Sunday, October 21, 2007

Day 17: Reading in Portland

After spending the day partly in bed, partly wandering around Alberta Street with our hosts, Michelle Citrin and Aaron Skomra (formerly of Buffalo) I read alongside Kathleen Fraser as part of the Spare Room Collective's reading series at the The New American Art Union. Prior to the reading we ate at a fabulous restaurant around the corner from the gallery. Kathleen Fraser's very fun to hang out with -- gossipy, chatty, a good story-teller, very engaged with what you are saying. It was a pleasure to meet her and to get to hear her read.

Portland marked the final stop on the reading tour. It was also the biggest of 4 Buffalo Poetics reunions. At the reading were myself, Alicia Cohen, Tom Fisher (actually, he babysat after dinner, so missed the reading), Joel Bettridge, Aaron Skomra, Tim Shaner (up from Eugene) and Michelle Citrin. If nothing else, all that money I spent on graduate school will guarantee me a reading, an audience, a place to stay and good company across the country for years to come!

I also got to meet some of the Portland set -- Maryrose Larkin, who had set up the reading, David Abel, who did the intros, and Rodney Koeneke, a fellw Blazevoxer who had recently left SF to move there. All the people I actually met at the reading seemed like really interesting and engaged folks. Sadly, I didn't get to meet up with Jules Boykoff and Kaia Sand, who had been very helpful in helping me find Maryrose and setting up the reading -- thanks to them wherever they are -- next time, I suppose.

One thing I didn't quite understand, which has kind of stayed with me, and probably means nothing -- a group of people came to the reading just around the time it started and sat way in the back, with several rows of empty chairs separating them from the rest of the audience. None of them spoke to me afterward, and I couldn't really get a read on them as an audience. Anyhow, it unnerved me a little. I don't really care (much) if people don't respond to the work -- that's no reason not to say hello!

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