What follows is a catalogue of almost every poetry reading I've given.
Where: Little River Restoratives bar in Hartford, CT
Other readers: Sonya Huber, Kem Joy Ukwu, songs by Lauren Bolstridge
The Syllable reading series is organized by Julia Pistell and Brett Maddux. I had emailed Julia some poems and asked if I could participate. This installment was held at a bar in Frog Hollow, Hartford.
Sonya Huber teaches as Fairfield University. She read some essays from a collection focusing on the subject of chronic pain. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis.
I one of here essays, she talks about how her condition makes her skin permeable to the environment. Pollution, such as smoke/exhaust or chemicals, can actually cause her pain. What struck me is that, although this sort of damage to the environment is invisible to most people, she literally feels it in her body. There are real victims of pollution, which I didn't appreciate. Also, it occurred to me that, if we all were similarly sensitive to the environment, maybe we would work harder to keep it clean. (We surround ourselves with poisons of our own making, such as xenoestrogens.)
Kem Joy Ukwu read two short stories. She is from New Jersey.
Lauren Bolstridge played some songs on acoustic guitar. She is from West Hartford, CT and lives in the area, I think.
I talked to Susan Dunne, the Arts Writer from the Hartford Courant. She wrote an article about the reading, featuring one of the poems I read.
At the reading I met some artists and curators who are, perhaps, friends with Brett. I had a good time talking to them.
Where: Molasses Books in Brooklyn, NY
Other readers: Sarah Jean Alexander, Jonathan Aprea, Connor Messinger, others who I forgot
Molasses Books is a single-room bookstore/cafe/bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
I felt like people were reading sort of quietly, so I tried to read real loud. (I'm not sure if I accomplished this.) I think I read alright. I was sort of nervous.
Jonathan Aprea had a line about how at the north pole, there is no north, and every direction is south. Then he had a line about how at the center of a condominium, there is no condominium. I really liked this idea and told him so.
Afterward we went to a bar (Tutu's) near the Mellow Pages Library. We ate and people drank then everyone left.
Where: Housing Works in Manhattan, NY
Why: Release of Mira Gonzalez's book i will never be beautiful enough to make us beautiful together
Other readers: Mira Gonzalez, Spencer Madsen, Giancarlo DiTrapano, Kool A.D. (Victor Vazquez), Melissa Broder, Willis Plummer
This was the biggest reading I've ever done. Spencer invited me. His press Sorry House was publishing Mira's book.
I wore a polo shirt and a hoodie. The reading went fairly well. I read a thing about the Gatorade "G-series" which people seem to think was funny.
There was an after-party at a bar. I was in a weird mood and didn't talk much to people. I took the train home to Connecticut afterward.
Where: apartment in Brooklyn, NY
Why: Keep This Bag Away From Children release
Other readers: Jordan Castro, David Fishkind, Mallory Whittan, Andrew Worthington
This reading was for the release of an issue of Keep This Bag Away From Children, edited by Andrew Worthington and others. I was invited to read, although I wasn't published there. Jordan Casto played a few songs in addition to reading. I think the reading was possibly at Ed Halladay's apartment.
Megan Boyle, Tao Lin, and Brandon Scott Gorrell were there. There was an after-party at Tao's friend's place. It was a pretty nice apartment. There was a big, open living room where people stood around and talked. There was maybe a record player set up.
I took the train home to Connecticut afterward.
Where: Linger cafe in Brooklyn, NY.
Other readers: Spencer Madsen, Maggie Lee, Elaine Sun, Steve Roggenbuck, Poncho Peligroso
This was my first reading in New York City, which was exciting. I wore a button-up shirt, tucked in, and nice black pants. I read poems from (my book) Santo Del Supermercado. I was nervous but did alright.
Poncho read tweets from the recently passed @tree_bro.
Megan Boyle and Melissa Broder were there. I arm wrestled with Spencer. I met his brother Tyler for the first time.
We went to someone's apartment afterward. I think I got a little too rowdy. I remember throwing my shoe across the room. That night I slept on a rug on the floor of Spencer's tiny room.
Where: Henry's bar/cafe in Lawrence, KS
Why: poetry class semester-end showcase
Other readers: Robert Knapp, Joseph Harrington, unknown others
[I am writing my recollections of this reading in 2018.]
I took a poetry class taught by Prof. Joseph Harrington at the University of Kansas. At the end of the semester, all of the students read together at a local venue. I remember few of their names.
Where: the RowHouse Restaurant in Topeka, KS
Why: the "RowHouse Poetry Revue"
Other readers: Amy Fleury, Mickey Cesar, Dennis Etzel Jr., Kevin Rabas, songs by Greg Fox
[I am writing my recollections of this reading in 2018. I'm aided by a flyer from the event that my parents had framed.]
The reading was sponsored by the Topeka magazine seveneightfive. It was hosted by Matt Porubsky, who I think was an editor or contributor to magazine. He invited me to read after some of my poems were published there. I think he may have been a former student of Brian Daldorph, who was a poetry professor at the University of Kansas. It was Prof. Daldorph who had suggested I submit to the magazine.
The restaurant itself was located in an actual row house, I think. I remember the green room being a small kitchen. (I don't know where the actual cooking was done.)
This was the first proper reading I did. I was using the pseudonym Zeke Collyer at the time, inspired by the Collyer brothers. I was very young, and the other poets were much more accomplished.
Where: University of Kansas student union in Lawrence, KS
Why: open mic
Other readers: Mickey Cesar, Nick Sprague, Ryan Keast, Devin Lowell, others?
[I am writing my recollections of this reading in 2018.]
This was the first reading I did, I think. It was an open mic event, possibly with some kind of competition element. It might even have been billed as a "poetry slam".
Mickey Caesar won, I think. He may have got a gift certificate or some other picayune as a prize.
My friends Nick, Ryan, and Devin also read poems.