|(photo by Dina Pearlman)|
I was the featured poet, though listed in local publicity as "Dan Wilber," a useful heteronym perhaps. I had planned my reading, as I always do, with some possible alternative paths, based on a read of the audience, time, etc., so of course missed some poems I had wanted to read, but think I covered all the bases. I began with a selection from Poeming the Prompt (which later sold 3 books). Then, since this was Woodstock after all, had to read "The Hundred Thousand Ten Thousand Million Buddhas" (based on reading the Lotus Sutra). Next the recent poem "Counting Moons," followed by a commentary on Suburbia, the Coyote poems, numbers 1, 2 & 4. A little relationship humor is good too, so I read "different tastes in music," followed by a political piece, "Baseball in Palestine." I ended with a recent revolt against censorship, "Delete this Poem."
Right back into the open mic, with Leslie Gerber in his colorful Guatemala hat reading a string of short poems, including, among others "Ice Cream Love," "Coincidences" which mixed together cancer, the rain forest & Beethoven, & a sub-series of epigram poems.
Pamela Twinning is a Woodstock poet I have heard only rarely, so I was glad to hear her read 4 of her poems, "Breaking Fast," "Desire" (rangeing from "I" to the Universe & back again), a poem for the rock star Captain Beefheart "Crow Dancer" & a love poem "Dressing for Dinner." Ron Whiteurs was up with some of his outrageous, irreverent rhymes, "No Room for God," "Ron's Hymnal" (based on the hymn "All Things Bright & Beautiful"), "Soccer Team" (drooling, "he's so sexy"), & "The Gutter Song." I've been reading Andy Clausen's latest book, Home of the Blues: More Selected Poems (Museum of American Poetics Publication, Boulder, CO) so I was pleased to see him read, a name-dropping prose piece on the last time he saw Allen Ginsberg & why the Left has failed America.
Well, like I said, this is Woodstock, a town with a grand tradition of poets who only show up for their own readings, leave early, etc., so I wasn't disappointed tonight when the last reader, Ed Allen, arrived at the end & spent the time before he read going through his poems, not listening -- as they say in France, the more things change they more they are the same (or was that Heraclitus?).
In any event I had a great time (thank you Mike Platsky) with poet friends I don't see frequently enough, some great hugs, even dinner with a lovely, talented artist/poet/friend (you know who you are).
As for this series, it continues every Monday with a featured poet & Woodstock open mic at the Harmony Cafe at Wok & Roll in Woodstock, NY.