Hello there. This is Daniel Nester writing to you from Albany, NY, in my office at The College of Saint Rose, a medium-sized college right in the Pine Hills neighborhood of the city. Just a few things about me, dear reader, before I start with my guest blogging hijinks.
I live with my wife, Maisie, and my our daughter, Miriam "Mitzi" Lee, in the Center Square neighborhood of the city. We are three blocks away from one of the best used books stores I’ve ever been to, Dove & Hudson. We came here around three years ago from that nest of lovable yuppiedom, the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. I have one book of poems, The History of My World Tonight (BlazeVox, 2006), and before that two prose books on my obsession with the greatest rock and roll band of all time, Queen--God Save My Queen: A Tribute and God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go On (Soft Skull Press, 2003 and 2004). I used to edit La Petite Zine, then Unpleasant Event Schedule, then the Sestinas section of the McSweeney's website.
So why am I here guest blogging, dear reader? To plug my own books shamelessly and talk about myself too much? Well, most bloggers do that, I suppose. Maybe it's to "overshare," that buzzword Emily Gould, formerly of Gawker, invokes to describe her personal posts in yesterday's Sunday New York Times magazine? I'm not sure there. Let's hope not. Gould seems to conflate her accounts of her own blogging and editing Gawker, the media- and star-making-machinery-obsessed website. It's an interesting term, however: poetry debate often about whether or not to overshare in their work, whether it is better to strike an "impersonal" pose (Eliot) or engage in "candor" (Ginsberg) . Maybe that's why poets and their blogs seem to have a symbiotic relationship: it's either an escape valve for sharing/oversharing personal information for the poets of impersonality, or another outlet for candor for the Too Much Information poet-types.
I think it's fair to say I am a TMI poet.
Anyhoo, on with the show.
That photo of me above is taken from most recent installment of Karaoke + Poetry = Fun, also known as KPF. What is Karaoke + Poetry = Fun? It's a very occasional reading/singing performance in which poets read a poem or two then sing a song. Yes, it's that simple, and it's that fun. I invented KPF in 2000 when it seems readings needed to be jazzed up a bit. Some others have tried the format. Alcohol is usually involved with KPF. Scratch that: It is always involved. More photos from KPF to come.
The last KPF took place in Hudson, NY, as the final event of an all-day literary magazine festival sponsored by the Council of Literary Magazines and Publishers (CLMP). They are sort of an advocacy group for people interested in editing and being part of the literary magazine and small press publishing world.
On the left that's Nicole (Colie) Collen, Associate Editor of Fence, a new addition to the Albany literary galaxy since its affiliation with SUNY-Albany's New York State Writers Institute last year. Colie just moved to Albany to work for Fence. On the right is Ron Kavanaugh, publisher of Mosaic Literary Magazine, whom I just met in the New York City a couple of weeks before this event.
And here is one of the many, I believe, unsung heroes of the small press literary magazine world: Donald Lev. You may have heard of Home Planet News, a newspaper-style literary journal, which Donald and his late wife and fellow poet Enid Dame founded in 1979. It's still an ongoing concern, and you can find it distributed throughout downtown Manhattan. Man, when they accepted a poem of mine back in 1997, I thought I made it. And I kind of did: I got to read my humble effort for the issue at a fundraiser reading in the Cedar Tavern with all these other downtown poets.
Fun trivia: I just found out that Lev appeared in Robert Downey, Sr.'s 1969 underground classic, Putney Swope. I'll have to rent it again or buy it. He is credited as playing the role of "Poet."