Alyssa and Hila invited me to read for the Perfect Sense reading last Wednesday. I read four poems from Equal to the Earth, then read three sections from "Seven Studies for a Self Portrait." I didn't read the new poems very well. They did not cohere in the air. The Frida Kahlo piece sounded better at Son of a Pony two weeks ago.
Lynn Melnick and Brett Fletcher Lauer read after me. They read poorly, and so it was hard to grasp what they were saying. Melnick's poems sounded too much like the run-of-the-mill loose-limbed, image-happy American lyric. Lauer's poems aimed for profundity, but went on for too long to little purpose. Miranda Field, who was born and raised in London, gave a fine reading. WTC put it well, the poet trusted her words and so gave them their heft and lift. They were poems about motherhood, with sharp images and deft turns of phrase. The poems did not give a big pay-off at their conclusion, as EN agreed, but the journey was interesting.
Did not read at Son of a Pony last Friday because I was with students doing community service. They cooked a dinner for the guests from Main Chance, a homeless drop-in center near Grand Central. This morning, they divided into groups to serve in different soup kitchens and food pantries around the city. At the Holy Cross Church food pantry, near Times Square, my Cantonese came into use. I had to explain to a woman why her registration card was not ready yet, and to stop two other women from taking more than three items of clothing.