Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Aimless Reading: The W's, Part 4 (Rosmarie Waldrop)

When They Have Senses
Waldrop. Rosmarie
When They Have Senses

Given to me by the author.

Rosmarie was among the first group of writers I brought to read at Just Buffalo. Prior to my having taken the position, my predecessor, Ted Pearson, and Debora Ott, who founded and ran Just Buffalo, had written a grant to the Lannan Foundation for the series. They proposed about twenty or twenty-five names of potential visitors, out of which they would select ten to come read over the course of the next year. Everyone I brought that year came from that roster.

The list was divided into two large categories: national and local writers. We usually featured one of each. It was also divided into three monetary categories: $3000, $1500, $500. Local writers all got $500. Younger or mid-career writers from out of town received $1500 and bigger name writers got $3000. My recollection was that we did one or two of the latter per year, four of the middle figure, and then five at the lower end.

The list represented a wide range of poetries. Pattiann Rogers and Dorianne Laux both came that season, as did Margaret Randall. I think she got the big money that year. I was also able to bring Lee Ann Brown and Rosmarie Waldrop on separate occasions. The locals were an equally impressive crew. Susan Howe read with Lee Ann. Leslie Fielder gave one of his last readings. I am trying to recall who he read with, but it's not coming to me. Maybe Irving Feldman. I don't remember who Rosmarie read with, either. I feel like Ben Friedlander read that year, too.

Anyhow, she gave me a stack of books. I think she may have mailed them to me after she left. This one still has a handwritten $4 price tag on the back.

from When They Have Senses
from The Senses Visbly, or Two Very Handsome


the touch keeps at this moment
a trembling of warm
air reflected
weakly each time
he with such concision
the semblance of a wave
again the stubby fingers
whisper strained
passages and as before a matter
of decisive
anticipates once more
the risk
of spectacle

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