11 October 2006


Last night's terrific reading by Barbara Cully, Catherine Daly, and Maryrose Larkin (in that order) in the Cushing Street reading series was inspiring. And lots of people were there, too, and lots of books were sold.

Barbara Cully (from Tucson) began, reading new work, which was informed by politics ranging historically from Ronald Reagan and Tien An Men Square to the present. It started with a pointed Reagan comment that elicited cheers & laughs from the audience, but for the most part the reading was very somber, with the voice falling at the end of every phrase with a feeling of loss that seemed both personal and cultural. Barbara Cully's work balances between the urge to shake the language up, and the urge to have a clear content, even to poise the language beautifully. That's a tough act to accomplish, and she does it well. You can find a good review by Morgan Lucas Schuldt of one of Cully's most recent books, Desire Reclining (Penguin 2003), here.

Catherine Daly (from Los Angeles) read from Locket, Dadada, and To Delite and Instruct. The long sequences from Dadada were captivating. Here is a sample from the poem "/X IS A SWITCH /XX /XXX":

You'll wear this mantle of dust.
Dust's love's apotheosis,
and love's dust's.

Contact, subject, circuit (interrupter),
pleasure in your sips of pleasure.
You're thirsty. Sweet tears for desires.
Arrives love
and many mouths, many mantles:
mansions rich
robin's egg blue pashmina, tweedy mohair throw,
blond mink stole.

Drink a particular tomb.
Standing on a green shell.
horn cornucopia conch
You are dust. Drifting down, la la.
Who's untouched.
Catherine ended with a work from the new book, To Delite and Instruct. Like the book, her poem began with a word box and ended with a word hoard. Word delicious, enticing.

Maryrose Larkin (from Portland) gave, as she said, the first reading she's ever given in a town where she doesn't live. For all of us, I hope she gives a lot more, in places where she lives and does not live. She was magnificent, reading great work extremely well. First she read the entire chapbook, Inverse, copies of which she also gave away. You can find three poems of hers that work in similar ways to this chapbook in Fascicle, and you can find part of Inverse, as well as a bio of Maryrose and her description of the work in Inverse, at No Tell Motel. She concluded her Tucson reading with a month-long section (July) of her new Whimsy Daybook 2007, a calendar for the imagination, a calendar of invented holidays—one for every day of the year. Let me give a few examples, like this one for my birthday
Go Sit on The Group W Bench
and this one for April 11
Feline Career Day
and this one for June 19
Meet Your Scary Screaming Neighbors—3:05 am
and this one for Friday July 13
Year of Confusion Begins

I will look forward to hearing and reading all three of these poets again.

Lots of poetry occurs in Tucson, in various ways, in the next couple of weeks. Here are just the three events with which I am personally involved, in one way or another.
Oct. 14, Saturday, Dinnerware Gallery, 101 W. Sixth St., 7pm
Elizabeth Robinson
Jaime Robles
Michelle Auerbach
Susanne Dyckman
Catherine Wagner

Presented by POG

Oct. 20, Friday, Black Rose Cafe, 1800 N. Stone Ave., 7pm
Charles Alexander
Meg Files
Presented by the Black Rose Poetry Series

Oct. 22, Sunday, 7:30pm, Dinnerware Gallery, 101 W. Sixth St., 7:30pm
Linh Dinh
Presented by Chax Press & POG