We're in the home stretch for the book tour--with zero speeding tickets, since that sheriff in OH let us off with a warning. For the last three nights I've slept in my own bed, but hustled to evening events in Philly, Ewing, NYC. Our approach from Baltimore to Philly marked a sort of homecoming for me, even though I don't actually live there, but 45 minutes away. These folks always make me feel at home.
[Cont'd from previous post:] Baltimore was less eventful than DC, and we can just leave it at that. I'm behind on these reports as it is! On to Philly, where Debrah Morkun has been hosting the New Philadelphia Poets series for the past three years. Philly has a lively and friendly poetry scene--with tons of enviable energy!--so be sure to browse the links in the sidebar there at NPP to meet some of the poets.
The 2-hour drive was easy that day--for me and Pete, anyway. (Jen had to take a bus down from NYC, which reportedly smelled.) So, fresher than usual, we hung out at Fergie's Pub upstairs with CAConrad, Ryan Eckes, Nicole Steinberg (newly transplanted), Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz and Shappy (also newly transplanted), and other friends, then read our poems along with Nicholas A. DeBoer (pictured left).
After the reading, we talked Nicholas into an interview, asking more about his own work and the activities of his press (with J. Townsend), con/crescent. Turns out Nicholas is also recently relocated to Philly; hmm, I'm sensing a trend! Here's what we learned:
Bloof: Nicholas, your reading was powerful stuff, and I really enjoyed the way certain words and phrases repeated and looped through the three pieces. I noticed you apologized to Ezra Pound--can you say how your pieces relate to his work and how he is an influence on you? Can you please remind me of their titles? Are they from a series you're working on?
NB: I'm not actually in apologetics for Ezra Pound, but rather for myself. In the creation of The Cantos Pound didn't make excuses for his thinking, or his task until the late 1960s. So, part of my act in the practice of writing my own long poem was to offer an apology for the time of its writing, an apology that vibrates into the future of where time is situated. In a sense, it was to create a further vulnerability for the reader.
The pieces I read were Pale Quotidian Canto (CXV115), A Fog of Speculum (CXIV114) and Lunar Natatorium (CXIII113). The series was started in February of 2008, with a rough draft of the 120 pieces in July 2008. These first poems help comprise The Singes, which is 11 poems long and took about two years to "complete." The practice of the work was to take the Carol F Terrell companion to The Cantos and make narrative notes, that I would then write response pieces of and to. The action is to not merely put forth a criticism of Pound, but to create an alternate path, to pick up the 'incoherent notes' of his work and re-vision an epic for the 21st century. This is the first of a projected ten-book arc work, currently titled The Slip, as in "giving em the slip." They are not currently available online, but I've only just finished this book.
Bloof: Tell us a little bit about your press, con/crescent. When did you and J. Townsend start that? What's coming up next?
NB: con/crescent press grew out of Jamie Townsend and my desire to put out new work by the poets we've met in the last few years that we feel are exceptional and to compile new critical work. On our website we put together a small kind of mission statement [available at link above] that explains the terminology in which we are encasing our intention, as a kind of "growing together of a many into the unity of a one." My own feeling on this term morphed into a kind of confidence trick of spectral import and that of new guiding (moon)lights.
We are really pleased currently to be on the forefront of releasing our new magazine, dealing with music and how people inhabit that space. con/crescent2 should be out early this October at www.concrescentpress.org. We are very excited about this new issue, as it contains work from Dana Ward, Matthias Regan, Thom Donovan, a hip-hop gallery, among others.
Let's see, we have a number of chapbooks coming out this year and next. This year we will publishing Denise Dooley's Drumtops and a new chapbook from Richard Schwass. Next year we have Patrick Lucy and Kelly Sexton.
Bloof: What's the best poetry experience you've had lately? Reading/writing/listening/etc.
NB: The best experience I've had of late has been the last six weeks, Jamie Townsend, Debrah Morkun and myself have been investigating The Maximus Poems by Charles Olson. Every Monday we meet and discuss thirty pages of the text in depth. We just finished the first book this week. It's offered many rewards, in both that ongoing poetic dialog one has throughout the day and also a deeper sensibility for our own work and how we manage to feel a lineage. I actually just moved to Philadelphia on the 15th of June, so its been a pretty amazing experience to move to a city for poetry and to find all the amazing and wonderfully generous poets in one place.
Bloof: Where can BAP readers find more of your poetry?
Answer: Currently, the best place to find my work is at the con/crescent press site, where I have a small book about my father's heart attack and my subsequent battle with this event, Ushered White Waiting. I've been a little slow to publish, as like Olson, I got into the game as a "late bloomer" and only starting writing poetry seriously in 2007.
As we wrap up the tour today, we'll take notes for at least one more report, on our trip to The College of New Jersey and events in NYC, including today's Boog Fest (Pete's reading in the 3PM block at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn) and Jennifer's book party with Jason Schneiderman and Ada Limón, tonight at 6 at the Lillian Vernon House at NYU. Details here.