Monday, November 14, 2005

What a pleasure to have two very talented, very different poets on the same night! Guillermo is a quiet, contained presence whose poems tend toward the abstract and lyrical, grounded by an everyday sense of place and by sprinklings of Spanish words and phrases that function almost as landmarks in their particularity (a Poundian grillo or cricket recurs in his long sequence Caracas Notebook, which I hope will soon find a publisher). Sean Cole in front of a microphone is the embodiment of the live wire: scratching his head, gesturing with his free hand, occasionally squinting at the pages as if he'd never seen the poems before, he dashed off linguistically rich surrealist riffs with crack comic timing. Afterwards we hung out at Ithaca's latest attempt at a smart bar, Korova (no milk, no knives, no droogs—unless you count the Ithaca College students) with the poets and the cheering sections they'd brought with them: Guillermo's girlfriend Claudia, and Sean's friends the poet Aaron Kiely and his girlfriend Kish (no, I didn't catch the women's last names, mea culpa). Topics discussed included recent Venezuelan history and ambivalence toward Chavez; Ezra Pound; the gentler uses of psychedelics; the greatness of Capote and the genius of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who damn well deserves an Oscar for his peformance in that film, which we all agreed was one of the very few movies to rightly represent the work of writing.

The next SOON reading will take place on December 10 and will feature everyone's favorite Ugly Ducklings, Matvei Yankelevich and Anna Moschovakis. Be there!

And now I must go get ready to deliver my first ever lecture to a packed room of undergraduates on the topic of Milton's Lycidas. Wish me luck.

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