My friend Helen Dano organized a very interesting evening of poetry and discussion at City College--CUNY last night. She invited Rowan Ricardo Philips, Adam Fitzgerald and Bejan Matur not only to read, but to intersperse their reading with responses to questions from the moderator David Groff and City College MFA students. The three poets were very different in their styles and approaches to poetry. Philips was logically rigorous; his poetry showed a feeling for argument and form, and his answers a penchant for accuracy. Fitzgerald wrote much more associative verse, and his answers were more casual and personal. Bejan Matur was the most interesting of the three. The Turkish poet was genuinely and thoroughly mystical in her writing and poetics. There was no irony in her poetry, unless it was the deep irony of being alive in a deadly world.
I had not realized that City College-CUNY had such beautiful stone buildings, an actual campus. After the reading, KM and I went to an Italian restaurant, where I had a so-so seafood risotto. The chocolate cake was superb, however, slightly crusty on the outside, gooey on the inside. It made for a delicious belated birthday celebration.