Sunday, December 14, 2003

The snow, it blows. Actually, with no particular place to go, like the songs say, it's nice to sit here and plan a mug of cocoa while the white stuff is general all over Ithaca. I'm back and it's been a whirlwind. The reading went very well—you couldn't wish for a more posh space to read poetry in than the National Arts Club. Good turnout, many people left clutching copies of Selah and Barrow Street and Western Humanities Review. Richard Howard read first in his trademark red-framed Coke-bottle glasses. He's a very entertaining stage presence. Jacqueline Osherow read after a break, and then me. I think I'm getting the hang of using a mike. People were very nice afterwards; I met Timothy Liu, Sharon Dolin, Kathleen Ossip, and Stephen Cramer, emerging poets all (well, Mr. Liu has fully emerged, I think). But the real thrill came the next day. After a fairly disastrous first meeting between Emily's dad and stepmother and my dad and stepmother, and a recuperative viewing of the expanded first chapter of Lord of the Rings at the Loews on 42nd and 8th Avenue, I made my usual pilgrimage down to the St. Mark's Bookshop. There, I was accosted—I believe accosted is the word—by a young man holding a copy of my book that he'd found on the shelves—I didn't even know the book was on shelves yet. His name was Ted Mathys and he was/is a poet (he has three good prose poems in the latest Fence and he was a fan. And he bought the book and had me sign it. More incredible than this was another poet, Daniel Lin, happened to be nearby, and he bought the book and had me sign it, leaving St. Marks with a single copy on their shelves. You could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather. It was a genuine rockstar moment and fulfilled most of the secret fantasies I've harbored since I first attempted a novel in the sixth grade. What to do for an encore?

Well for one thing, there's a reading at the Ear Inn coming up: Saturday, February 21st at 3 PM. Mark your calendars, New Yorkers: there's no avoiding it. You will hear me read eventually. Bwa-ha-hah!

Oh me. Oh my. I promise to get back to substantive commentary in the not too distant future. Yes indeedy.

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