Mike Snider's Formal Blog and Sonnetarium :
Poems, mostly metrical, and rants and raves on poetry and the po-biz.
Updated: 1/24/06; 10:21:03 PM.



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Monday, March 28, 2005

I wrote this Sunday, but couldn't get online with my NC ISP before I had to hit the road back to Maryland, so I'm posting it now.

The Desert City reading last night was pretty darned spectacular. Ken Rumble did his usual (well, I've only seen it three times) fine job of introducing the poets, and may have outdone himself introducing Kent Johnson — hysterically funny bold-faced lies which nevertheless really did introduce the audience to Kent's work.

Patrick Herron began by reading a translation done by Kent from the work of a rebel Salvadoran poet killed by the Somoza military, and continued with his own often funny and very often political poetry, finishing with poems by the puppet Lester Herron. It was a good set — the little eruptions of rhyme and (mostly) doggerel meter made me wish he'd occasionally try those tools for some effect other than satire.

Kent also began with a translation by Kent Johnson (with Forrest Gander), this time of a poem by the Bolivian Jaime Saenz. There are five of these translations here: I'd love to see the Spanish. I was particularly impressed with the poem he read from Doubled Flowering (some discussion of the book here) and the last poem he read, "Baghdad Exceeds Its Object," though for me, at least, the text of the latter gives little clue to the power of Kent's performance.

After the reading many of us went to Laura and Todd Sandvik's home for what I understand is the traditional Blue Door after-reading reading, with drinks and fantastic finger-foods provided, I presume, by the Sandviks. (Thanks!) Eden Osucha read, and one long poem she'd finished that day, about a young man in many ways lost and broke in a laundromat and unable to talk to the woman washing her clothes there, produced the only spontaneous applause of the evening. Very impressive, considering the quality of work all evening.

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