Today my friends John and Teresa Carson took me to the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. We took a side trip through Wenonah so they could see the town that generated so many of my poems. They started thinking about buying small crafthouses there at bargain and I told them I don't want NYer's to know about Wenonah cuz they'll drive real estate values up.
The Mutter Museum was neat but disturbing. Not least of all because everyone dies of something I could die of. Not a good thought. I try to pretend I'm immortal even though I have intimate aquaintence with disease. I did like the wall of skulls. The guy who collected them thought there were no racial or genetic reasons to characterize humans and looking at all those knuckleheads I agree. Nonetheless he characterized them as suicides, killed in combat, or imbeciles and idiots. I hope someday my skull is in a collection with the label: IDIOT.
On the way home we talked about my friend Suzy Parker who has a book, Tumbling After. Teresa is reading it right now. I read it through it's creation. It was beautiful and strong and we talked about how I knew Suzy and all the permutations of my relationships with her.
The night before, at the celebration for Ross Gay's book, Teresa gave me her manuscript for her second book and made me promise to read it. I did. Tonight.
Oh. My. God. It was stunning. Everything poetry should be and in a voice that was not confessional or loud or contemporary but nonetheless all about her and her life and it moved me the way poetry should move you.
When I said Teresa Carson was at the event being filmed for "Contemporary American Poetry" you should understand even though she doesn't have a book published her book is and next book are contemporary american poetry.
I also neglected the names of two wonderful writers at my Bowery event... Joe Weil and John McDermott. Two great writers in two different streams. Real poets. Not acknowledged but real. Joe and I have jostled and hosted events at the Bowery and Mack has been my guide in writing for more years than I can own up to.
If you're going to talk about "Contemporary American Poetry" you should look harder than filmmakers usually do. Poetry that is real and hard and glorious is all over New York and New Jersey and I am lucky enough to know so many wonderful writers. For a few years Andy Clausen was my roomate in Jersey City. If there is an underrated writer in the US of A it is Andy. Powerful, passionate, committed. Andy lives and dies by the word.
Poetry is life. Life is Poetry. God Bless all of us who sit down and take pen to paper and try to sort shit out.