Saturday, October 27, 2018


Robert Glasper is wrapping up a  month long residency at The Blue Note, featuring different configurations all through October.  One night it was a Miles Davis tribute, another featured Glasper with Christian McBride and Nicholas Payton.  There was a special Houston night featuring Kendrick Scott and Michael Moreno. Mid-month, Robert was on stage with Yasiin Bey (Mos Def).  

Derrick Hodge on bass

Justin Tyson on drums

Amidst the terrors of this past week, I was in New York for poetry and music. Couldn't think of a better way to follow the Lorenzo Thomas celebration at the Poetry Project with its all star cast of  poets in tributes to my great friend than to head on down to the Village to catch the performance.  It was good timing for me, as Glasper is closing out his residency with his current band, all seen here in action.

Over there on sax, keyboards and vocals is Terrance Martin.

Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah on trumpet

 Taylor McFerrin, "sounds" -- here with his father, Bobby McFerrin, and Robert.  Bobby imrpvising around the phrase "you're pretty good at that."

Thursday, October 25, 2018


Last night the Saint Marks Poetry Project hosted a pre-publication celebratory reading from The Collected Poems of Lorenzo Thomas, co-edited with the great Laura Vrana and forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press.  We had a large and enthusiastic audience.  Lorenzo's brother, Cecilio, was in attendance, and at least one "Umbra Alum," to use Harryette Mulen's line. 

Steve Cannon was there, closing another circle of legacies; when Steve taught at Lincoln University, one of his students was Gil Scott-Heron, and when Gil taught at Federal City College, I was one of his students.
The readers were all in magnificent form, and the hats alone were worth the price of a ticket.

Tracie Morris closed things out with a moving recitation of poems by Lorenzo, exploring the corners and interstices of the works in a revealing way that was the perfect note to end on.

Then Erica Hunt, Lydia Cortes and I retired to a nearby establishment that is apparently noted for having the world's smallest martini glasses.
Thanks again to this remarkable company of poets: Lydia Cortes, Charles Bernstein, Patricia Spears Jones, Erica Hunt, William J. Harris and Tracie Morris. I'll be posting a recording soon -- and as publication date nears we'll be organizing more events.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

ASAP 2018 - New Orleans

Back last night from New Orleans and the 2018 gathering of the Association for the Study of Arts of the Present.  Accuse us of presentism if you will, but Reverend Eburne was there conducting a revival and foreseeing the future, with liberal baptisms from the holy sisters.

I was there this year to join in a roundtable discussion with poet/novelist/critic John Keene, a newly minted MacArthur fellow.  I first met John back in 1994 in Virginia, and we've crossed paths routinely ever since.  For my contribution, I briefly addressed John's limited edition poetry collection Playland, attempting a few points in the process regarding forms of reception and interpretation, but mostly I was there to have a good time with these wonderful writers and friends.

 But the real highlight of the weekend was the reunion of the poetic tribes hosted at his home by Rodrigo Toscano.  I should have taken the camera along, but was intent on just sittin' and grinnin'. I also should have jumped in the pool when invited to do so -- I guess I was worried about returning to the hotel in visibly wet slacks.  As it turned out, I found the Penn State group reconvened in the lobby of the Intercontinental and we closed the bar.