steve Dalachinsky, China connections like Qinghong Xu, and new folks like Janelle Poe, Virginia Vasquez and Emilie Rosenblatt.
There were musical performances by long-time heroes of mine, Bill Cole, Joe Daley and Warren Smith. These musicians had worked with Jayne Cortez in the past, and it was a rare thrill to hear them give her poetry yet new improvisatory might on this night.
Bill Cole brought his didgeridoo.