Wednesday, November 07, 2018


The surrealism conference at Bucknell included good old fashioned group readings in the evenings, starting with a grand night on the stage of the Campus Theater. I got to meet many poets I had been reading for years but had never seen before, starting with our host/MC, G.C. Waldrep.
Poets included Charles Borkhuis, Edgar Garcia, George Kalamaras, Andrew King, Jennifer Militello, me and Nina Puro.

The second night's reading festival included poets reading their own work, and poetry in translation. Readers were C. Dylan Bassett, Mary Ann Caws, Merrill Cole, Joanna Fuhrman, Penelope Rosemont, Ron Sakolsky, Peter Streckfus and Bill Zavatsky.


It had been more than three decades since my last visit to Bucknell University. (I forgive you, Bucknell!) Here I was again, at the edge of the Suquehanna, between Lewisburg Penitentiary (not feeling a bit penitent, I confess) and a place of higher learning, What brought me from my own campus, conveniently located up the road from Rockview Correctional Institution, was the inaugural conference of the International Society for the Study of Surrealism. The events kicked off with a film screening and reception at the Campus Theater, and it was there that I met the legendary Penelope Rosement, who appears to have known nearly everybody I met in my youth. Or maybe I just dreamed that . . . I remember some melting watches and a lot of crustaceans.

Among the many highlights, an entire panel devoted to the prospect of an anthology of postmodern American surrealist poets.

I'm guessing that, like Kathy Griffith, Narcissiter won't be getting invited to sit on the National Endowment for the Arts.  Too bad.

We lost our very heads over the shrimp.

I was on a panel with Penelope and Jonathan Eburne -- Jonathan and I were talking about Ted Joans and Jayne Cortez, or at least that's what we said we were talking about.

and here you see the very heads we lost over the shrimp

Safe Surrealism? The closing event included a collection of Surrealist works under the vaulted ceiling of an abandoned bank in Millton, PA.  Then we all trooped down the street, past the last functioning streetlight, to an old lodge hall, where we had a massive dinner and were stunned by the performance of Narcissister, whose doc film has just premiered.

Come back to this space later for a full album of the poetry readings that enlivened the symposia.
to be clear, the veiled lady is not Narcissister; the masked lady below is Narcissiter.