Monday, December 31, 2007

Tyrone Williams Reading

This video is from our reading together at the POG series in Tucson, AZ on September 23, 2007. Tyrone reads his entire sonnet sequence entitled, "I Am Not Proud To Be Black." The quality's not perfect because it was shot on a still camera (Fujifilm Finepix f45). But it's an excellent poem, and worth hearing read aloud. I highly recommend c.c., which was published by Krupskaya Books. Tyrone is coming to read in Just Buffalo's Small Press Poetry Series in April.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Detroit Reading and Road Trip/Apartment/Packing

Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
I drove through Canada to Detroit on 12/12 for a reading at the Zeitgeist Gallery with Audra Kubat and Cheri L.R. Taylor. It was a beautiful day for driving. The sun was bright, the sky a rich blue, and there was almost no traffic on the 401 through Canada. I did run into a little annoyance at the border, however. Passing through customs in Detroit, I was told I'd been randomly selected to have my car searched. Not a big deal, and certainly not as freaky as the time that happened to Lori and me in Buffalo. That time, they made us drive into an all white bay and closed the bay door behind us. It felt like we were about to be strip-searched and shipped off to a CIA prison somewhere. In Detroit they just send you to a waiting area and everyone is very friendly.

After that I arrived at my old friend James Hart's pad in Mexican Town. Detroit apartments are very much like Buffalo ones -- oversized and slightly run down. James has taken to writing poems on the walls of his bedroom (click over to my flickr site to see photos of these). It's a pretty unique place. We met up with Audra, on of the other readers, at a bar downtown, but apparently James had some previous disagreement with the manager on duty, who promptly asked us to leave.

We headed over to a Mexican restaurant where we met up with a group of other people for dinner. I wish Buffalo had a Mexican town. Detroit's Mexican food scene is worth the trip alone. After dinner we all headed over to the Zeitgeist Gallery and Performance Venue, where the reading was to take place. It's some kind of warehouse that has been turned into a gallery/bar/theater/performance space. Paintings, trinkets, sculptures, even a real moosehead, line the walls from floor to ceiling. It has a great community feel to it.

Met up again with Blair, a Detroit poet who won the national slam a few years ago. we'd met before when he was in Buffalo. It was also good to see James' father, a teacher and jazz musician with whom I'd had some great conversations the last time I was in town.

Cheri read first -- a new chapbook from Pudding House retelling the Little Red Riding Hood story. She was followed by Audra, who's fairly well know as a singer/songwriter, but has now started to foray into writing poetry. Both were nice to listen to. Then I read. It was a good audience -- probably 30 people or so -- and they were very responsive to the work. Someone even commented on the meter of one the poems afterward.

The night ended with a trip to Slow's, a hip new bar on Michigan Avenue which may or may not be a sign of gentrification in the neighborhood. Next moning James and I went for breakfast at a real old-time Detroit diner and then I headed back to Buffalo in a serious snowstorm. I hope people get hip to James and his series, because he's really making something happen there and it would be great for hi make contact with people outside of Motown.

In other news, we've found an apartment in the Elmwood Village. It's a large one bedroom with tons of storage in the basement. it should do the job for 6 months or so, before we move on to another house (or another city altogether).

We also started packing up our things -- it took forty bank boxes to collect all my books, but they are no ready to go. We'll start packing in earnest after we get back from my mother's in Florida next week.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Reading in Detroit 12/12

I am reading tomorrow night in Detroit:

Michael Kelleher, Audra Kubat, and Cheri L. R. Taylor.
Poetry at the Zeitgeist
2661 Michigan Avenue, Detroit MI
Wednedsay, December 12 @ 8pm

Thursday, December 6, 2007

CA Conrad Reads in Bathtub

Without question one of the 10 greatest poetry readings of all time.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Turkish Poets in Buffalo/Juvenilia/Sick

Another insanely busy week, which ended in my falling ill with the flu and missing the celebration honoring Alexis De Veaux and Jonathon Welch. I am still slightly under the weather, though feeling a bit stronger today.

The week began promisingly with a visit from four Turkish poets: Lalle Mülder, Güven Turan, Seyhan Erözçelik and Murat Nemet-Nejat. Murat-Nemet-Nejat, who lives in the NYC area, edited an anthology with Talisman called EDA: An Anthology of Contemporary Turkish Poetry, which appeared in 2004. An extended selection, plus additional essays on the work appears in the current issue of Jacket. I highly recommend you purchase the anthology, or at the very least, readthe new issue of Jacket for a healthy taste of the work.

The three visiting poets read during the afternoon on 11/27 at Buffalo State College and then again in the evening at Talking Leaves...Books. Seyhan read solely in Turkish, followed by Murat reading the translations in English. Lalle read all in English during the afternoon event, and then read in Turkish with Murat reading translations in the evening. Güven performed both readings in English, peppering the second one with a reading from the Turkish. All three are excellent poets (as is Murat, though he did not read his own work). Murat's translations are wonderful works in themselves.

Lalle Mülder read a long poem called "Virgin Mary Smoke," which is a kind of syncretic mystical poem that freely appropriates and mixes images, ideas, and concepts from Islam, Christianity and Judaism, with the Virgin Mary serving as the center through which they all combine.

Güven Turan read mostly from 101 and One Lines and One, a series of one line imagistic poems. Some of them, like this:

I am erasing the hoar on a plum, it breaks into storm.

amaze with the compactness of their imagery. You can read more of these at the new issue of Jacket.

Seyhan Erözçelik, the youngest of the three, stood out in terms of the tone of his work. Whereas Lalle's work seeks to delve deeper and deeper into the mystical heart of her images, and Güven's minimalist poems seek to strip away anything non-essential, Erözçelik's poems often blend complex rhythms with a gentle humor that I found very appealing. In particular, I liked a series called Rosestrikes, whose rhythmic character (thanks to amazing translations by Nemet-Nejat) reminded me of early Celan, especially Todesfuge. Some of these are also up at the Jacket feature.

We managed a quick trip to the falls in the afternoon. Unfortunately, it's off-season, so we could not get very close to the falls. It was also wet and very, very cold, but everyone seemed happy to get the chance to see them.

After the reading at Talking Leaves, a discussion broke out about work and poetry. The three male poets all work regular jobs in the business world. When asked about poets working in academia in Turkey, they said it was uncommon for them to do so unless they were trained in something other than writing. A good reminder that great poetry has no necessary connection to the academy.

Following their departure on Wednesday, Sarah Campbell organized a "Juvenilia" reading, at which writers stand up and read often embarrassing writings from their youth. About 15 people read at the event, myself included. it was lots of fun, though somewhat melancholy as it was also a goodbye to Sarah, who is moving on.

Thursday I spent groaning in bed with the flu, which continued through most of the weekend. Blech. I am getting better, though, just in time for another busy week -- Paul Hoover, Maxine Chernoff, and Ariel Dorfman are all reading this week. We'll see what I can get to. It's also time to look for an apartment, as it looks like the sale of our house will go through as planned. And next week I read in Detroit...etc. Enough of my yakking.