Thursday, September 23, 2010

Meeting Famous People You've Never Heard About

Great Hall - Boston University Castle -

Hi kids.

Been a good week so far.  Went to my workshop classes, visited Dr. Carroll (my Shakespearian tragedy in film professor), ate some food, did some sleeping, put off laundry and dishes, etc, etc, etc.

Tonight the Poetry Society of America held the Poets of New England 1910-2010 reading in the Tsai Performance Center here at BU.  The line-up was a bunch of famous people:  Frank Bidart, David Ferry, Major Jackson, X.J. Kennedy, Gail Mazur, Mary Oliver, James Tate, Rosanna Warren, and Franz Wright.  Each of them read a couple of their own poems and at least one poem from a dead New England poet.

Maggie sent out an email asking us to come and help out if we could.  So I went in right after Shakespeare.  I got the honor of watching the back door and showing anybody that came through it where the Green Room was (it was mostly red, but I just work here).  I figured I'd just sit around and play chess against my iPod (which kicks my trash most games) and nobody would show up, but David came through the door.  Then Major Jackson made an entrance.  I didn't know who he was, but I figured he's be some cool black dude.  I was right.  I'll admit right now that I think I have a sucky poet name.  And then finally James Tate came through (with the help of an assistant...he's old and getting pretty frail).

The reading was fantastic.  I didn't see Mary Oliver's name on the email they sent out, so it was sweet to have her there.  All of the poets' readings were fantastic, but two in particular were just my style.  The first was X.J. Kennedy, whose final poem was a song that he wrote.  Did he sing it?  Oh, he sang it.  And he even drummed on the podium and made trumpet sounds.  So funny.  James Tate got up and I thought he'd be really serious.  But he decided to read us "The Neighborhood Dog" by Russell Edson (here's a link:  Needless to say, I liked this poem.  Then he read his own work, the best of which was "Where the Money Is" ["Llamas" was funny too]).  Since we helped (morebecause we're MFA students here) we all got to go to the PSA benefit reception at the Castle (that's right, BU has a castle.  It's pretty rad, and the pub in the basement makes a mean sandwich). Before going to the Castle I bought his book, but he, for obvious reasons, didn't stay long enough for me to corner him for a signature.  But I got to meet and chat with Frank Bidart and the little tea sandwiches were really good (I ate like seventeen...they're tiny).  Yay for not having to pay $50 to meet old writers.

Oh, and that link up there sends you to AGNI magazine, which I start working for tomorrow.  Can you say "BOO YA!"?  When he called me in London, Robert mentioned getting an internship as part of the program.  I talked with T.J. and Lisa who had gotten a hold of AGNI's editor, Bill Pierce.  So I emailed him and he told me to come in so I came in and we decided that Fridays from 12-5pm I'll be interning for him.  I'm pretty freaking stoked.  AGNI (pronounced 'agg-knee' according to everyone here) is one of the best literary journals in the country, so it's a pretty sweet deal to say the least.  If it's paid I'll be in heaven, but I doubt it.

So yeah, that's what's been going on.  I wrote a poem about a lobster the other day and one about cookies today, so the soul-searching existential-quandary that is my poetry continues coming.  Welp, bed time.


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