Update - Congratulations to Natasha Tretheway, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her book Native Guard (published by Houghton Mifflin). The prize is for a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author, and carries a $10,000 honorarium.
Yesterday I went to a wonderful launch party for the first two publications from Vrzhu Books (directed by Michael Gushue and Dan Vera, also of the local BAWA reading series). Kim Roberts was sick and could not attend, but Dan read a selection from her collection THE KIMNAMA, which can be read as a multisectioned narrative of the speaker's travels through India. I loved what I heard--lots of lyric repetition, beautiful images. Though the work has a balanced, meditative feel, there are glimmers of unexpected humor. The book as a physical object is also very pleasing--the cover photograph is vibrant, and the white text for the bio note on the back has a curiously sexy raised feel. The editors didn't know how it had happened, but I think it is a good omen.
Hiram Larew was also on hand to read from his book, MORE THAN ANYTHING. He's a practiced, engaging reader. Then an open mic, all hosted by the glorious Sarah Browning. I told her afterwards that she delivers an excellent "Woohoo," an important sound effect for any hostess to possess. If you're a former DC-area poet who hasn't been back in a while, make sure BUSBOYS AND POETS is on your radar--a great space for readings, with poetry programming virtually every night of the week. And if you really want to ensure a good time, invite Deborah to join you for a bowl of harira soup beforehand.