May 28, 2009

Michele Battiste, May 22

It was a thrill to host my friend, the wonderful poet, Michele Battiste at my home for an evening of her poems & partying. I had been there at the QE2 in Albany in November, 1997 when she first took the stage to read her poems. (If you must know, she read a poem titled "Barfly" about a woman at a bar, and "Shadowing" about an old love.)  Since then she has gone on to win awards for her poetry & to hone her skills on life & study.

Tonight she was promoting her new book from Black Lawrence Press, Ink for an Odd Cartography. Her performance (it's never simply a "reading") included a few poems from the book, but others not there, such as her signature opening piece where she literally ties the audience together with thread, like a spider. She included a new piece she wrote as a participant in a project for poets to write poems about each of the first hundred days of Barack Obama's presidency, "What He Said". Her poems are smart & sexy with a hard-shell humor that softens to the most liquid of tender centers.

Michele also has a chapbook out from Pudding House, Raising Petra, & an early version of the poems "Mapping the Spaces Between" that are included in the new book, that was published as a chapbook with that title in 2004 by Snark Publishing (O'Fallon, IL).

She lives in NYC now & her readings are not to be missed -- buy the book too.