July 26, 2007

Poets in the Park, July 21

Earlier in the week the meteorologists had been predicting an unsettled, if not actually wet, Saturday. But as the weekend got closer the predictions kept getting better & we had a near picture-perfect evening for the reading. When I arrived there was a crew of young musicians (guitars, trumpets & singing saw) hanging around the statue, jamming. They were cool with the idea of a poetry reading & I was cool with them continuing to play as a found warm-up band. They call themselves "Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned" (designated as Metroland's Best Freak-Folk Band); look for them soon at Point 5.

Erik Sweet is the editor of Tool A Magazine (toolamagazine.com) & co-curator of the reading series "Behind the Egg." He read the opening of Nabokov's Speak Memory which was a fitting entree into Erik's own musings on time & existence, or on connecting to the world in "Thugs Yelling" (as the sounds of the city swirled about us in the park). He mused on the untold story of "The Modern Chair" & on literary & other kinds of transmissions in "Well, Shall We Go?" A wonderful, tight reading of poems that we really need more time with.

Barbara Louise Ungar shared with us poems from her two books & some new poems too, poems stretching from her early days right across the park at 80 Willett St. to her life with her young son. Her books are Sequel, a chapbook from Finishing Line Press, 2004, & Thrift, WordTech Editions, 2005. Her poems have a strong narrative bent, grammatical sentences, like writing letters, often with a punch line, even the "found poem" based on the MMPI (which I once tried to fake, but couldn't). As a mother, her anti-war poems are part of her poems for her son, as well they should be. And the bad influence of Jane Eyre, ending up in divorce & a custody battle with a "brute." Then she "danced into the sky."

Poets in the Park, Saturdays in July, 7PM at the Robert Burns statue.