I'm going to attempt to describe my Carrboro Poetry Festival
experience. This is not an all encompassing recap. I lack the fortitute. I am not going to mention every single person I heard read or interacted with. There were 39 readings and I probably met 100 people. If I stuck my thumb up your ass and fail to mention it here, please don't feel like it was cheap or meaningless. Quite the contrary. There are some things that are too sacred to put on a blog. I respect you too much to exploit you or our memories.
Overall impression, holy crap. Patrick Herron put together an amazing two day event. From his selection of poets to the way he set up the readings to the excitement and vitality that gushed forth. (gushed forth? Can't I think of a better way to say that? No, I cannot. Think geysers and garden hoses and dams bursting, yes, dams bursting in air.)Anybody
who was everybody was there. If you weren't there, you should ask yourself why.
I'll start with the mean things I said to people. Things I shouldn't say, but do anyway. Friday night I met Christian Bok and he was all "my reading is going to blow your mind" and I thought if I had a nickel everytime some dude said that to me I'd be in Atlantic City playing the slots for life. But by golly, his reading did blow my mind. I had never heard anything like it. For a sample of what he read, you can listen here
. So afterwards I said "Wow, and all this time I thought you were just a stuck-up asshole, but that was great." See, this is what I do when I feel my work is inferior to another's, I make the offending author feel like there's something wrong with him. It's my way of leveling the field. Like when I called Gabe Gudding
a pinko and teased him about his meditation practices. Later I had to explain to him that I'm cruelest to those I adore most. Heidi Lynn Staples
said, "But you've been really nice to me." And yes, that was true, so I had to revise my statement. I'm cruelest to the men I adore most. You just can't be cruel to woman. Because unlike men, they'll lash back on your ass and get you good. Ten years later you'll find her in bed with your husband and you'll ask why and she'll bring up a slight you completely forgotten. Whereas men will just silently seethe, "Why doesn't she like me?" Well, I did call Amy King
a bitch for missing my reading but she knew I was joking. Or was I? In ten years will she come home and find me in bed with her lover?
I tried calling Randall Williams a pinko, but he's made of tougher stuff than most. Rolled right off him.
Things I didn't say, but wish I had. I wish I told Harryette Mullen how out of all the poetry books I've read to Gideon, he responded to Sleeping with the Dictionary
the most. Or to Philip Nikolayev how after a weekend of doing home improvements in preparation for Gid, Chris and I stayed up late giggling reading out loud poems from Monkey Time
Saying the nice things is much more difficult.
Another odd thing was meeting in person folks I had been corresponding with because they almost never are what I construct in my head. Julian Semilian is not 25 years old. Chris Vitiello
is not a dirty hippie. He didn't even have an offensive odor. Who knew?
Some people came close to my mental expectation. Allyssa Wolf
is indeed a sexy bitch. Ken Rumble
is warm and funny and his fiance, Kathryn is beautiful and smart.
Thinking, thinking, what other words were shared?
Oh yes, after my reading Standard Schaefer called me a slut.
But in a good way. A nice way.