July 10, 2010
The Bernadette Mayer 11th Annual Poetry BBQ, July 3
Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte were up from Brooklyn with their son Miles, taller & more hairy than the last time I saw him, who played guitar while Nicole performed "Golden Invocation" (or was that "Invoice"?) with the great refrain, "can you vulva clap the light?", then a poem of hers in French with Pierre reading his translation. Then Pierre read 2 poems, one on the invention of Belly-dancing (was he there for that?).
It was a friendly crowd with tributes to other poets here often the theme, such as Elizabeth Willis reading a poem for Dave Brinks, or Tom Gizzi doing a song with his guitar made up of words from Brinks' writing, & Peter Gizzi's poem for Bernadette "A Note on the Text." Even some of the youngest poets had their references to the place, such as Miles Joris-Peyraffite reading poems from his pocket notebook written here the last couple of days, or his friend Tommy Panitz including a poem about the upstairs room in Bernadette & Phil's house where he spent the night.
When it was my turn, Dave Brinks did a very kind introduction about the Albany poetry community; I read my very new, very NYC "Poem" then the older piece, "Ordering Lunch". Alan Casline followed with a few, including "Sardines." I enjoyed Phil Johnson's poems, one based on a poem by Philippe Soupault, another from 1968.
Other poets filling out the day included Brendan Lorber, dapper in a suit, who read "I Used to Live There But Now I Don't". Roger Van Voorhees' long, long poem was a strange narrative. Ben Tripp was the most technological, having to turn off his ringing cellphone, & reading a couple of his poems from his laptop. Eric Alter's poem was a funny, jazzy foray into philosophy, then "Jamey's Head" about another poet here right now. Jonathan Skinner brought the afternoon to a close with environmental poems, one on wet lands, the other, "Common Yellow Throat" read from a laptop.