Greetings from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where I am waiting for my flight to the Motor City, where I will connect to my flight home to Albany International Airport, where I will be picked up by my lovely wife and little daughters.
I’ve been on a mini-tour of Atlanta and Morrow, GA. Wednesday night, I was at Clayton State University, at a series hosted by Brigitte Byrd, who was a lovely host.
I got a hold of Byrd's latest book, Song of a Living Room, published by the mighty Ahsata Press. The collection of superb prose poems leaps from folk tales to bedtime stories to semi-autobiographical meditations on language and writing (originally from France, she peppers some pieces with full sentences in her native tongue), and general alchemic ratatouille of what she calls “lyric occupation.”
I read some new memoir stuff I’ve been working on in my sabbatical year, including, as an audible at the line of scrimmage, the tale of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to my hometown of Maple Shade, NJ. Before I read, I was told the lake in Clayton hosts two "aggressive swans" (one is pictured above), which made me giggle. I suggested that if Clayton decides to have a football team, that should be their name, shortened to "Agswanns" or something.
Brigitte and her companion Scott treated me to supper last night. We sat outside, where it was a “chilly” 64 degrees. I could get used to such chilliness, certainly in the months to come in Upstate New York.
The evening before that, I read in Bruce Covey’s What’s New in Poetry series with two better craftspeople than I: Matt Henriksen and Lee Ann Roripaugh. I’d met both poets in the past, mostly at AWP-type clustereffs, but had not heard either read their work.
Roripaugh read from published and newer poems, including one in Spam form that had this listener in stitches. Her mention of a “squirtier turkey baster” alone made it worth the price of admission. She also read a list of “squalid things,” an imitation-homage of/to Sei Shōnagon’s pillowbook.
Henriksen read from his most recent book, Ordinary Sun, a mix of prophetic and twangy poems. It was great to hear the poems in his own voice. He also read and talked about a special section he edited for Fulcum: An Annual Poetry and Aesthetics dedicated to the late poet Frank Stanford. Henriksen provides notes towards a biography, twenty unpublished or uncollected poems, fiction and correspondence. It's fascinating stuff. He was kind enough to give me a copy and I’ll continue to read it on the flight today.
Bruce Covey was a great host, and accompanying him was Gina Myers, new to Atlanta from Saginaw, Michigan, as well as a couple Emory University creative writing fellows. As readers of the BAP Blog know, Covey a super poet—a unique meld of experimental methods with and humor and precise feeling. He’s put together a nice series at Emory, which you should go to for sure.
OK. Well, that’s the news from the airport. Hope to see you soon.