This weekend was pretty amazing for me. First off, it’s the first time I’ve ever been invited to a conference as a speaker, with all the glam benefits that entails (billing, funding, and organizational/financial support). That was enough in itself. But on top of that, it was a conference many of my friends and idols would attend–my friends often being the same people as my idols. If that weren’t enough, one of my favorite poets, Robert Grenier, was on my panel. All of this was a fine set-up for a great weekend, with the slight pressure of having to not make a complete ass of myself.
But the conference was very generous. Surrounded by people who understood and appreciated my work, most of whom knew my work– and surrounded by old/kind acquaintances and new ones– the L.A. poets/artists engaged, attentive, questioning and commenting and totally genuine and there– thinkers I already knew and admire like Kenneth Goldsmith, Brian Kim Stefans, Steve McCaffery and Johanna Drucker, and then people I didn’t know (personally) but whose work I admired, and people I didn’t know whose work I didn’t know that I got to discover–!
And the opportunity to engage with Grenier, to thank him and express (probably to the point of gushing senselessly) my admiration for his work (and by extension, and of course in his own right, Larry Eigner’s)– a lineage I trace but which is a false lineage, for nothing was literally “handed down,” and here I am at the end of this lineage I draw for myself (one of many lineages I draw), full of love, and my love in its way acknowledged and accepted–
And seeing Lorraine and Michelle, two of my closest friends and two of the poets I feel that I’m working with in a community (we talk about communities, and I feel that I am in many of them, but only half-heartedly– my community is a small group of peers, women who “create” poetry among other things)– being with them both in the same time/space, physically rather than on the internet, seeing them both there side by side, strengthened by their wisdom and support and exciting explosive wonderful minds–
It was just. really. wonderful.