October 10, 2006

The Wheels on the Bus


Is it my imagination, or are the litbloggers in a slump? Other than tilting at the windmills of Best American Poetry, we seem to be in a quiet period.

Coming back to the real world of two jobs is never easy, and I was happy to take refuge in the basement bar of the Big Hunt for the Washington D.C. stop of the Poetry Bus Tour last week. The reading was loosely divided into a first half of traveling poets, then a second set of D.C. locals. Joshua Beckman and Matthew Zapruder, the fearless leaders of the tour, were also the strongest poets of the first half. I particularly loved Matthew's Canada poem and Josh's poems from the second section of his new book, Shake.

The hometown team's half was good, not great; highlights included Rod Smith, who read a gloriously inscrutable poem called "Identity is the Cause of Warts," and Kyle Dargan, who captured a hallmark of local poetry by integrating social and political issues into his work. I think the diversity (read: fragmentation) of D.C.'s poetry scene works against us here...what should feel like an all-star lineup instead felt a bit like pinch-hitting. It's a damn shame that Maureen Thorson of Big Game Books (and a recent PSA Chapbook award) was in the audience, versus up on stage. Still, a fun evening, and thanks to all who organized it.

Two shameless self promotions: A 7 PM reading at Kensington Row Bookshop on October 25, with NYC poet Nick Johnson. Come on out--there's a reception and an open mic to follow. This will be the debut of my new September poems, so wish me luck.

Any day now, issue 6 of melancholia's tremulous dreadlocks will go live, featuring three poems also written at Millay. The layout is nice and clean and the lineup of poets is stellar, but what a funny title for a journal...I can honestly confess that I never expected to see the phrase "melancholia's tremulous dreadlocks" in a book manuscript of mine, but onto the acknowledgements page it goes.

3 comments:

Don said...

I'd love to come to your reading, but Mark Dawson's reading the same night. Sorry.
I agree with you about the fragmentation of the D.C. scene. I'm not sure how it could be united; maybe a major independent poetry press like Wave? Is there a D.C. aesthetic anymore (language poetry, I gather, used to be big)?

François said...

Issue 6 is up, has been up since Sunday, after a long delay caused by the editors' absence from their respective cities.

Thanks again for sending us most magnificent work.

F.

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Break a word-- Hope the reading goes well for you. Sounds like a great event.