Tuesday, March 30, 2010

LA Review Reading at Nuyorican Cafe

A mostly white audience was in the house last night for the reading. They listened appreciatively and applauded politely after each reader finished. I missed the spontaneity at other readings, when the audience would murmur or snap their fingers or call out on hearing a particularly good line, and clap wildly after each poem. "We are so quiet," I turned round and said to the black lesbian writer sitting behind me. "I know what you mean," she said immediately.

I particularly enjoyed Jennifer Militello's reading. Her poems were strong in imagery. I traded ETTE for her book Flinch of Song, published after ten years of sending out and coming in as finalist, never winner, for numerous contests. She submitted it to Tupelo Press alone three times, before it finally won the press contest. Now she has a second book to send out, and not sure if Tupelo will take it.

I read the poem published in Los Angeles Review, "What We Call Vegetables." First time I read it, and it felt fresh in my mouth. I should read it more often. I think it works well read aloud. And its style is quite different from my usual. More Sylvia Plath than Philip Larkin. I also read "Childhood Punishments" and "Brother." On my way out, a good-looking dark-haired guy said, almost shortly, "Good job." Not the usual compliment. He cannot be a frequenter of readings. Which makes me appreciate his comment more.

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