PhillySound reading

Tonight I went to the PhillySound reading at Peace on A, which is Thom Donovan‘s house/space. Thom is a Buffalo grad and the reading was Buffalonian in the following ways:

  • It was at someone’s house
  • There were snacks.
  • It was well-attended.

It was, as they say, a full house. And it had the homey charm of a Buffalo reading: a homey home environment with food and booze and good poetry, packed to the rafters with people who just came to hear good poetry. This could also be said to be like a Durham reading. It was not like any NYC reading I’ve been to.

CA Conrad and Frank Sherlock read first. First Conrad then Frank. Conrad had beautiful sea-green glitter all over him like Mrs. Dalloway’s dress as she moved like a mermaid through her party. I have seen him read before. It was similar this time. Funny and potent. Then Frank. I have seen Frank read before. I thought it was better this time than last time. He had a long poem about America that was good. Timely. Like a 60s poem in some ways but updated, Ferlinghetti after L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E? Then Chris McCreary of ixnay read. I’ve never seen Chris read. He read a few different kinds of pieces, but the one I liked best was a parody of academic writing that was witty and knife-sharp. All three of these folks were good readers but all with very different presentation styles. The fourth reader, Dorothea Lasky, had another different presentation style, which was that she screamed her poems from AWE. I liked this. It was one of those (for me, very rare) cases where I actually liked the written work better after hearing its author read it. Last was Kevin Varrone, who I hadn’t heard or read before. By the time Kevin read I couldn’t pay as much attention anymore, which is a downside of having so many readers, though the upside is that no one reader begins to wear on my ADD attention span. I wanted to pay more attention to Kevin’s work since he’d culled it from the writings of an architect but I will have to read it on paper.

Afterwards I stayed and chatted for awhile, first Andy Gricevich about art and San Diego, then with Joel Kuszai about jobs, then with Tim Peterson about depression and poetry politics, Dottie about the zodiac and recycled jewelry, and Conrad (and Tim, Thom, and Dottie) about the nature of growing up in backwards towns, Allen Ginsberg, Natalie Merchant, Michael Jackson, “feminism” and voice, religion, literary genius, dietary habits, and the gender politics of Joan of Arc.


About Jessica Smith
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4 Responses to PhillySound reading

  1. Mark Wallae says:

    I’ve always found the poets in Philadelphia to be a congenial bunch too, Jessica. Of course, in a place like NYC where there are so many poets, the chances for tension between them goes up proportionally. One of the things that was great about DC was that there were a lot of readings but not so many that a person couldn’t go to all or at least most of them. In NYC I imagine people have to pick, and that creates more conflict too, almost certainly.

  2. Dan C. says:

    I just read H.D.’s review of Dreyer’s “The Passion of Joan of Arc” yesterday. There’s something very odd to me about holding a book that contains film criticism by H.D. and Manohla Dargis in its pages. Well, the holding of the book isn’t really odd, but, you know what I mean… don’t you?

  3. thom says:

    hey Jessica, thanks for coming out for the reading and for your note here. If you have any pics from the night you would like to share please pass them along. I would like to put them up at Wild Horses of Fire, where I try to document Peace on A events… all best, Thom

  4. looktouch says:

    Hey Thom, there are pics on my flickr, here:

    Mark, yes, Phila and DC/Balt are also congenial groups and I buy that it’s because there’s so much going on here and the crowds are so potentially large/unpredictable that the atmosphere is different, that there are fewer readings at private homes, that food cannot be provided, etc.

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