Date: Mon, 21 Oct 1996
From: Jordan Davis (jdavis@PANIX.COM)
Subject: Spahr (long work), Davis 19
Spahr (long work), Davis 19 at Poetry City
Time: S (17 mins), D (30 mins)
Setting a land speed record (and reminding many in the audience of Husker Du's best work), Juliana Spahr read from her long work "Live" at Poetry City last Friday. "What some of you fond of gerunds might call 'being human'", "or inappropriate 'uh'", "have you done mean things to people on purpose?", "methodologically sound if safely unsexy", "I may be ready to be a New York poet, I am beginning to know my way around", "I no longer take offense to New York-centric statements". Rhythmically, Spahr returned often to the pattern of "You or I are turning some man-or-woman head". Spahr gave an exciting, continuous-seeming reading, which was the opening half of this rain make-up doubleheader. She wore a black knit top, flower-print pants, and black shoes.
After a twelve-minute intermission, Anna Malmude introduced the second reader. Tim Davis, dressed in black jacket (with two pens like fangs in the breast pocket), black jeans, black wing-tips, and a grey buttoned-up shirt, maintained a laugh-to-poem ratio of almost 2 throughout the reading, which included poems from his new book, _My Life in Politics, or a History of N=A=R=R=A=T=I=V=E Film_. The main part of his 19-poem reading was a series of poems written while on lunch break from his Eighth Avenue office. Forget Laughlin, cable Ferlinghetti--these are the lunch poems we've been waiting for. "This is the blankety all of content dependeth on", "Manhattan held a fenfull", "hulky run of buzzer doors", "a tremendous verse blew in", "yoo-hoo you", "another nestegg weasel rain", "take that acre, mule, and lurk in it", "all of history's letterhead", "a snuff film of butterflies running things", "This writing is Sudetenland", "stapled to a frappe", "a fart of cold, cold Rolaids", "Roger Rilke, over", "has-been ISBNS over and over...", "file under rank", "Grandma fingered a Fed", "gauze is good", "Uncle Duh had opened a glass of sash", "the bantu Jackie Coogan", "eau de Nickelodeon", "is this a delicious baloney?", "a crow in every ficus". I could go on, and so could Tim, whose side comments and pauses were flawless.
In the audience alternately rapt and howling were: Bill Luoma, Brian Kim Stefans, Bernadette Mayer, Phil Good, Barbara Henning, Anselm Berrigan, Kevin Davies, Deirdre Kovac, Jeff Hull, Brenda Coultas, Eleni Sikelianos, Tim Griffin, Brigham Taylor, Judith Goldman, Kim Rosenfield, Rob Fitterman, Liz Fodaski, Dug Rothschild, Larry Fagin, Charles Weigl, Chris Stroffolino, Doug Stone, Catherine Talese, Nick Ciraldo, Alystyre Julian and Judean Patten.
Once again, the Cedar's upstairs seating was closed for renovation. The post-reading crowd also found itself closed out of the Old Town Bar (this is why readings in New York on Friday nights are no good -- no place to take everybody afterwards), which had room at the bar, but no place to sit. Tim volunteered his Ave A apartment, bought pizzas, many brought beer, and the group carried on for several hours more.
Schedule notices: This week, Poetry City goes back to its usual Thursday night slot with Poetry Project workshop leader Todd Colby and Cinema of Transgression inventor Nick Zedd. On Halloween, Poetry City will host San Franciscan Steve Carll and Stuyvesant town's own Carol Malmude Szamatowicz. And on 11/7 at 7 p.m., John Wieners and Eleni Sikelianos.