October 28, 2008

Poetry @ the UAG, October 24

Well, it's not too cool to review one's own reading, I mean, I did great, right? But as I've said so many times here already these Blogs are not reviews, but reports. So I guess I can report on my own reading; those of you who were there (or were not) feel free to comment away.

The night was hosted by Mary Panza, in stunning black (what else?). 

It was the night of the 2 Dans/Daniels & Dan Nester read first, starting off with my old poem "Where Were the Professors?" obviously not written about him (he was about 12 at the time), nor about any of the other "professors" who spend time at the community readings (I'll mention Sylvia & Pierre as outstanding examples). From there he read "all new stuff," including a couple of found poems (the most proletarian of genres), one a comment by Kiss star Gene Simmons, another an email from his sister. Other appropriated texts were his last 2 poems: a faux translation from Latin (with a fixation on "boner", total flash-back to my sophomore Latin classes), & the other his popular "Queries," which is composed of comments he has made on writing turned in by his students.

Other pieces he read were "This Onus Cannot be Cooled," "Messenger Scene" (note to Nester: the copy you gave to me had numbers before each line; you didn't read the numbers when you read the poem -- try it the next time), "Middle Class Low Song," & "Adagia." A good professor reading.

So when it was my turn, I started out with one of Dan's (the other Dan) poems, "Poem About 'Happy Days' Ending with a Line from Catullus." So that poem reminded me of my own written years back in response to the poetic tradition of poems "With a Line Beginning from ...", "Poem Ending with a Line from Proust." Thus my reading became a study in the nature of the poetic imagination, a comment on the nature of Art -- that Art is made up, it's not real, it's not about me, it transforms "Reality," or recreates it, or just makes it up. So of course the next poem was "Park Fantasy" (it's not real), then my contemplation of alternative pasts on French sheets, "Mayasarah" with it's made up footnote. "The End," about the art rock chanteuse Nico, was a nod to Nester's rock 'n' roll poems; then I continued the death theme with imagining my own death in "Death By Yuppie." So to end on a little levity, I took off my shirt, & did "The Bra Poem" (a tribute to the hundreds of bras over the bar in Weeds in Chicago).  After that what could anyone do (except put my shirt back on -- or go home)?

[The photo is from the original Bra Poem reading at Weeds in Chicago, April 2001, taken by Tom Nattell.]

I had fun -- & it was my 2nd reading in the Jawbone series, separated by about 20 years. May we all live so long.