January 23, 2009

Small Press Reading at the UAG Gallery, January 17

Matthew Klane hosted this reading by representatives of small presses with connections to the Capital Region as part of the month-long exhibit at the Gallery. The presses had had their books on display since the First Friday of January monthly art walk, along with an exhibit of photos from "the world's largest collection of photos of unknown poets" by me, Dan Wilcox.

& I led off the reading, giving a brief history of A.P.D. (A Poetic Democracy, Also Publishes Dirt, etc.) then reading the entire chapbook, all 4 miniscule poems, from Poems from the Raccoon Lodge. Ably representing the press, Anthony Bernini read from Distant Kinships ("Heart of the Matter") as well as a couple newer poems & Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art."

Chris Rizzo was up next from Anchorite Press (http://anchoritepress.blogspot.com/) & read selections from some of the press' authors, including David Gitin & Aaron Tieger. Check out the link for information & to order books. Pierre Joris represented the press with a reading from Meditations on the Stations of Mansour Al-Hallaj, both from the published selection & newer pieces, including the just-written/never-read #36 on "non-acceptance."

Our host & moderator Matthew Klane read "Secret Caves" from his own tiny cards on which his own tiny word twists seem to fit perfectly, then introduced Eric Gelsinger for a long piece on birds & words, a veritable glossalalia of peeps. Flim Forum Books can be found at www.flimforum.com, or at P.O. Box 549 Slingerlands, NY 12159.

Fence Books (http://www.fenceportal.org/) was by far the most "established" press, for the past couple of years housed at the Writers Institute, but that doesn't mean the work is dull. Returned local Colie Collin's poems, like her titles, were rearranged text that still made sense on the strength of her strong urban images. I particularly liked "June Your Street" (if I got that right). Editor Rebecca Wolff read from the Prefaces section of Chelsey Minnis' Bad Bad with her pokes at stuffy views of poetry, then a selection of poems from her own forthcoming book on pregnancy, childbirth & the long road after, The King.

The final set was from AlbanyPoets, not strictly a press, though they crank out Other:___ in its various forms -- now a free print journal. R.M. Engelhardt (who has published his own work under Dead Man Press) read from a new chapbook, Versus, his usual rants against the trite, against the "mainstream", all the sitting ducks the C-list beat poets, from the lonely poet in his room/garret, whatever. In the past the poet has met God or The Devil at the bar; now he runs into Cleopatra, for the customary name-dropping & historical references. AlbanyPoets' el presidente Thom Francis finished with some favorites, including the apocalyptic "Radioman" & the untitled driving poem he usually does with his band. Then he surprised me with my own "The Ellipsis Poem" -- phew!

I was glad to be a part of this event, pleased to have my photos in the Gallery & pleased to be among so many who add so much to this city we live in. Metroland (that's Alicia Solsman in the photo here) did a piece on the small presses & the reading in its January 22, 2009 issue. I'm not giving the link because it seems to be a generic "feature" link that will disappear with the next issue, but go to www.metroland.net & see if you can find it.

And for more photos, check out my Flicker! site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dwlcx/