Monday, March 26, 2012

Let the Poetry Games Begin: First Leg of the Tour

When Adam Clay & Michael Robins asked me to be a part of their tour for their wonderful new books, I was happy to accept. I thought, "I'll just cancel later." But I didn't and I'm so glad I didn't. It's funny when poets tour, it's like accountants touring, only our records of events aren't as extensive or frugal.  

The day we arrived in New York, it was 70 degrees and gorgeous, Trish and I walked past my old building at NYU, where I went to graduate school, and talked about the past and the now, and the past again. I even had to take a tourist photo in Washington Square Park. We laughed about how when I first arrived in 1999, I kept asking people, "Where's the NYU campus?"

Later, after West Village wine and sun in big windows where big things happen, we went to Le Poisson Rouge and read our poems and talked about New York and how amazing it was and then we were tired and took cabs and fell asleep on couches and woke up with the crazy idea to do it all over again.

The next night, we read to a very small crowd (2 of my very dear friends to be exact) at Unnameable Books. We decided everyone should read something. So we all read, even the bookstore owner, and we drank wine, and laughed about poetry and the crowds it draws.

Then, there was outside in Williamsburg, where Kaelea and I pretended it was London and had filled each other in on our messy lovely lives. Heather joined us. The mood was festive. We waltzed to Pete's Candy Store, where a large and lively crowd was waiting and it made me happy. It felt like walking into the palm of someone's hand. Or the prettiest part of someone's heart.

Then, after late night music in a Brooklyn honky tonk with peanut shells on the floor and old friends, we drove out of midtown, still alive, though a bit more ragged than we had arrived, all the way to Providence. (Though, it was St. Patties day, so we stopped in Mystic, CT to have a guinness at the Harp and Hound.)

Providence was quieter and simpler and kind. First a great reading at Ada Books (I don't own it, but I'd like to). A nice crowd came out and there we were just barely arriving as the reading began, happy to be aliving and thriving. Here's Adam reading and doing things.

Then, I went to dinner with my friend's parents and suddenly New York seemed years away and there was such a sweetness in my mind, I had the idea to keep it there forever. 

Next, full of an overwhelming, but delicious brunch that negated any gym attendance I had done during the week, we drove to Amherst to visit Emily Dickinson's grave and paid homage and it felt so appropriate. A few things I didn't know about Ms. Dickinson: 1. Her room was large and full of light and she looked out on trees and meadows 2. She had a large dog named Carlo and together they went for long walks and thought about things. “You ask of my Companions. Hills – sir – and the Sundown, and a Dog large as myself, that my Father bought me."

I felt very moved by being in her house, in her room, staring at her little bed. Twice I was moved to tears, but I was brought back to reality by thinking the house smelled oddly like pizza.

Somber, but lightened, we walked to see her grave. We left presents and large-hearted sighs.

We were called back to the life of flesh and bone and had this giant pretzel, and sat in the sun, and talked. 

That night, we joined the amazing Chris Janke and folks at his awesome place, the Rendezvous or "The Voo." We loved it. It made us all say, "We could live in Turner Falls!" and we almost moved there. Then, we didn't. But we still might. 

In the morning, fueled up by another great meal, we drove to more graves of writers and took pictures and thought about words. Michael said, "Don't cemeteries make you want to lie down and sleep forever?" And we laughed. And it did.

We arrived in Boston and paid tribute to Bukowski and then to join the warmest, sweetest crowd you could ask for. We read in round-robin style and everyone seemed to enjoy it. At least they TOLD us they did. Then, wine was had and old friends toasted and laughed. 

We hit the road early with Emily Dickinson in tow. She was small enough to carry, like taking all sorts of magic with us in our bags and in our hair.  

We came home to our loves and our lives and mine was so awesome. I forgot how much I loved it in the bluegrass in the spring. The week went fast: runs on the old country road, hikes in the country, crockpot cooking and nights out with friends, and there is a deep resounding pleasure to being and to being with one another. 

Now, one more day home, and we hit the road again, books in our suitcases, and a little more knowledge as to what we're really in for. I'm sad to leave, but happy to be reunited with my bandmates. Michael and Adam are true gentlemen and when you travel with true gentleman poets, you're just bound to have great and weird adventures along the way.

"In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth." Patti Smith

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Radio Radio! (I wanted to name our dog radio, but he wouldn't let me)

I just had the pleasure of being on the radio with some of my favorite people. Nicole Callihan asked me to join a group of New York women writers for WBAI's celebration of International Working Women's Day. The writers were, Kristin Dombek, Sanjana Nair, Stephanie Hopkins and myself. In case you missed it or wanted to see a couple of the poems I read, here you go:

From Sharks in the Rivers:

Sharks in the Rivers (
Widening Road
The Same Thing
City of Skin (Page vs. Stage YouTube)

New Poems:

Downhearted (Here, in Guernica and audio version)
During the Impossible Age of Everyone (Forthcoming from Catch Up)

It was fun to read poems. It's always fun to read poems. I never get tired of it. Which is a good thing considering that this month launches an extensive tour. Gearing up for going on the road soon.  

Heeeereee weeeee goooooo!

March 14, 2012
Le Poisson Rouge, 7PM
With Michael Robins & Adam Clay
158 Bleecker St.
New York City, NY

March 15, 2012
Unnameable Books
With Michael Robins & Adam Clay
600 Vanderbilt Ave.
Brooklyn, NY

March 16, 2012
Pete’s Candy Store, 7:30PM
With Michael Robins & Adam Clay
709 Lorimer St.
Brooklyn, NY

March 17, 2012
Ada Books
With Michael Robins & Adam Clay
717 Westminster St. 
Providence, RI

March 18, 2012
With Michael Robins & Adam Clay
78 Third St.
Turner Falls, MA

March 19, 2012
Small Animal Project, 8PM
With Michael Robins & Adam Clay
186 1/2 Hampshire St.

March 28, 2012 (My Birthday)
Danny’s Reading Series
1951 W Dickens St.
Chicago, IL

March 29, 2012
Common Sense Reading Series
With Michael Robins & Adam Clay
Kansas City, MO

March 30, 2012
Northwest Missouri State University
With Michael Robins & Adam Clay
800 University Dr. 
Maryville, MO

March 31, 2012
Clean Part Reading Series
With Michael Robins & Adam Clay
Drift Station Gallery
1746 “N” St.
Lincoln, NE

April 1, 2012
Strange Machine #8, 7:30PM
With Michael Robins & Adam Clay
Gallery 72-2709 Leavenworth St.
Omaha, NE

April 22, 2012
World Series of Poetry 
With Melissa Stein, Robin Ekiss, Troy Jollimore, Dead Rader, and more!
Mill Valley Library
Mill Valley, CA

April 27, 2012
St. Helena High School
1401 Grayson Ave.
St. Helena, CA

July 30, 2012
Sarabande Reading Series
With James Allen Hall
21 C
Louisville, KY