Monday, October 17, 2011

Aimless Reading: The O's, Part 14 (Maureen Owen)

American Rush by Michael_Kelleher
American Rush, a photo by Michael_Kelleher on Flickr.
Owen, Maureen
American Rush: Selected Poems


Purchased at Rust Belt Books.

Maureen came to Buffalo a couple of times when I was in graduate school. She was a good friend and early publisher Susan Howe, so Susan invited her up often. She once read in the apartment of Linda Russo and Chris Alexander. They used to run a monthly poetry series called "First Fridays." I think Maureen read with Jonathan Skinner. Another time she read at Just Buffalo, but I can't remember who she read with, despite having set up the reading!

I always loved the name of her press: Telephone Books. For some reason I always think of this after poetry readings at the Poetry Project in New York when everyone heads down the street to the Telephone Bar.

Lori and I have a broadside of one of Maureen's poems that we keep on the wall. It's from a reading she gave at Just Buffalo in 1978. It's a poem called "Circa" and it is in the form of a postcard addressed to the "Just Buffalo Literary Series" at the Allentown Community Center. The postmark says "CIRCA 8:30 PM 25 APR 1978." Here it is:

For years I thought 'Circa' was a place
and when I read the word followed by its dates
'Circa 1903' 'Circa 1812' I assumed these were
just times events occured in Circa and
I was amazed continually that so much had happened
in one tiny pinpoint of geography And to myself
I said "It must be in France"


(Note: "occurred" is misspelled on the broadside, so I left it)

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