Friday, April 20, 2007

on the way to PSA

The Tupelo Press people invited me to the Poetry Society's award ceremony last night. Even though I was a minute or two behind schedule, I stopped by Alabaster Book Shop (122 Fourth Ave) which I find infinitely more pleasant than The Strand, which is just around the corner. There are only four or five shelves given to poetry at Alabaster--while there are are probably 30 or more at The Strand--but I never seem to find many interesting things at The Strand. They have a lot of things you've heard about, but seem to lack anything you haven't. Last time at Alabaster, for instance, I found Night of Loveless Nights by Robert Desnos, translated by Lewis Warsh, published as The Ant's Forefoot 10 in 1973. I'm not sure what Coach House had to do with this series, but the backmatter says to inquire there about previous Ant's Forefoot books. Its limitation is 300 copies. I also found a copy of Big Sky 4, featuring Bernadette Mayer, David Meltzer, Ron Padgett, Marty McClain, Jim Brodey, Terry Allen, Robert Creeley, Anselm Hollo, David Antin, Joe Brainard, Aram Saroyan--along with a Clark Coolidge/Philip Guston collaboration predating the o-blek book by almost two decades.

This time at Alabaster I found:

Foriegnn Bodie Nada Gordon, Detour, 2001 [with an Are Not Our Lowing Heifers Sleeker Than Night-Swollen Mushrooms? postcard laid in]

Broken Off by the Music John Yau, Burning Deck, 1981 [with New Titles Winter 81-82 pamphlet laid in--also, the spine is printed upside-down]

, Kimberly Lyons, Granary Books, 2000 [just realized this is signed, "for Chris, with affection"]

, Nada Gordon & Gary Sullivan, Granary Books, 2001 [also just realized this is signed by both Nada & Gary, festively, with pictures & shit, "for Greg"]

I just snatched the two Granary's without even inspecting them, & they're both signed. Not bad for a five minute quick-dive when I was already late. Reminds me of similar exploits in London. The PSA event was a little on the drab side, with John Hollander delivering a speech about two Robert Frost poems, & some readings by some pseudoboring poets such as Matthew Zapruder, whose name belongs as far away from William Carlos Williams as possible (he once said something mean to Carol Ann), & two young women, one of whom spoke about bugs. I thought about insulting MZ to his face at the reception, or perhaps kicking him in the shin & running, but there was free champagne, & a little courtyard between buildings (or in the building--this was at The New School) where you could sit enjoying the night sky. Across the way a group of young, attractive poets were having a reading, replete with music, laughter, cleavage, & enthusiasm. I watched them for a while, inhaled some smoke, & rejoined the elderly reception until the champagne ran out. Thank you to Tupelo Press.


Nada said...

The moral is: ALWAYS inscribe your books -- then you can track them.

Darn that Greg!

anna said...

MZ didn't just insult CA Davis, he insulted CRAZYHORSE...rat bastard. :-) Do you ever go to Gotham Book Mart? I went there last winter when I was in NYC w/ my parents, and nearly orgasmed when I saw their used book selection upstairs.

Gary said...

Anna ... unfortunately, Gotham has closed their doors for good. I'm pretty sure they'll still sell stuff online through ... but the store itself, which was great, closed suddenly a couple of months ago ...