On Wednesday the William Carlos Williams Cooperative held their monthly reading at the Williams Center in Rutherford, New Jersey. Ocean Vuong and I were there as the features. John J. Trause had kindly invited us to present our work after hearing us read together at David Lawson's reading at Jujumokti Tea Lounge in the East Village. One things leads to another, as they say.
I really liked the format of the reading. It always begins with someone reading from or speaking about Williams, this time John talking briefly about the new biography of that very American poet. The feature then comes on, followed by an open reading. And the evening ends with a last poem from the feature. If I ever organize a reading series, I will follow a similar format. It pays respect to an important past poet, it ensures that everyone hears the feature before reading for the open-mic, it makes time for the open reading, and it returns attention to the feature at the end of the event.
It was lovely to hear Ocean read new work. I especially enjoyed his poem about a dancing lesbian couple. We traveled back together to NYC on NJ Transit Bus 190. It took about 20 minutes to pull into Port Authority. Not too long. Small wonder so many people commute.