Friday, February 20, 2009

Aimless Reading: The B's, Part 39 (David Bromige)

Bromige, David
The Harbormaster of Hong Kong

David Bromige came through Buffalo at some point during my first year here. I think he read at Talking Leaves...Books. Charles Bernstein put this book on his syllabus, which usually listed about 200, all of which I bought my first semester before realizing it was all suggested reading and that the only real requirement was that you read something that interested you or which you found useful. I bought this book at Talking Leaves and I also went to the reading. Taylor Brady was there and I think Brent Cunningham. Not many people came out for some reason. I seem to recall we went out for drinks and/or dinner afterward and that David Bromige had a longish beard and was very witty. It gets pretty foggy after that.

Here's the first poem in the collection:

Altogether too useful
a resource at a distance
to admit to actual presence

This is what once we called
Being, big B, fat from meaning
the beginning of a sentence

but something happening
in it. In it
people come and go

clearly ensconced
in a handy remove.
It's generative. How

more so were one to
risk it now and then.
Ruminative, remunerative.

And so the far-flung colony
signals back to capital.
On the beach, a whale.


Brent Cunningham said...


Yep, I was there. It was quite sparsely attended. Maybe because it was the Leaves since not many seemed to go to readings there. Actually I think Charles himself wasn't there so it was probably oddly scheduled, not on a wednesday, which could also account for attendance.

I remember David stayed with Graham Foust. I went over the next day and had a great long talk with him. I remember talking for a long time about, basically, how my aethetic ideas weren't being accepted there at Buffalo and how a lot of the things we were reading seemed quite aggressive about strictures for what and how writing should proceed. I was hoping he'd say tell me it was part of the process and that the important thing was to stick to your guns--you know, always be true to yourself, that sort of thing. Instead he said, "Yes, poetry asks you to change your life."

It felt a little stinging like a slap at the time. But now I love him for saying that.

Love the blog...



Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

Hey Brent,

Thanks for the memories!

There was a lot of stinging and slapping going on that year, as I recall, much of it unnecessary, but in hindsight I guess part of the fun of being in the poetics program was that it did to some extent ask you to change your life, or if not your life, at least your thinking and writing, which suffice to say it did for most of us. It's odd how stinging slaps can come to seem like gentle caresses over time (or vice-versa, ouch!).

Anyhow, hopefully my post on Bird and Forest down the road will stir up some more memories and conversation.

Hope all's well in Cali!